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Survival
of the Fittest

HUNDREDS GATHER FOR INTERFAITH LIGHTING page 6
‘ROCKLAND AND JEWISH’ PROMOTES COMMUNITY page 16
‘THE GOLDEN BRIDE’ WEDS OLD AND NEW page 52
‘SON OF SAUL’ — A FILM ABOUT HARD CHOICES page 53

Eat Right,
Move More
Life Lessons
for Parents

DECEMBER 18, 2015
VOL. LXXXV NO. 15 $1.00

Supplement to The Jewish Standard • January 2016

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Page 3
The shocking story of the modern latke
● Now that Chanu-

grains, such as
kah is over, we can
buckwheat and rye,
reveal an uncomfortaccording to food
historian Gil Marks.
able truth about latkes
Those were among the
without the risk of
few crops available to
spoiling your holiday
them during the frosty
appetite.
early winter, when
The latke is one of
those Jewish foods that
Chanukah is celebrated.
feels steeped in tradition,
In the 1800s, even
after potatoes took
as if it’s been made the
same way since the days
root in Eastern Europe,
latkes were still not
of the Maccabees.
fried in olive oil (as they
But in a revelatory
are today, providing a
article, Atlantic senior
convenient link to the oileditor Yoni Appelbaum
rich story of Chanukah).
explains that the latke
Olive trees were
as we know it — grated
potatoes fried in olive oil —
uncommon
in the region,
!
s
Makes Great Latke
is a relatively new culinary
and people cooked with
invention. Here, in brief, is the
schmaltz, fat rendered from
chickens, geese, or beef.
Chanukah staple’s origin story.
In fact, schmaltz remained a
Latkes were originally an Italian
traditional latke ingredient well into
cheese dish: deep-fried ricotta cheese.
the 20th century. Appelbaum cites a
According to Appelbaum, they
stipulation from a 1927 issue of The
were inspired by The Book of Judith,
American Mercury magazine (which he
set hundreds of years before the
says includes the first mention of the
Maccabean Revolt. The book, from
word “latke” in English) that the potato
the Catholic Bible, tells the story of a
pancakes be “fried in schmaltz.”
daring widow who seduced and killed
The advent in 1911 of Crisco, the first
the Assyrian general Holofernes to save
shortening made entirely of vegetable
Israel from invaders.
oil, changed the way latkes (and many
In an obscure Hebrew version of the
other fried foods) were made. Kosher,
story, Judith distracted Holofernes in
Crisco was once marketed as the
part by feeding him pancakes “salted
miracle for which the “Hebrew race had
and mixed with cheese.” Italian Jews
been waiting 4,000 years.”
adopted the custom of deep-frying
When Crisco “fell from favor,” as
cheese pancakes on Chanukah to
Appelbaum writes, olive oil took its
honor the story, which they apparently
place at the Chanukah table — and the
conflated with that of the Maccabees.
modern latke was born.
Appelbaum notes that potatoes were
“So what’s a latke?” asks Appelbaum.
originally cultivated in South America
Simple: “It’s a shredded Andean
and weren’t introduced to Europe by
tuber, fried like a buckwheat pancake,
Spanish explorers until the second half
which was substituted for Italian
of the 16th century. Potatoes weren’t
cheeses, once eaten to honor a
widely grown and consumed in Eastern
mistaken reading of obscure variants of
Europe — the Old World from which
an apocryphal text.”
many Jews emigrated to the United
But it’s cool if you want to keep
States — for a couple more centuries.
making the oil connection.
Until the early 19th century, Eastern
GABE FRIEDMAN/JTA WIRE SERVICE
European Jews made pancakes from

Maccabee

Fruit-flavored cup makes water exciting
● Is water just too bland a

drink for you or your kids?
A new Israeli product
promises to make water
more palatable without
adding flavor, calories, or
sugar substitutes to your
drink.
Instead, it changes the
container.
The Right Cup is a
plastic drinking cup
infused with FDAapproved aromatic fruit flavors to
trick your senses into thinking plain
water has a fruity taste.
Six years of research and patented
technology went into the BPA-free,
recyclable cup.
Isaac Lavy had good reasons
to drink only plain water: doctor’s
orders, following a diabetes diagnosis
when he was 30. But he hated the
taste, and thus began a long process
of research, trial, and error that led to
the first prototype of the Right Cup.
Lavy is co-founder and CEO of the
company.
“Isaac has been lecturing about
scent marketing for a long time, so
naturally this is what entered his
mind after being told he had to drink
only water,” co-founder and creative
director Erez Rubinstein said.
“Over the years, he told many
people about his idea, and they all
said it was impossible.”
As we all know, Israelis read
“impossible” as “I’m possible.”
Skepticism only serves to strengthen
their resolve to turn their out-of-thebox idea into reality.
The company has already raised
242 percent of its $50,000 goal
from about 2,000 backers on the
crowdfunding site Indiegogo, and the
campaign is not over yet.
Expected to hit the market next
April after starting production in
Israel, the Right Cup will cost about
$35 and will be available in orange,

mixed berry, lemon-lime, and apple
varieties to start. The three-part
cup releases aromas for at least six
months if it is hand-washed.
A blogger calling herself Awesome
Jelly reports that the company sent
her test straws made of the same
material as the cup, infused with
lemon scent and flavor.
“When I took my first sip of water
from the Right Cup straw I was blown
away,” she said. “The material is a
smooth, hard plastic type material
that smelled exactly like lemon. I
honestly have no clue if the material
tasted like lemon or if my brain
perceived it that way, but is most
certainly tasted like I was drinking a
fresh glass of lemon water.
“I then gave the test straw to my
8-year-old daughter and asked her to
simply try the water. Her immediate
reaction was amazement and awe.
She said that the lemon water tasted
‘soooooo good’! When I told her
that it was the straw that caused the
water to taste like lemon she was
quite amazed and immediately asked
if I had other flavors.”
Rubinstein affirms that other
flavors are planned. He says the Right
Cup has no competition. Of course
you can buy flavored water, but
that always includes some type of
natural or artificial sweetener. “People
perceive flavored water as much
healthier than it is,” he said.
ABIGAIL KLEIN LEICHMAN/ISRAEL21C.ORG

Candlelighting: Friday, December 18, 4:12 p.m.
Shabbat ends: Saturday, December 19, 5:16 p.m.

For convenient home delivery,
call 201-837-8818 or bit.ly/jsubscribe

CONTENTS

28%

Would Trump supporters still support his presidential
race if he called for a national registry of Jews? In a
focus group of Trump supporters arranged by the
Daily Show, two out of seven said yes.

NOSHES ...............................................................4
ROCKLAND ......................................................16
OPINION ........................................................... 22
COVER STORY ................................................30
HEALTHY LIVING &
ADULT LIFESTYLES.......................................41
TORAH COMMENTARY ...............................50
CROSSWORD PUZZLE ................................. 51
ARTS & CULTURE .......................................... 52
CALENDAR ......................................................54
OBITUARIES .................................................... 57
CLASSIFIEDS .................................................. 58
GALLERY ..........................................................60
REAL ESTATE...................................................61

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18 2015 3

Noshes
GRAND OPENINGS:

‘Force’ is ready
to rumble in
blockbuster reboot
“Star Wars: The
Force Awakens”
is easily the most
anticipated release of the
year. Script details have
been guarded closely,
but we know that the
action takes place 30
years after the events in
the “Return of the Jedi”
and that there’s an
ongoing conflict between the good guys
(formerly the Rebels,
now called the Resistance) and the bad guys
(Formerly the Empire,
now the First Order).
Veteran returning rebels
include HARRISON
FORD, 73, as Han Solo
and CARRIE FISHER, 59,
as General Leia Organa
(formerly Princess Leia).
Fisher, hands-down, has
been the most entertaining of the cast members
making media promotion
appearances. She was a
combination of a Borscht
Belt comedienne and
Monty Python character
in a December 4 interview on “GMA” that has
gone mega-viral and
really should be seen.
(Google “Good Morning
America” and “Carrie
Fisher” and you’ll find it.)
Fisher’s daughter and
only child, Billie Lourd,
23, has a role in the film
— it’s unclear how big
it is — but we do know
she doesn’t play the
young Princess Leia in
a flashback. Fisher, the
daughter of the late
EDDIE FISHER and actress Debbie Reynolds,
came to identify as Jew-

ish over the years, and
she has said she exposed
her daughter to Judaism. I don’t know how
Billie identifies. Her father, agent Bryan Lourd,
isn’t Jewish. Carrie and
Bryan’s marriage ended
when Bryan came out as
gay. After they separated, he told Fisher he had
been gay before they
married — but he blamed
Fisher’s drug use for his
resumption of gay relations. Fisher writes in her
memoir, “Wishful Drinking”: “He told me … I had
turned him gay … by taking codeine again. And
I said, ‘You know, I never
read that warning on the
label.’ I thought it said
‘heavy machinery,’ not
homosexuality — turns
out I could have been
driving those tractors all
along!’”
“Force” was co-written
by LAWRENCE KASDAN,
69, who also co-wrote
two much-loved sequels
to the original “Star War”
film (“The Empire Strikes
Back” and “The Return of
the Jedi”). J.J. ABRAMS,
49, the director and coscreenwriter of “Force,”
has a lot riding on how
this film is received. He
got a quick start in Hollywood when he was
hired in 1981, at age 15, to
use the skills he picked
up making his own sci-fi
films at home to repair a
trove of recently discovered but decaying home
movies that STEVEN
SPIELBERG, 68, made
as a teen. (A Spielberg

“Hope can triumph over despair. Light can
prevail over darkness. That sounds like a
description of the new ‘Star Wars’ movie.”
— President Barack Obama, summarizing the story of the Maccabees at the White
House Chanukah party

Harrison Ford

Carrie Fisher

Lawrence Kasdan

J.J. Abrams

employee happened to
see a film that Abrams
made at a festival for
teen filmmakers. She
was impressed enough
to recommend him to
Spielberg. Talk about
mazel!)
Spielberg became
something of a mentor
to Abrams, and Abrams
is now most famous for
doing a good job rebooting “The Star Trek”
and “Mission Impossible”
film series. However, he
is not viewed as a firstrank writing or directing
talent by most critics. He
may vault into that rarefied air if “Force” really
blows away fans and critics. If the overall reception is just okay, I expect
Abrams will always be
viewed as just a compe-

tent reviver of iconic film
series and a workmanlike director.
Abrams, I should add,
may get a “wow” just
from the look of the film.
Abrams grew up before
the digital age and he
says he strove to give
“Force” a cool retro look
that distinguishes it from
the many CGI special-effects spectaculars at any
multiplex. The “Forces”
special effects are mostly
not CGI and the movie
wasn’t shot digitally, but
on real film stock.
“Sisters” sounds
like a hoot: Tina
Fey and Amy
Poehler (who wed comic
NICK KROLL, 37, in 2013)
co-star as sisters whose
parents are downsizing
and summon them to

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

Goldbergs are finally
held up to the lights
● I found out too late to tell you in advance, but “The
Goldbergs” series on ABC had a milestone on December
16: a Chanukah episode. It was a milestone because, so
far as I know, it’s the first time the Goldberg family has
been identified explicitly as Jewish since the series began
in the fall of 2013. It was a pretty good episode — the
family matriarch tries to jazz up Chanukah by making it
a lot like Christmas. But her father (GEORGE SEGAL),
and other things, convince her of the error of her ways.
(Available online or via services like the ABC app on
– N.B.
Roku; also on Hulu.)
move out their stuff.
Their trip home becomes
an excuse for a big
blow-out party for their
old hometown friends.
Co-stars include IKE
BARINHOLTZ, 37

(playing James, the main
male character and
Poehler’s love interest ),
and MAYA RUDOLPH,
43, as the sisters’ oldest
friend.
– N.B.

California-based Nate Bloom can be reached at
Middleoftheroad1@aol.com

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 5

Local
Passing the peace
Local interfaith group meets at shul to fight hatred
JOANNE PALMER

G

lass half full or half empty?
Full-on war of civilizations
or a chance for unlikely allies
to come together?
Hope or no hope?
In response to the massacres in Paris
and even more in San Bernardino, a
group of religious leaders of the three
Abrahamic faiths came together in Temple Beth Or in Washington Township on
Sunday night. They were joined by an
estimated 350 to 400 others, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, who chose to gather,
light Chanukah candles on the holiday’s
last, most light-filled night, and demystify
themselves to each other.
“We brought together 18 different communities of faith,” Rabbi Noah Fabricant,
who heads Beth Or and who spearheaded
the meeting, said. “The entire event was
put together in about a week. Hateful rhetoric toward Muslims was increasing” —
that was the week when Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump said that no
Muslims should be allowed into the country, although he was not clear on what he
would do with those here already — “and I
felt a need for a community response.
“So my congregation began to reach out
to other local congregations, and I reached
out to local clergy” through the Upper Pascack Valley Clergy Council.
Rabbi Fabricant, who is Reform, also
talked about the program with rabbis and
cantors from the Ridgewood area, and he
discussed it with members of the North
Jersey Board of Rabbis, the body that
represents Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform rabbis. Some rabbis and
cantors came from eastern and southern
Bergen. His Christian and Muslim counterparts also talked up the program in their
own organizations, and drew some people
from outside the upper Pascack Valley.
It was an intergenerational crowd; lots
of teenagers as well as their parents and
empty-nesters came out for the program.
The evening opened as the clergy members processed formally down the aisle,
continued with readings from the sacred
texts of all three religions, and culminated
with the menorah lighting. “I created a
text, a kavannah” — an intention — “for
each of the candles, so that as we lit each
of them we could express a commitment
to our vision of unity and standing up
against bigotry,” Rabbi Fabricant said.
But real human relationships rarely
grow out of formal structures. “We wanted
an opportunity to socialize, so we had a
6 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

The clergy at Temple Beth Or last Sunday night represented 18 local congregations.

ANTONY MORALES

Rabbi Noah Fabricant, right, and Imam Moutaz
Charaf, left, with a member of Imam Charaf’s
mosque. 
ANTONY MORALES

ANTONY MORALES

reception, with lots of food, and we stayed
and talked and met one another, and
made the face-to-face connections that are
so important to reducing fear.
“It was wonderful,” he said.
“People said that it is one thing to read
about interfaith understanding, and even
to know something about it intellectually — but to form a relationship, to see
people face to face, to hear the Muslim
call to prayer from the bimah of our synagogue… That impressed them with the
reality and the urgency of the situation in
a different way.”
He had no idea what to expect, Rabbi
Fabricant said. “All week I ping-ponged
between worrying that no one would
come and that we wouldn’t have enough
chairs. And as people started to arrive
I realized that what we had was the best

Muslim girls smile as they fill out name tags.

possible outcome.”
He was moved by much of what he saw
that evening, but two incidents stood out.
“Two Muslim women came up to me after
the service, and one of them said that in the
last few weeks, since San Bernardino, she’d
had trouble sleeping. She felt really afraid.
“Being at this event, seeing all those
people standing with her, really brought
her a sense of safety. A sense of physical safety and comfort. She said that she
thought she’d sleep better that night. That
was really powerful for me.”
And then there was the ceremony itself.
“As the clergy walked in, the congregation was invited to sing ‘This Land is Your
Land.’” That, of course, is the haunting,
camp-evoking, quintessentially American Woody Guthrie song whose lyrics go
“This land is your land/This land is my

Rev. Marc Stutzel

Rev. Mark Suriano

land/From California to the New York
island;/From the redwood forest to the
Gulf Stream waters/This land was made
for you and me.”
“Quite a few people said to me afterward that after that song, you could have
stopped right there,” Rabbi Fabricant said.
“That, right there, was the message.”
Imam Moutaz Charaf and 25 to 30 of

Local
his congregants represented the Elzahra
Islamic Center in Midland Park, one of
the two mosques to send a delegation. His
mosque is a cross-section of Muslim Americans, he said; some are American-born
and others are immigrants. Their roots
are in India, Pakistan, and across the Arab
world; most now live in Midland Park and
the small towns that surround it.
The meeting was important, Imam
Charaf said. “We are living in a difficult
time for all people of faith, and all Americans, so we thought it was a good time for
people of faith and their leaders to give
a strong message of peace and unity and
diversity, and of respect for each other.
“We all stand together very strongly
against all types of violence, aggression,
discrimination, and hatred, and we felt
that we need to send a strong message,
and to show that we are standing together.
“We have much in common. All religion
calls for peace and love, and we should not
accept any hate speech, or any discrimination against anybody.
“We are all people of God, and we were
all created by the same God. So it was wonderful to read scripture together, to pray
together, to listen to each other, and to see
each other and break down some of the
walls that some of us have built between us.

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The camaraderie was amazing. No
matter what faith they belonged to,
people had a common concern and
a need for better understanding.
“It was good to see each other as human
beings,” Imam Charaf said.
The Rev. Mark Suriano of the First Congregational Church of Park Ridge went to
the meeting, he said, “because, like Rabbi
Fabricant, I was increasingly alarmed at
how we used religion to separate ourselves
from one another, and particularly from
the Muslim community. So I was eager to
go to emphasize the things that we hold
in common. We are all religions of peace.
And we all three are religions of the Book,
and people who share at least some spiritual ancestry.”
The evening was likely to be a success,
he said, and he realized that, prosaically
but tellingly, even before he went into the
shul building. “I got there early, and I had
trouble parking. It was going to start at 7, I
got there at twenty to, and there were only
a few spaces left. There already were more

than 300 people there.
“The camaraderie was amazing,” he
continued. “No matter what faith they
belonged to, people had a common concern and a need for better understanding.
I saw people who were emotionally moved
by the experience of being there.
“It was overwhelmingly beautiful.”
One of the things that most struck the
Rev. Suriano was “the sign of peace.” It’s
a Christian ritual, “a moment in the service where we are invited to turn to each
other and say ‘Peace be with you,’ and the
response is ‘Also with you.’
“At this service, we were invited to find
people we didn’t know and extend the
wish of peace to them. We were encouraged to find people who didn’t look like us.
“There actually was a great sense of people looking for people they didn’t know,
and there was a great deal of excitement

around it. It was very powerful.
“This is Advent,” he continued, the
weeks leading up to Christmas when Christians anticipate the birth of their messiah.
“I preached about it a few Sundays ago,”
the Rev. Suriano continued. “It is not just
being sociable. It is a prayer and a wish
and a hope for peace. So to experience it
yesterday, in another context, with a set of
people for whom it is not a usual practice
— there was a sense of earnestness about it.
Watching how people were moving around,
everyone was up and moving, all 350 or
400 of us — it was quite a powerful thing.”
And then there were the Chanukah
lights. “What Rabbi Fabricant wrote was
powerful,” he said. “It was a great way to
summarize what we are about and what
we have to do to bring peace. It was challenging — and it was inviting.”
The Rev. Mark Stutzel is the pastor of
Christ Lutheran Church in Woodcliff Lake.
He usually teaches a confirmation class to
seventh- and eighth-graders on Sunday
evenings; instead of holding the regular
class, he suggested that his students and
their families join him at Beth Or, and
many did.
“I had been at Temple Beth Or, but I had
never worshipped there before,” the Rev.
SEE INTERFAITH PAGE 59

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 7

Local

Helping kids glow again
Local student defers college to work with widows, orphans in Israel
ABIGAIL KLEIN LEICHMAN

M

alka Schnaidman of Teaneck was supposed
to begin college at NYU this year.
Instead, she is in Israel as a National Service (Sherut Leumi) volunteer. She is working in resource development for the IDF Widows and
Orphans Organization, which offers a range of services for
some 5,000 widows and 3,000 orphans of fallen soldiers.
Her last-minute decision to defer college for another
year — she had just returned home from a gap year in
Israel when she realized how much she wanted to go back
— means that instead of getting to know fellow freshmen in
New York she is meeting Israeli spouses and children who
are struggling to go on without their fathers, or in some
cases their mothers.
“Today I was helping a girl write an English essay to get
into a program at Brandeis. This is something her father
would have done with her, so she called us instead,” Ms.
Schnaidman said. “We’re here for them every day.”
Founded in 1991, IDFWO is the sole organization of
its kind recognized by the state of Israel, from which it
receives half its funding. The widows and orphans of soldiers always received government benefits, but the organization — chaired by IDF widow Nava Shoham-Solan — fills
many other needs.
Year round, it provides social, emotional, and financial
support, including camps, retreats, trips, support groups,
an annual group bar/bat mitzvah ceremony, holiday parties, scholarships, school supplies, wedding gifts, and

The IDF’s chief rabbi, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz,
IDFWO’s chair, Nava Shoham-Solan, and Col. Yaffa
Mor, head of the IDF casualty department, present
Sar Shalom with his new tefillin. 

KOBI KOENKAS/IDF WIDOWS AND ORPHANS ORGANIZATION

home visits.
This is the first year that the organization requested an English-speaking
National Service volunteer to help
raise funds and awareness abroad. Ms.
Schnaidman, who turns 20 in January,
found out about the position amid her
flurry of early-morning phone calls
from New Jersey to Israel last summer,
once she decided to return for another
year. That decision was made with the
full agreement of her parents, Rena
and Menachem Schnaidman.
“It sounded very dynamic; not just
calling people and asking for money
all day, or stuffing envelopes,” Ms.
Schnaidman said.
Living with six other National Service women in Petach Tikvah, she
commutes to the IDFWO office near
Bar-Ilan University every day. “I’m
dealing with real money and real situations,” she said. “We’re building a
website and setting up a new fund in
America, so I’ve been dealing with lawyers and speaking with donors. I go to
all the events and I answer phones
and help out with anything I can.
We’re nine people in the office, and
it’s close-knit.”
Ms. Schnaidman, who graduated
from the Moriah School in Englewood
and Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for
Girls in Teaneck, is not fazed by her
all-Israeli environment, as her gapyear program at Migdal Oz integrated
the overseas students with Israelis. “I
speak Hebrew all day in the office and
Malka Schnaidman in the IDFWO office IDF WIDOWS AND ORPHANS ORGANIZATION
at home,” she said.
Last week she went along on a
retreat for 600 widows. “I looked around and realized that
two other continents join us live to celebrate Chanukah
for every person sitting here, one person had to die. But
together,” IDFWO’s youth director, Shlomi Nahumson,
you see them laughing, clapping, talking about how cute
said. “It just goes to show that the people of Israel are
their husbands were. They have something that connects
one, no matter where they reside in the world. The IDF
them and allows them to relax and have fun together.”
orphans felt a warm embrace from abroad and a public
An IDFWO Chanukah party in the Negev last week
demonstration that they are not alone.
included a webcam hookup that allowed 150 IDF orphans
“We hope to make this an annual tradition, and I’d
to light candles and sing with Jewish teenagers from New
like to send out an open invitation to other schools and
York and Munich, including an a cappella group from SAR
youth groups worldwide to join us and empower those
High School in Riverdale.
left behind.”
“It was incredibly emotional to see Jewish youth from
As part of the awareness and fundraising effort locally,

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1
8 JEWISH
STANDARD
DECEMBER 18, 2015

12/14/2015 3:25:48 PM

Local

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Two girls at the OTZMA Chanukah camp last
week.
IDF WIDOWS AND ORPHANS ORGANIZATION

Ms. Shoham-Solan addressed students on December 17 at Ma’ayanot and at Torah Academy of Bergen
County, before a parlor meeting that evening at the
home of Susan and Mark Wiesen of Teaneck.
At the annual IDFWO bar/bat mitzvah celebration in
October, Ms. Shoham-Solan told the crowd how proud
she was as “one who lost her own husband and raised
two young children alone, to see the IDF orphans

It sounded very
dynamic; not just
calling people and
asking for money all
day, or stuffing
envelopes.
grow stronger by the day and grow into upstanding
citizens of the state of Israel.”
She and IDF Chief Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz gave
each bar mitzvah boy his first set of tefillin, while
bat mitzvah girls received ornate Shabbat candlesticks and a set of Jewish books. Boys and girls from
the Druze and Bedouin communities received gifts
and celebrated their coming of age together with the
Jewish IDF orphans. These 45 children will have the
opportunity to tour the United States next summer.
President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Moshe
Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, and the
heads of the Israeli police and prison service all came
to the ceremony at the Jerusalem Theater. President
Rivlin told the celebrants that he “considers each and
every one of you as my own grandchild.”
“You see people flooding in because everyone
wanted to be there for these kids,” Ms. Schnaidman
said. “You realize how much Israel wants to embrace
them. The kids were just glowing.”
For more information, go to www.idfwo.org/
homePage.htm

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1:43 PM
JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER
18, 2015
9

Local

‘Birthright for Mommies’
Local representatives join Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project in Israel
Abigail Klein Leichman

C

onnection.
That word is mentioned over
and over by the Bergen County
women who recently returned
from a Jewish Women’s Renaissance
Project trip to Israel, aka “Birthright for
Mommies.”
The subsidized eight-day Momentum tour, which is filled with touring,
classes, socializing, and introspection, is
designed to “empower women to change
the world through Jewish values that
transform ourselves, our families, and
our communities.”
Participants say the experience leads
to a strong connection with one another,
with Judaism, and with Israel.
Started in 2008 by author and educator Lori Palatnik along with seven other
Jewish women of different affiliations,
JWRP has led 6,500 women from 19 countries on Momentum tours since 2009. (A
newer Momentum tour for Jewish fathers
has had 400 participants so far.)
Momentum works with more than 100
partner organizations around the world,
including JInspire, a national grassroots
Jewish learning initiative that has chapters in New Jersey and New York.
The group of 20 from Bergen County
was part of a 400-woman Momentum
tour for Jewish mothers from the United
States, Canada, Russia, and Israel during
the week of October 18. The local contingent was led by JInspire educators Julie
Farkas of Bergenfield and Dena Levie,
Esther Friedman, and Andrea Portal of
Teaneck, and past participant Ellen Finkelstein of Teaneck.
Karen Sackstein of Fair Lawn signed
up as a birthday present to herself. She
turned 50 on the day of departure. “I’ve

It’s no longer
about ‘over
there’ but about
real mothers and
real children. It
makes you want
peace so much.
wanted to go to Israel for quite some
time, and it was just the right time,” she
said; still, it was hard leaving her husband and 12-year-old son. “I’m a member of the sandwich generation,” she
said. “I’ve been caring for other people
for a long time, and this was the first time
10 Jewish Standard DECEMBER 18, 2015

We went as 20
women from
New Jersey —
25 including our
leaders — and
came back as
a family.

From left, Dena Levie, Karen Sackstein, Janet Freitag, and Shamira Malekar all
were part of the Momentum trip.

I was doing something for me.
“Everyone talks about how you’re
going to feel so connected to Judaism during this trip, and you’re waiting for that
‘aha’ moment,” she continued. “Actually
there were many. But the one that surprised me was the Shabbat we spent in
Jerusalem. Lighting candles, singing and
dancing with 400 women — there wasn’t
a dry eye in the place. All of a sudden
everything just made sense for me.
“It was an overwhelming feeling of
connection to the women I had been
with only five days at that point and who
became my best friends, but also to our
Jewish heritage. Shabbat is something
we’ve been doing for thousands of years.
For me, it was no longer something only
the Orthodox do.”
Ms. Sackstein also gained a new perspective on Israel. “I was ignorant about
Israel before. You read things in the
news and it’s always something that is

happening ‘over there.’ I didn’t understand why they were fighting over this
stupid piece of desert. Being there, talking to the Israelis on the trip, and to my
cousins who have a child in the army,
I realized that most of the people, Jewish and Arab, really do want peace and
really do get along. It’s no longer about
‘over there’ but about real mothers and
real children. It makes you want peace
so much.”
She and Janet Freitag of Ramsey stayed
in Israel a few extra days after Momentum ended. “I went with Janet to Old Jaffa
one day, and there were crazy rains and
the shops were flooded,” she said. “A
Jewish shop owner told us that an Arab
construction worker helped her for three
hours to bail out.”
Upon returning home, Ms. Sackstein
felt that the experience had pushed her
reset button. “In Israel, everyone is grateful, literally dancing in the streets,” she

said. “We’ve all read about the importance of practicing gratitude and mindfulness, but being in a place where they
live gratitude and mindfulness is very different than reading about it in a book.
“People can see that I’ve changed; I’m
letting go of stuff that doesn’t matter.”
Rena Bernstein, 56, of Fair Lawn calls
Momentum “a life-changing experience,
very different than I anticipated. If I went
back now and went to the same sites it
wouldn’t be the same.
“You can go and see Israel, you can
hear people talk about it, but you don’t
necessarily feel it. That’s what this trip
was. I felt the ‘why.’ I felt a connection
and a transformation. We went as 20
women from New Jersey — 25 including
our leaders — and came back as a family.”
Ms. Bernstein said that both she and
her husband were raised knowing little about Judaism. “I always wanted to
learn and understand but never found
the right opportunity,” she said. “I am
not religious but I feel very connected
to Judaism and I always wanted to go to
Israel for reasons I didn’t understand.”
Two years ago, her son, now 22, went
on Birthright with a group from college.
She told the rabbi leading her son’s tour
that she wished she could go along, and
he told her about “Birthright for Mommies” — in other words, JWRP’s Momentum. She heard about it again from Debby
Rapps, the director of the Jewish Youth
Encounter Program that her 12-year-old
daughter attends on Sunday mornings in
Teaneck.
Ms. Bernstein finally had the chance to
look into the trip a few months ago, and
discovered that there was one planned
for October. “As I was filling out the part
of the application where they ask you
to write about why you want to go, my
good friend Roz Wisotsky, also from Fair
Lawn, called and said, ‘Listen, you need
to do this right now. I just got an email
that I was accepted on this trip to Israel, a
Mommy Birthright.’ She had never mentioned it to me and I had never mentioned
See Birthright page 12

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Jewish Standard DECEMBER 18, 2015 11

Local
Birthright
from page 10

it to her. And here I was about to hit the
‘submit’ button. So we wound up going to
Israel together, and spent an extra five days
there together.”
Ms. Bernstein recalls the group’s visit
to the Western Wall, the sole remnant of
the Second Temple complex destroyed
by the Romans around 70 CE. “Before we
approached, we made a circle,” she said.
“Our leaders went around and asked us
each to talk about something personal we
would like to ask for, and that brought us
closer together. They gave us each a prayer
book with our name imprinted on it, and
inside they had highlighted the prayer
you say at the Wall. When we got there
and touched it, it brought all the pieces
together. It was just awesome — a connection between me, my story, my history, my
friends, and my roots.”
Though these women can get together in
Bergen County — and they have done so, for
follow-up programming after the trip — Ms.
Bernstein said that being in Israel cemented
their relationship. “A big part of it was that
in New Jersey we feel like we’re individuals
who, even when in shul, are surrounded by
a society that doesn’t understand, accept,
or embrace us. In Israel I truly felt I was
home, even though I had never been there
before.”
The decision to go during a time of unrest
was not easy, however.
“The founder of JWRP, Lori Palatnik, kept
monitoring the situation and all the participants had a conference call with her a week
before the trip,” Janet Freitag said. “She said
they wouldn’t take us to places that are not
safe, and I had no doubts about going. We
had armed former IDF soldiers accompanying us on the trip, so we did feel very safe.”
Ms. Freitag, 46, first heard about Momentum from a friend in Woodcliff Lake who
went in 2012. “She kept talking about how
meaningful it was,” she said. “This year
my son had a bar mitzvah, so I was extra
exposed to my Judaism, and that prompted
me to look into the trip.”
She also became more interested in Jewish learning through her attendance at family school with her 10-year-old daughter on
Sunday mornings at Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah.
“My husband is not Jewish, but my synagogue embraced him, and we agreed to
raise the kids Jewish,” Ms. Freitag said. “He
was supportive of my going on the trip; he
knew I needed to go spiritually.
“I always thought Israel was so far away
and didn’t feel a connection to it. Going
there deepened my faith, and a lot of the
things I learned about had more meaning. I
feel I want to be more involved in my synagogue and stay in touch with the women on
the trip. I want my children to go to Israel,
too.”
One of her favorite moments was on top
of Masada, a mountain near the Dead Sea
where a group of 900 Jews held out against
the Roman Legion for three years. The
12 Jewish Standard DECEMBER 18, 2015

The trip included a visit to Masada.

This trip shows
you the soul
of Israel. It’s a
mix of classes
and sightseeing
that’s all relevant
to the mission
to connect
everyone.
author Alice Hoffman based her novel “The
Dovekeepers” on this historic episode.
“I read ‘The Dovekeepers’ with my book
club six months before the trip and it was
beautiful to see where this story took place,”
Ms. Freitag said.
Before joining the other city groups
for the first night in Tiberias, the Bergen
women traveled to the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s sister city,
Nahariya, on Israel’s northwest coast.
They visited historic sites, met with
the residents of a federation-supported
group home for teenage girls, and toured
the underground attack-proof emergency
and surgery center at Nahariya’s Western
Galilee Medical Center.

In addition to Jerusalem and Masada,
the Momentum itinerary included Safed,
the Dead Sea, Yad Vashem Holocaust
Memorial, camel rides at Eretz Beresheet
in the Judean Desert, Shabbat meals with
local Jerusalem families, spa night at the
natural sulfur hot-spring pools at the
Akoya Spa in the south, and lectures on
topics ranging from marriage to Israel
advocacy to drawing meaning from lighting Shabbat candles.
“It was so lovely how everyone in Jerusalem says ‘Shabbat shalom’ to each other; I
didn’t realize before that it was such a big
deal,” Ms. Freitag said. “We completely
observed Shabbat; we shut down our electronics and just enjoyed.”
By the end of the eight days, she said,
“everyone was exhausted but renewed at
the same time. At the Bergen trip reunion
on November 30th, each participant
shared the same sentiment — we all felt a
deep connection with Israel and started to
bring some new Jewish traditions into our
family routines.”
Julie Farkas, one of the trip’s leaders
and coordinators, said that she found out
about JWRP in 2011, at a time when she
was teaching Hebrew to students at the
Jewish Learning Experience and JYEP. “I
wanted to find a way to help them connect
more deeply,” she says. “JWRP has created
a diverse group of women — Conservative,
Orthodox, Reform — and we’ve become
one, a sisterhood. It’s an international

organization, so no matter where we go
we have sisters there.”
She noted that Israel’s diaspora Ministry
has started providing half the funding for
Momentum trips, allowing the organization
to increase the number of participants from
1,000 women per year to 2,000 in the past
two years. Registrants pay only air fare.
“The goal is to create community and
connect women to their Judaism and to
have them come back and be leaders and
give to their communities,” Ms. Farkas said.
“This trip shows you the soul of Israel. It’s a
mix of classes and sightseeing that’s all relevant to the mission to connect everyone.
“When you come back it’s hard to verbalize what it was like, so you have to share
with others who went with you.”
Each of the leaders offers optional follow-up activities, including classes and a
monthly challah-bake. Ms. Farkas gives
a Torah class on Sundays at the Teaneck
General Store.
“I know it’s difficult as a mother to leave
your family for eight days,” Ms. Freitag
said. “It takes a lot of effort and work,
but thousands of mothers have done it
through JWRP, and it’s a life-changing
experience that will enhance your Judaism and strengthen your faith, so it’s really
worth it for yourself and for your family.”
JInspire already is recruiting for its next
Momentum trip, set to leave on November 13, 2016. For information, email Esti
Glauser at Eglauser@Jinspire.org.

Local

Orthodox rabbis: Christianity is part of God’s plan
Teaneck’s Dr. Eugene Korn helps draft statement
LARRY YUDELSON
Fifty years ago, at the Second Vatican
Council, the Catholic Church reversed its
attitude toward the Jewish people, rejecting the charge of deicide and acknowledging that the Jewish covenant with God
remained valid.
Two weeks ago, a group of Orthodox
rabbis returned the favor.
In its statement, “To Do the Will of Our
Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership
between Jews and Christians,” the rabbis
who signed the statement “seek to do the
will of our Father in Heaven by accepting
the hand offered to us by our Christian
brothers and sisters.”
“It is a groundbreaking statement,”
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn said. “It’s the only
statement I know of by an international
Orthodox body that talks about the practical and theological relationship with

the Roman Catholic church after Nostra
Aetate.”
Rabbi Korn, who lives in Teaneck and
Jerusalem, was one of the drafters of the
statement, which was published by the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and
Cooperation, an interfaith center in Israel
founded by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. Rabbi
Korn is the center’s academic director.
“The real importance of this Orthodox
statement is that it calls for fraternal partnership between Jewish and Christian religious leaders, while also acknowledging
the positive theological status of the Christian faith,” Rabbi Riskin said in the press
release announcing the statement. “Jews
and Christians must be in the forefront of
teaching basic moral values to the world.”
This was made possible by the Catholic
Church’s new respect for Judaism.
“Now that the Catholic Church has
acknowledged the eternal Covenant

In what Rabbi Korn called “a consistent
extension of the halachic and rabbinic tradition,” the statement cited past rabbinic
thinkers, from Maimonides to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch through Rabbi Rabbi
Shear Yashuv Cohen, a recent chief rabbi
of Haifa, who affirmed that Christianity is
part of God’s plan for humanity.
“We acknowledge that Christianity
is neither an accident nor an error, but
the willed divine outcome and gift to the
nations,” the statement reads. “In separating Judaism and Christianity, G-d willed a
separation between partners with significant theological differences, not a separation between enemies.”
It continues: “We Jews and Christians
have more in common than what divides
us: the ethical monotheism of Abraham;
the relationship with the One Creator of
Heaven and Earth, Who loves and cares

between G-d and Israel, we Jews can
acknowledge the ongoing constructive
validity of Christianity as our partner in
world redemption, without any fear that
this will be exploited for missionary purposes,” the statement said.
“Jewish thinkers have previously crafted
statements like ‘Dabru Emet’ in 2000 on
Jewish-Christian relations and theology,
but few Orthodox rabbis could go along
with those theological and practical claims
in light of their understanding of Jewish
tradition,” Rabbi Korn said.
“This proclamation’s breakthrough is
that influential Orthodox rabbis across all
centers of Jewish life have finally acknowledged that Christianity and Judaism are
no longer engaged in a theological duel to
the death, and that Christianity and Judaism have much in common, spiritually and
practically. Given our toxic history, this is
unprecedented in Orthodoxy.”

SEE CHRISTIANITY PAGE 59

Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls invites you to our

Scholars-in-Residence

RABBI ARYEH LEBOWITZ

Day of Big Ideas

Beis Haknesses of
North Woodmere, NY

DR. MARC SHAPIRO

Friday, December 25, 2015 9:30 AM—12:30 PM
Keynote Speaker, former Rhodes Scholar

Noted Educator, Author, Lecturer
FREE JET SKIING & SPA TREATMENTS
ALL DAY BEACH BBQS
GLATT KOSHER
CHOLOV YISROEL

Dr. Jeremy Dauber

Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture &
Director, Institute of Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University

Frightening Jews: What Makes a Jewish Horror Story?
With additional lectures by members of our distinguished faculty, including:
Mrs. Tamar Appel — The Menorah Society: Illuminating American Jewish Identity
Scholar-in-Residence

Mrs. Randy Bernstein — The Statistics of Polling

RABBI ARI LAMM

Mrs. Enid Goldberg — Sophocles' Antigone: Lessons for Our Time

Jewish Center
Upper West Side, NY

Dr. Julie Goldstein — Chrismahanukwanzakah: Hellenism Yesterday & Today
Mrs. Esther Slomnicki — Boys will be Boys (and Girls will be Girls): Genes and Gender Determination
Mrs. Yael Weil — Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel and.......the Jews?!

This event is generously sponsored by the Brodsky family in loving memory of
Bernice and Bernard Kramer, z”l, grandparents of Molly Brodsky, Ma’ayanot Class of 2013.
1650 Palisade Avenue, Teaneck, New Jersey * 201-833-4307
JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 13

Local
Englewood shul participating
in Israel solidarity mission
Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood is partnering with Emunah of
America for an emergency solidarity mission to Israel led by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin.
The mission, in response to the continuing terror attacks in Israel, is building on
a record of many trips during difficult
times.
Participants will leave on the night of
Saturday, January 2, and may chose to
return either Friday morning, January 8,
or Sunday morning, January 10. The mission includes solidarity meetings with
soldiers and residents in critical areas;
visits with victims of terror and their families; hospital visits; high-level briefings

by representatives of the IDF and major
political and community leaders, and
opportunities to patronize businesses
affected by the situation.
Ahavath Torah’s most recent mission
brought two busloads of participants to
Israel during the Gaza War in the summer of 2014. Earlier missions include
trips during the two intifadas and the
first congregational trip to Israel during
the so-called Scud War.
The January mission is open to all. The
sponsors welcome other synagogues to
join as mission co-sponsors. For information, call the synagogue at (201) 568-1315
or Emunah at (212) 947-5454, ext. 321.

Deadline nearing for JTS grants
Jewish Theological Seminary alumni have
until December 31 to apply for a 2016 grant
from the JTS Seeds of Innovation Project,
which provides support for initiatives that
cultivate Jewish engagement through the
principles and ideals of Conservative Judaism. In three years, JTS Seeds of Innovation has distributed more than $100,000.
A selection committee that includes JTS

alumni and is chaired by the seminary’s
executive vice chancellor allocates funding from the JTS Seeds of Innovation Project. Eligible programs can be synagogue or
organization based or independent, and
they must have clear-cut leadership goals
intended to affect the Jewish community.
For an application and instructions go to
jtsa.edu/seedsofinnovation.

Chanukah packages for hospital residents
The Community Affairs committee at the
JCC of Paramus/Congregation Beth Tikvah made and delivered Chanukah gift
packages for Jewish residents at Bergen

Regional Medical Center in Paramus for
its annual Chanukah party. For information on synagogue programs, go to www.
jccparamus.org.

At J-ADD’s Chanukah party. 

PHOTOS COURTESY J-ADD.

Dr. John Winer, J-ADD
executive director, left, and
Marcia Greenwald, a mother
of a J-ADD resident, light
the Chanukah candles.

J-ADD celebrates Chanukah
The Jewish Association for Developmental
Disabilities held its annual Chanukah party
with food, music, and a menorah lighting
at the JCC of Paramus/Congregation Beth

Tikvah. J-ADD is a private nonprofit organization that serves people with developmental disabilities and their families in
Northern New Jersey.

Miriam Stiefel, the director of Just Energy’s national affinity program, and
Shon Prejean, center, Just Energy’s national affinity sales director, present
the $10,000 donation to Michael Maron, president and CEO of Holy Name
Medical Center.

Jewish Standard story helps Sinai,
Holy Name Medical Center program
Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck
received a $10,000 donation from the
Just Energy Foundation, to be used principally for programs run by the Sinai
Schools.
Teaneck-based Sinai works with children with physical and developmental
challenges, tailoring education specifically for each child and housing those
programs in Jewish day schools. HNMC
is the only hospital to provide vocational
training for Sinai students, and it provides them with generous scholarship
aid as well.
“We’re very excited to see that the
positive impact of Holy Name’s partnership with the Sinai Schools has inspired
support from our community,” Michael
Maron, Holy Name’s CEO, said. The hospital is also helping to simplify access to
healthcare for adult Sinai graduates who
are living in supportive housing. In 2015,
Holy Name Medical Center expanded its
partnership with Sinai by establishing
a scholarship program for tuition assistance so more families in need can afford
to send their children to Sinai School.
Miriam Stiefel of Englewood, the
director of Just Energy’s national affinity program, read the story that this
newspaper wrote about the partnership
between Sinai and Holy Name (“Refining
a partnership,” November 6, 2015).
“I read the article,” Ms. Stiefel
said. “It was an amazing story, really

well-written, and I read it, and I was
moved, and I saved it, and then I spoke
to our foundation to see if we could support the program.”
She also was moved by the people she
saw in the story’s photos. “I recognized
Sammy — Sam Fishman,” she said. Mr.
Fishman is Sinai’s managing director,
he was also “one of my older brother’s
friends, when I was little and we lived in
Brooklyn. Once I saw his name, I knew
exactly who he was.”
“I know that Sinai is a wonderful
cause,” she continued. “I have friends
who use Sinai, so I know how good it is,
and how important.”
When she met Mr. Maron, Holy Name’s
president and CEO, she was impressed
by him. “He exudes warmth and caring,” she said. “And I was touched by
how Mike wants to give back. He wants
to make a difference — and he does.”
“We are absolutely delighted to make
this donation to Holy Name Medical Center” Deb Merril, Just Energy’s co-chief
executive officer, added. “Its collaboration with Sinai Schools, in particular, in
helping to secure necessary medical and
community resources for special needs
students, fills a critical gap. This strongly
reflects a guiding principle of the Just
Energy Foundation to help ensure no
one is turned away from the care and
support they need and deserve due to
—JOANNE PALMER
financial hardship.” 

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Norpac’s president, Dr. Ben Chouake, left, stands next to Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. Ben and Batya Klein, right, hosted the fund-raiser in
their Englewood home.
AVI SCHRANZ/NORPAC

Cruz courts pro-Israel dollars
during Englewood event
‘Disastrous’ Iran deal is focus
as candidate raises $110,000
ROBERT WIENER

R

epublican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
raised an estimated $110,000
December 9 at a breakfast
fund-raiser in Englewood sponsored by
Norpac, the nonpartisan pro-Israel political action committee.
On November 3, Norpac members raised
$100,000 for rival presidential contender
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“Cruz spoke very well,” said Norpac’s
president, Ben Chouake, a few hours after
the meeting. “It was the usual partisan
stuff. His presentation and Rubio’s were
similar. The two discussions were mostly
related to U.S.-Israel relations. Both are
very interested in strong relations with
Israel and United States’ security, and both
recognize the relationship is not only in the
economic and security interests of America, but support of Israel is also a moral
obligation of the United States.”
Dr. Chouake said that much of the talk
focused on the multinational nuclear agreement intended to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Mr. Cruz spelled out his stand in September, writing in the National Review that
the lifting of $100 billion is sanctions “will
give (Iran’s) Supreme Leader the tools and
resources to greatly accelerate the nuclear
program.”
Dr. Chouake said “most of the Republican candidates I’ve met with feel that the
deal is disastrous, and say they will do what
they can to dismantle it.”
Another hot topic, Donald Trump, was
barely touched on during Norpac’s session
with Mr. Cruz. “We didn’t talk about Trump
in terms of anything more than Cruz predicted people are going to lose interest in
him,” Dr. Chouake said.
One day earlier, Mr. Cruz had said that
“I do not agree” with Mr. Trump’s proposal for banning Muslims from entering
the United States, but he did commend
his rival for “standing up and focusing
America’s attention on the need to secure
our borders.”

Mr. Cruz is now ranked as second behind
Trump in several polls of likely Republican
voters, and he is rising in many polls.
“The topic of banning Muslims from the
country or even immigration policy did not
come up at all,” Dr. Chouake added.
Dr. Chouake, a registered Republican,
offered his own analysis of Mr. Trump’s
popularity.
“Trump has said stuff that sometimes
is offensive to certain people but the
stuff he has been saying connects with
other people in a big way, and whether
you agree with it or not, he is polling on
top of everyone else,” Dr. Chouake said.
“That is because he is saying what
people are feeling, whether it is good or
it is bad. He is basically saying, ‘We are
at war, and we need to be more careful.’
That is why he is doing well in the polls.”
“I don’t think Trump is anti-Semitic,” Dr.
Chouake added. “I don’t know him, but
the people I know who know him are convinced that he would be a tremendous supporter of the relationship with Israel.”
Mr. Trump solicits donations for his
campaign on his website, but he has said
that he is not seeking funds from political action committees like Norpac.
Although Norpac has no plans now
to host other presidential aspirants, Dr.
Chouake said he believes New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie “is as supported
as Cruz” among its members.
Norpac’s members evince little interest in the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson, a
brain surgeon and political novice who
has slipped to third place in public opinion polls, Dr. Chouake added.
“I don’t think Carson is going to get it,”
he said. “I think his problem is he says,
‘I am brilliant. I am a brilliant neurosurgeon.’ But he doesn’t know anything,
and if you want to run for president,
you’ve got to do your homework. You
can’t say, ‘I’ll learn it on the job.’
“You’ve got to be prepared, and the perception is that he is not.”
Reprinted from MetroWest’s New Jersey
Jewish News

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 15

Rockland
Love-bombing
the community
‘RocklAND Jewish’ campaign
shores up a diverse mainstream
with pride and positivity
JOANNE PALMER

L

et’s look at the question of perception and reality.
Philosophers, neuroscientists,
theologians, and college freshman have debated that abstract issue for
at least as long as there have been philosophers, neuroscientists, theologians, or college freshman. But sometimes the abstract
has to give way to the pragmatic.
Sometimes perception matters tremendously, sometimes the perception isn’t
reality, and sometimes the two have to be
brought into consonance.
Ergo, to go from the abstract to the very
specific, Rockland and Jewish.
Rockland County has a population of
about 324,000 people, and almost a third
of them — 31.4 percent as of last year, to
be exact — are Jewish. That makes it the
county with the highest number of Jews
per capita in the country.
But there also is a problem. Although the
liberal Jewish community is old and well
established, for some time now the public
face of Jewish Rockland County has been
its rapidly growing chasidic community.
New Square and Monsey provide images
of a certain kind of Jewish life that often
appeal to less traditional Jews — but evoke

nostalgia rather than a sense of belonging.
And, of course, the ongoing problems
in the East Ramapo school district, which
faces massive financial difficulties and allegations that the school board — composed
mainly of chasidic Jews whose children do
not use the public schools whose funds
they control — has diverted funding in
ways that profoundly damage the district’s
public school students. The situation has
become so dire that a group of liberal rabbis, who until recently decided that it was
more moral to sit on the sidelines than to
be seen as attacking fellow Jews, has taken
a public stance against the school board.
The situation in East Ramapo is fluid. On
Monday, a team of monitors, headed by
former New York City Schools Chancellor
Dennis Walcott, said that the state should
send a special monitor with veto power
to the district, that a monitor should
oversee the school board elections, and
that at least some of the board members
should have a child in the system. It also
endorsed a report, filed by another state
monitor, Harvey Greenberg, last year, that
witheringly eviscerated what is sees as the
board’s fecklessness.
What all this means is that there is a
huge divide in Jewish life in Rockland
County, with the liberal streams on one

g
p
R

o
p
t
a
a
t
w
On Rockland and Jewish, Monica Bergman, shown here with her husband and
child, tells her story.

side and the various thriving and vigorously differentiated chasidic groups on the
other. (The position of the modern Orthodox community is a story for another day.)
That’s where Rockland and Jewish
comes in.
Rockland and Jewish (or RocklAND Jewish), at the most basic level, is a Facebook
page. It’s a campaign, created and funded
by the Jewish Federation of Rockland
County and the Rockland County Board
of Rabbis, to bring the real face of Jewish
Rockland to public view.
It shows the world that Jewish Rockland

is not black and white but made up of glorious color. (To find the page, go to Facebook
and type in “Rockland” and “Jewish.”)
“Rockland and Jewish is the result of a
very generous grant to the Board of Rabbis of Rockland County,” Rabbi Paula Mack
Drill of the Orangetown Jewish Center, a
Conservative synagogue in Orangeburg,
said.
“It shows people and has little short stories about their lives,” Rabbi Drill said. “It
says that we look like all kinds of people,
and that like everyone else we are part of
the fabric of the county.

Elissa Nyez, left, and Aviva Banayan and Sophie Goldberg, right, all are featured on the new Rockland and Jewish Facebook page.
16 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

Rockland
“It also shows all the great reasons
to be Jewish in Rockland. People talk
about the kosher restaurants here,
and about hiking here, and about
Nyack being a really funky cool place.
There are some lively stories of Jewish
life. If people to the right of us would
open their eyes and look at it, they
would see something.
“This is what mainstream Judaism
looks like, and here we are, living it,
in Rockland County.”
The Facebook page Rockland and
Jewish has been up only for about
three months, but it’s been about two
and a half years in the making.
“Rockland and Jewish is a dream
that really started percolating with
Craig Scheff, my co-rabbi at Orangetown,” Rabbi Drill said. “He is the
president of the Board of Rabbis, and
Rockland and Jewish is his brainchild.
“He was talking about the quandary
of negative press here, about Jewish
people finding ourselves somehow in
the middle, between not wanting negative press for any Jewish people and
also not wanting to be identified with
the behavior of people in this county
who are not us. So we came up with

This is what
mainstream
Judaism looks
like, and here
we are, living
it, in Rockland
County.
the idea of showing that this is the way
we live, and this is also Jewish.
“This was right around the time
that the Rockland Board of Rabbis became involved with Rockland
Clergy for Social Justice. Here at my
synagogue, many congregants were
asking the rabbis what we were doing
about the negative press.
“For both non-Jews in the county
and Jews outside the county, it started
being very negative,” Rabbi Drill continued. “Say I’m part of a young Jewish family in Riverdale or the Upper
West Side, and we’re looking to move

to the suburbs. Why would I look to
move to Rockland? All I hear is how
horrible it is there, and I don’t identify
with any of those people.
“For people who already live in the
county, it’s an ego lift. We’re not awful
people. We’re showing people in the
county that we live just like you. Our
kids play little league like yours do.
We serve the homeless like you do.
We live in your neighborhoods.
“We want people outside the
county, young people, young families, to consider Rockland County as
a good place to live, a place with a viable liberal Jewish community.
Rabbi Scheff agreed that the point
of the campaign is to counterbalance negative images with positive
ones. The way to do that “is to craft
an image without creating a we/they
situation, instead throwing it open to
everyone who wants to be part of it
by promoting the good things we are
doing.
“We consciously made the effort
not to paint anyone as ‘other.’ I personally feel strongly that if we are to
call out our neighbors in any way it
would be done more privately and

Cantor Barry Kanarek of the Nanuet Jewish Center
also is the director of the federation’s Rockland
Jewish Initiative.

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER
2015 AM
17
11/5/201518,10:46:29

Rockland

x 4 JCC

more sensitively. This is our way of going
positive.
“There are issues that we as individual
community members use our own ways to
fight injustice in this world, but as a board of
rabbis this is something that we all could buy
into comfortably and believe it. It expresses
what we all feel.”
Rockland
Ad the group decided to use social
Because
media for its campaign, Rabbi Scheff asks
people to support it by sharing it. “Sometimes people forget that it is their job to
carry forward this mission,” he said. “As
institutions we can come up with an idea,
and it can look good, but it loses steam if

individuals do not take upon themselves the
responsibility for making it happen.”
In this case, it is not hard work. Don’t just
“like” it, Rabbi Scheff urges. Share it. Press
that button.
He calls the Facebook page’s relentlessly
optimistic outlook, its refusal to be negative,
“love bombing.”
“We love-bomb our community,” Rabbi
Scheff said. “Look at how wonderful everything could be.”
Barry Kanarek is the cantor of the Nanuet
Jewish Center, a Conservative shul, and he
is also the director of the federation’s Rockland Jewish Initiative. He enthusiastically

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supports the Rockland and Jewish campaign from both positions.
Cantor Kanarek thinks that there is far
more cooperation between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox communities
than public perception will grant, and
that perception in this case is not reality.
“We have had a number of celebrations
with Jews from the Orthodox community,” he said. “We all celebrated Sukkot
together, and some of us go and learn
with them on an ongoing basis. They are
doing kiruv,” outreach, he said. But it’s
not unequal, no matter what the word
kiruv might imply. “If you have two Jews
studying together, that’s equal,” he said.
They also make music together. “Our
synagogue has a group called the Temple Dudes, and they have a group called
the Traveling Chasidim, and we play
together.
“I don’t think that Rockland and Jewish exists because we have separate communities,” he said. “It exists to show
another side of Rockland, but not necessarily to draw us apart. It is just to highlight this other part.”
“Rockland is a thriving Jewish community, and a wonderful place to live,”
Rabbi Daniel Pernick of Beth Am Temple
in Pearl River said. “I say this as someone
who never wanted to live in New York. I
am from Southfield, a suburb of Detroit,
and my wife is from Boston. Neither of
us wanted to live in New York,
“But we have lived here for a little over
30 years, and it has been a wonderful
place to live.”
He is entirely comfortable with Orthodoxy, Rabbi Pernick said. He keeps
kosher, and benefits greatly from the
butcher shops and restaurants that

On Sukkot, David Toplitsky tries on
a streimel as the Traveling Chasidim
and the Temple Dudes play together
at the Nanuet Jewish Center.

thrive in the county. He has four children; one of his sons is about to graduate
from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the open
Orthodox seminary in Riverdale, and his
son-in-law was ordained there.
The campaign is to show “that
although the news stories about Rockland are correct, and those issues are in
the community, and it would be silly to
claim that they aren’t — they aren’t part
of most people’s daily life.”
He is saddened by the chasm that
seems to increase between different

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18 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

Rabbi Paula Mack Drill of the Orangetown Jewish Center is a strong Rockland and Jewish supporter.

Rockland
groups of Jews, he said. It wasn’t always
like that. “About 20, 25 years ago, we all
came together,” he said. “There was an
anti-Israel defacement of Temple Beth
El in Spring Valley,” a Reform congregation that recently merged with Temple
Beth Torah to form the Reform Temple
of Rockland but was flourishing then.
“The attack wasn’t as much anti-Semitic
as it was anti-Zionist and anti-Israel, and
it clearly came from someone within the
charedi world.
“Ramapo’s town supervisor, Herb Reisman, held an unprecedented meeting,
and called everyone in — Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, chasidic. Everyone. He
said, ‘You guys have to talk. This is unacceptable.’ And a lot of contact came from
that. It petered out eventually, but a lot of
relationships continued.
“We have our own identity,” Rabbi Pernick said. “There is a thriving Jewish community, and it is fascinating. Not everyone
is exactly the same.
“The problem is that people feel that
they are not being seen or heard or understood, because someone else is always

getting the attention. Frankly, when somebody dresses different or looks different,
that’s who gets the attention. So if you
look on TV you see only chasidic Jews, as
opposed to people who looked like me or
like you, because we look just like everyone else.
“We are not newsworthy. We are just living our lives.”
Beth Singer of Beth Singer Design created the Facebook page. “The campaign’s
objectives are to improve and restore the
self-esteem of the Jewish community in
Rockland, and to increase the public’s
understanding of the diverse Jewish population there, and to differentiate them
from ultra-Orthodox Jews,” Ms. Singer
said. “Our campaign messages are that
the Rockland Jewish community is diverse,
vibrant, engaged, and tolerant, and that it
has a positive effect on the community,
and that Jews in the county are mainstream and responsible; that they are very
different from the Jews who have dominated the news.
“The Rockland Board of Rabbis was very
concerned about non-ultra-Orthodox Jews

moving out the county. They were afraid
that the population would shrink, and that
it would become very difficult to attract
more Conservative, Reform, and unaffiliated Jews. The public perception of
the Jewish community was becoming too
negative.”
Ms. Singer, whose design and communications firm has worked with many Jewish
clients, brought a team to Rockland, and
the group — four crews, two making videos
and the other two taking still photos — did
80 interviews over the course of two days,
she said. “We put together a diverse list,
so we could focus on all different aspects
of the community.” Rabbis also were asked
to talk to their congregants, hunting for
volunteers.
Which stories have been the most powerful? Rabbi Scheff’s son, Jared, “said that
he had been shomer Shabbat for his whole
life, and when he invited his friends for
Shabbat at first they would turn up their
noses. They said they didn’t want to disconnect. And then they would come anyway, and they’d be delighted. They’d feel
so taken care of, so wonderfully enveloped

by the Scheff family. Jared was so proud
that he could show his friends the joy of
being shomer Shabbat.
“The most interesting thing about it,
though, was that in the comments a young
man said ‘I was one of those people, and
I credit who I am as a man to the shomer
Shabbat experiences at the Scheff house.’
It was just so beautiful.
“And there was Paul Galan, a Holocaust
survivor, who said that he wasn’t bitter
and that we should all look forward and
not be bitter. The video crew told me they
cried when they filmed it.”
There are many other stories on the
page already; from a widow who started a
support group for young widows and widowers from a woman who converted to
Judaism and for the last 15 years has been
teaching about prayer in her synagogue;
from a young modern Orthodox woman
who talks about how much she loves the
Rockland Jewish community.
“The goal is to be positive,” Ms. Singer
said. “We have a very clear directive not to
be negative. Our goal is to restore pride in
the Jewish community.”

L ’ Shana
L ’ Shana
Tovah!
Tovah!

Wishing you
a sweetyou
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year. new year.
Wishing

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Super Sunday volunteers

Candlelighting

Volunteers are needed Super Sunday, a day of community building and fundraising for the Jewish Federation of Rockland County’s annual campaign. Adult
and teen volunteers are needed as well as donations
and sponsorships from community businesses. For
information, email Beth Weiss-Dunn at bweiss-dunn@
jewishrockland.org or call (845) 362-4200, ext. 121.

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Bingo in Pearl River
at Beth Am Temple
Beth Am Temple in Pearl River holds bingo games on
Tuesday and Sunday evenings. Games are open to the
public and are scheduled through 2016. Doors open at
5:30 p.m.; bingo starts at 7:30. Bingo is in the groundlevel social hall, which has its own sound system and
cushioned chairs. The building is handicap accessible
and has a large, lit parking lot.
A full admission game board package costs $42.
All game boards are paper with electronic verification. The admission package includes all game
boards that will be played during the evening. It also
includes specials and the $1,000 Jackpot game, which
requires a minimum number of players for the full
jackpot amount to be paid. The 50/50 and Progressive
Bonanza games are available for separate purchase as
well as additional boards for the jackpot and specials.
The games end between 9:45 and 10 p.m. Cold beverages are available for purchase and free hot coffee is
provided.
Sunday bingo is usually two Sunday evenings each
month. The next session is December 20, a holiday
bingo party beginning at 5:30 p.m. and including free
hot food. Sundays have the same admission package.
Beth Am Temple is at 60 East Madison Ave. in Pearl
River. For information, call (845) 735-5858 or go to
www.bethamtemple.org.

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 19

Rockland

MJC students
attend
ambulance
dedication
On Sunday, December 6, the Montebello
Jewish Center religious school took part in a
memorable Magen David Adom ambulance
dedication ceremony. Donna Fried Calcaterra, founder of the 613 Foundation, which
donated the ambulance, talked to students
and their parents about the importance of
tzedakah and the mitzvah of saving lives.
The synagogue collects tzedakah for MDA
on an ongoing basis.
Gary Perl, the regional director of the
American Friends of Magen David Adom
(Israel’s version of the American Red Cross)
spoke to the group about the importance of
the MDA and all the ways in which the ambulances and paramedics save Israeli lives
daily. Mr. Perl also presented Ms. Calcaterra
with a commemorative model ambulance as
a token of the AMDA’s appreciation for the
generous donation and led a question and
answer session.
Cantor/religious school director Michelle
Rubin and Rabbi Adam Baldachin offered a
rendition of the Prayer for the State of Israel

Montebello Jewish Center religious school students

in honor of the occasion. Students had an
opportunity to see the inside of the ambulance, which will be leaving for Israel, along
with hundreds of other ambulances, at the
end of the month. The 613 Foundation has
donated more than a dozen ambulances to
MDA.

Rabbi Adam
Baldachin,
left, with Gary
Perl, Donna
Calcaterra, and
MJC’s Cantor
Michelle Rubin.
PHOTOS
COURTESY MJC 

a pt
of  Fily...

Night Out in Nyack for young adults
Jewish Federation of Rockland County
hosts its second annual PJ Library and
Young Adult Night Out in Nyack, at
Karma, on Saturday, December 19, from
7 to 10 p.m. The event includes an open
(Resident, Lillian Grunfeld with her daughter,
Dir. of Community Relations, Debbie Corwin)

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PROMENADESENIOR.COM

20 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

bar and light hors d’oeuvres and costs
$10 per person with advance registration. For information, call Lara at (845)
362-4200, ext. 180, or email lepstein@
jewishrockland.org.

Membership drive in New City shul
The West Clarkstown Jewish Center is
holding a membership drive. The Conservative shul, which has no building
fund, is at 195 West Clarkstown Road in
New City. Potential congregants are welcome to services on Fridays at 6 p.m.,
and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.
For information call the synagogue

office at (845) 352-0017 and leave your
name and phone number.
Reservations are due December 21.
The NHC is at 411 South Little Tor Road
(off Exit 10 of the Palisades Parkway). For
information, call (845) 708-9181, email
office@nanuethc.org, or go to www.
nanuethc.org.

Nanuet Hebrew Center plans party
The Nanuet Hebrew Center in New
City will be holding its annual Winter
Vacation Party on Thursday, December 24, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Kosher Chinese food will be served and the Temple

Dudes Band will perform. Open mic
audience participation will be welcome.
The event is open to the community,
with a family maximum cost of $60 for
a nuclear family.

JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 21

Editorial
Thank you, Mr. Wolff

E

very person is
extraordinary.
That is a basic
truth — so basic as
to evoke eye-rolling, we’re
sure. But it’s profoundly true
nonetheless.
Each new baby has such
potential, an entirely unique
mixture of genetics, environment, and opportunity —
good, bad, or neutral — that
each story is unique. That’s
why identical twins can look
nothing like each other by late
middle age. They cannot live
identical lives.
It is also true that all people
deserve to have their life stories told right after they die,
when memories are strongest
and clearest and the arcs of
their lives, the through narratives and the beguiling side stories, are ready for sorting and
parsing.
We can’t do that. We can’t
be the Obituary Gazette. We
would be grim and morbid,
the sort of rag readers snatch
up to see which of their bêtes
noires have bitten the dust.
But we can mark the deaths of
those people who have meant
the most to us — and often to
the community as a whole —
while making clear that there
are many other stories that
remain untold.
So — a very long introduction to the life and death of
Paul Wolff, a lovely man who
died last week at 94, after
nearly 70 years of marriage.
Mr. Wolff ’s post-retirement
years were spent doing volunteer work at the Jewish Home
at Rockleigh, a sister agency to
the Jewish Home in River Vale
that had housed his parents,
Thekla and Henry Wolff.
Mr. Wolff was born in Germany and had the great good

Jewish
Standard
1086 Teaneck Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
(201) 837-8818
Fax 201-833-4959
Publisher
James L. Janoff
Associate Publisher Emerita
Marcia Garfinkle

Paul Wolff

luck, prescience, and funds
to be able to leave in 1938. He
made it to Washington Heights,
where he met Inge Michel, also
German-born, at one of the
many organizations set up to
help the Jewish refugees who
had fled the Nazis.
His parents were able to
leave, although it took them
much longer, and they spent
a few years in England before
they could make it to this side
of the Atlantic. One of Mr.
Wolff ’s boyhood friends, Cantor Kurt Silberman, who for
decades was the golden voice
of Temple Emanu-El when it
still was in Englewood, also
made it to Washington Heights.
His Inge was a childhood
friend of Cantor Silberman’s
wife, another Inge.
The Wolffs moved to Bergenfield, where they had two
daughters, Linda and Ellie,
and eventually five grandchildren. They socialized with the
other German Jews who were
at the heart of Bergen County’s
Jewish community in the late
1950s and early 1960, joining
the Jews who had moved out
and up from Jersey City, Paterson, and Hackensack to the
suburbs’ greener lawns. They
were part of the social circle

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22 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

KEEPING THE FAITH

that founded the JCC on the
Palisades in Englewood, and
for many years Inge taught
nursery school there.
Once he retired, Mr. Wolff
became a steady presence
at the Jewish Home, a board
member, and vice president,
using his connections, his
friendships, and his deep
knowledge of the community
allowed him to make all sorts
of things possible.
Paul Wolff was a wonderful man, with a sweet smile,
a sharp, fast brain, a sunny,
optimistic outlook, and many
lifelong friends. He was a vital
part of the community, and we
will miss him.
We also will miss people
like Mr. Wolff, the Europeanborn first-generation immigrants whose smarts, drive,
and understanding that things
always could be different drove
them to build the community
we are lucky to inherit from
them. Those of us who were
born into greater comfort,
and certainly greater security,
cannot really imagine what it
must have been like to come to
an entirely new world, where
people looked different, ate
different foods (and as a result
probably smelled different
too), talked in an unintelligible
new language, and had radically different expectations.
It is because that generation
came here, and worked so very
hard, and gave so very much,
that we are doing well now.
Some of their stories were
flashy, and others were not.
They all mattered. They all still
matter.
So as we say goodbye to
Mr. Wolff, I also would like to
say thank you to him, and to
his cohort. We all are better
because they were here. —JP

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What ails Judaism:
One rabbi’s view

T

he headlines tell a bleak
It will be a time when all virtuous
story about the state of
men and women will be angels,
Judaism today. From
and everyone will live forever. In
the raging debate over
those wondrous days to come,
“Open Orthodoxy,” to a new Pew
clothes will grow up from the
Survey’s findings about dimin- ground, as will fully baked loaves
ishing observance among Jews
of bread. As for the sinners, their
generally, to deep and seemingly
punishment will be that they will
unbridgeable divisions among the
not be a part of this idyllic world.
streams and even within each, it
Then there is the group that
is clear that Judaism in the 21st
believes that the virtuous among
century is in serious trouble.
the dead will rise from the grave
One authoritative rabbi and
and live forever.
scholar blames what ails JudaThere also is a group whose
ism in part on “masm e m b e r s b e l i eve
ters of Torah” who
performing the mitzvot will result in
actually distort its
material benefits in
teachings, especially
this world.
when it comes to
F i n a l ly, a f i f t h
why people should
g ro u p — a l a r ge
observe the Torah’s
one, the rabbi says
mitzvot. They create
— takes a little from
bizarre and confused
each of the othscenarios that defy
Rabbi
ers. These “maslogic and belief, he
Shammai
ters of Torah” insist
says, adding that it
Engelmayer
Mashiach will resis almost impossible
urrect the virtuous
to find a “master of
dead and lead them
Torah” whose opinion is uncontaminated by error.
into the heavenly Garden of Eden,
He divides these “masters
where they will eat and drink in
of Torah” into five groups. One
perfect health forever.
group, he says, argues that the
All of these assertions distort
reward for doing the mitzvot is
Torah, not enhance it, the rabbi
eternal life in a heavenly “Garden
says. Because each group finds
of Eden,” where homes are made
biblical and rabbinic prooftexts
of precious stones, rivers flow
to support their assertions, however, people naturally assume it is
with wine and fragrant oils, and
no one has to work for anything. Judaism itself that beggars belief.
A good person, the rabbi says,
On the flip side, they created a
must never approach performing
hell called Gehenna, “a place of
a mitzvah wondering “what will I
raging fire, in which bodies are
get out of it.”
burned and agonies of all sorts
He quotes Antigonos of Sokho,
are inflicted upon sinners.”
who said in Pirkei Avot 1:3, “Do
A second group produces a
not be like the servants who
reward-and-punishment scenario
involving the coming of Mashiach. serve their master for the sake
Shammai Engelmayer is rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel of the Palisades
in Cliffside Park.

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Rebecca Kaplan Boroson

Opinion
of receiving a reward, but be like servants
who serve their master without expecting a
reward.” In other words, one should believe
the truth for the sake of the truth. Says the
rabbi, “Only a disturbed fool whose mind is
deranged by folly and by fantasy will refuse
to recognize this truth.”
This authoritative rabbi adds that the words
of the Sages of Blessed Memory are interpreted differently by three groups of people,
only adding to the distortions and worse.
The first group, he says, is the largest one.
“They accept the teachings of the sages in
their simple literal sense, and do not think
that these teachings contain any hidden
meaning at all,” the rabbi says. As a result,
“They believe that all sorts of impossible
things must be.”
These people, he insists, do not understand science, among other reasons, and
never have sought out proper teachers. To
them, the literal meaning of the words of
the sages is the only possible meaning, even
though some of these teachings, when taken
literally, “seem so fantastic and irrational.”
The “inadequate knowledge” of the people
in this group, and especially the preachers
and teachers among them, leads them to
error time and again. “One can only regret
their folly,” the rabbi says. “Their very effort
to honor and to exalt the sages in accordance
with their own meager understanding actually humiliates them. As God lives, this group
destroys the glory of the Torah and extinguishes its light, for they make the Torah of
God say the opposite of what it intended.”
The second group also is a large one. The
people in this group also insist on taking the
words of the sages literally, and then point
out how absurd the teachings of the sages
were. Ultimately, they declare the sages to be
fools and simpletons, hold them up to contempt, and slander what does not deserve
to be slandered. In so doing, they diminish
Judaism in the eyes of people who have no
choice but to agree with them. After all, do
not their rabbis also insist that the words of
the sages must be taken literally?
“The members of this group are so pretentiously stupid that they can never attain genuine wisdom,” says the rabbi. He adds: “They
are more stupid than the first group; many of
them are simply fools.”
The third group “are so few in number
that it is hardly appropriate to call them a
group,” the rabbi says. Members of this
group “understand that the sages knew as
clearly as we do the difference between the
impossibility of the impossible, and the existence of that which must exist. They know
the sages did not speak nonsense, and it is
clear to them that the words of the sages contain both an obvious and a hidden meaning.”
We live in terrible times and Judaism has
much to offer, but few will listen as long as its
message is obscured by fairy tale accretions
coming from people who should know better.
You can read more of what this outspoken
rabbi has to say on the subject. His name is
Moses Maimonides, and his opinions can be
found in the introduction to his Commentary
to Mishnah Sanhedrin 10.

Musings on Jewish
identity at Christmastime

A

dam Sandler performed an update of his “Chanuwe have our Levines, Shapiros, and Cohens, but then there
kah Song” last month at the New York Comedy
are also names like Gyllenhaal, Johansson, and LaBeouf, all
Festival, with a second performance in San Diego
named in Sandler’s recent update.
available on YouTube. The new rendition is the
That Jewish identity is often not immediately apparent goes
fourth version of the song he debuted in 1994 on “Saturday
hand-in-hand with the fact that for most of the time, JewishNight Live,” a song that is as much about Jewish identity as it is
Americans are privileged to feel and function as if we are part of
about the holiday.
mainstream American society. Even when we take off for Jewish
Sandler’s “Chanukah Song” is not without its critics, however.
holidays, fast on Yom Kippur, and avoid chametz on Passover,
In an editorial published in the New Jersey Jewish News last
we may be diverging from the mainstream, but we do so by taking an alternate path, a detour, rather than running counter to
month, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Andrew Silow-Carroll
its current. It is only at Christmastime that we find ourselves
of Teaneck, expresses much ambivalence about Sandler’s listing of Jewish celebrities. He worries that while it reflects a sense
at odds with the vast majority of Americans and can feel like
that it is cool to be Jewish, that coolness is a shallow expression
strangers in our native land.
of ethnic pride, lacking the depth of religious commitment.
And let’s be honest, generic phrases like “holiday season”
In my view, Silow-Carroll sells Sandler short.
and “season’s greetings” are essentially euphemisms for
But first let me note that I agree with the general argument
Christmas. The attempt to acknowledge that there is more
that Jewish identity ought to be based on something more than
than one holiday at this time of year essentially translates to
ethnic pride. If Jewish identity it is reduced to ethnicity alone, it
“Christmas and others,” or more accurately “Christmases and
eventually will be lost within the great American
others,” by which I mean not only the Orthodox
melting pot. Think of how many Americans today
Church’s Christmas that falls during the first
claim to have a Native American great grandparweek of January, but more importantly the disent. But the key to understanding “The Chanukah
tinction between the religious observance of the
Song” is not in the list of Jewish celebrities, even
Christian holy day and what has become, for
though that constitutes the main part of the song.
many, a secularized American holiday.
Steve Allen once observed that the comedian
It is pointless to deny the power of secularized
is usually a person with a grievance, and Sandler
Christmas, whose elements include Christmas
explained the grievance behind “The Chanukah
trees, magic snowmen and reindeer, elves, and
Song” when he first introduced it on Decemof course Santa Claus as a figure akin to the tooth
ber 3, 1994. “When I was a kid, this time of year
Dr. Lance
fairy. And Sandler doesn’t mention the fact that
Strate
always made me feel a little left out, because in
in an effort to avoid feeling left out, some Jews
school there were so many Christmas songs, and
actually do celebrate some form of secularized
all us Jewish kids had was the song, ‘Dreidel,
Christmas.
Dreidel, Dreidel,’” he said them. And while Sandler goes on to
While I don’t believe that Santa Claus ever can be fully separated from his origins as the Christian Saint Nicholas, or that
say that he “wrote a brand new Chanukah song for you Jewish
Christmas ever can be the kind of pluralistic national holiday
kids to sing,” in actuality the song actually has very little to do
that Thanksgiving is, my point is not to criticize attempts to
with the holiday.
create a kosher Christmas. Rather, what I want to emphasize
Sandler does begin with a reference to religious tradition, as
is that if it is possible for us to celebrate some form of secuthe first line of the song tells us to “put on your yarmulke,” and
larized Christmas, then the decision not to celebrate Christgoes on to identity the holiday as the festival of lights. But for
mas becomes a conscious choice that we have to make, an act
the most part, the connection to Chanukah is tangential, a list
of resistance to the dominant culture, an affirmation of our
of famous people who are more or less Jewish, motivated by the
group identity as a people, and most importantly, an affirmamostly unstated implication that they also celebrate Chanukah
tion of our faith.
instead of Christmas. In other words, the song is not about Chanukah itself, but rather about not celebrating Christmas, about
The decision not to celebrate Christmas is much more than
feeling like “the only kid in town without a Christmas tree.”
a matter of ethnic pride. It must be based on religion, and this
About feeling left out.
is the underlying assumption of Sandler’s “Chanukah Song,”
Certainly, the song’s appeal to ethnic pride is an effort to comand the point that Silow-Carroll misses. We are defined by
pensate for that sense of alienation, and there is something
what we are not, as well as by what we are. Admittedly, it is
very Jewish about taking note when a prominent person is
not enough to define ourselves against others. We also have
a member of the tribe. Indeed, doing so constitutes a link to
to define ourselves positively, by our beliefs and practices.
our tribal roots, an expression of a group-centered communal
But we should understand the hidden ground of faith behind
sensibility, one that stands in marked contrast to the extreme
Sandler’s humor.
individualism of American society. Moreover, it can serve not
We should also understand the grievance behind the song,
only as an expression of shared pride, but also of collective
stemming from a sense of isolation that may be felt only or much
shame. For example, in the new version of the song Sandler
more acutely at this time of year. Sandler’s song counters isolation through the creation of a sense of connection, achieved by
expresses his disapproval of former Subway spokesperson and
naming others who are “just like you and me.” What he gives us
convicted sex offender Jared Fogle, and his disappointment that
is an imaginary community of people who are known to us, but
Fogle is Jewish.
who do not know us in return. In doing so, he points the way to
To understand the peculiarity of American-Jewish life over
the real solution, which is to seek out a real sense of community,
the past century or more, it is helpful to consider how the
something we can only find through our Jewish congregations,
equivalent of “The Chanukah Song” would work for other
synagogues, and community centers.
groups. A song pointing out the identity of African-Americans
or Asian-Americans, for example, would seem pointless; it
Dr. Lance Strate of Palisades Park is a professor of
simply would state what is obvious to all. The same would
communications and media studies at Fordham University in the
be true, to a large extent, for a song about Italian-Americans
Bronx and the president of his synagogue, Congregation Adas
naming Pacino, DeNiro, Stallone, DiCaprio, etc.; or for Hispanics naming Lopez, Garcia, Longoria, Montalban, etc. And yes,
Emuno in Leonia.
JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 23

Opinion

Do not stand idly by
We must work together toward improving gun safety

T

hree years since
N e w t ow n , a n d
nothing much
has changed in

all as of this writing, including
18 in New Jersey — are doing
more than lamenting each
successive mass shooting.
America.
They’re doing even more than
Nothing much has changed
demanding that Congress use
— especially in Congress,
its power to act. These pubwhere the deaths of 20 elelic officials, including Sheriff
mentary school children didn’t
Michael Saudino here in BerRabbi Joel
motivate our elected officials to
gen County, are resolving to
Mosbacher
pass the most common-sense
use their power.
legislation that even 70 percent
They have said they will
of NRA members supported.
buy guns only from gun comNothing much has changed. Except for the
panies that hold the 100 worst dealers in
deaths of some 90,000 Americans by gun.
America accountable for their sales pracNothing much has changed. Except for the
tices, because mayors and police chiefs
$632 million dollars in profits earned by the
know that those 100 dealers are responfour biggest gun manufacturers in America
sible for the sale of 60 percent of guns that
since December 2013.
turn up at crime scenes in America.
Nothing much has changed. In our great
Public officials in 16 states, including those
country, the right to own a gun still wins out
in Allendale, Closter, Fort Lee, Hackensack,
every time against the right to life, liberty,
Jersey City, Mahwah, Oakland, Paterson,
and the pursuit of happiness.
River Vale, Tenafly, and Woodcliff Lake have
It feels like nothing much has changed
expressed their intention to prioritize buying
— and worse, it can feel like nothing ever
from gun companies that invest in safer gun
will change.
technolo�y — guns that can be fired only by
But we know that change takes time. And
authorized users. These officials know that
there is one thing that has changed since
this technolo�y can reduce incidents of acciNewtown: Public officials are committing to
dental shootings and suicide by gun. It even
use their purchasing power to press gun comcould help keep our law enforcement personpanies to reduce gun violence in America.
nel safer because they would act differently
Public officials all over the country — 82 in
if they could know that perpetrators might

disarm them, but the guns they’d grab would
be useless to them.
The Do Not Stand Idly By campaign to
reduce gun violence, a campaign of the Metro
Industrial Areas Foundation, is not about rolling back the Second Amendment, nor is it
about taking guns out of the hands of lawful
users. Instead, the strate�y would dramatically reduce gun trafficking and increase gun
safety for those people and law enforcement
who feel that gun safety is important.
Surely the most ardent supporter of gun
rights wouldn’t oppose reducing gun trafficking. And for those who oppose safer guns, for
whatever unfathomable reason, we have one
piece of advice: don’t buy one. But what logical, rational reason could there be to prevent
the availability of this kind of technolo�y?
We’ve worked with State Senator Loretta
Weinberg to change New Jersey’s smart gun
mandate to a law that makes more sense in
getting this technolo�y to market, and we’re
grateful for her leadership on this issue.
So how many public officials do we need
to entice gun companies to play their part
in reducing gun trafficking and increasing
gun safety? Right now, we’re on our way to
100 public officials. We’re working across
the country to invite mayors, police chiefs,
sheriffs, county executives, and governors
to use their power to reduce gun violence
in America.

And we’ve called upon President Barack
Obama to do more than mourn the next
massacre and blame Congress for its failure
to act. The federal government buys 25 percent of the guns sold in this country each
year. We’re fairly sure that if the president
called the CEOs of the biggest sellers of guns
to the U.S. government into the White House
to help reduce gun violence in America, they
would be likely to take that meeting.
The president must stand idly by no longer
while our neighbors bleed.
What can you do? Go to donotstandidlyby.org. If your town’s public officials have
already signed on, send them a thank-you
note. If they haven’t, tell them how important it is to you as a constituent that they
sign on today.
Nothing much about gun violence has
changed in America since Newtown. But it
can. And it will. It will if we act — if we and
our elected officials use our buying power
to demand it.
Rabbi Joel Mosbacher is the rabbi of Beth
Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, and serves
as one of the national co-chairs of the Do Not
Stand Idly By campaign to reduce gun violence.

Do or Not Do
George Lucas and Star Wars — A Jewish defense of action

A

nticipating this
George Lucas.
week’s release of
When I saw George Lucas
“Star Wars: The
appear in the list of downForce Awakens,”
loaded episodes, I wasn’t
one of my favorite podcasts
any more enthusiastic than
recently broadcast an interI would normally be. I don’t
view with George Lucas.
think much about film, direcThe podcast is called What
tors, producers, or the enterIt Takes, and it’s a project
tainment business. GenerRabbi Jacob
of the Academy of Achieveally, I don’t even go out of
M. Lieberman
ment, a nonprofit organizamy way to catch a film at
tion out of Washington, D.C.
the box office. (This isn’t a
that has been introducing
policy, of course, but rather
young scholars, scientists, and social entrethe happenstance of my life as a rabbi and
preneurs to the pre-eminent figures of our
the father of two young kids.) As a child, I
time since 1961. Through the academy’s
loved “Star Wars” and Indiana Jones, but
programs, aspiring young people have the
“American Graffiti” was before my time. I
opportunity to meet personally with what
don’t keep up with film-related news. My
it calls real-life heroes. Now, with its podfirst inkling this fall that a new Star Wars
cast, which started in August, the acadmovie was coming out was the merchanemy is expanding its reach to folks like
dizing that began to drip off the shelves at
me, who aren’t so young anymore. About
the stores where I run errands.
every two weeks, I take in an intimate, perI quickly bought matching Darth Vader
sonal interview with folks like Jonas Salk,
outfits for Halloween and a pair or two
Benazir Bhutto, James Michener, Oprah
of Star Wars footwear for the kids. OK,
Winfrey, Willie Mays, and, most recently,
exactly two: R2D2 slip-ons and Yoda
24 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

light-up shoes. Check the box marked
“modestly keeping up with the times.”
And, yes, I let my kids go trick-or-treating, because as a Reconstructionist Jew
I believe we can live Jewishly in two and
maybe even more civilizations. So, all of
this to say that even though the new Star
Wars release seems to be happening to
me, I know that many of you are tracking
the release of “The Force Awakens.”
Consider this a friendly heads-up from
your local Reconstructionist rabbi: Go
check out the George Lucas interview on
What It Takes.
One of the things I love about Judaism
is how it gets down into the nitty-gritty
details of life, our everyday thoughts and
actions, which, alone and in aggregate,
come to define our lives. Judaism’s interest
in the way I live my life each day leaves me
with endless opportunities for reflection,
evaluation, and yes, practice. For any one
of us, there are literally thousands of paths
we walk each day that can be enhanced by
Jewish learning and living. Which of those
paths speak to us depends on the day and

Yoda

the season of our lives. It’s ultimately the
same interest in the potentiality and richness of the mundane that attracts me to
podcasts like What It Takes even though its
subjects are extraordinary heroes. When
I listen to an interview, it’s like scratching
SEE DO OR NOT DO PAGE 26

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Opinion
Do or Not Do
FROM PAGE 24

the surface of the remarkable, revealing
the ideas and daily decisions underneath
big achievements. Though simple, these
ideas and the consonant decisions we
make about them daily lead us to live lives
of purpose.
Sometimes, as it did with George Lucas,
it also leads us to accomplish something
extraordinary.
One thing more stood out for me when
I listened to Lucas’ interview at the Academy of Achievement, one decision he
made that others in his situation did not.
It goes back to the time when he entered
film school, after a few years at a junior
college. But in a sense it doesn’t start
there. Lucas grew up wanting to be a
racecar driver, but a terrible accident
almost killed him and he changed course.
Since the accident, he approached each
day as a gift, and he followed his passion.
That led him toward film, so he transferred to the School of Cinematic Arts at
the University of Southern California.

When he got there, the big thing on
everybody’s mind was making a movie.
He recalls that in his very first class, an
animation course, he and the other students were given 32 feet of 16mm film
— that’s exactly one minute of film — in
order to “test the camera,” which at
that time was like a giant crane. Lucas
did test the camera, but he also turned
his assignment into a movie. He put a
soundtrack to it, and pioneered a new
technique called kinestasis, using fast
movements over photographs. The
movie, in his words, won “zillions of
film festivals.”
All the other students sat around saying
“How did you do that?” “I wish I could
make a movie,” and “I wish I could do
this in that class!” but what distinguished
Lucas was that he just did it. And, importantly, he added, “I kept doing that.”
Alice Winkler, the host of What It
Takes, pointed out the relationship
between Lucas’ story and Yoda’s famous
and often-quoted words in “Star Wars”:
Do or Do Not. There is no Try. We might
equally relate Lucas’s story to the words

Many of us have a sense of what
it is we want to do with our
lives, or what it is around us in
this world that needs fixing. But
we wait. For what?
of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Lefin of
Satanov, who, in “Chesbon HaNefesh,”
wrote: “Always find something to do — for
yourself or for a friend, and don’t allow a
moment of your life to be wasted.”
Lucas was given film and he made a
movie. Other students also were given
film, but they did not make movies. What
Lucas practiced then, and continued to
practice, was the character trait of zerizut, often translated from the Hebrew
into English as zeal. It might be better understood, however, as in the case
of George Lucas, as acting quickly on
opportunities.
Many of us have a sense of what it is
we want to do with our lives, or what
it is around us in this world that needs

fixing. But we wait. For what? Of course,
we must always balance zerizut, action,
with haritzut, deliberation. But, like the
classmates in Lucas’ story, many of us
are out of balance. We seek the answer
to problems or challenges outside ourselves, while letting opportunities pass us
by. This week, as “Star Wars: The Force
Awakens” hits theaters, let’s take a page
out of George Lucas’ playbook and a page
out of Menachem Mendel’s guide for living life. Do or Do Not. There is no Try.
Rabbi Jacob M. Lieberman is the rabbi
of Reconstructionist Congregation Beth
Israel and assistant rabbi of Temple
Israel and Jewish Community Center in
Ridgewood.

Repentance and reintegration — a community’s response

I

n October 2013, the Jewish Standard and other local media outlets reported that a member of
the Englewood Jewish community, Akiva Roth, had lost his teaching
job at Yeshiva University.
The university’s decision was based
on the revelation that in 1997 Akiva had
admitted in court that incidents in which
he had been involved in 1994 had constituted a non-contact sexual offense. As
a result of these media reports, uncertainty about exactly what had happened
19 years ago, and concern about what it
meant, Akiva was asked to refrain from
attending area synagogues pending further investigation and discussion.
Now, two years later, we would like to
update the community on Akiva’s past
and current status.
When the facts of Akiva’s case came
to light in our community in 2013, the
Englewood rabbis and concerned community leaders enlisted Tikunim Counseling Services, a Jewish organization
devoted to the evaluation and treatment of offenders and victims in this
field. This action was taken to help the

community assess what steps could be
taken toward Akiva’s reintegration into
the community.
Tikunim immediately determined that
Akiva’s 1994 acts of lewdness did not
require him to register as a sex offender,
and that he had complied fully with the
legal outcome at the time, including a
10-year probation period that passed
without incident, and several years of
additional voluntary therapy. Tikunim
then conducted a thorough evaluation
and risk assessment of Akiva, including
extensive interviews, psychological testing, and polygraph tests. Akiva cooperated unconditionally. The Tikunim
evaluation verified that Akiva had not
committed any further offenses since
1994, determined that he did not pose a
threat to minors, and concluded that he
could be integrated into the community
socially and professionally.
In addition, at the recommendation
of Tikunim and under the guidance of
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, lay representatives from each Englewood Orthodox
synagogue that Akiva attended joined
to form a group to provide support, to

help Akiva reintegrate into the community, and to address concerns from
community members about him. The
group was called SORTA (Supporters Of
Return, Teshuva and Accountability).
This group first met with Akiva on a
weekly and later on a monthly basis and
reports that he has acknowledged and
accepted responsibility for his actions,
expressed remorse, and done teshuvah (repentance), as dictated by Jewish
tradition.
Akiva has dedicated himself diligently
to maintaining an exemplary lifestyle.
He has been welcomed back to Ahavath
Torah, Shomrei Emunah, East Hill Synagogue, and Minyan Tiferet. He regularly
attends services and reads Torah and
has resumed participation in community religious groups and events. He also
serves the community as an inspector
for the Tenafly and Englewood eruvs.
Nevertheless, there still are some institution that have not reintegrated Akiva
completely.
Akiva has tried to refocus his life after
his initial separation from the community two years ago. He has faced many

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26 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

challenges since then, however, as the
continuing stigma of that separation
has impacted his ability to secure stable employment and form meaningful
relationships.
At this point we urge all synagogues,
communal institutions, and individuals to welcome Akiva back completely.
Judaism believes in repentance, that we
can atone for our offenses and begin
again with a clean slate before God.
Our tradition also teaches that on Yom
Kippur God will not forgive us until we
forgive others. The time has come to
forgive Akiva for the mistakes he made
more than 20 years ago, and fully accept
him back into our community.
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin
Congregation Ahavat Torah
Englewood
Tani Foger
Robert Gross
Paul R. Herman
Jeffrey Rubenstein
Victor Schabes
Howard S. Shafer
David Trachtenberg
SORTA

facebook.com/jewishstandard

Letters
The Zionist ideal

It seems that Dr. Lippe is at it again.
In his response (“Knives and guns,” Dec. 11) to our
most recent column (“ Strength and consciousness
together can combat terror,” Dec. 4) Dr. Lippe puts
words in our mouths.
He implies that we have written a column whose
intent was to justify Arab violence. That simply is not
the case. We clearly and specifically say that “There
is no cause that can justify the murder of innocents,
and no good end can be promoted by such deeds.”
But just in case he missed that sentence we repeat the
same conviction in the very next paragraph when we
say “…these random attacks cannot be justified by any
cause.” He then goes on through a short recapping of
Arab violence and asks what justification there is for it.

There is no cause
that can justify the
murder of innocents,
and no good end can
be promoted by
such deeds.
We offer no justifications. We only suggest reasons for the violence. One should not confuse for a
moment that reasons make actions justifiable, but
without understanding and recognizing that there
are reasons, we cannot begin to move toward solving this ongoing cycle of violence. Dr. Lippe thinks
we can stop this violence with a take-no-prisoners
attitude. “Attack a Jew and surrender your life is the
only normal Jewish response acceptable” according
to the doctor. We disagree. Suicide attackers expect
to die. Fear will not defeat the Jewish state, but it will
not stop the attackers either.
Dr. Lippe it is clear that we don’t agree politically
about the best solutions for the situation in a land
we all love. We are willing to continue this conversation with him either personally or in print but we
will not accept his attacks on our right to voice our
opinion about the Jewish homeland, its policies and
its vision, as Jews and as Zionists.
To your question about which side we are on, let
us make it perfectly clear. We are on the side of a Jewish state, as envisioned by its founders and described
in the Declaration of Establishment “in the vision of
the Jewish prophets.” Anything else is neither Jewish nor just.
Dr. Mark Gold
Teaneck
Hiam Simon
Englewood

Women and Judaism

As a response to Reform Judaism, Orthodox Judaism
was born. What does Orthodoxy represent? It follows
halacha that was determined by the sages who lived
shortly after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E.
The Judaism that unfortunately depended on the
Temple was no more. Rabbis took the reins and kept
Judaism alive. They did so by deciding to make Judaism reflect their version of what it should be. Besides
a new halacha, they decided which books would
be included in the collection of sacred books. It is

interesting that the books of the Maccabees were omitted,
and we celebrate Chanukah to commemorate that group’s
deed. Their thoughts and decisions have been honored by
Jewish practice until the Reform movement began.
There was no philosophy of Judaism for that involves
thought , irreverent thought at times. Women see things differently than men and therefore their approach is needed.
Women from Deborah to this day have been leaders of Jews.
They have served God in keeping Judaism alive and thriving. The backbone of the Jewish family always has been the
mother, especially in rearing the young. Her wisdom was
not learned from books but from her very nature.
It is time we recognized that women are as smart as men.

God has no gender, even though the men decided God was
a male. When Moses asked God to state God’s name, the
reply was “ I will be who I will be.” God never assumed a
male or female identity. God is one. God made the one being
into two. Remember, there are animals that can reproduce
themselves by themselves. Females complement males
physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Both male and female have been equipped by God to be
leaders in teaching and leading others in fulfilling our role
as Jews who believe in the one God to whom both men and
women swore allegiance at Mount Sinai.
Shel Haas
Fort Lee

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he massacre in San Berwe were told that preventing the deninardino by an Islamist huszens of a dubious “no fly” list from buyband-and-wife terror team
ing guns was the chief priority for our
forces us once again to recognational security.
nize that the United States has to choose
The problem for Obama is that while
between isolationism and internationalmany Americans share the president’s
ism in its foreign policy.
distaste for foreign engagements, they
Put another way, it’s a choice between
don’t draw the same conclusions that he
disengaging from the world’s most
does. Once you start on the path of isofebrile regions, in the hope that doing so
lationism, and when you repeatedly tell
will put us out of harm’s way and rein
your citizens that America can’t be the
in our “imperial” instincts,
“world’s policeman,” you
or actively engaging on our
encourage the sense that
own terms, in the expectathe outside world and the
tion that we can counter
people who live in it can’t
rogue regimes and terrorbe trusted.
ist groups effectively.
Is it any wonder that
This is where we get
a p re s i d e n t wh o h a s
to a disturbing similarity
regarded the trampling of
between President Barack
the human rights of MusObama and GOP presilims and non-Muslims
Ben Cohen
dential candidate Donald
in the Middle East with
Trump. The reason? Both
studied indifference has,
of them approach foras a result, failed to pereign policy from the vantage point of
suade many Americans that they should
isolationism.
respect Islam as a faith?
Take Obama first. In a rare Oval Office
It is this disconnect that Donald
address to the nation made in the wake
Trump has exploited.
of the San Bernardino shooting, the presAs the quintessential fake tough guy,
ident manifestly failed to say anything
Trump’s rhetoric about confronting
we hadn’t heard before — and never
Islamic radicalism should be taken with
mind that he stood before the camera
a fistful of salt. Like Obama, he ignores
with a 64-point disapproval rating on his
the wider problem of Iranian power,
handling of terrorism. After giving us a
while his frankly embarrassing crush
perfunctory lecture about Islamic State
on Putin suggests that Trump too would
being the only threat in the Middle East
cede strategic ground to the Russians.
(a complete falsehood), and after assurTrump’s extensive business intering us that a political solution to the Syrests in the slave labor economies of the
ian civil war is still possible as long as
Arab Gulf countries only bolsters this
we work with Vladimir Putin’s Russia,
sense. As for Israel, his understandObama turned to the subject that really
ing of what binds America to the Jewanimates him: gun control.
ish state is superficial enough to make
Taken as a whole, the speech was an
any informed American Jew worry that
artless attempt to turn a debate about
a Trump administration would do litinternational policy into one about
tle to repair the damage of the Obama
domestic issues. There was no explanayears.
tion for the current predicament of the
To further understand the company
Middle East. Indeed, Iran, which has
that Trump keeps on these vital quesfueled the rise of Islamic State through
tions, look across the Atlantic Ocean.
its backing of the Bashar al-Assad
In France, the far-right National Front
regime, wasn’t even mentioned. Instead,
party of Marine Le Pen has surged in

Opinion
recent local elections. In Poland and
Hungary, right-wing nationalists are in
government. Like Trump, they talk about
Muslims in crude and bigoted terms, but
they don’t exactly love Jews or Israel
either. This isn’t Obama’s cuddly, progressive isolationism. It’s a surly version
of the same phenomenon, and its adherents believe that they have an inherent
right to determine who does and doesn’t
belong within their borders.
That’s why we are having a nonsensical
debate about Islam and Islamists instead
of a sensible one. Thanks to Obama, the
notion of deploying special forces to
secure a safe haven in Syria has evaporated, because he has turned opposition to the intervention of ground troops
into a dogma. And thanks to Trump,

Americans are being persuaded that discriminating against their fellow citizens
on the grounds of religious belief, in flagrant violation of the Constitution, is a
better option than using a limited number of ground troops to help turn the tide
in the Middle East against the terrorists
and their backers.
Thus do we compromise our values
at home, by not effectively intervening
abroad. The question is whether a year
from now we will have a new incumbent
heading into the White House who has
a much sharper understanding of what
needs to be done.
At minimum, this requires an explicit
acknowledgement of what it is that we
are fighting, and why we are fighting it.
And ironically, the best explanation I’ve

seen has come from a member of the
opposition Labour Party in the United
Kingdom.
While Labour is now led by Jeremy
Corbyn, a dinosaur of the far left, the party’s internal fissures mean that he has a
potential rival in Hilary Benn, who now
holds the foreign affairs portfolio. During the recent debate in the British parliament about extending airstrikes against
Islamic State into Syria, Benn delivered a
remarkable speech in which he identified
the enemy in the Middle East as fascism.
“What we know about fascists is
that they need to be defeated,” Benn
declared. “It’s why this entire house
stood up against Hitler and Mussolini.
It’s why our party has always stood up
against the denial of human rights and

378 Main St, Wyckoff, NJ

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for justice and my view...is that we must
now confront this evil. It is now time for
us to do our bit in Syria.”
Remember, back in the 1930s it took
the violation of Czechoslovakia and
Poland by Hitler to convince Europeans
of the imperative of defeating the Axis
powers. Neither Obama nor Trump will
draw any salient lessons from that stark
fact. You can be sure of that. But the rest
of us should draw those lessons. JNS.ORG
Ben Cohen, senior editor of theTower.org
and the Tower magazine, writes a weekly
column for JNS.org on Jewish affairs and
Middle Eastern politics. His work has been
published in Commentary, the New York
Post, Haaretz, the Wall Street Journal,
and many other publications.

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Cover Story

Shatner’s
world

Our reporter goes where no fan
has gone before in the search for
the Star Trek actor’s Jewish side

I

LARRY YUDELSON
t was two nights after Chanukah in 1958,
and William Shatner was in the land of
Israel.
He was in Bethlehem, along with
Ralph Bellamy, in a holiday vignette
called “Light One Candle.” They played
Roman tax collectors; their scene was part of
“The Christmas Tree,” a Hallmark Hall of Fame
special.
Also appearing that night: Jessica Tandy, Carol
Channing, Margaret Hamilton, Ellen Burstyn,
and 10-year-old Bernadette Peters.
Not that NBC sent its actors to Bethlehem.
Shatner was really on a television stage, during what later was known as the “Golden Age”
of television. Filming was black and white, and
often as not, live from New York City. Mr. Shatner then was 27 years old and living in Queens. It
had been several years since he had left Canada
to find fame and fortune on Broadway. At this
point, his phone had begun to ring — but he still
didn’t have any money in the bank.
Shatner didn’t know it yet, but he was halfway
through the first act of his career, eight years
away from the role that would launch his second act and bring him worldwide fame: Captain
James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. This led
the way to his third and ongoing act: Playing himself. The Internet Movie Data Base records 227
television and film appearances in scripted roles
30 Jewish standard deCeMBer 18, 2015

(each of his television series counts as only
one appearance in the list) and 356 as himself,
whether as narrator for a documentary or as a
celebrity contestant on the premiere episode
of “Celebrity Bowling.”
As he tells it in his 2008 autobiography
“Up Till Now,” one of his many memoirs,
behind these prolific credits is a desire to
always work. And behind that is the voice
of his father, who ran a garment business
and had hoped that his son Bill would join
the firm. Decline a chance to appear on
“The Hollywood Squares”? Mr. Shatner
could imagine his father’s rebuke:
“Are you crazy? You’re going to turn
down $1,000 for one day’s work? You
know what I could have bought for
$1,000? And you call that work? Sitting
there and playing a game? I’ll tell you
what work is!”
Mr. Shatner will bring all this to
town next month, when his one-man
show, “Shatner’s World,” comes to
the Bergen PAC Performing Arts Center in Englewood on Thursday, January 21.
•••
It is the first day of Chanukah
in 2015, and William Shatner
is on the phone. He is promoting “Shatner’s World,”
and he is indefatigable. His

What: shatner’s world: 50th anniversary
of star trek
Where: bergenPaC
When: thursday, January 21 at 8 p.m.
How much: $39-$200
For tickets and information:
www.bergenpac.org

Cover Story

Leonard Nimoy and William
Shatner in their iconic roles as
Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk.

office has scheduled a 15-minute interview.
“Let me connect you to Mr. Shatner,” says
the assistant who placed the call, and then
“How are you, Larry?” There is the voice,
the voice from the “Star Trek” shows I
watched every afternoon after school, the
voice from the Promise margarine commercials and from the Priceline.com commercials he made for stock options back in
the heady days of the dot-com era.
I am transported back to a “Star Trek”
episode that first aired when I was two
years old. It was Stardate 1512.2, and the
clock was ticking down to a deadline set
by an alien space ship and the promised
destruction of Kirk and his crew. Amid the
pressure, Lieutenant Bailey snapped and

had to be escorted off the bridge of the
Enterprise.
I hope I don’t snap.
So I set a course for childhood memories and the holiday season, and I ask him
about Chanukah.
“I come from a fairly Orthodox Jewish
family out of Montreal,” he said. “We were
keeping a kosher home, my mother and
father.
“Chanukah and its wonderful historical
story was important,” he continued. “We
told it at shul every year and it is a lovely,
romantic story. As a young Jewish boy, you
can take great pride in the way the Maccabees did their thing.”
Mr. Shatner’s father, Joseph, was an

immigrant, “born — probably — in Austria.
My mother Anne was born in Canada.”
Her parents were Jewish immigrants from
Poland and Ukraine.
Montreal has become known for its
warm Jewish enclave, home to the likes of
A.M. Klein, Mordecai Richler, and Leonard
Cohen.
But that’s not the part of town where the
Shatners lived. Instead, young William was
the rare Jew in a Catholic neighborhood in
a Catholic city. Come December, “It was
very much Christmas. Our family sort of
went along with the Christmas thing, it

being a cultural rather than a religious
holiday,” Mr. Shatner said.
His Christmas experience would stand
him in good stead when it came time for
the 1958 Hallmark Christmas special, and
when, this year, he would appear in two
Christmas films — “amazingly so,” he said
of the coincidence — both the direct-tovideo “A Christmas Horror Story,” and the
Hallmark Channel film “Just in Time for
Christmas.”
But that’s not what makes for a great
Jewish Standard story.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking.

William Shatner takes the
stage in his one-man show,
“Shatner’s World.”

Jewish standard deCeMBer 18, 2015 31

Cover Story

William Shatner shares a scene with Spencer Tracy in the
1961 film “Judgment at Nuremberg.”

Playing alongside Christine White in the 1963 “Twilight Zone” episode “Nightmare at 20,000 feet,” Shatner becomes convinced that a monster only he sees
is damaging the plane they’re in.

William Shatner, left, and James Spader enjoy stogies
(and feelings) in the 2008 series finale of “Boston Legal.”

The religious background of Mr. Shatner and Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy
is old news. As Adam Sandler sang some
20 years ago, “You can spin a dreidel with
Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock — both Jewish.”
I yearn, though, to go where no Jewish
journalist — or Star Trek fan — has gone
before, so I ask about his bar mitzvah, hoping to spur new memories.
What does he remember of the
occasion?
“I remember getting taught by a severe
Jewish teacher who wasn’t afraid to rap me
on the knuckles if I didn’t pronounce the
word right. I remember my uncle davening beside me, rocking back and forth with
a tallis over his head, muttering very suspicious words underneath there,” he said.
•••
It is Stardate 8454.1. Captain Kirk is at
Yosemite, on Earth between adventures.
With him are Mr. Spock and the third
32 Jewish Standard DECEMBER 18, 2015

As Captain Kirk, Shatner draws near the warmth of a campfire with Leonard Nimoy (Dr. Spock), and
DeForest Kelly (Dr. McCoy) on earth between adventures in “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.”

musketeer, Dr. Leonard McCoy. In one of
the most cringe-worthy scenes in the worst
Star Trek movie ever, the three sing “Row,
Row, Row Your Boat” around a campfire.
“I haven’t sung around a campfire since
I was a boy in Iowa,” Kirk says. It’s fair to
blame Mr. Shatner for the scene, since he
was the film’s writer and director. And if
that campfire did harken back to childhood camps, then the original campfire
was at a Jewish summer camp.
In fact, much of Mr. Shatner’s youthful
stage experiences, as he tells it in “Up Till
Now,” take place within a Jewish context:
“The first time I stood on a stage I
made the audience cry...I was six years
old, attending Rabin’s Camp, a summer
camp for Jewish welfare cases run by my
aunt in the mountains north of Montreal. I
wanted to box at that camp — hitting people seemed like fun — but my aunt instead
put me in a play named ‘Winterset.’

“My role was that of a young boy forced
to leave his home because the Nazis were
coming. In the climactic scene I had to say
goodbye to my dog, knowing I probably
would never see him again. My dog was
played by another camper, costumed in
painted newspaper.
“We performed the play on parents’
weekend to an audience consisting primarily of people who had escaped the
Nazis, many of whom still had family
members trapped in Hitler’s Europe. So
many of them had left everything they
knew or owned behind-and there I was,
saying goodbye to my little doggie.”
This would have been in 1937.
The story in his memoir continues:
“I cried, the audience cried, everybody
cried. I remember taking my bow and
seeing people wiping away their tears.
I remember the warmth of my father
holding me as people told him what a

wonderful son he had. Just imagine the
impact that had on a six-year-old child. I
had the ability to move people to tears.
And I could get approval. Something in
me always wanted to perform, always
wanted the attention that came from
pleasing an audience...”
Mr. Shatner has not always been the
most reliable of narrators. There was that
time he said he had seen a UFO. As he
wrote in his memoir about that incident,
the job of an actor is to pretend. A commenter on the blog “Shatner’s Toupee”
(devoted to the actor’s alleged hairpiece
over the decades) has noted that the play
“Winterset” was about something else
entirely.
Still, it is a reminder that Mr. Shatner
grew up in fraught time for Jews. His father
worked hard to bring over as many relatives
to Canada as he could. Closer to home, he
wrote, “There was always trouble between

Cover Story
the Jewish kids and the Catholic kids,
there was a lot of anti-Semitism. When I
had to go to Hebrew school I’d walk on
the opposite side of the street, pretending I didn’t even realize the synagogue
was there — until I got in front of it. Then
I’d look both ways and run for the door. I
actually planned my strate�y for getting
there safely. Not that I minded a fight, I
wasn’t a big kid but I never backed down
from anybody. We had fights almost every
day. My nickname was ‘Toughie,’ as in
Hey, watch out everybody, here comes
Toughie Shatner!”
It is a toughness that served him well
when, in an effort to heed his father’s
command — “Don’t be a hanger-on” —
he performed as many of his own stunts
as possible. It took his actor’s creed — to
show up on time and know his lines —
to the next level. And it also made him
a great performer on reality shows, like
the time he was filmed hunting a bear
with a bow and arrow.
The desire for new experiences made
him a logical performer in a TV series
coming out on NBC next year, which he
is eager to describe to me: “Better Late
than Never.”
“It involves Terry Bradshaw, George
Foreman, Henry Winkler and me going
to Asia for a month and being involved
in a variety of experiences. You see each
of these variously faceted personalities
reacting to the things we’re experiencing,” Mr. Shatner said, his shifting from
a conversational tone to the voice-over
he honed on shows such as “Rescue 911.”
“There’s sumo wrestling, eating crickets, going to temples, dancing, music,”
he said. “It’s quite amusing, yet it could
be quite interesting to see these four
people in circumstances you’ve never
seen before.”
He’s as busy as ever.
“I’m having the best time,” he said,
and then seizes the moment to segue
into promoting “Shatner’s World.” “I’m
never having a better time than when
I’m on this stage with this one-man
show.
“Someone in Australia asked me to do
it. I had thought about it over the years.
It’s the benchmark of performing, a
couple hours of attempting to keep the
audience without extraneous things like
music and dazzling lights and smoke and
mirrors, just by the art of story telling.
“So I though if I fail miserably in Australia, and if I beg them not to let them
out, maybe no one will know.
“It turned out to be rather good. I
toured all of Australia with a more primitive version of what I’m doing now.
Then Canada asked me to tour. I opened
on Broadway and then did a variety of
American cities over the past few years.
It turned out to be quite an experience
for me.
“I’m doing this 13 times in late January
and early February.
“It has been inordinately successful for

me in terms of audience reactions and
I’m so anxious to bring this to you and
your audience,” he said. “I know they
will enjoy it. It’s a wonderful evening of
laughter and tears and entertainment.”
In March, Mr. Shatner will turn 85.
His next nonfiction book about “Star
Trek” (written, like his memoirs and his
novels, with a co-author) will come out
before his birthday. This one is “Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a
Remarkable Man.” I pivot toward that to
try to get more Jewish details.
If I were to play the Lenny Bruce game
and divide the Star Trek crew into the
categories of Jewish and goyish, it is
clear that Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock
are Jewish. William Shatner and Captain Kirk, not so much. Spock is logical,
deductive, prone to alien rituals, nearly
rabbinic. Leonard Nimoy’s late life avocations included photographing nude
women wearing tefillin. Kirk conquers
through fists and romance; Shatner’s
hobby is raising horses.
So I ask Mr. Shatner about doing Jewish with Mr. Nimoy.
“We went to synagogue together,” he
said. “He belonged to a shul and I did
not. My wife and I joined him and his
wife on several occasions to celebrate
one thing or another.”
Many of Mr. Shatner’s plans for the
year ahead revolve around “Star Trek’s”
fiftieth anniversary. “I don’t believe any
show in the history of entertainment
has been around fifty years and is still
popular, still in front of a modern audience,” he said. “It isn’t languishing in the
background.
“A lot of people are making plans,” he
said. This may be an allusive reference to
a rumored cameo in “Star Trek Beyond,”
the movie coming out this summer. “I
too am making appearances around the
country. I’m planning a show.”
Any thoughts of retiring? I asked.
“I don’t even understand the word
retire,” he answered. “This is what I want
to do. I feel sorry for people who retire.
It means they re-tire, which means losing strength.”
He turns the question around.
“Do you enjoy your work?” Mr. Shatner asked me in the voice of Captain
Kirk.
Do I ever!
“Do you want to retire?” he continued.
Part of me thinks: After this it is all
downhill. I have spoken to William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy is dead and are
there any other childhood dreams left to
fulfill? Maybe I should indeed retire at
the top?
And then Mr. Shatner’s voice seeps in
and I want to shout, no sir, Captain. Sign
me up for another five-year mission, sir.
Let the voyage continue.
In the end, I recognize the question as
rhetorical. I remain silent — and make a
note to see him next month on stage at
bergenPAC.

Jewish Federation

OF NORTHERN NEW JERSEY

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rek!

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OurChildren
Our
About

Useful Information for
the Next Generation
of Jewish Families

Survival
of the Fittest
Eat Right,
Move More
Life Lessons
for Parents
Supplement to The Jewish Standard • January 2016

AOC-2
First breath. First smile. First steps.

Treasured moments begin here.

The MotherBaby Center at Chilton Medical Center.
Whether you are planning to start a family or adding to one, Chilton Medical Center invites you to
begin this exciting journey with us. Our MotherBaby Center encourages moms-to-be to personalize
their birthing experience in a way that makes it memorable for the entire family. We offer private
rooms with personalized visiting hours, hydrotherapy for labor, a celebratory gourmet dinner and
a Mom’s spa. For special care, there’s a Level II Nursery with board certified neonatologists and
pediatricians available 24/7. And with caring nurses, expert medical staff, and our seamless
connection to Morristown Medical Center, it’s no wonder why so many women choose to have
their babies here with us, close to home.
For more information about parent education classes, please call 973-831-5475.

For a referral to a Chilton Obstetrician
or Certified Nurse Midwife,
call 1-888-4AH-DOCS
or visit atlantichealth.org/chilton
2 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

AOC-3

OurChildren
About

January 2016

Healthy Habits Start at the Fridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
But they don’t end there, says doctor

Make Fitness Fit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Finding the right sport or exercise

Curtain Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Theater, arts and performance

Putting it in Perspective. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Children and our responsibilities

Power of the Pencil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
The things you can learn from an eraser

Generation G. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

One Man Star Wars Trilogy

Daniel Tiger’s
Neighborhood Live!

Friday, Jan 15th 8pm

Sunday, Jan 24th 1pm & 4:30pm

Cesar Millan Live!

Mike Super:

Globetrotting grandparents hunt for souvenirs

Setting Rules and Limits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Tips to get your structure in place

Listings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Schools, after-school activities, and more

Do Children Need Spirituality? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Questions for author of new book

Paying Attention to ADHD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Going from victim to victorious

Gallery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

Friday, Jan 29th 8pm

Magic & Illusion
Saturday, Feb 20 7:30pm

Pictures of our children

Top Choices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Great picks for January

Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Things to do this month

Simchas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..23
Celebrating our children’s milestones

Games People Play . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
Batting back boredom

Winners of the Chanukah
Gift Giveaway!

Piff the Magic Dragon

Ladybug Girl and

Bumblebee Boy The Musical

March 10th 8pm

March 13th 1pm & 4pm

The Peking Acrobats

Clifford The Big Red Dog

Friday, April 8th 8pm

April 10th 1pm & 4pm

Sharon Golub, Hackensack — Sigikid Teaching Monkey
Renee Kornbluth, West New York — Shalom Sesame DVD set
Debbie Fox, Teaneck — Maccabee on the Mantel
Miriam Stiefel, Englewood — Bumble Seat
Shira Slasky, Tenafly — Enough Already & Planet Matzo Ball DVDs
Susan Helft, Tenafly — Pumpkin & Bean Gift Certificate
Rifki Helft, Englewood — Tickets to see Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Michael Rosenzweig, Fair Lawn — Gift Certificate from Schnitzel+
Thanks to all who entered, and congratulations to our winners!

3 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

3

AOC-4

musings from the editor
C

alm creates good karma?
One of the famous “Keep Calm” versions
of the saying that adorn t-shirts, mugs and
other ephemera is “Keep Calm and Let Karma
Finish.”
I’m not so sure if calm creates good karma,
because karma is actually the sum of a person’s
actions in this and in previous states of existence,
which then is viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
But calm may help decide the fate of your present existence following an incident, episode or one
of life’s hair-raising, emotion-rising dramas.
“Keep Calm and Carry On” — the original saying — certainly holds true as a would-be mantra for
my life. To respond and not to react is something
to which I aspire. Sometimes I can actually achieve
it, but more often than not, I keep aspiring. I like to
say I am keeping my aspirations high.
I am reminded of one episode of keeping calm
involving my kids, whom I will identify as Child#1
and Child#2 so as not to embarrass them.
Child#2 (not necessarily in birth order, but I
won’t say) was about to go on a school trip. It was
the first out-of-town journey, not counting sleepaway camp. It was big deal to be with classmates,
to explore a brand new city, to stay in a hotel, to
take photographs, and to have fun and learn about
the history of the city. The trip was to Boston. And
the class was to travel by bus, a long journey from
our home. Of course, many of the students had
their devices packed along to occupy and entertain themselves on the long drive there.
Child#2 needed one, and didn’t have the desired device. So Child #2 borrowed an iPod from
Child#1 with the caveat that Child#2 promise to be

really, really careful. That is, to not
lose, break or mess it up in any way.
With that condition agreed upon,
Child#2 took Child#1’s iPod on the
trip.
Off Child#2 went to Boston, and
I awaited the return to be regaled
by stories and adventures.
When Child#2 returned, there
were plenty of stories and adventures to tell, but, alas, there was no
iPod! Oy!
Knowing how Child#2 would be
self-punishing, and knowing how
hard it was for Child#2 to make
sure that the iPod didn’t disappear, I decided to be
very calm about the loss.
And furthermore, I asked Child#1 to do the
same. Not to berate Child#2.
Sure there would be plenty of time for lectures
or lessons about responsibility and care of objects, but somehow, I decided not to react, but to
respond, and not make Child#2 feel worse for the
wear.
Then I remembered a story I had read.
It was a tale about a wife, her diamond ring,
and her husband. It also involved a toilet bowl,
some faulty plumbing and her husband’s attempt
at fixing their bathroom problem. The details of
the story elude me, but I do remember the wife losing her diamond ring, her precious diamond ring,
because of something that happened involving her
husband. I also remember the point of the story.
She kept her calm. She did not rail against him. She
did not scream. She did not have a hissy fit, but
reacted with understanding. Wow!

MissionStatement

OurChildren
James L. Janoff

Natalie Jay

Marcia Garfinkle

Peggy Elias
George Kroll
Karen Nathanson
Janice Rosen
Brenda Sutcliffe

Publisher

Associate Publisher

Heidi Mae Bratt

Editor

Deborah Herman

AdvisoryBoard

Art Director

Marketing and Communications Specialist

Michelle Brauntuch, MS,CCLS

Barry Weissman, MD

Child Life Specialist, Englewood Hospital, Englewood

Pediatrician, Hackensack and Wyckoff

Hope Eliasof

Cheryl Wylen

Howard Prager, DC, DACBSP

Holistic Chiropractor, Oakland

4 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

Advertising Director

Emuna Braverman
Slovie Jungreis-Wolff
Rabbi Dovid Rosman
Rifka Schonfeld
Ed Silberfarb
Denise Morrison Yearian

Contributing Writers

Account Executives

Jane Calem Rosen

Psychologist, Teaneck

Marriage and Family Therapist, Midland Park

Cheers,

About

About Our Children is designed to help Jewish families in our area live healthy, positive lives that make the most of
the resources available to them. By providing useful, current, accurate information, the publication aims to guide parents to essential information on faith, education, the arts, events, and child-raising — in short, everything that today’s
Jewish family, babies to grandparents, needs to live life to the fullest in northern New Jersey and Rockland County.

Dr. Annette Berger, Psy.D.

The punch line of that story
was that a few days later, she
found the diamond! She thought
it was gone, flushed away forever. But there it appeared (reappeared) at the bottom of the bowl.
Sure was thrilled to recover her
diamond, but she was even more
happy about how she behaved
toward her husband. How she
chose calm, instead of chaotic
drama. That she was actually able
to transcend her natural inclination and not freak out.
I remembered that story days
after Child#2’s return from Boston.
I remembered that story when I was emptying out the blue travel bag packed with clothes.
Inside a small, slim, side pocket, a place I would
not normally check or look, there it was. The iPod!
Returned safe and sound. Actually, never lost in
the first place.
In fact, Child#2 put it away so well, that its
packing place was forgotten!
And then I wondered whether we found it because of karma.
Calm karma.

Director of Adult Programs and Cultural Arts
YM-YWHA of North Jersey, Wayne

About Our Children is published 11 times a year by the New Jersey/Rockland Jewish Media Group,
1086 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666; telephone: 201-837-8818; fax: 201-833-4959.;
e-mail: AboutOC@aol.com.

Don’t Miss About Our Children in February
Published on January 29, 2016

AOC-5
OurChildren
About

Healthier Habits Start at the Fridge
But Don’t End There
H E I D I M A E B RAT T

N

ew year, new you.
We see it everywhere this
time of year. And since we’ve had
our Rosh Hashanah, we get a chance to
turn over a new leaf again in 2016. What
a great opportunity, especially when fitness and health concerns dominate the
headlines, to get your children, into a
healthier mode of eating well.
About Our Children consulted with
Dr. Sherry Sakowitz-Sukkar who is the
founder and director of Healthy LifeWays: Valley’s Center For Pediatric Wellness and Weight Management at The
Valley Hospital, for her expertise on how
to get your children to eat better, move
more and start a healthier way to 2016.
About Our Children: What is the
best way to get children motivated to
eat healthier?
Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar: Involve them.
Grow vegetables in a garden together.
Bring them to a farmer’s market to go
shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables
and most importantly cook with them.
Make healthy the only choice in your
home and show them that nutritious is
delicious. Also, parents should be good
role models and want to eat healthy
themselves. Children tend to copy what
their parents are eating.
AOC: How can we motivate our children to move more?
Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar: Make moving
fun. Find things that your child enjoys
doing. Instead of calling it exercise, call
it play time. Make family time active.
Instead of watching television together,

go for a walk or bike ride.
Find little ways to move
more. Try taking the stairs
instead of elevators and
escalators and try parking your car in a parking spot that requires
you to walk a little extra.
Buy birthday presents or
holiday presents that that
encourage activity such as a bicycle, scooter, Frisbee or Fitbit.
AOC: How do we accomplish this
and not make them feel self-conscious,
especially girls who are prone to a negative body images because of societal
pressure and the media?
Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar: Establish
healthy routines early on and make
healthy eating and regular physical activity the norm in your home. This way,
your child won’t feel self-conscious
because that is all they will have experienced. Unfortunately, in the case of
overweight children, weight bias usually starts at home. Many times it’s the
family members who make the child
feel inadequate due to their weight.
Try to send positive messages to your
child that you love them no matter what
size they are and that being healthy is
the most important thing. The best results come from family-based lifestyle
modification where everyone engages
in healthy habits such as daily exercise
and healthy eating together.
AOC: What are the best foods to
serve your children?
Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar: Real food. A
child’s diet should be a combination of

fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, whole
grains and healthy fats.
Healthy beverages include water and low-fat
milk. While food shopping, stick to the periphery of the grocery
store. This is where the
real food hangs out.
AOC: What is the best way to
handle sugar and fat-laden treats?
Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar: This is always
tricky. It’s easy to restrict and not introduce these foods when your children
are young, but you are setting them up
for problems later when they are out on
their own. Research shows that children
whose “treats” are restricted eat more
of them and are heavier than they might
have been.
Children shouldn’t feel as though
they are being deprived or restricted. Offer treats in moderation and limit what is
brought into the house. In the case of fatladen treats like chips or French fries, offer them as part of a meal as the starch.
The trick is to offer these items often
enough that your kids don’t feel like it
is forbidden, but not making it available
all of the time. In the case of sweets or
items containing added sugars, it’s okay
to offer your child a dessert at night or a
treat during the day as long as they are
eating healthy meals. As a rule of thumb,
keep your children’s added sugar intake
to less than 4 to 5 teaspoons a day or
less that 20 grams.
AOC: In what other ways can we
stem childhood obesity?

Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar: Healthy habits
start at home. Your eating environment
plays such an important role in what
your children eat. Parents are the nutritional gatekeepers of the house. Don’t
introduce your children to unhealthy
foods and unhealthy habits and don’t
bring foods you don’t think your child
should be eating into the house. Make
sure your child is active every day and
always gets a good night’s sleep. Screen
time should be limited to less than two
hours per day and not right before bedtime. Limit fast food and eating out. Try
having more family dinners at home.
Make healthy food convenient. Put cut
up veggies and fruits in clear containers
in full view in front of the refrigerator.
Try eating on smaller plates and serve
food restaurant style. Eat only while sitting down and not in front of the TV. Never force your child to finish. Never praise
your child for finishing. Don’t have them
join the Clean Plate Club.
AOC: Any other tips for a healthier
2016?
Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar: Make sure
your child is eating three meals a day.
Read food labels. Avoid highly processed
foods. Beware of low-fat items; they are
usually loaded with sugar and make up
for the reduction of fat. Children don’t
need to drink juice at any age. It’s much
better to give them the real fruit. Children learn a huge amount about healthy
habits from watching and imitating their
parents. If you want your children to be
healthy, you must lead by example.
Heidi Mae Bratt is the editor of About Our
Children.
ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

5

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Making Fitness a Good Fit
and Fun for Your Children
H E I D I M A E B RAT T

H

ow do you make fitness — an essential component to health and
well-being — a regular part of your
child’s life?

6 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

For some youngsters, it’s easy. They
naturally love sports: running, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, karate, and
dance, you name your sweat-inducing,
smile-inducing sport and they’re there.
Those are the easy ones. Then there are

the others who would prefer to exercise
their fingers on the keyboard and hang
out with laptops, iPads, iPhones, you
name it here, too. That could be a bit
more of a challenge, fitness-wise.
Luckily, in our area there are a plethora of fitness options for youngsters that
not only offer a wide variety of interests
and sports options to get our children
moving after school and on the weekends,
but also makes sure they have lots of fun.
For example, Northern Valley Sports
Academy in Closter has a smorgasbord
of options for youngsters from pre-K
through high school.
“We offer a full sports facility with
many options such as basketball, soccer,
baseball, lacrosse” to name a few, says
Jared Sapin, who works at Northern Valley Sports Academy as an instructor and
coach.
The facility offers a full range of
classes, including group fitness classes,
private lessons and individual instruction, in addition to “high quality coaches,” Mr. Sapin says.
“It’s a great way to let off steam after
school,” he says. “It’s also very good for
kids to interact with other kids their own
age outside of the school setting.”
If it’s the water that gets your children excited, the Glenpointe Spa & Fitness in Teaneck offers swim instruction
and birthday pool parties in its large
pool, which runs 50 by 30 feet in length
and with a depth of 3 to 5 feet.
Members’ youngsters, who are under 14 years old, can swim free from 3
to 5 p.m., through its special after-school
program during the weekdays, says Jenna Mehler, aquatics director for Glenpointe Spa & Fitness.
Glen Evans, the Glenpointe Spa &
Fitness manager, said that the facility
might also be offering some extra classes for teens as well in the New Year. In
the past, it had offered martial arts.
Want to reach for the stars or at
scale the heights? A five-month-old
20,000 square foot facility in Northvale is
making excitement a high for youngsters
who want to rock climb or practice their
acumen through obstacle course work.

High Exposure is an “incredibly experiential” facility that gives youngsters
the chance to climb, practice Ninja Warrior Course, Parkour classes and studio,
and more. High Exposure describes itself
as a “one-stop shopping, heart stopping,
adrenaline pumping, extreme sporting
facility for families, tots, kids, teens and
adults.”
It seems to be catching on in the area,
says owner Stephanie Shultz. In just five
months, High Exposure already has 100
members on its climbing team, and has
been a destination for day schools, such
as TABC and Ma’ayonot in Teaneck, and
other schools, in addition to the general
public.
“There’s something extremely empowering about doing something that
you’ve never done before,” says Ms.
Shultz.
At The Soccer Coliseum at Teaneck
Armory, youngsters can enjoy one of the
most impressive indoor soccer facilities
as they partake in tournaments, leagues
and training galore, says Yas Tambi, the
director of soccer operations there.
A source of pride of Soccer Coliseum
is that once engaged in the many activities, youngsters are able to learn so much
more than soccer, itself, Mr. Tambi notes.
“Kids learn problem solving while
playing the games,” he said.
For ice-skating as nice skating, there
are many options good for the winter
and for all-season long.
The Ice Vault Skating Arena in Wayne
has various activities for youngsters of
all ages. There are public sessions, hockey clinics, hockey teams, figure skating
and free-style. There are also learn-toskate programs, and hosting birthday
parties there are also available.
In Westwood, Fritz Dietl Ice Rink has
a veritable history. Established in 1958
by Austrian born Fritz Dietl, a renowned
figure skating star and coach, the ice
rink offers a cozy and comfortable staking environment. It is also the birthplace
and home of the New Jersey Figure Skating Club.
Heidi Mae Bratt is the editor of About Our
Children.

AOC-7
All new
experience!

Newer, Better, More Spectacular!
Thrilling New Rides!
• Giant Slides
• Giant Spider
• Obstacle Course Mountain
• Air Cannon Alley and Slide
• Sports Arena
• And More!

Birthday Parties!
A performance at Cresskill Performing Arts.

Theater, Arts,
Performance and More
H E I D I M A E B RAT T

W

hen you love dance and you
love movement, such as gymnastics, you can do both, or
you can like at Cresskill Performing Arts
in Cresskill, do them both together.
This year, says owner Betsy Daly, a
new offering combines the excitement of
gymnastics with the razz-ma-tazz of jazz
dance. There are four different levels of
gymnastics jazz being offered whereby
students can get both gymnastics and
acrobatic tricks as they apply to dance.
The program is designed for students
from 5 years to teenagers.
“Half the class they’re doing flips
and half the class they’re dancing,” says
Ms. Daly.
In addition to the newer gymnastic
jazz class, Cresskill Performing Art offers an array of classes for youngsters
to dance, sing, and learn from Broadway

professionals and more. Dance includes
ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop, in addition to acting, singing, improv, voice,
triple threat (musical theater) to name
some.
Black Box Studios is excited to have
its own new facility in Teaneck where
classes and performances take place.
It offers classes in theater, music and
improv all year long. Professional performances and events for all ages and
interest, including cutting-edge drama,
musicals and children’s shows, musical
performance and improv jams.
Black Box Studios is opening its 8th
season, said Matt Okin, owner of Black
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ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

7

AOC-8
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8 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

Not Always the Best Lesson
When a Child Overshadows All Else
E M U N A B RAV E R M A N

W

hen our matriarch Rachel gave birth to Joseph she exclaimed, “God has taken away my
disgrace.” Rashi suggests that this was accomplished by providing her with a child to blame for
her faults. Why she said this and if this reflects anything
about the role of children is a long and complicated
discussion. But I was thinking about it when I taught a
class recently.
“Lori can’t come because she has a middle school
tour.” “Cathy’s daughter is home from school sick.”
“Sara has to go to a PTA meeting.” “Miriam is taking her
kids to the dentist.” The list goes on and on. The class
was planned over a month ago with everyone available.
But now attendance has diminished.
This is mostly good. It reflects a recognition that
our children should be our priority. This was also acknowledged by our sages in exempting women from
time-dependent commandments. We can’t be expected
to pray by a certain time of day with a minyan because
who knows what our children’s needs will be and when
they will occur. They certainly aren’t always expressed
in a timely fashion, exactly when and where we’d prefer.
On the other hand, women aren’t exempt from
praying altogether. It’s not carte blanche to ignore our
other obligations. It struck me that women have taken
this dictum, this freedom too far. You can’t pin everything on the kids. Yes, if our children are stick, we need
to stay home. But if you already committed to a class,
couldn’t you have scheduled the dentist appointments
or school tours for another morning? Perhaps Sara
could have requested that the PTA meet on a morning
where she doesn’t have a prior commitment.
I’m willing to accept that attending my class may not
be everyone’s priority but keeping commitments should
be and having children should not be a convenient excuse to absolve us of that responsibility. As stated, if they
need us, then of course they come first. But do they really need us now? To the exclusion of all else? At the expense of other responsibilities and commitments?
And what are we teaching our children if they watch
this behavior? I think there is one positive lesson but

a risk of two negative ones as well. The positive one is
how much they mean to us, how much they matter, that
they come first. But this can also be a negative lesson;
we don’t want them to learn that they always come first,
that they can never wait their turn, or entertain themselves or put the needs of others in front of their own.
This would end up being an extremely damaging result.
Additionally, they need to see that we have other
responsibilities 8 — to other family members and to our
community — and that we honor our commitments.
If we are constantly dropping everything to attend to
their non-essential or non-emergency needs, they will
believe that they are the center of the universe and that
nothing and no one else matters. In our desire to raise
secure, confident, well-loved children, we may make
the mistake of creating monsters.

‘OF COURSE OUR CHILDREN
ARE OUR PRIORITIES, BUT
THEY NEED TO SEE THAT WE
HAVE OTHER COMMITMENTS
AND THAT WE HONOR OUR
RESPONSIBILITIES.’
Like I said, I’m not sure what our mother Rachel
was referring to. I know it had some connection to joining the ranks of all the other mothers, of finally becoming a member of a club in which she had felt left out.
I will have to do more research to understand exactly
the language she used and why. But I know for sure that
she didn’t mean that our children are a convenient way
of avoiding any responsibilities outside of the home.
Perhaps we shouldn’t make commitments if our schedules are so subject to change and variable.
Or, and here’s a radical thought, perhaps we should
just keep our commitments and plan our children’s
schedules around them instead of doing the opposite.
Reprinted with permission of aish.com.

AOC-9
OurChildren
About

Using the Power of the Pencil
To Recognize and Reach Potential
RA B B I D OV I D R O S M A N

I

recently experienced the work of a genius
educator. When I arrived home from
work, my 10-year-old daughter excitedly brought me
her report card for
the first half of the
school year. The
grades were basically
all perfect except for the category called “organization” — how well the student does in bringing the appropriate books to class and keeping her homework
and notes organized. In that category, my daughter received an A- (shocking, but true).
But there was something different about the minus
sign. “Look Abba, my teacher wrote the minus in pencil.
She told me that she knows that really I can be much
neater and that if I improve over the next half of the
year she’ll erase the minus.”
I was floored by the teacher’s clever motivation
technique. When trying to motivate our children or students we often use external means. We tell them that if
they improve we’ll take them out to eat or buy them a
toy that they’ve been begging us for. That method often
works, but there is a much more basic, effective way to
energize and motivate others to change — show them
that you believe that their essence is greater. Give them
the confidence in their own potential to perform better.
Give your children the confidence in their own potential to perform better.
Instead of my daughter feeling badly or down for
being disorganized, she was excited about the opportunity to show her teacher her “real” self. She called
her grandparents to tell them about it. She was empowered, in a positive way, to grow and change.
When a parent or teacher relates to the child in
this way, he or she strengthens the trust that forms the
foundation of their relationship, allowing the child to
feel safe enough to open up and reveal his feelings or
past experiences so that the one influencing him can
give proper advice and direction.
Giving a child the recognition of his inner greatness
enables him to overcome challenges and gives him the
confidence to strive to reach his potential. He knows he
has what it takes.
Lastly, one cannot properly influence and change
another person if he does not believe in the person.
Since he doesn’t really think that the person can
change, he won’t be precise with his advice and won’t
bother investing his fullest in trying to help the person.
He won’t be able to relay the message with the same
enthusiasm and passion or be willing to follow up with
the person after their discussion.
In The Song of Songs, God tells the Jewish people
“You are completely beautiful, my beloved, there is
no blemish in you” (4:7). Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, in
his kabbalistic work Tomer Devora (1:6) writes that although the Jewish people makes mistakes, God doesn’t
view those mistakes as part of our essence; they are superficial. God writes any minus with a pencil, showing
us that He believes in our ability to do better and giving
us the opportunity to erase it.

By doing so, we can elevate others towards reaching their ultimate potential. It’s as easy as using a pencil instead of a pen.

In any type of relationship, writes Rabbi Cordevero,
we should act God-like and view others as innately pure.

Rabbi Dovid Rosman is the Director of the Intermediate
Beis Medrash Program of Aish HaTorah and a rebbe in the
Advanced Beis Medrash Program.

Reprinted with permission of Aish.com

ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

9

AOC-10
GENERATION G

Globetrotting Grandparents
Hunt for the Perfect Souvenirs
E D S I L B E R FA R B

“N

o presents. No shopping. No
souvenirs,” my wife Sharon
vowed as we prepared for
our month-long trip abroad to celebrate
our 50th anniversary.
I tried returning her to reality. “You’re willing to disappoint five
grandchildren?”
“We can’t spend time shopping, and
we can’t add bulk and weight to our carry-on luggage.”
Our first stop was Stuttgart, Germany, where our son was deployed with the
Marines. We arrived during the riotous
holiday “Octoberfest.” The beer halls
shook with hundreds of celebrants singing the traditional lieder while waving
overflowing steins. Most were dressed
in dirnl and lederhosen. Sharon thought
how adorable her grandchildren would
look in that costume, but she kept to her
pledge and resisted buying.
I tried tempting her. “How about a
couple of fancy beer steins for their fathers?” But she was resolute.
Stuttgart is not just beer steins and
lederhosen. Its most highly prized product is the cuckoo clock, handcrafted
in the nearby Black Forest of Bavaria.
These are works of art — the basic timepiece that “cuckoos” on the hour or the
elaborate display clocks where not only
do the birds appear hourly, but other
animated figures chop wood and dance.
They range in price from a few hundred
to a thousand dollars.
Sharon’s friend wanted one and
asked her to research the possibilities.
We examined a bewildering array, and
were intrigued by the detailed woodwork. Were we dangerously close to
buying our very own? Sharon reassured
me that remarkable as they are, cuckoo
clocks are not her thing.
Her resolve almost broke the next
day when we visited Tubingen, a university town with medieval architecture,
intriguing alleys and irresistible shops,
including one that was selling sterling
silver flatware in our pattern 50 per cent
off. It was an agonizing half hour, but fortunately the necessary teaspoons and
salad forks were not available.
From Germany we went to Israel
where we have many relatives and
friends, one of whom gave us their
apartment in the 16th floor of a tower on
Disengoff Street in the heart of Tel Aviv.

10 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

Below was a vast underground shopping
mall with high-end stores offering the
latest fashions, sporting goods, electronic devices, manicures, creative tattoos,
and yoga sessions, as well as leisure cafes. There was also a supermarket, and
in the toiletry section Sharon picked
up a green, triangular container with a
spray nozzle.
“This is just what she wanted, and
it’s available only in Israel,” Sharon said
triumphantly. It was kosher-for-Shabbos
mouthwash and toothpaste that she had
been asked to bring back to the U.S.
I marveled at such a touching, heartfelt present, but didn’t that violate the
no-gift pledge? “This doesn’t count as a
gift. It’s a semi-necessity, like lip balm or
insect spray.”
We spent a day in Old Jaffa with
a cousin wandering through the flea
market, rummaging through boxes of
pottery, old phonograph records,
non-functioning utensils, and clothing. There was furniture, an antique
toy fire engine, a grandfather’s clock
and an old violin. Sharon was poking
through bins of costume jewelry, looking for “hamsas,” the hand-shaped artifact from both Jewish and Arabic legend
that wards off the evil spirit. It comes in
a variety of forms and uses: earrings,
pendants, brooches and bracelets as
well as wall plaques. Sharon’s sister
had asked her to be alert for any
antique hamsas. Surely Israel is
where one could find them.
“Isn’t that considered
souvenir hunting?” I naively
asked.
“No, the hamsa is part
of Israel’s heritage,” she explained. “Looking for one
is like an archeological
dig.” But, alas, despite
our digging, we found
none.
However, what we
did find in a most unlikely place were dreidels. We
were visiting the Sonora section of Tel Aviv where, in the
19th Century a sect of German
religious refugees established
colonies in what is now Israel. Among
other skills, they were farmers who grew
grapes for wine, stored in caskets in vast
caves, which we explored on a specially
arranged tour.
Though the colonists are long gone,

the neighborhood has been preserved
as a heritage site, and the century-old
buildings now house restaurants, cafes
and arts and craft shops, one of which
is called The Dreidel House. True to its
name, it sells only dreidels, but not only
the simple four-sided top for Chanukah games, but also elaborately crafted
dreidels that spin out proverbs, tell
ones fortune and comment on life itself.
The proprietor was a woman intent on
demonstrating the proper way to spin a
dreidel, though I insisted I had mastered
the technique.
Sharon was particularly taken by
one about two inches in diameter with
a short nub of a spindle and a Yemenite
design in both gold and silver. They cost
three for 100 shekels,
about $26.

“Let’s get three, one each for our two
sons’ families and one for us.”
I said that if the ban on gift buying
were to be lifted, two simple community
dreidels for family use would not suffice,
even though they had the virtue of being

small and portable.
It was decided that a dreidel would
go to each son, and the mission for the
rest of the trip would be to find presents for the five grandchildren and two
daughters-in-law. The gifts had to be
light, compact and inexpensive, but
significant.
The last 10 days of our 30-day odyssey were spent in Sicily. Part of the time,
we lived in a beautiful apartment owned
by Sharon’s cousin in a 500-year-old
building in Ortigia, a landmark section
of Siracusa. The rest of the time we traveled the island with a private guide and
explored a treasure trove of antiquities,
the remains of Greek and Roman temples, Medieval churches, and the remnants of the many other ethnic groups
who had lived on that remarkable island.
Jews, for example, were 40 per cent of
Sicily’s two largest cities before the expulsion of 1492.
It wasn’t just history. We saw two of
Sicily’s important products in the making — olive oil and sea salt. In fact, the
highly prized sea salt solved part of our
souvenir problem. Each daughter-in-law
would get a small package of it.
What about the grandchildren? The
boys would get t-shirts, but not ones
with dopey inscriptions that seem
so popular. They would have to
be meaningful. We ransacked
souvenir shops until we found
what we wanted — one shirt
showing Mount Etna erupting, one depicting the pillars of a Greek temple,
and one of a seaside
Sicilian village.
So far nothing
for the granddaughters until we wandered
through a street mall in
Palermo, and there on a
peddler’s pushcart Sharon spotted them — hamsa earrings — one pair for
each girl. We noted the irony. After searching for two weeks in Israel, we
had to come to Sicily to find Judaica. On
the other hand, the best pizza we ate on
the entire trip was in Tel Aviv.
Ed Silberfarb was a reporter for the Bergen
Record in New Jersey, then the New York
Herald Tribune where he was City Hall
bureau chief. Later, he was a public information officer for the New York City Transit
Authority and editor of one of its employee
publications.

AOC-11

A Few Tips
for Setting Effective
Rules and Limits
DENISE MORRISON YEARIAN

M

ost families have rules their
children are expected to obey.
But problems may occur when
guidelines are vague or parents vacillate
on rules and disciplinary measures. To
establish effective rules and limits, consider these tips.

Navigate through
natural consequences

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The natural consequence for violating a
rule can be the most effective method of
correcting behaviors. When misdemeanors do occur, talk with your child about
what he learned and help him make the
connection between the choice he’s
made and the consequences he’s now
living with. Also help him explore the
motivation or influence behind his decision so he can build a foundation and
avoid that pitfall in the future.

Opening minds,
bridging differences,
living Jewish values

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Lesson on limits

Children need limits to teach them to be
socially intelligent: to learn how to control their emotions and interact with others. Limits are also good for providing
structure, predictability and routines,
things children thrive on.

Speak in specifics

Be specific versus vague with regard to
rules and expectations. Terms such as
“behave” or “be good” are general, and
most children have trouble translating
what that means. Make directives concrete and state specifically what you
want your child to do. This will give him
more opportunities to succeed.

Paraphrase with the positive
Children are more receptive to positive
rather than negative commands. “Don’t”
and “stop” tell a child what not to do
but don’t explain what to do. Instead
of saying “don’t jump in that puddle,”
say, “jump over the puddle.” Although it
takes more thought and energy to conjure up positive words, once it becomes
a habit it will be easier.

Extend explanations
Children are more likely to comply if
parents explain the reason why the rule
exists. This also teaches critical thinking
and helps children develop an internal
standard of regulation. By age five most
children can begin to understand why
some rules exist. Give simple, concise
and age-appropriate explanations.

Offer choices and suggest alternatives
Give your child the freedom to make
choices or suggest alternatives within
the framework of your limits. This will
give him a sense of power and control
and may reduce resistance: “Do you
want milk or juice?” “You can’t have a
cookie now but you can have ice cream
after dinner.”

Know your child

Consider your child’s personality and
tailor limits and consequences accordingly. Some kids accept limits easily. Others are more resistant and may require a
firmer approach to get them to comply.

Ariela Dubler, Head of School

Marsha Feris, Director of Admissions

marsha@heschel.org
212 784 1234

Love without limit

One goal of setting limits is to help your
child realize you are there to help him
learn proper behavior and love him even
when he misbehaves. When missteps
occur, remind him his behavior doesn’t
change the status of your love.

Parental controls
Avoid losing your temper, lashing out
with your tongue or dishing out too
harsh a punishment you may later have
to retract. Part of what you are trying to
teach through limit setting is self-control
so you have to model it. If you are upset, step back and collect yourself. Or
tell your kids you need time and will
talk with them later. This will allow you
to take your emotions out of the equation and concentrate on dealing with the
offense.

Be firm and consistent
Flexible rules and routines invite resistance and make it difficult to change the
undesirable behaviors. When parents
vacillate with rules or consequences are
withdrawn, children will continuously
challenge them and may resort to manipulation tactic — begging, whining, arguing or temper tantrums — to get their
way.
Denise Morrison Yearian is the former editor
of two parenting magazines and the mother
of three children and four grandchildren.

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ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016 11

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AOC-12

Guide
to Schools
and Activities
Schools
The Abraham Joshua Heschel School

Grades N-8
30 West End Ave.
New York, NY 10023
Grades 9-12
20 West End Ave.
New York, NY 10023
212-595-7087
www.heschel.org
Please see our ad on page 11.

Berger Learning Group, LLC

31-11 Broadway
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
201-742-5298
www.bergerlearning.com
Ages: 18 months to 16 years
BLG provides a range of Applied Behav-

ior Analysis (ABA) services for children
with special needs. Our ABA programs
address cognitive, social-emotional, play,
and self-help skills, as well as language/
communication and behavioral challenges through a positive behavioral approach. Please see our ad on page 19.

Gan Aviv Jewish Nursery School

21 West Main Street, Bergenfield
201-384-6111
www.ganaviv.com
Ages 6 Weeks - Pre K
info@ganaviv.com
Daycare@ssds
275 McKinley Avenue
New Milford, NJ 07646
201-452-4549
ssds@ganaviv.com
Fair Lawn
16-00 Pollitt Drive
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

201-509-8989
fairlawn@ganaviv.com
Gan Aviv is a Jewish Nursery School and
Day Care that offers a bilingual English/
Hebrew program. We offer extended
hours for the working parent. We have
age-appropriate activities focusing on
the physical, emotional and social needs
of each individual child in a stimulating,
creative, nurturing and safe environment. Please see our ad on page 14.

Academies at Gerrard
Berman Day School

45 Spruce Street
Oakland NJ 07436
201-337-1111
www.ssnj.org
Ages 2 to 14
Our mission is to provide academic excellence and leadership in a nurturing
Jewish environment one child at a time.
We provide a superb education in a small
school environment for children ages 2
to 14. We educate children to be successful leaders and learners who will meet
future challenges and make the world a
better place. Please see our ad on page 9.

Golda Och Academy

Upper School:
1418 Pleasant Valley Way
West Orange, NJ 07052
Lower School:
122 Gregory Ave.
West Orange, NJ 07052
(Upper) 973-602-3600
(Lower) 973-602-3700
www/goldaochacademy.org
Ages 4 to 18
Golda Och Academy is a vibrant learning
community that focuses on the individual

intellectual, social and spiritual needs of
our Pre-K through 12th grade students. We
cultivate a lifelong love of learning within
the content of Jewish knowledge and heritage. Please see our ad on page 15.

The Jewish Community Center of
Paramus/Congregation Beth Tikvah

304 East Midland Ave. (corner Spring
Valley Road), Paramus, NJ 07652
educdirector@jccparamus.org 201262-7733
Ages: 4-13
Our award-winning Hebrew School provides outstanding educational opportunities for children, pre kindergarten
through 7th grades. Pre Kindergarten
through 2nd grades meet once a week
and the children experience a love
of Shabat, Israel, the Jewish holidays
and Torah stories. 3rd to 7th grade
attend twice a week. Learning methods
include activities in our new computer
lab. Individual tutoring is available to
those needing individualized learning and those who thrive with extra
encouragement. The Hebrew School
curriculum includes Prayer, Bible, Israel
and Holocaust studies; Jewish values,
holiday celebration, family programs,
trips and special activities. The school
and the cantor prepare the children for
b’nai mitzvah, celebrated in either a
Traditional or Egalitarian service. Our
free monthly ‘Sunday Special’ program
for 4-7 year old children continues to
attract those who are not yet ready to
register for a formal Jewish educational
program. Please see our ad on page 12.

JCC of Paramus/Congregation Beth Tikvah
Hebrew School
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JCCP/CBT IS A FULL-SERVICE CONGREGATION OFFERING
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12 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

BIRTHDAY PARTY

SWIM LESSONS

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Our Red Cross certified swimming instructors provide
one-on-one 30 minute lessons 7 days a week.
Kids Pool Hrs: Weekdays 3-5pm. Weekends 10am-12pm & 2:30-4:30pm

Glenpointe

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AOC-13
Jewish Youth Encounter Program

1600 Queen Anne Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
201-833-JYEP (5937)
www.JYEP.org
Grades 3-8
The JYEP is a pre-bar/bat mitzvah Hebrew school for children in grades 3-8,
which, in addition to the traditional classroom instruction of Bible and holidays
by young and vibrant teachers, matches
each child with a tutor/mentor. Our JYEP
staff directed by Dr. Debby Rapps, is committed to creating an environment where
each child is individually nurtured to his
or her own strength in a warm, creative,
meaningful and stimulating environment.
We offer Bar and Bat Mitzvah training in
the higher grades, where each child is
mentored individually by a Big Brother/
Sister regardless of the level at which
they enter. Please see our ad on page 15.

SINAI Elementary at Joseph Kushner
Hebrew Academy

110 South Orange Avenue
Livingston, NJ 07039
862-437-8000 x8190
www.sinaischools.org
Grades: 1-8
Elementary-Middle School for children
with a wide range of complex learning
or developmental disabilities. Inclusive,
yet individualized to fit each student’s
social, emotional, and academic needs.
Recognized for educational excellence;
Middle States Association of Colleges
and Schools accreditation. Please see our
ad on page 19.

SINAI Elementary at Rosenbaum
Yeshiva of North Jersey, Including
the Riva Blatt Weinstein Judaic
Studies Program

666 Kinderkamack Road
River Edge, NJ 07661
201-262-4202
www.sinaischools.org
Grades: 1-8
Elementary-Middle School for children
with a wide range of complex learning
or developmental disabilities. Inclusive,
yet individualized to fit each student’s
social, emotional, and academic needs.
Recognized for educational excellence;
Middle States Association of Colleges
and Schools accreditation. Please see our
ad on page 19.

SINAI Schools’ Maor High School at
Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School,
including the William Solomon
Judaic Studies Program

110 South Orange Ave.
Livingston, NJ 07039
862-437-8000 x8190
www.sinaischools.org
Grades: 9-12
Academically rigorous program for high
schoolers with academic/social challenges. Inclusive, yet individualized to fit
each student’s social, emotional, and academic needs. Recognized for educational
excellence; Middle States Association
of Colleges and Schools accreditation.
Please see our ad on page 19.

SINAI Schools Rabbi Mark and Linda
Karasick Shalem High School at
Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School
1650 Palisade Ave.
Teaneck, NJ 07666
201-833-4307 x 249

www.sinaischools.org
Ages: 14 to 21
Functional academic high school program preparing students with developmental disabilities for rich and productive adult lives. Integrates pragmatic
Judaic and secular curricula with community awareness and vocational studies. Inclusive, yet individualized to fit
each student’s social, emotional, and
academic needs. Please see our ad on
page 19.

SINAI Schools Rabbi Mark and Linda
Karasick Shalem High School at Torah
Academy of Bergen County

1600 Queen Anne Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
201-862-0032
www.sinaischools.org
Ages: 14 to 21
Functional academic high school program preparing students with developmental disabilities for rich and productive adult lives. Integrates pragmatic
Judaic and secular curricula with community awareness and vocational studies. Inclusive, yet individualized to fit
each student’s social, emotional, and
academic needs. Please see our ad on
page 19.

Solomon Schechter Day School
of Bergen County (SSDS)

275 McKinley Ave.
New Milford, NJ 07646
(201) 262-9898
www.ssdsbergen.org
3 years to 8th grade
Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen
County (SSDS) is a nationally accredited,
premier Jewish day school (3-year-olds
through 8th grade) that cultivates inde-

pendent thinkers and the next generation of global leaders through an inquirybased educational approach. Now in our
42nd year, SSDS has been accepted as an
International Baccalaureate (IB) World
School candidate for the Middle Years
Programme. Our school successfully integrates a rigorous dual curriculum with
Jewish values-based moral development,
and provides a warm, nurturing environment guided by award-winning educators
committed to excellence. We offer such
innovative programming and tools as Suzuki Violin and Chess in pre- kindergarten
and kindergarten, musical theater and
yoga in our music and dance studio, an
organic teaching garden, research-grade
Zeiss microscopy lab for scientific exploration, and a digital library media center
for Holocaust and Heritage Studies. Contact Sarah Sokolic in our admissions office at 201-262-9898 x203 or admissions@
ssdsbergen.org to learn about our program. Please see our ad on page 13.

Temple Sinai of Bergen County

1 Engle Street
Tenafly, NJ 07670
201-568-6867
www.templesinaibc.org
Ages: 4 months to 5 years old
Temple Sinai Early Childhood Center is
a caring, state licensed, NAEYC accredited program for children up to 5 years
old. We are proud of our excellent staff
and high teacher to child ratio creating a warm and nurturing environment.
We offer a developmentally appropriate
and creative curriculum, which includes
music and movement, sports, sensory
activities, Tot Shabbat and holiday celebrations. Children participate in a variety of afterschool enrichment classes

Discover with Us.
Find out about our inquiry-based
approach and warm, inclusive community.
Three’s through Grade 8.
To speak to a representative or schedule a tour, email us at admissions@ssdsbergen.org

SSBC_10 x 6.6_AllFinal.indd 1

SOLOMON
SCHECHTER
D AY S C H O O L
OF BERGEN COUNTY
275 McKinley Avenue, New Milford, NJ
201.262.9898 www.ssdsbergen.org

12/14/15 12:24 PM

ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016 13

AOC-14
ART
Lessons

Guide to Schools
and Activities

Art of Excellence Studio

Unlock your Creativity with Classes in
Drawing and Watercolor
Structured Lessons - Relaxed Atmosphere
Fabulous Results!
Age 7 to Adult - All levels of ability
Art Portfolio Preparation Available
Artist, Rina Goldhagen 201-248-4779
www.artofexcellencestudio.com

including art, woodworking, ceramics,
science, soccer, modern dance and Ivrit
with A Beat. We are very excited for our
children to play outdoors in our state of
the art playground. Our Toddler/Parent



program
and Music & Me for our very


• Warm and loving
staff
young children are booming. Please call



to schedule
a visit 201-568-6867 or go
• Limited holiday
schedule

 to our website: templesinaibc.org. Risa
• Ages 6 weeks
and
up
Tannenbaum, Director of Early Child•
• Newly renovated
large facilities

hood. Please see our ad on page 16.

participate in live performances on the
bergenPAC main stage. Classes are also
available for students with special needs.
Please see our ad on page 15.



Goldhagen Art Lessons
 Rina
7-01 Manor Ave.
Fair Lawn, New Jersey 07410


201-248-4779


Artofexcellencestudio@gmail.com

Ages: 7 to adult



Art of Excellence Studio. Lessons in Fine





• Outdoor and• indoor
play areas
Art. Drawing and Watercolor Private Art


• Library and •computer
area
Lessons Structured
lessons, relaxed at
x.






Bilingual
English-Hebrew
Program

mosphere,
fabulous
results.
Art Portfolio

Music
and
movement
&
gym
Arts



&

Preparation Available. Experienced Art•



Complete
Jewish
education
Performing Arts


Extended
operating hours for


ist/Trained Educator. Please see our ad


New
nutritious
meat
• Kosher

•

on page 19.
working
parents



lunch menu
 

Box Studios at the new
 service

• Black


Ages 6 Weeks to Pre-K
• Webcam


Black
Box Performing Arts
Sports & Fitness

• 

of Teaneck
OUR CURRICULUM
• Center


• 

200
Walraven
Drive,
Registration for Summer
Camp
2016
• High Reach
curriculum
 
• 
just
east
of
Palisade
Avenue



Bounce U of Paramus
is now open
• Handwriting
without tears
201-357-2221
• 
Ultimate Party and Play Experience
 www.blackboxnynj.com and in FaceBook The
Open Enrollment for 2016-2017 School Year • Center based
learning 
70 Eisenhower Drive
• 


Ages: 5 to Adult

Paramus, NJ 07470
strategies
• 
To schedule a tour, call Karen 201-452-4549. • Sensory cognitive


201-843-5880
Description: Classes in theater, music,

Chalav
u’Dvash



www.BounceU.com/Paramus
and improv all year around. Professional









Ages: Preschool to Adult
performances and events for all ages and
• 



Mon-Thu
7:30
am - 6:30 pm


21 West Main Street
16-00
Pollitt Drive
interests including cutting-edge drama,
Voted #1 Best Place to have a Kids Party


Fri 7:30


am - 5 pm
musicals, children’s shows, musical per& #1 Best Kids Fun Place, Top 3 for Kids
1-888-GAN-AVIV · www.ganaviv.com




formance,
improv
jams,
and
more!
Please
Gym. Bounce U is a party place for fami
see our ad on page 14.


•  lies and friends to share memories that

Bergenfield


Fair Lawn

Hours of operation:

Cresskill Performing Arts Inc.

will last a lifetime. All parties and events
completely PRIVATE for you and your
guests. Two giant bounce stadiums.
10 incredible inflatables. Plus the new
Lightspace game wall! Cosmic BounceGlow parties. Check out our open
bounce and preschool play-date schedule online. Kosher
available. Please see

our ad on page 7.

ater, funk), tap, hip-hop, acting, improv,
voice, triple threat (musical theater),
choreography, fencing lessons, creative
legos. Cresskill Performing Arts companies: Dance Ensemble, Troupe, Junior
Company, and CPA Kids. Performance
opportunities include a work-in-progress
show in December, Spring Recital in June
and charity shows throughout the year.
Great themed birthday parties: dance,
acting, yoga, fencing, arts & crafts, pajama party, princesses, fairies, divas,
more! April Break Camp, Fencing Camp,
Summer Performing Arts Camps. The
emphasis is on individual growth in a
non-competitive, inclusive environment.
Please see our ad on page 17.

Established in 
1958 by Austrian born
Fritz Dietl, a renowned figure skating star
and coach, the ice rink offers a cozy and
comfortable skating environment. It is
the birthplace and home of the New Jersey Figure Skating Club. Please see our ad
on page 17.

300 Knickerbocker Road, Suite 1100
• 
Cresskill, NJ 07626
201-266-8830
• 
201-390-7513
JOIN US AT THE PERFORMING ARTS • 
studio-info@cresskillperformingarts.com

www.cresskillperformingarts.com
CENTER OF TEANECK FOR...
Ages: 2 to adult
12/19 @ 8pm Annual Winter Talent Showcase
Cresskill Performing Arts is about


your child: learning, dancing, singFritz Dietl Ice Rink
 12/21 @ 9pm Live Band Karaoke: Hard Rock
 Night
ing, and growing in imagination! Small
639 Broadway


12/23 @ 9pm Jazz Jam
classes, teachers from Broadway, in
Westwood, NJ 07675




“Cirque”shows,
nominated
for
VMA
201-664-9812
1/2 @ 8pm Improv Bowl II: Team Format Improvisational Comedy
awards, more! Classes include ballet/
www.fritzdietlicerink.com
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14 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

The Performing Arts School
at bergenPAC

1 Depot Square
Englewood, NJ 07631
201-482-8194
www.bergenpac.org/education
Ages: 3 months to 21 years.
Northern New Jersey’s premier arts
education program. Offering classes in
dance, theater, and music for all ages and
abilities, and providing opportunities to

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201-836-5400
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Ages 6 months & up
We provide private swim lessons to enhance skills and endurance for young
children and adults. Also check out our
website to view our exclusive party packages. In addition, we offer exercise programs for kids to lose weight or build
muscle. Please see our ad on page 12.

Ice Vault Skating Arena

10 Nevins Drive
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973-628-1500
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Ages: All
The Ice Vault has various activities for

AOC-15
kids of all ages. Public sessions, hockey
clinics, hockey teams, figure skating, freestyle, “Learn to Skate” programs. Birthday parties are also available. Please see
our ad on page 16.

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All ages
Monster Mini Golf is an exciting indoor
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some locations even have unusual gift
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201-750-3275
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Ages: Pre-K - High School
Description: First Place For Sports Training. NVSA offers sports training in baseball, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, softball,
fitness, great for birthday parties, camps,
tournaments year round and much more.
NVSA offers instruction from professional college, high school and club coaches.
NVSA is a 17,000 square foot facility located in the heart of Closter, NJ. Please
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The Soccer Coliseum
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1799 Teaneck Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
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ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016 15

AOC-16

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16 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

hen I began my journey of connecting with
parents after writing, “Raising a Child with
Soul,” there were some who could not fathom the idea that children are spiritual beings. I often
recalled my father’s words as he gazed at my newborn
son in the nursery. “Slova Chanalah, this little soul just
arrived from the heavens above. He was learning Torah
from the mouths of angels. He came into this world the
purest of the pure. Watch over him and teach him well.”
There was no doubt for me; children are born naturally
spiritual.
Now, a Columbia University psychologist, Dr. Lisa
Miller, has written a book asking us to think about our
child’s spiritual journey in this world. We learn that
there is EQ, IQ, and natural spirituality as well. Children
possess an innate spiritual compass that is part of our
biological endowment; it must be cultivated to flourish.
Through highlighting psychological and neurological
research, she proves that children raised in a nurturing spiritual life are happier, more successful, more resilient, more optimistic, and better able to handle life’s
challenges. These children grow up to become adults
who live with grit, are aware of their blessings, find purpose and mission in their careers, value their relationships and see hardships as priceless opportunities.
She compels parents to think about their children’s
sacred growth through scientific research. A study of
twins shows that a person’s sense of being connected
to a higher being is inherited. In other words you can
create a spiritual legacy and pass it on to your children.
Any parent of teenagers will be

AOC-17
Winter Soccer
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‘WE HAVE A HIGHER
CALLING. IT IS UP TO US TO
NURTURE OUR CHILDREN’S
SOULS AND GIVE THEM
TOOLS FOR LIFE.’
them tools for life. We try hard to provide our children
with the best in life, why stop when it comes to their
spiritual path? It behooves each parent to consider the
price their child is paying for their cynical spirit. Our
legacy includes a connection to God that anchors our
children to values and beliefs, enhancing their lives
with purpose, stability and meaningful traditions, making them more likely to avoid risky behavior.
Parents who explore the wonder of life and delve
into this new spiritual world along with their children
discover the magic of the soul. Within each of us lies a
spark. Perhaps in some it is merely an ember, but still,
the spark remains waiting to be ignited. And sometimes
it takes a child to kindle the soul of his parent. How can
we deny our child this gift of life?
As we concluded our conversation, we spoke together about the mission we share, to bring spirituality home. Dr. Miller added. “Tell parents this is not one
more thing to do. It’s about sitting still. Showing up. Doing less and being present more.”
The journey awaits us.
Slovie Jungreis-Wolff is a parenting educator and author of
“Raising a Child With Soul” (St. Martin’s Press).

Reprinted with permission of aish.com

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a sacred self. There is performance
and then there is meaning in life.
Children fall apart with only a performance self. If they don’t know
where they are or why they are here
it becomes an empty life. Children
with a sacred sense of the world
have less depression. Children have
an inner spiritual compass, a calling
that says ‘where I want to go’. And
at age 45 if one is left by a spouse
or loses money the performance
self is shattered but the sacred self
remains.
Q: You say in your book, “The
Spiritual Child: The New Science
on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving” that children, especially teens, have a growing spiritual need. What about
the ‘spiritually cynical’ parent?
A: When a parent is cynical and so jaded, there is
not much left. That is an empty bucket. We do have
in us an open heart in whatever language we can be
moved to hold value in the beauty of life. That’s not
sappy; it’s real. It’s bedrock. And it’s a much healthier
way of living. Our children need a spiritual hub.
I have been reflecting on this last question that I
asked, about spiritually cynical parents. There are
many who must grapple with being apathetic or even
opposed to their child’s spiritual path. It is not an easy
challenge. But we must take a moment and reflect on
our responsibility as parents. We have a higher calling.
It is up to us to nurture our children’s souls and give

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thrilled to learn that they can help
protect their teens from engaging
in risky behaviors and even cope
better with depression by helping
them be in touch with their spiritual side. Miller takes the case for
spirituality further by warning us
that “spiritual stunting” can cause
damage by preventing a child from
developing a true sense of self and
resiliency. Crisis occurs when a
child’s spiritual development is neglected or denied.
In a world where parents strive
to give their children the best education, encounter experiences
from zip-lining in jungles to swimDr. Lisa Miller
ming with dolphins, compete in
extreme sports tournaments, encourage art, dance and
music and learn languages like Mandarin, where does
spirituality fit in? The question is especially hard-hitting
for those who feel disconnected and spiritually alienated. Miller asks parents to consider the possibility of
offering piano lessons to children even if they, themselves, don’t know how to play. Would one offer a child
something beneficial even though it feels strange and
unfamiliar?
This is an especially crucial question when we
contemplate the world that we live in. Our children
are growing up in a culture where empty fame and
excessive materialism are worshipped. Children are
constantly posting and taking selfies learning to focus
exclusively on themselves. Bullying, cynicism, casual
cruelty surrounds them. How can we help our children
grow generous in heart and spirit?
I spoke with Dr. Miller and asked her these
questions.
Q: What does raising a spiritual child mean to today’s parents?
A: Every child born is a spiritual child. This becomes our opportunity to support our child’s birthright. When we pay attention, respond with love and
interest to spiritual wonder, we help ourselves raise a
spiritual child. And this is irrespective of tradition or
your own religious upbringing. Every child has this
birthright to build this relationship. This is an entirely
different way of raising children than if we remain silent. To pave the road back to natural spirituality we offer our child access, focus parents’ attention and offer a
path. This involves being transparent. Go the extra mile
to put the spirituality in the child’s life.
And as a sidebar, she added, a child comes naturally with a universe of spirituality. Help build your
spiritual child. Every tradition has a language and practice; every child can know what is meant. Research
has shown that it is not enough to be kind. Optimism,
forgiveness and regret are all required virtues. In 4 out
of 5 kids, a child is as virtuous as they have personal
spirituality — connecting with a Higher Power. Character strength and virtues go hand in hand.
Q: What would you say to parents who tell me that
they are too overwhelmed trying to handle getting
their children into the right schools and overwhelming
academic pressures, basically saying that raising a successful child today takes time and there is just no time
left to put into spirituality?
A: The most important thing we can do towards outward success — college, skills, grades — is to give human
fulfillment. Both correlate with a strong spiritual life. This
means giving children a sense of fulfillment; from talents and gifts to making a contribution to this world as

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ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016 17

AOC-18
SPECIAL NEEDS

Putting the Right Kind of Attention
On Attention Deficit Disorder
R I F KA S C H O N F E L D

M

ost of us find ourselves a little
“scattered” at moments. Who
hasn’t zoned out during a meeting or while listening to a speech? Or
found their attention wandering during
conversations with friends or co-workers? Forgetting where we put the car
keys or why we dropped by the supermarket are experiences we can all relate
to.
For many people, however, absentmindedness, “scattered” thinking and
disorganization are not merely occasional lapses. They are chronic and persistent, to the point of impairing a person’s
functioning. When attention deficit is
present to this degree, it can indicate the presence of a neurological
disorder.
ADD and ADHD (attention
deficit with hyperactivity)
are among the most prevalent chronic conditions
plaguing school children
in the United States, experts say. In a majority
of cases, left untreated,
the symptoms – and their
emotional fallout – continue through adulthood.

al insight and empowerment that comes
with early detection of ADHD can transform a child’s world,” says Dr. Edward
Hallowell, a Harvard-based psychiatrist
who treats ADHD children and has authored many books on the subject.
Instead of facing a steady barrage
of criticism that destroys self-worth, a
child whose ADD is detected in the early
grades is helped to learn about his special neurological challenges, and to master specific strategies to stay on top of
them, he explains. Early
intervention
“can

deficit disorder. An ADHD child often
has no trouble focusing on an activity
he or she finds enjoyable. One can find
such children engaged in games, crafts
or other projects in which they have
natural skill or interest.
However, as soon as the subject matter becomes more abstract or requires
sustained mental effort, the ADHD child
typically loses interest. She begins to
fidget and be disruptive, or to “space
out.”
Parents
who
do not see
their

transform a victim into a victor.”
Ironically, the vast increase in ADD/
ADHD diagnoses across the country
has given rise to skepticism in some
quarters about the disorder. Teachers
who try to make parents aware of their
child’s attention issues often encounter
opposition. They find that some parents
brush aside the suggestion that ADHD
might be present, and are quick to put
the onus on the teacher.
The child is “bored,” the parents
argues, or lacking stimulation. “He has
no problem concentrating at home. Perhaps if you made the lessons more interesting, he would pay better attention.”
This reaction underscores one of
the key misconceptions about attention

child in a classroom context obviously
have no frame of reference with which to
gauge attention issues, hyperactivity or
impulsivity. Only when these behaviors
are measured against those of his peers,
and combined with a parent’s observations of behavior at home, can a valid
diagnosis be made – and then only by a
professional.
Since there is no blood test, x-ray
or sonogram that can identify ADHD, a
specialist arrives at a diagnosis through
skilled interviewing of the child, parents
and teachers, as well as careful observation and weighing of data and anecdotal

What Exactly Is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurological disorder characterized by inappropriate levels of inattention,
over-activity, and impulsivity.
Symptoms arise in early childhood
but are not always identified correctly.
Signs of inattention include: difficulty following instructions; difficulty sustaining attention; loses things necessary
for tasks; poor attention to details; disorganized, surrounded by clutter; makes
careless mistakes; appears sluggish/
drowsy; forgetful; chronic daydreaming; appears apathetic or unmotivated
to complete tasks; appears “spacey,”
preoccupied; appears confused, lost in
thought; difficulty complying with rules
Signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity include: difficulty awaiting turn;
interrupts/intrudes; blurts out answers;
difficulty playing quietly; difficulty remaining seated; excessive writhing,
squirming, playing with objects, fidgeting; excessive talking.

Early Detection and Intervention
Detecting ADHD early can be enormously beneficial for the child. “The emotion-

18 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

evidence over a period of time.

Socially Immature
Current research shows that ADHD children are often socially immature. Their
interactions with others often appear
unfriendly, awkward, remote, abrasive,
domineering or insensitive. They tend
not to be able to read social cues and to
be rebuffed by peers for inappropriate
behavior.
Social rejection provokes negative
behavior that triggers more rejection,
which in turn, reinforces the child’s social isolation.
“ADD children may become demoralized, believing they are little more than
a nuisance,” notes an article in Eye
on Education. “Feelings of low-self
esteem begin to emerge. These
children tend to compare
themselves unfavorably with
their siblings and peers.
They may believe that
their families are disappointed in them, and begin to feel unloved and
unappreciated.”
Although medication has been used for
years to improve control over behavior and
to stimulate and increase attention, medication does not erase
the negative feelings
and low self-esteem. It
does not reverse ingrained
habits and behavior in ADHD
children that tend to alienate
their peers.
Many experts believe that helping ADHD children to rebuild self-esteem
and to master social skills should accompany the use of medication. Only
when ADHD kids can truly believe that
they are important and worthwhile, and
can exercise control over their lives, will
they be able to succeed.
Current research shows that up to
half of children with ADHD will continue
to have difficulties with inattention, distractibility, and impulsivity for the rest
of their lives. The best way to insure
long-term success and compliance with
treatment is to get ADHD children personally involved in the process early.

Medication
Medication is, of course, another viable
option for many with ADHD. For many
children, medications such as Ritalin

-

r
,
d
o
e

,

n

f
e
e
h
.

-

m

l

e

AOC-19
SPECIAL NEEDS
can be extremely beneficial, allowing
them to focus and concentrate for extended periods of time. There are also
many instances in which medication
is not necessary, but for most children
with ADHD, medication is an important
step on the road to success.

Classroom Modifications for ADD
and ADHD
The following suggestions may be of
help in the classroom for children with
ADD. Seat students in rows. Having
children sit in groups increases distractions for the ADHD child. Seat ADHD
student near teacher’s desk, up front
with her back to the rest of the class,

but include as part of regular class
seating. Surround ADHD student with
“good role models,” preferably students whom the ADHD child views favorably. Encourage buddying up during
class time, whenever appropriate. Do
not place the ADD/ADHD student near
air conditioners, heaters, high traffic areas, doors or windows. Keep the classroom door closed. Keep the room free
of clutter. Distracting posters, signs,
and hanging pictures should relate to
the lesson being presented. ADD children do not handle change very well so
whenever possible, avoid transitions,
changes in schedule, physical relocation and disruptions.

Teaching Science to Autistic Students
May Help Social Skills
New research suggests that an elementary
school curriculum that focuses on sciences might be beneficial to individuals with
autism, enhancing not only their classroom knowledge, but their social skills.
“Teaching Paleobiology to Children
with Autism” was presented recently at
the 2015 Geological Society of America
annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland
by Dina Beck-Billig, a senior at Touro’s
Lander College for Women–The Anna
Ruth and Mark Hasten School in Manhattan, and Dr. Howard R. Feldman, a
paleontologist and biology professor at
Lander College for Women. Paleobiology
is a growing and comparatively new discipline that combines the methods and
findings of the natural science biology
with the methods and findings of the
earth science paleontology.
“Children with autism have restrictive interests and fixations, but these areas of special interest can be harnessed
academically,” says Ms. Beck-Billig.
“When these curiosities are nurtured,
the students can become verbally passionate about what they love and the
fixations can be used to help motivate
them to interact with the world and people through their subject.”
Instead of classroom instruction
that strives to improve social cues — abstract concepts that can be stressful for
individuals with autism — the research

proposes that cultivating students’ interests in factually based subjects like
the sciences will provide a pathway to
improving their personal skills.
“Science, specifically paleobiology,
can be used as a bridge to help children
with autism better connect with, interact with, and understand their immediate environments,” says Ms. Beck-Billig.
“Teachers can harness the sensory component integral to science, as well as use
it to deepen students’ understanding of
natural phenomena. Furthermore, incorporating effective teaching methods into
paleobiology methodologies can help
students with autism become more settled in their social, natural and sensory
environments.”
“The anxiety autistic children experience from learning social behavior
makes them want to give up and retreat
into their own world,” she said. “They
have to learn to adapt to changes, to
transition, to not being so inflexible
and rigid in their schedule. The question is how to discuss it in a way that’s
natural, and I believe it’s particularly effective to integrate it into the scientific
curriculum.”
Ms. Beck-Billig, says that her methods have yielded encouraging results.
She added that science is only one of a
handful of subjects that could prove to
be effective for autistic students.

ADD Coaching
Many people have found ADHD coaching a highly effective and more affordable alternative to counseling. An ADHD
“coach” works with a child often on her
own turf, to analyze what specifically is
contributing to her social difficulties,
and to generate behavioral strategies to
improve social interactions.
ADHD coaching also helps children
to understand that the source of many of
their challenges is ADHD, not personal
shortcomings. Safely examine areas of
failure for clues as to how to implement
change. Heighten self-awareness and
self-observation skills, and use those
skills to improve decision-making and

performance.
Change perspective when “stuck”
(i.e. learning new ways to work with
procrastination, staying on task, or being more productive). Become aware
of their own learning and processing
styles so they can enhance their ability to comprehend information and
situations.
Rifka Schonfeld, founder and director of
S.O.S (Strategies for Optimum Success), has
served the Jewish community for nearly 30
years as an educator and education consultant. She is a reading specialist who does
G.E.D. preparation, evaluations, social skills
training, dating coaching and self-esteem
building. Visit her at rifkaschonfeld@gmail.
com.

Your child needs special education.
You want her to have a Jewish education.
You want him to be included.

INCLUSION by DESIGN
Serving Children

with a

Broad range

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®

SpeCial needS

Special education uniquely integrated within Jewish Day Schools
• Individualization • Educational excellence
• Meeting each child’s academic, social, and emotional needs
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ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016 19

AOC-20

1

3

2

4

5

6

7

1. Rabbi Moshe Grossbaum of Living Legacy is
pictured with religious school students at Temple
Emanu-El in Closter. They learned how ancient
Jews made olive oil, and even pressed olives to
make oil to use in their own Hanukkiyot.

10K with his parents, Aliza and Ben Goldstein, as
part of Team Lifeline. He thanked his oncologist,
Dr. Lenny Wexler, and the effort of Camp Simcha
for helping to give him hope and joy and beat
the odds to survival and success.

2. Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley Early
Childhood Program hosted its Special Person
Shabbat recently with grandparents, parents,
and other extended family. They sang in the
sanctuary and then went to the classroom for
blessings, challah and “wine.”

6. Congregation Beth Aaron, an Orthodox
synagogue in Teaneck, ran its third annual
Project THANKS on Thanksgiving Day. This
program expresses thanks Teaneck’s brave
firefighters and provides a Thanksgiving dinner
“with all the trimmings,” prepared by Ma’adan
of Teaneck, to the firemen on duty Thanksgiving
Day.

3. Temple Emeth Religious School participated
in the 23rd annual Bergen County Chanukah
toy drive by donating toys and games for Jewish
children in celebration of Chanukah.
4. The third grade class at the Academies at
Gerrard Berman Day School learned about wind
vanes during a presentation by guest speaker
and environmental engineer, Andy Anderson, in
conjunction with their unit of study, weather.
5. On Nov. 15 2015, Nate Goldstein, who
overcame a rare form of cancer – Alveolar
Rhabdomyosarcoma that was diagnosed when
he was 5 and imperiled his left leg and his life,
ran and completed the Las Vegas Rock ‘n Roll

20 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

8

9

7. SINAI Schools’ newly established Bayrish
Schreiber Music Therapy Program uses music
as a therapeutic tool to address the physical,
emotional, cognitive, and social needs of their
students.
8. Students from the Performing Arts School
at bergenPAC were among the clowns who
performed on the bergenPAC main stage for
the NJ Ballet Nutcracker. The students, left to
right, Jessica Velez and Bruna Beltreschi are
studying with the beyondDANCE program at The
Performing Arts School at bergenPAC.

9. “Art for All” at the Kaplen JCC on the
Palisades is an annual art exhibit featuring the
accomplishments of individuals with special
needs will be on display throughout December.
More than 200 pieces were submitted from 10

different schools and programs. The exhibition
showcases the talents of school-aged children
and teens, adults, community residents and
JCC Special Services Program participants.

AOC-21
OurChildren
About

TopChoices
CO M P I L E D BY H E I D I M A E B RAT T

J A N U A R Y 2 0 16

Ski Bunny Alert:
Marcia’s Attic for Kids

The Giant Titanosaur
Is Coming to Town
The American Museum of Natural History is adding another must-see exhibit to its worldfamous Fossil Halls: a cast of a 122-foot-long dinosaur, an occupant so large that its neck
and head will stretch across nearly the entire fourth floor. This species is so new that the
paleontologists who discovered it haven’t yet formally named it. It belongs to a group
known as titanosaurs, which were first discovered in 2014 in Argentina’s Patagonia region.
The giant herbivore is said to have weighed in at around 77 tons, making it one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered. The American Museum of Natural History, Central Park
West & 79th Street, Manhattan, 212-769-5100, www.amnh.org.

Danny Weinkauf Plays
at The Jewish Museum
Grammy-winning bassist Danny Weinkauf (They Might Be Giants) and his Red Pants
Band perform their hits songs “Archaeology,” “The Moon is Made of Cheese,” and
others from the band’s popular album No School Today, along with TMBG favorites
“Where Do They Make Balloons?” and “I Am a Paleontologist” at a performance on
Sunday, Jan. 25, 2016 at 2 p.m. in the Scheuer Auditorium at The Jewish Museum.
The show is perfect for youngsters 3 and older. The Jewish Museum,1109 Fifth Ave.
at 92 St., Manhattan. 212-423-3200. www.thejewishmuseum.org

Real winter is still a-coming
and that means cold
weather, and snow, and for
some, hitting the slopes. If
you want to hit them hills in
style, take a look at the racks
of great togs at Marcia’s Attic
for Kids. This winter, there
are plenty of cold-weather
choices – and plenty featuring this season’s sizzler, fur,
which adds a bit of luxe and
warmth. The pelt adorns hats
with pom-poms, scarves and
trim on coats. There’s also the
faux fur version for those who
prefer to eschew the real deal.
Ski googles in stock have been
described at “da bomb.” Not
heading for slopes but for the
surf this winter vacay? No worries. The clothing emporium is
carrying plenty of cruise wear,
as well. Marcia’s Attic for Kids, 29 North Dean St., Englewood, NJ.
201-894-5701, www.marciasatticforkids.com

Daniel Tiger’s
Neighborhood Live!
The legacy of the beloved “Mister Rogers” lives on with the hit television series,
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, from The Fred Rogers Company and airing daily on
PBS KIDS. Now, Daniel and all of his friends are hopping aboard Trolley to entertain live audiences with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live! on Sunday, Jan. 24 at
bergenPAC. Donning his iconic red sweater, Daniel and his friends explore the
vibrant world of their Neighborhood of Make-Believe, sharing stories of friendship, helping others, and celebrating new experiences. This live theatrical production is filled with singing, dancing, laughter and “grr-ific” surprises. Sunday, Jan.
24, 2016. 1 and 4:30 p.m. bergenPAC, 30 North Van Brunt St., Englewood.
201-227-1030, www.bergenpac.org.
ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016 21

AOC-22

The Good Life With Kids

JANUARY

To Our Readers: To Our Readers: This calendar is a day-by-day schedule of events. Although all information is as timely as we can make it, it’s a
good idea to call to verify details before you go.

Friday, December 18

Saturday, December 19
Friendship Circle Saturday Night Live: Children
enjoy a pizza dinner with their friends and keep
busy with mind-boggling science experiments.
For ages 7 and older. The Friendship Circle of
Passaic County, 194 Ratzer Road, Wayne. 973694-6274, fcpassaiccounty@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 20
Meet Elsa and Olaf: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the
Academies at Gerrard Berman Day School, 45
Spruce St., Oakland. Take pictures with Elsa and
Olaf. Do snowy science experiments. Make your
own Olaf in a bottle. Enjoy an edible snowman.
For more information, 201-337-1111
Kids in Action Skate it Away: The children will
be writing and sending letters to Israeli soldiers.
After that, they will head out for ice-skating.
Drop off at the Chabad Center, 194 Ratzer Road,
Wayne. Pickup at the Ice Vault, 10 Nevins Road,
Wayne. 12:45 to 2:15 p.m.

Friday, December 25
Oran Etkin Timbalooloo in Concert: Two special
family concerts at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at The
Jewish Museum. Etkin will be presenting a new
production, “Sing Sing Sing - Benny Goodman
in the Kingdom of Swing,” incorporating music
from Etkin’s new CD for adults, What’s New?
Reimagining Benny Goodman, and playing it in a
child-friendly way. The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth
Ave., at 92 St., Manhattan. 212-423-3337, www.
thejewishmuseum.org
Museum of Jewish Heritage: Spend the day
at the museum, as all exhibitions will be open
from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be tours of the
exhibitions and a matinee performance of The
Golden Bride/Di Goldene Kale (separate admission required). The Museum of Jewish Heritage
— A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. 36 Battery
Place, Manhattan.
Mish Mash with Ventriloquist Jonathan
Geffner: Kaplen JCC on the Palisades Presents
Mish Mash with famous Ventriloquist Jonathan
Geffner 11 a.m. to noon, who will wow with his
wacky, whimsical wooden sidekicks who mesmerize audiences. JCC on the Palisades, 411 E.
Clinton Ave., Tenafly. 201-408-1467, alofaro@
jccotp.org.

Tuesday, December 29
Autism Friendly Theater: A sensory-friendly
production at the Paper Mill Playhouse at 1:30
p.m. with a meet your seat on Monday, Dec.
28 from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information,

22 ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016

To Add Your Event to Our Calendar
Send it to:
Calendar Editor
About Our Children
New Jersey/Rockland Jewish Media Group
1086 Teaneck Road
Teaneck, NJ 0766 AboutOC­aol.com
or fax it to: 201-833-4959
Deadline for February issue (published January 29):
Tuesday, January 12

Games People Play
Keep Boredom at Bay

DaybyDay

Tot Shabbat with Matty Roxx at Temple
Emanu-El of Closter: 5:30 p.m. Join parents and
children, birth to 5 years old, for an end of the
year musical Shabbat with Matty Roxx. 5:30 p.m.
For more information, contact Tammy Ween @
ween@templeemanu-el.com.
Tot Shabbat in Franklin Lakes: Tot Shabbat
and pizza dinner at Barnert Temple at 5 p.m.
Our youngest ones (pre-readers) are invited to
welcome in Shabbat with us at this family-friendly
service, 747 Route 208 South, Franklin Lakes.
201-848-1027.

OurChildren
About

DENISE MORRISON YEARIAN

Mish Mash with Ventriloquist Jonathan Geffner.
See Friday December 25
973-376-4343. The Paper Mill Playhouse, 22
Brookside Drive, Millburn www.PaperMill.org.

Friday, January 8
Temple Emeth Family Service: Family Shabbat
services at Temple Emeth, 1666 Windsor Road,
Teaneck. Held at 7:30 p.m. 201-833-1322, www.
emeth.org.

Saturday, January 9

If wintry weather has put the freeze on
your fun, warm up the day with these
homemade games and invite friends
over to play. You’ll be the toast of the
town!
I’VE GOT YOU PEGGED
Shoebox lid
Nail
Hammer
Ruler
Marker
Ten wooden round clothespins
Five rubber canning jar rings

Come to the Cabaret My Friend: Temple Israel
and Jewish Community Center presents 2nd
annual Cabaret Night from 8 to 11 p.m. Featuring
the Ridgewood Irish Dance’s title-winning dancers, jazz/pop pianist Ms. Sarah Diamonds, comedian Dan Abraham, singer/songwriter Ariana
Gates, Taiko drummers Manhattan Taiko, pop
singer Caitlin Bromberg (Temple Israel’s cantor),
Macaroon 5 (the house band of the Glen Rock
Jewish Center playing hits from the ’50s to the
’80s and more. For information 201-444-9320.

On the inside of a shoebox lid, measure
and mark off ten small circles in two rows
of five that are evenly spaced.

Sunday, January 10

Below each clothespin, write one number
ranging from 1 to 10.

3rd Annual JCC Rockland Fitfest: Come and
sample classes including Pilates, TRX, Yoga, Group
Cycling and more from 9 a.m. to noon. 450 West
Nyack Road, West Nyack, NY, 845-362-4400.

Friday, January 15
Temple Emeth Shabbat Music Service: For a
musical Shabbat at Temple Emeth beginning
at 8 p.m. Temple Emeth, 1666 Windsor Road,
Teaneck. 201-833-1322. www.emeth.org.
Tot Shabbat in Franklin Lakes: Tot Shabbat
and Pizza Dinner at Barnert Temple at 5 p.m.
Our youngest ones (pre-readers) are invited
to welcome in Shabbat with us at this familyfriendly service. Barnert Temple is located at 747
Route 208 South, Franklin Lakes, NJ. 201-8481027 or schooloffice@barnerttemple.org. www.
barnerttemple.org.
Tot Shabbat Service: Temple Israel and
Jewish Community Center holds Tot Shabbat at
11 a.m. No need to leave the children 4 and
younger home when you want to go to synagogue. Services are egalitarian Conservative and
Reconstructionist. 475 Grove St., Ridgewood. 201444-9320.

Sunday, January 31
Mitzvah Mall: One day. A world of difference. 16th
annual mitzvah mall. Raising money and awareness for grassroots organizations close to home
and around the world. 9 a.m. to noon. Barnert
Temple, 747 Route 208 South, Franklin Lakes.
www.barnerttemple.org/mizvahmall.

Poke holes through the circles using a nail
and hammer. (Note put something under
the box so the nail doesn’t go through the
floor or table.)
Push one clothespin through each hole.

To play, put the box on the floor with the
clothespins facing up. Stand several feet
away and toss the rubber rings around
the clothespins. Add up points using the
numbers as a guide. The first person to
20 points wins.
SOCK IT TO ’EM
Dried beans
Plastic sandwich-size zipper bags
Clean sox
Rubber bands
Large cardboard box
Scissors
Tape
Markers
Put ½ cup of dried beans into a plastic
baggie. Squeeze out air and seal the bag
shut.
Place the bean bag into the bottom of a
clean sock. Roll the remainder of the sock
around the outside of the bean bag and
secure with a rubber band.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 to create as many
bean bags as you need.

Turn a large box upside down and tape
the bottom and side seams shut so
the box is sturdy.
Draw four various-sized circles
on the outside bottom of the
box and cut them out. (The
smallest hole should be slightly
larger than the stuffed sock.)
Below each hole, write one
number ranging from 1 to 4.
Make the smallest hole worth
4 points and the biggest hole
worth 1 point.
To play, stand several feet away
from the box and toss bean bags into the
holes. Add up points using the numbers
as a guide. The first person to 15 points
wins.
STICKY SITUATION
3 Ping pong balls
Self-adhesive Velcro dots
2-Foot square sheet of cardboard
1 Large piece of flannel
Scissors
Ruler
Stapler
Markers
To create a game board, cover cardboard
with flannel and secure with staples.
Cut five pieces of flannel into different
shapes such as circles, squares and triangles. Shapes should be approximately
5-inches each.
Arrange shapes on the game board and
secure with staples.
Write different numbers on each of the
flannel shapes to represent scoring points.
Create sticky balls by applying self-adhesive Velcro dots all over the ping pong
balls.
To play, lean the game board against a
wall. Stand several feet away and throw
balls onto the board. Add up points using
the numbers as a guide. First one to 20
points wins.
Denise Morrsion Yearian is the former
editor of two parenting magazines and the
mother of three children and four grandchildren.

AOC-23

Simchas
BENJAMIN SCHACK
Benjamin Schack, son of
Susan Esserman-Schack and
Barton Schack of Allendale
and brother of Zachary
Bronstein, 25; Joshua
Bronstein, 23; and Sophia
Schack, 9, celebrated becoming a bar mitzvah on on
November 14 at at Barnert
Temple in Franklin Lakes.

Birth
YAAKOV LEV EFRATI
Yaakov Lev Efrati was born on September 27, 2015 at
Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem to Mandy and Etan Efrati. He
weighed 7.6 pounds and was welcomed by his brother Yitchak
Shalom, who was 11 months old at the time of his birth. Their
grandparents are Linda and Bennett Storfer of Bergenfield
and Rachel and Sasson Efrati of Jerusalem.

B’nai mitzvah

ALEXIS MOGENSEN
Alexis Rose Mogensen,
daughter of Alyssa and Chuck
Mogensen of Tenafly and
granddaughter of Judith and
Marc Pozner of Englewood
celebrated becoming a bat
mitzvah on December 12
at Temple Sinai of Bergen
County in Tenafly.

ALAN ROSENBERG
OZ ASHKENAZI
Oz Ashkenazi, son of Hagit
and Yaron Ashkenazi and
brother of Omer, Reut, and
Amit, celebrated becoming
bar mitzvah on on November
21 at Temple Beth Sholom in
Fair Lawn.

MAX BERKOWITZ
ALEX BERKOWITZ
Max and Alex Berkowitz,
twin sons of Jodi and Philip
Berkowitz of Fair Lawn,
celebrated becoming bnai
mitzvah on October 31 at
the Fair Lawn Jewish Center/
Congregation B’nai Israel.

REBECCA GROSS
Rebecca Gross, daughter of
Sharon and David Gross of
Harrington Park, celebrated
becoming a bat mitzvah
on December 5 at Temple
Beth El of Northern Valley in
Closter.

KIRA LINCOLN
Kira Lincoln, daughter of
Michelle Levine and Paul
Lincoln of Ridgewood, celebrated becoming a bat
mitzvah on December 5
at Temple Israel & Jewish
Community Center in
Ridgewood.

Alan Rosenberg, son
of Margot and Michael
Rosenberg of Paramus and
brother of Scott, celebrated
becoming a bar mitzvah
on December 5 at Temple
Avodat Shalom in River Edge.
His grandparents are Sandra
and Harvey Rosenberg of
Paramus.

GREGORY ROVINSKY
Gregory Rovinsky, son of
Yelena and Steven Rovinsky
of River Edge and brother of
Joshua and Leah, celebrated
becoming a bar mitzvah on
November 21 at Temple
Avodat Shalom in River
Edge. He is the grandson of
Raisa and Leonid Rovinsky
of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Roza
and Vladimir Kodryanu of
Cleveland, Ohio,

JACOB SAPIN
Jacob Sapin, son of Marc
Sapin and Joy Melnick Sapin
of River Edge, and brother of
Ari and Chelsea, Jared, and
Eliana, celebrated becoming
a bar mitzvah on November
28 at Congregation Beth
Sholom in Teaneck.

BROOKE SENDIK
Brooke Sendik, daughter of Jill and Paul Sendik
of Waldwick and sister
of Brandon, celebrated
becoming a batmitzvah on
November 21 at Temple
Emanuel in Woodcliff Lake.

TOBY SHAPIRO
Toby Jean Shapiro, daughter of
Debbie and Jeremy Shapiro of
Hillsdale, celebrated becoming
a bat mitzvah on November 21
at Congregation B’nai Israel in
Emerson.

MYLES SUCHOFF
Myles Suchoff, son of Sandy
and Jeff Suchoff of Fair Lawn,
celebrated becoming a bar
mitzvah on November 21 at
the Fair Lawn Jewish Center/
Congregation B’nai Israel.

OurChildren
About

Winter Camp at Chabad
At Chabad Center Day Camp, Jewish
children ages 5 to 11 years old have
their mid-winter break transformed
into an exciting camp experience. With
dynamic, committed staff, parents can
rest assured that campers will have
loads of fun and laughter while bolstering their Jewish identity in a safe and
caring environment.

It will take place from Monday,
Dec. 28 to Thursday Dec. 31. The camp
will take place at the Chabad Center,
194 Ratzer Road, Wayne.
Email
Chani@Jewishwayne.com
or call 973-694-6274 for more information. Visit us at Jewishwayne,com/
wintercamp to register your child.

Chef Eitan Bernath at the Kaplen JCC
Teaneck’s favorite teen chef Eitan Bernath, who was featured on Food Network’s
“Chopped!” and in various newspapers,
including The Jewish Standard and About
Our Children, cooking demonstrations and
other appearances, is going to trade in his
toque for a judge’s cap.
The 13-year-old Yavneh Academy
eighth grader will lead and judge a friendly
cooking demonstration and competition
for third to fifth graders at the Kaplen JCC
on the Palisades.
Eitan certainly knows what it’s like to
be judged for his culinary skills, having
catapulted to local and national fame following his kippah-clad appearance on the
Food Network Show “Chopped!” last year.
The demonstration and competition
event at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades
Eitan Bernath
is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 at 7:30
p.m. 411 E. Clinton Ave., Tenafly. 201-408-1467, www.jccotp.org.

PARTY

973-661-9368
GIL ZYNDORF
Gil Zyndorf, son of Lisa and
Moshe Zyndorf of Fair Lawn
and brother of Benjamin and
Oren of Israel, celebrated
becoming a bar mitzvah
on November 14 at the
Fair Lawn Jewish Center/
Congregation B’nai Israel. As a
mitzvah project, he collected
bikes to donate to Pedals for
Progress. The bikes are sent
to impoverished countries and
give people access to go to
work.

Include:
1 hours of skating (during public session)
Private decorated party room
Off ice party attendant
Skate rental
Invitations for party guests
Pizza and soda
Personalized Carvel ice cream cake
Favors and candy
FREE skating pass for future use
Birthday child receives FREE Ice Vault T shirt

ABOUT OUR CHILDREN • JANUARY 2016 23

AOC-24

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Are you simply looking to maintain your health?
You deserve to live your best life! Let us help you.
Our philosophy and mission at Valley’s Center for Integrative Medicine is that healing requires a
systematic, functional medicine approach which recognizes and utilizes the full spectrum of validated
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You will meet with medical professionals in a patient-centered, collaborative environment
where we treat chronic illness as well as optimize and promote wellness for all patients.
For more information or to schedule a consultation for your
best health and life, please call 201-389-0075.

www.ValleyMedicalGroup.com/IM

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WINTER 2015
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WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-3 Jewish Standard

New and now................................................................................. 4
Down the aisle in the trendiest ways

Seating arrangements............................................................... 8
Top trends in wedding place cards

All in the approach.................................................................... 10
Making your wedding path stand out

How to choose how and where to honeymoon......... 11
Best guest...................................................................................... 12
Etiquette tips for wedding attendees

Helpers, taskers, and other party elves......................... 14
Should you hire online help for your big day?

Dress trends................................................................................. 15
Looking your best on the big day

Plus-size brides........................................................................... 16
Bridal beauty at any size

DIY, all-in-one, or party rental suppliers?...................... 17
Le menu du jour.......................................................................... 18
New trends in menu cards
O N T H E C OVE R: A ndrew and Elis s a Glaser at t h eir Sep t ember 6, 2015 wedding at Temp le Israel in Law r e nc e , N .Y. P hoto B Y B rett M atthe w s P hotogr aphy

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Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm

W

Now

New AND

With every decade, there are new trends for
weddings that make the ceremony au courant.

Down the aisle in the trendiest ways
Heidi Mae Brattx

F

rom the beginning of time, brides
have wanted to make their wedding day one of the most memorable and special days of their
lives. For the few hours of the well-planned
and long-dreamed-about party where they
are center stage, they want everything to
be perfect or as perfect as it can be.
Many also want it to be on trend.
How many remember the 1981 royal
wedding of Diana Princess of Wales? The
celebrated nuptials not only captured the
attention of the world but ushered in the
look of the decade, which reflected a bride
beautified by puffy sleeves, lace, cathedral
train veils, pearls, cinched waists, and
sequins.
These days, you nary see a puff on a
sleeve. That decade’s trends went way
beyond the dress, spilling into every
aspect of the wedding from picture taking
(posed family portraits rather than natural

documentary-style photography), to the
cake (a stacked tiered cake held together
by columns rather than cupcakes or mini

“One thing that
has not changed
and will never change
is that people still
want good service.
Service is of the
utmost importance.”
— Maria Daidone
desserts), to the venue (a party in a hotel
ballroom rather than a wedding held at a
number of unique places).
We queried several of our own area wedding makers to get their take on what is
new and now in the way of the wedding.

Les Friedman, owner of Northern Valley Affairs at Temple Emanu-El in Closter,
said that having a wedding in a space that
is both indoor and outdoor is something
that many brides want.
“Brides definitely are looking for the
option of indoor-outdoor for their wedding so they can have the choice when the
weather is permitting,” he said.
At Northern Valley Affairs, events can
even defy the weather outside. If it’s cold,
and the couple wants to use its outdoor
space for the ceremony or for cocktails,
heating lamps warm up the outdoors some
30 degrees, He said. . Mr. Friedman, with
nearly 40 years experience in the events
business, works with his general manager
Marty Maged.
“The outdoor space is used especially
during the warm weather months, but we
just did a late November wedding, and yes,
while it was warm outside, 48 degrees, we
were able to get it to 70 degrees with the

heating lamps,” he said.
Brides are also looking for lighting to add
to the ambiance of the party. At Northern
Valley Affairs, LED lights change the look of
the room or the patio in an instant, creating a different feeling as they change color
from amber to purple to blue, for example.
When it comes to dining, Mr. Friedman,
who cut his teeth on the grand smorgasbords of yesterday (remember the stuffed
cabbage and barley laden chafing dishes?)
and the heavily prime-rib plated main
courses, said there is a major difference
in how the wedding guests are enjoying
their meals today. Smaller, prettier, more
interesting and more ethnic is what is on
the menu, especially for appetizers, he
said. Mini martini glasses filled with sushigrade tuna and Asian slaw or a tapas-sized
Peking duck roll with a dab of Hoisin sauce
served at various stations is what is big
these days.
“They want a small dainty, one-bite

.

WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

appetizer. They don’t want to have to use
a knife or fork. They just want to pick and
go,” he said.
The small sized and big variety option
goes for dessert as well.
Instead of the slice of wedding cake
(where do you see the bride and groom
even cutting the cake before the guests?)
and the groaning and overflowing Viennese table laden with desserts, the sweets
are made part of the party. Mini desserts
are served butler-style to guests who are
either seated or still dancing. The offerings
are dizzying, from dipped pretzels, to cake
lollipops to mini-cheesecakes (pareve).
Sweets arrive on the dance floor, as the
guests are boogieing.
Another big trend is that the dancing
just doesn’t stop. Brides want the party to
go on and on.
“Years ago, the band would stop playing
about five times and ask the guests to be
seated to be served their various courses:
the fruit cup, salad, appetizer, main
course, and dessert. They used to take a
break every 20 minutes. Now it’s nonstop
dancing in the ballroom. Maybe they sit
down twice,” he said.
Deena Greenstein, the in-house event
planner for Five Star Caterers and head of
Deena Greenstein Events, says that weddings are no longer hamstrung by old conventions or traditions.
“There are no rules anymore. People are
doing whatever they want,” she said.
For example, setting up a lounge for
guests was a thing common to bar and bat
mitzvahs, but now weddings are including
this element. In addition, custom is king,
she said, whether it is custom linen, a custom bar with a monogrammed design, or
a custom dance floor.
For the food, Ms. Greenstein said, there
is a “blend and balance of fun and healthy”
such as a lean lamb, turkey, or vegetable
sliders with shoestring French fries.
“There is the fun stuff but it’s coupled
with the classic and organic foods like
fresh vegetables and local seasonal produce, Ms. Greenstein said. “Sushi is also
making a big comeback, with not only the
quality but also the excitement of a beautiful display.”
Maria Daidone, owner of the The Estates
at Florentine Gardens in River Vale, said
that outdoor ceremonies where guests
enjoy the natural space is something that
has become a big part of today’s weddings.
Her venue, she added, has “a beautiful garden space.”
Another thing Ms. Daidone has noted is

S-5 Jewish Standard

Brides and grooms want documentary style photography to capture their event more than posed stills.

Grand cocktail receptions featuring an array of small
finger food are very popular these days.

that the color scheme is lighter, with more
brides choosing to have their weddings
in shades that are more subdued such as
cream and nude.
“Years ago, everything was lavender, but
you don’t see that today,” she said.
For after-dessert or the little goodie
sendoff, food trucks have become a big
trend. Guests can get donuts, coffee,
candy, and pretzels, anything that you’d
get from a food truck right at the event.
“They just park outside and when guests
are leaving they give them water or soda or
a snack,” Ms. Daidone said. “It’s become a
big thing in the last couple of years.”
Yossi Abadi, owner of the Palisadium in
Cliffside Park, said that the do-it-yourself
trend, especially in the era of Pinterest,
has become favored at weddings.
For instance, the centerpieces on the
tables are no longer big, overwhelming

Lovely outdoor venues, like this setting in a garden gazebo, are something
that brides are looking for.

bouquets of flowers, but perhaps an
arrangement of shrubs that has been
designed by the bride. Another example
of new and now is how the hosts communicate with guests about where they are
to be seated. Creative ways such as a big
billboard have replaced individual place
cards, Mr. Abadi said.
“We had one client recently who used a
large mirror that had the guests’ names on
it instead of place cards,” he said.
What’s new at the Marriott Glenpointe
is a complete renovation of its 345 guest
rooms, an overhaul that includes new
bathrooms, furniture, carpeting and wallpaper. For guests who will use the hotel
rooms for their bridal party or wedding,
this is a bonus, said Mitchell Heymann,
director of sales and marketing.
When it comes to weddings at hotels,
Gerry Burns, the director of catering at

the Pearl River Hilton in Pearl River, N.Y.,
said that she has seen more full-weekend
weddings at her hotel than in the past. In
the past, it may have just been a Saturday
night event, but these days, the wedding
spans the weekend. Guests may arrive on
Friday for Shabbat for a rehearsal dinner.
They spend Saturday either observing the
Sabbath or enjoying the day otherwise
with various activities, attend the Saturday night wedding, and then remain at the
hotel until Sunday for a farewell brunch.
“It’s a destination wedding without having to really go far to a destination,” said
Ms. Burns.
Noam Sokolow, president of Rave Catering and Event Planning, said that many
weddings are taking place at unique venues, such as old mansions or farms with
barns. If the affair is smaller and more
intimate, 200 guests as compared to 400

WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-6 Jewish Standard

guests, it can take place in a more unique setting, he said.
“People are inviting friends and not just people they are
friendly with,” he said.
The music for weddings is also being mixed up a bit. It
is not unusual to find a live band during the cocktail hour
and ceremony and then a DJ playing great dance music for
the party that follows.
When it comes to food, according to Mr. Sokolow,

pairings of food and drink are very popular. For example,
fish tacos may be served with an individual margarita, sliders can be chased down with a beer, and bourbon-infused
short ribs can be enjoyed with a shot of bourbon.
Ari Starkman, owner of The Elan in Lodi, said that
grand cocktail receptions are very popular these days.
In addition, Mr. Starkman said, there are more ethnic
customizations, such as combining, for example, Russian

Having an affair?

and Chinese elements in the wedding. He recalled one
affair in which caviar and blintzes (Russian) shared the
menu with steamed dumplings (Chinese) because the
groom was Russian Jewish and the bride was Chinese –
a culinary combination that gives a nod to both of their
cultures.
With weddings, styles may change. The music may play
longer. The food may be jazzed up. But brides, grooms,
and their guests will always want to have a wonderful
party that celebrates their union in a special way, and that
will be a memorable event.
“And one thing that has not changed and will never
change,” said Ms. Daidone of The Estates at Florentine
Gardens, “is that people still want good service. Service is
of the utmost importance. That will never change, I hope.
Giving our guests good, old hospitality.”

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READERS’
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WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-7 Jewish Standard

WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-8 Jewish Standard

Seating arrangements
Top trends in wedding place cards
Sharon Naylorx

Y

ou may have seen guests
crowded around a reception
table, searching for their alphabetically arranged place cards.
That shoulder-to-shoulder press of guests
has long been a scene at weddings, and
today’s innovations help eliminate the
long line and discomfort of trying to read
those small cards.
Now, the traditional card kerfuffle may
be replaced by a new display. It’s a top
wedding trend, and a popular place card
option seen on Pinterest is to eliminate the
printed card and write guests’ names on a
tall, vertical display such as a glass window
or mirror. Guests’ names and table numbers can be displayed on signs installed
behind the bar or hung in frames gallerystyle on the walls at the cocktail party.
These vertical, card-free table assignments

become decor pieces as well as easy-to-use
directions for guests.
Vertical displays have also given the
tradition a twist by listing guests’ names
according to table number, not alphabetically. It’s easy for guests to spot their
names under, say, Table 7, and they can
see names of the other guests with whom
they’re seated. No more standing by the
place card table, little card in hand, asking their friends, “Where are you sitting?”
Jenny Orsini, wedding planner, says that
this place card display creates better
momentum for your celebration, allowing
guests to move right into the cocktail party
or reception without that “pileup of namesearching at an entry table.”
If you do wish to have printed place
cards, use pretty cardstock and gorgeous
fonts that coordinate with your wedding
invitations and other print items at your
wedding. Decorative borders, seasonal

colors, theme motifs and elegant handwriting or print on the cards are all great
options. (“Just no computer-printed labels,
please,” says Orsini, pointing to the lack of
elegance in that method.)
As an alternative to the tented card,
flat cards are also used — perhaps stood
up in sand-, grass-, or floral-filled trays
for a pretty presentation. These flat cards
may be attached to take-home favors like
ornate keys or charms. And flat cards are
also being affixed via ribbon to mini bottles of bourbon, tequila, chocolate liqueur
or other take-home tastes that work double-duty as place cards and favors.
And another trend in wedding place
cards is writing guests’ names in metallic
pen on shiny green leaves or on polished
river stones, for a natural feel to complement wedding decor. This natural style
is a thrill for guests, since they can take
the “card” home and put it on display,

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perhaps next to a framed photo of themselves taken at the wedding. That adds
more appreciation for your chosen design
than a simple printed card they’re likely to
leave on the table at the end of the night.
Speaking of keepsakes, a framed display of guests’ names and table numbers
becomes a wonderful keepsake for you.
Perhaps a dating or engaged couple who
originally met at your wedding, seated
together at Table 7, will want the display
to be shown at their wedding someday.
Sharon Naylor is the author of “The Bride’s
Guide to Freebies” and three dozen additional
Creators.com
wedding books.

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READERS’
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WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-10 Jewish Standard

All in the approach
Making your wedding path stand out
Sharon Naylorx

A

s you plan your wedding decor,
don’t forget about the paths
leading to your ceremony and
reception. You may have chosen your wedding location simply for the
beauty of the venue itself, but you can
create a fabulous scene for your arriving
guests by decorating the trees along the
driveway or footpath. Their anticipation
builds as they see your decor and lighting effects along the way, giving them an
even more magical first impression of your
wedding day. And if your venue is one that
your guests have been to for other weddings, decorating the approach to the site
makes for a new, unique experience.
Here are some ways to make your
wedding paths stand out:

Hanging florals
Adorn the path’s tree line with flowers and
garlands that hint at your wedding’s floral
motif. Joyce Maffeo, florist at BloomNation, says, “You can either display flowers
on their own, such as by stringing florals
on ribbon or fishing wire, or display flowers inside antique bottles or other glass
vessels.” The advantage of the in-vessel
flower display is that flowers stay hydrated
with a bit of water in the bottle, allowing
them to hold up well in late-summer/earlyfall sunshine.
Some open-air flowers that Maffeo
recommends for their staying power
include orchids, eucalyptuses and strung
daisies.
“For in-vessel flowers, consider protea,
orchids, hypericum, and ornamental kale
for a pop of purple color,” says Maffeo.
“Wreaths hanging from trees also add to
the beautiful approach.” One flower to be
wary of, since it easily wilts in the sun, is
hydrangea. Maffeo suggests instead using
bunches of carnations, which hold up
better in the sun.
This knowledge of flowers’ strength in
sunshine — important since your floral
team will likely set up your approach
decor several hours before your wedding
— is one example of why you should have
professionals create your floral pieces.

String lights and
hanging lanterns
For a sunset or evening wedding, string
lights arranged in the trees add breathtaking effect, whether you use just a few

Rows of candles create a magical effect for your guests’ approach to your wedding.

string lights per tree or many. In addition to string lights, lanterns hung from
S-hooks on the trees create that trendy
look of rustic elegance. And you can take
those lanterns home after the wedding to
use them in your own backyard.

Non-hanging lanterns
Tall lanterns clustered along a path or set
on stairs leading to the wedding sites are
a new top trend for weddings this year
and next. Lanterns may be metallic, such
as copper or bronze, or rustic-themed in
white or black. Upscale home decor stores
sell lanterns as part of the outdoor entertaining trend. These larger lanterns can be
used at home after your big day.

Candles
Position a large number of traditional or
LED candles in glass vessels at the entrance
to your ceremony or reception spot. This
is a stunning look for exterior doors, and
if you have a portico that guests will pass
through to get to an inner ceremony or

celebration space, arrange a large amount
of vessel-nested candles on either side of a
clear walking pathway.

Tiki torches
“The use of Tiki torches creates not only
a path to the reception but also softens
the lighting for a romantic mood,” says
Allison Sells, catering manager for Caneel
Bay Resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since
Tiki torches create one single light source
per torch, pair them with overhead string
lights or ground-set lanterns to multiply
your lighting effect.

Uplighting
Setting lights at the base of trees and
directing the light upward gives those trees
a magical and impressive glow. Sells says
that uplighting palm trees creates a “wow”
factor especially complementing a tropical
wedding location.

Signs
Chalkboard signs with personalized

Creators.com photo cour tesy of Ellis Island

messages can be used multiple times along
the path, with friendly welcome messages,
invitations to “Get the party started!” and
directions to wedding sites. In the evening,
try lit marquee signs illuminating the path
with words like “Love,” “XOXO” or your
monogram. These too can be take-home
decor to forever remind you of your big
day.

Music
Piped-in music along your path adds a welcoming soundtrack to the approach.
If your venue has an interesting history,
beautiful scenery, or perhaps a stunning
sunset that will light up the sky with colors
during your wedding’s arrival time, you
might not need any additional decor or
lighting at all. Mother Nature has taken
care of that, as her wedding gift to you.
Sharon Naylor is the author of “The Bride’s
Guide to Freebies” and three dozen additional
Creators.com
wedding books.

WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-11 Jewish Standard

How to choose how and where to honeymoon
Teresa Iqbalx

T

he honeymoon is typically the last climactic
event of the wedding process. As the culminating event that pulls everything together and
leaves couples with their first opportunity to
relax and begin enjoying life together, it’s important to
make it as enjoyable as possible. But where do you begin
when it comes to choosing where and how to enjoy your
first moments together as a married couple on your
honeymoon?
Choosing a honeymoon destination that represents
your interests as a couple is perhaps the best place to start
narrowing down destination choices. Do you love art and
museums? If so, a large city with ample opportunity for
you to spend the days among art exhibits and historical
pieces is probably best suited for you. Perhaps you’re a
couple who consider themselves literary. Take some time
to research places where literary authors made history,
and immerse yourself in these same spots. Maybe a good
time for you means spending most of your days beachside. Be sure to choose a honeymoon destination where
you can spend your days on the beach and take part in
activities on the water. Enjoying the overall culture of your
destination is an important key to having a happy and fulfilling experience on your honeymoon.
You needn’t spend an outrageous amount of money
traveling to a tropical destination, either. Chances are
that there are beautiful spots closer than you think where
you could make great memories doing the things you both
love. In fact, building your honeymoon itinerary around
the activities you love allows you to consider an array of
vacation spots that fit a number of budgets. Whether it’s
staying in your country, your state, or even your own city,
you’re bound to find a number of ways to celebrate. They
key is to narrow down activities that are important to you
both and plan your honeymoon around cities where you
know you can have a good time doing the things you enjoy.
If you are hoping to spend your vacation traveling to
faraway destinations, there are other ways to be budgetconscious while still having a good time overseas. Cruises
are one honeymoon option that more and more couples
are taking advantage of every day. They’re great for those
hoping to get more bang for their buck. According to Luxury Travel Magazine, “with some cruise lines, port taxes,
meals, drinks, entertainment, activities, and even tips are
all included in the upfront cost of a cruise. It’s easy to work
out a per-day cost to compare to other forms of travel.”
Taking a cruise also simplifies the logistical process of
vacationing. For example, you need only unpack and pack
once. Most, if not all, meals are included in the passenger fare, as well as an array of activities to be enjoyed on
the ship. Splurging on meals at local spots where the ship
docks allows couples to experience fine dining without
having to worry about shelling out cash at every single
meal. The same goes for activities. Many cruise lines organize activities off the ship that couples can take part in,
such as scuba diving and museum tours, which means less
hassle and work involved in finding fun things to do in
your destination city, leaving more time both on and off
the boat to enjoy yourselves to the fullest.
A similar option for those who don’t want to deal with
all the stress and planning of both a wedding and a honeymoon is the all-inclusive resort. All-inclusives are great
for those looking for a hassle-free experience. Couples can

pamper themselves and share all of the same benefits as
cruisers, such as included activities and meals. Just be sure
to choose a destination you’d both be interested in exploring and experiencing to some depth, because you likely
won’t be doing much more than day trips to closer, more
local spots. This is definitely an upside for those looking
to stay in one place for longer and more deeply immerse

themselves in the culture, art, and cuisine of one location
of their choosing, rather than visiting an array of destinations for a short amount of time.
It’s clear that no matter your focus, interest, or budget,
there are several different options to take advantage of
when creating a lasting honeymoon experience.
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WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-12 Jewish Standard

Best guest

Etiquette tips for wedding attendees
Kristen Castillox

O

nce the invitation arrives in
the mail, you start asking yourself questions: “What should I
wear?” “What gift should I get?”
“Can I invite a guest?”
All of these questions and more are common concerns for wedding guests. Read on
for tips from wedding and etiquette professionals for answers to your questions and
find out what it takes to be a great guest.

Can you bring a date?
The general rule: The only people who
can attend the wedding are the ones listed
on the invitation. So if the invite says “Mr.
and Mrs. Jones,” then only the husband
and wife can attend. If it just says “Miss
Jones,” then the woman must attend the
wedding alone.
Make sure you RSVP for the wedding
by the date indicated on the invitation.

Showing up anyway after neglecting to
RSVP is a big no-no.
If your children’s names aren’t listed on
the invitation, don’t show up to the wedding as a family.
“A gentle way to deal with this situation
is to have the family table off to the side
or back of the reception area,” says author
and etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore,
who is also the founder of The Protocol
School of Palm Beach.
Another option? The bride and groom
might provide guests who have children
the “name of a reputable baby sitter in
your area who is willing to accommodate
parents who want to attend the wedding,”
suggests Whitmore.

What to wear?
Weddings tend to be dressy events, but
exactly how dressy?
If the invitation says “black tie,” wear a
tuxedo.

Otherwise, “a man should wear a suit
and a woman should wear a cocktail dress
or Sunday best,” says wedding planner
Fran Plodkowski of Social Graces, noting
beach weddings can be more casual.
“Remember, it is a wedding,” says Plodkowski. “Look your best.”

Gift guide
Giving a wedding gift is customary but do
you give a gift off the couple’s registry or
write a check? If so, how much to give?
There’s no fixed answer here.
“People do not know how much to give,”
says Plodkowski, who advises guests to
give what they want to and can afford.
Still, you don’t have to give a gift of equal
value to the price of the dinner, especially
since many weddings are big budget.
Typically, the closer guests are to the
bride and groom the more they’ll give. For
example, the groom’s sister would give a
larger gift than his co-worker would.

Time matters
Guests often mistakenly assume weddings
don’t start on time.
“As a result, we see guests that purposefully arrive late,” says Camille McLamb,
founder and lead coordinator at Camille

A DAZZLING SMILE
FOR YOUR WEDDING!

Victoria Weddings, noting ceremony and
reception schedules are fixed to accommodate parties and events throughout
the day.
“Guests should plan to arrive at least
10 minutes before the start time listed on
the invitation,” urges McLamb. “If a guest
ends up arriving late, she should try to
check if the bridal party is lined up before
going inside. If the bridal party is lined up
and about to go down the aisle, the guest
should wait off to the side until the processional is over and then sneak in up a
side aisle.”

Remember you’re not
the photographer

Sure, it’s exciting to capture the wedding in
photos, but remember you’re a guest, not
a photographer on assignment.
“Don’t photobomb the vows,” says etiquette expert Cheryl Seidel. “Remember
there’s probably a professional photographer somewhere behind you trying to do
the job the couple has hired him to do.”
Seidel also reminds guests to not block
people behind them; instead, sit in the
back or on the far aisle. Also, don’t use an
iPad to shoot photos: “There’s no way you
can be inconspicuous,” she says.

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WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

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Before you post your pictures to social media, such
as Instagram and Facebook, make sure the couple
approve.

What’s for dinner?
Even if the reception venue is a restaurant, it’s not OK
for guests to order whatever they want. That’s because
the menu is preordered and paid for by the bride and
groom. Even vegetarian, vegan, or specialty-diet meals
are ordered ahead of time.
Guests with special dietary needs, such as gluten
intolerance or nut allergies, should inform the bride
and groom at the time of RSVP.

Accessibility
Often guests worry about getting in and around the ceremony and reception venues.
“Especially with the rise in loft weddings, not all wedding venues have elevators,” says McLamb. For elderly
and disabled guests, “stairs and moving from one space
to another within a venue can present difficulties.”
McLamb advises brides and grooms to tell guests
about any potential accessibility challenges at the venue
so the guests can prepare ahead of time. She also says
couples should reserve some tables for elderly guests
Creators.com
during cocktail hour.

you
post
pictures
*RaveAd.AT1.2015
Revise
for for
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Week.qxp_Layout
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3/3/15
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at Congregation
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WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-14 Jewish Standard

Helpers, taskers,
and other party FIXERS
Should you hire online help for your big day?
Kristen Castillox

W

edding planning is filled
with details large and small.
Finding help isn’t always
easy, but it’s necessary.
Need help planning your engagement
party? Want assistance assembling your
welcome bags? Looking for someone
with nice penmanship to write out your
place cards?
It used to be that you’d have to do these
jobs yourself, ask friends or family, or hire
an event professional. So what should you
do when you’re overwhelmed and family
and friends aren’t available? Nowadays,
you can go online to hire helpers to get the
job done.
That’s what happened for a couple’s
wedding in Los Angeles. The groom surprised his bride during the reception with
her favorite New England treat: Hoodsie
Cups, which are paper cups filled with
a mix of both chocolate and vanilla ice
cream. But first the groom had to figure
out how to get the frozen dessert to the
West Coast for his bride, who is originally
from New England. He hired a “Tasker”
via TaskRabbit, the leading on-demand
home services app connecting busy people with a network of Taskers in their
area — or in this case, someone from the
Northeast who could buy and overnight
ship 150 ice-cream cups in an industrial
strength cooler!
The groom tells TaskRabbit that making
the Hoodsie Cups surprise happen was
“definitely a memory the both of us will
have for the rest of our lives,” and he says
that without the Tasker’s help, he doesn’t
think he could have made it happen.

Help for hire
Many couples are hiring helpers to assist
with pre-wedding prep including everything from envelope calligraphy to decorating the venue to DJ’ing or baking the
wedding cake.
Some brides and grooms solicit the help
online with ads on Craigslist or via social
media posts asking for help with certain
wedding tasks. Sites like TaskRabbit are
growing, too.
“Taskers helping with weddings has
become a big thing in the past two years,”
says Jamie Viggiano, TaskRabbit’s VP of
marketing, citing examples like helping
to plan a surprise engagement by decorating an apartment with hundreds of

Many couples hire helpers to assist them with wedding planning, such as “Taskers” from TaskRabbit.

rose petals and LED candles; delivering a wedding cake in Washington, D.C.;
and helping assemble and deliver flower
arrangements.
Additional wedding tasks completed
include picking up and delivering lastminute items like ice, batteries, and coffee;
sorting, scanning, and uploading photos
for a wedding slideshow; and setting up
wedding FaceTime sessions between the
couple and their loved ones who couldn’t
attend the ceremony in person. “This has
been done a number of times with older
clients who aren’t savvy with technology,”
says Viggiano.

Pricing
Paying for wedding help a la carte seems
to be a fit for couples who can’t afford or
don’t want to hire professional wedding
coordinators. Some brides and grooms
list the project budget in their social media
and Craigslist posts; others take bids from
anyone who responds to the ads.
On TaskRabbit, Taskers set their own

hourly rate by category. When clients
post a task, TaskRabbit provides a list of
several candidates in the area and the
individual’s skills. The client pays once
the task is finished.
“Brides and grooms are recognizing that
they don’t need to do all the wedding prep
on their own and that they can outsource
some of the more mundane, tedious tasks
to qualified people,” says Viggiano, noting
that outsourcing the work “makes a stressful situation less stressful.”

Buyer beware?
Some wedding experts caution brides and
grooms that hiring a stranger to assist with
wedding details might not be a good idea.
The reason? Typically, the helper is inexperienced with weddings and might not be
accountable.
“Unless you are a really laid-back bride,
I would not recommend hiring helpers in
this way,” says Michelle Balducci-Connelly
of Michelle Marie Photographie. “Craigslist
workers have little to no repercussions if

Creators.com photo cour tesy of TaskRabbit

they don’t perform. A professional will
have a reputation to uphold and has an
incentive to perform well because they are
making a career out of their service.”
Still, she understands the appeal of hiring wedding helpers.
“With ever-increasing costs of weddings, my couples are always looking to
save in areas they deem appropriate,”
says Balducci-Connelly, noting that hiring
a day-of planner, for example, would cost
anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for reception setup and organization, compared to
a hired helper, who would likely charge
an hourly or flat rate “that would be far
less than a day-of coordinator would
charge.”
Before hiring anyone to help with your
event, get references if possible, and
make sure you’re comfortable with their
skills, reliability, and overall credibility.
You only get one chance to make your
wedding day a success, so be confident in
your hiring decisions.
Creators.com

WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-15 Jewish Standard

Dress trends

Looking your best on the big day
Julia Pricex

W

eddings are a big deal. All
the planning, coordinating,
decision-making, letdowns,
stressful situations — they
all fade away and become worth it the
moment the bride walks down the aisle.
So of course, no pressure with picking out
the perfect dress or anything, right?!
But really, it’s hard to go wrong nowadays. Luckily for everyone, the ‘80s have
come and gone and have graciously taken
their wedding dress signature styles with
them.
In general, wedding dresses are veering toward a less poofy look and going
toward a sleeker, form-fitting hourglass
shape. This creates a more dramatic effect
when the train of the dress fills out behind
the bride while also enhancing feminine
strength in the upper body.
Another trend this season is the

off-the-shoulder look. Several years ago,
the sleeveless dress was a big hit, but now
it’s been slightly modified to keep the shoulders bare with the straps lightly hanging off.
Whether the dress is white silk, Chantilly
lace, or ballgown-style, this off-the-shoulder appeal creates a delicate look.
The popular shabby chic furniture trend
seems to have influenced brides-to-be, as
well. Seeing as many couples are choosing the country feel — complete with
Mason jars — for their big day, it makes
sense that women are looking for a dress
to match that vibe. You’ll see more and
more dresses with corded details and lace
accents, and you’ll see less beadwork than
you had on some of the past looks.
Also trending this season is embellishing
the back of the dress. In addition to adding
a new element of beauty, it makes sense
because guests will have a close visual of
the bride’s back as she’s approaching her
husband-to-be. Intricate detailing on the

tnaruatser eht

stnevE laicepS • gniretaC • raB • tnaruatseR

Trending this season is embellishing the back of the dress.
Creators.com photo cour tesy of Julia Price

back might include a crisscross or sparkling tulle. Some brides are opting for
completely backless dresses. This goes well
with layers of lace and the silhouette look.
Though it’s good to look for many
options online (try brides.com or search for

your perfect look on Pinterest), you’ve got
to trust your gut with what feels right for
you. This is one of those situations where
no matter who else speaks up, as long as
you’re saying “I do” to the dress, then
Creators.com
you’re going to be happy.

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WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-16 Jewish Standard

Plus-size brides
Bridal beauty at any size
Kristen Castillox

T

here is a wedding gown for every
bride, but if you’re over size 14,
it might be a challenge to find
the perfect dress. Luckily, that’s
changing. Thanks to the TLC television show
“Curvy Brides” and bridal shops that cater to
plus-size brides, it’s getting easier for brides
of all sizes to find their dream dresses.
These days, the average woman in the
U.S. wears a size 14, and yet bridal gowns
traditionally are made for smaller sizes.
“Plus-size for us means anyone who
has had trouble finding dresses to fit them
elsewhere,” say Yuneisia Harris and Yukia
Walker, owners of full-figured bridal salon
Curvaceous Couture and stars of “Curvy
Brides.”
Walker knows how frustrating it can
be for plus-sized brides to find a gown.
After getting engaged, she struggled to

find sample gowns and ultimately didn’t
like the dress she chose. Out of that experience, she and her sister started their
company.
The sisters explain that in eveningwear
and in bridal, everything is cut smaller:
“So while a person might have a smaller
street size, like a 12 or a 14, in a wedding
gown, they might have to order something
as large as a 20.”
That means when traditional bridal
salons have sample dresses in sizes 8 to 12,
“they’re really only servicing brides whose
street size is 4 to 10,” say Harris and Walker.

Plus-Size Perceptions
The notion of plus-size bridal fashion carries many misconceptions. In some cases,
brides aren’t aware that plus-sizing exists
in the wedding world, because it’s typically underrepresented or not seen at all.
Often, plus-size brides end up buying

feel viewers like the show because it allows
them to see brides they relate to try on and
look great in gorgeous gowns.

wedding gowns online — one of the few
places with larger sizes.
Still others assume dresses in larger
sizes should be plain and not embellished,
“that plus-size women don’t desire the
same beautiful dresses and fabrics as their
straight-size counterparts,” says Erena
Shklovsky, creative director and head
designer for plus-size designer IGIGI, noting that many plus-size brides want “delicate beading, luxe fabrics, and innovative
cuts just like other brides.”
Another misconception? That being
plus-sized means you need to cover up!
“I’d say that 60 percent of our brides initially ask us to add a sleeve or a shawl to
a dress because they’re afraid of showing
their arms or back,” say Harris and Walker,
noting that adding a sleeve or a strap, for
example, “is not the most flattering choice
for a bride.”
In other cases, gowns with straps,
sleeves and extra fabric can make a bride
look matronly.
“We just want our brides to be happy
with their dresses, and sometimes that
means helping them embrace their natural beauty,” say Harris and Walker, who

Fashionable Choices
Designing full-figured fashions involves
more than simply adding extra fabric.
Because every bride has a different size
and body shape, gowns need specialized
fits, including built-in support for large
busts, for example.
More fashion lines and bridal lines are
starting to embrace women of all sizes.
Harris and Walker praise designers like Roz
la Kelin and Enzoani for being some of the
first designers to offer plus-size samples.
“I think the biggest and best addition
to plus-size bridal collections is Christian
Siriano’s dress for Nicolette Mason,” says
Shklovsky. “It showed the rest of the fashion world that plus-sized women deserve
more than to be covered with loads and
loads of fabric.”
Still, no wedding gown is truly ready-towear. All dresses need alterations, including
changes to hemlines, bust lines, waistlines,
sleeves, and shoulder straps. No matter
what the dress size, a perfect fit is flattering!

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WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-17 Jewish Standard

DIY, all-in-one, or party rental suppliers?
Chelle Corderox

I

t’s your wedding day, and there are
so many plans to be made. You want
the day to be spectacular. Between
budgets, traditions, choosing a location, considering the time of year and
weather, and, most importantly, your idea
of a dream wedding — it’s enough to make
your head spin.
You may choose an all-in-one venue that
comes with its own gorgeous setting, catering, waitstaff, tables and chairs, and hope
that the cost is within your reach. DIY
wedding plans may or may not be more
economical, but many excited couples opt
for more personalized settings and control
over the way things are done. One thing is
for sure: You probably don’t own enough
chairs, tables, and service to make it happen without help.
You could always buy the folding chairs
and tables, linens and glassware for your
event, but then you need a place to store
everything before and after the party.

Owning everything makes you solely responsible for cleaning and ironing linens, polishing service, and washing all of the dishware
before and after use (especially if it’s been
sitting awhile). It is often more efficient to
simply rent what you need for each occasion
if you plan to throw several parties.
Let’s go rental.
Every bride in your family before
you was married in Aunt Fran’s parlor,
and that’s the beginning you’ve always
dreamed of, with a reception in the backyard. But then you remember the light rain
shower during your cousin’s gala and how
it chased everyone away. You’ll need seating and decorations for inside, and you’ll
want to add a tent to the tables, chairs and
buffet setting outside. Or maybe the old
barn could be gussied up for a fancy do,
but the dirt floor leaves a lot to be desired,
especially when it comes to dancing -- but
that’s not a problem if you add a rented
dance floor (or more).
Party rental companies offer everything
from aisle covers to wine glasses. Choose

table linens, centerpieces, pole covers (to
hide tent supports), dance floors of various
sizes, stages, and more. If you are worried
about the weather, find tents for outdoor
parties; they come with sides or open, with
options for fans or heaters for comfort.
Serve delicious meals with gas or charcoal
grill rentals and buffet-style chafing dishes.
There is no limit to what you can do. Paper
plates are great for picnics, but if you prefer restaurant-style service, find china,
charger plates, silver service, goblets and
flutes, and linen napkins and tablecloths.
Check out the party supply rental companies in your area to find out what they
offer and compare prices. Make sure to
include delivery costs, as well as delivery
terms such as how far in advance they will
deliver and when they will pick up after the
affair. Visit the showrooms to see the quality of merchandise they offer. By all means,
get recommendations and warnings from
other consumers; you certainly don’t want
to find out on the day of the party that the
tablecloths are stained or that you were

shorted on the glassware. Ask about their
reputation for reliability, their willingness
to work with you, and whether there is an
extra charge for setup. Also find out in what
condition the items have to be returned
— e.g., do the dishes need to be washed
or simply scraped, do the linens need to
be laundered, and what are the costs for
breakage? If possible, compare the prices,
quality, service and reputations of a few
companies before making a final decision.
Some party rental suppliers will work
with area vendors, such as caterers and
wait staff, to help you find a complete
package for your magical day. Make an
appointment to sit down with your chosen rental company, and explain your
vision to them. A party planner can make
helpful suggestions based on the company’s experience with previous weddings
and parties. They can tell you how many
plates, glasses and flatware sets to rent
based on the number of people invited;
always order a few extra pieces in case of
breakage or unexpected guests. Read the
contract carefully to verify that all dates,
quantities and service details are spelled
Creators.com
out correctly.

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WINTER 2015 BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS

S-18 Jewish Standard

Le menu du jour
New trends in menu cards
Sharon Naylorx

W

hen printed menu cards
first showed up as wedding table additions, guests
loved reading those delectable descriptions of the courses to come
during the dinner. There was, at first, one
printed card per round table, then four
or so spaced apart on long tables. Guests
took turns looking at the elegantly printed
cards with the dazzling print script. Soon,
individual menu cards were placed on
each guest’s plate for easier use, and now,
those individual menu cards are being personalized to each guest.
“Your tablescape offers countless opportunities to wow guests with custom details,
and personalized menu cards are functional and beautiful, while making guests
feel like an important part of your big day,”

says Vanessa Wicks, event sales director at
Weylin B. Seymour’s, a historic event venue
in Brooklyn that has been the site of celebrity weddings and events.
When guests arrive at their tables, they
find their names printed on the menu
cards, showing that you value their presence on their big day. And the artistry of
their name, handwritten in calligraphy,
complements the loveliness of your wedding design. You’ve taken great care with
the smallest of details, elevating your wedding as a whole.
Another advantage of customized menu
cards is the ability to tailor guests’ special
menu requirements, such as a gluten-free,
vegan, or kosher meal. When guests see
their menu card, they know right away
that you’ve heard and honored their
requests. They don’t need to be anxious
about their special meals.

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To help you create your personalized
menu cards, keep the following tips in
mind:
• Spell names correctly. Triple-check
your invitations list, looking at guests’
social media pages for backup, to be sure
each guest’s name is spelled correctly. It
would be an awful faux pas if you created
a card for “John” when he goes by “Jon.”
• Plan for dim lighting. Your reception ballroom may be dimly lit, illuminated by candles, and that low light can
make light-colored print difficult to read.
Larger script in a good contrasting shade
makes your menu card easier to see. Not
all guests bring their reading glasses with
them. Metallic print will capture candlelight, so consider shimmery lettering.
• Create personalized menu cards for
children as well. Theirs can be designed
differently than adult guests’ cards, using
kid-themed colors and motifs. Add a print
game to the back of the card to provide a
fun activity.
• Add an accent to the back of guests’
menu cards. A personalized note from you
may be extra work, but it goes a long way

to making your guests feel like VIPs. Or, if
a personalized message isn’t realistic for
your time and budget, print an inspiring
and romantic, or a foodie-themed, quote
on the back of each card.
• Ask your chef to help. Make your menu
card mouth-watering with chef-provided
dish descriptions of each course.
• Include drink pairing choices with
each course. Again, your chef or bar manager can provide pairing ideas using vintages and cocktails that will be served at
your wedding.
You might be wondering whether personalized menu cards at each guest’s
seat will tell each guest where to sit at
the table. While guests are free to switch
seats, it is a good idea to put your guest
menu cards in order by table, so that
staffers handling your wedding’s table
setups can place cards in the order you
prefer, seating spouses and families next
to each other.
Sharon Naylor is the author of “The Bride’s
Guide to Freebies” and three dozen additional
Creators.com
wedding books. 

Beautiful
WINTER 2015
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Jewish World

Reform and Conservative leaders to Israeli president:
We want equal rights across the board
URIEL HEILMAN

I

t was all hugs and smiles when Israeli President
Reuven Rivlin met with leaders of America’s three
main Jewish denominations at an event hosted by UJAFederation of New York on Friday.
But when it came time to speak, the Reform and

Conservative leaders made clear they had no intention of
papering over their disappointment with Israel’s government when it comes to non-Orthodox rights in Israel.
Both Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the Union for Reform Judaism and Rabbi Steven Wernick of the United Synagogue for
Conservative Judaism called on Israel to grant equal rights
to non-Orthodox Jews on matters concerning marriage,

STRAIGHT
TALK

ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S
FUTURE AT YESHIVA UNIVERSITY

Hear from Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Vice President
of University and Community Life; Rabbi Dr. Jacob
J. Schacter, Senior Scholar, YU Center for the Jewish
Future; Dean Karen Bacon; The Mordecai D. Katz
and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate
Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yeshiva University;
Mr. Marc Goldman, Executive Director of the Career
Center; and Ms. Debra Pine, Director of Academic
and Career Advising, Sy Syms School of Business,
about the benefits of educating your child at Yeshiva
University. Questions regarding financial aid will
also be addressed.

Wednesday | December 30 | 7 p.m.
At the home of Elisa and Chaim Wietschner
1335 Trafalgar Street, Teaneck, NJ 07666
The evening is tailored to parents of high school
juniors and seniors and parents of students
studying in Eretz Yisroel.

RSVP to nextgeneration@yu.edu

For information about Yeshiva University, visit www.yu.edu/admissions or call 212.960.5277

34 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

divorce, conversion, and worship at the Western Wall.
“We insist on equality, not just at the Kotel — the
Western Wall — but also in rabbinical courts, under
the bridal canopy, at funerals and conversions,” Jacobs
said. “It cannot be that Israel will be the only democratic state in the world that formally does not grant
equal rights to the majority of the Jewish people.”
Wernick applauded the Israeli president for citing
the late Conservative sage Abraham Joshua Heschel in
his remarks at the White House Chanukah party on
Wednesday. “Yet Rabbi Heschel in Israel would not be
afforded the same rights as our Orthodox brethren —
can’t do marriage, can’t do divorces, can’t do conversions,” Wernick said.
When Rivlin’s turn to speak arrived, he made a
point of calling attention to the fact that he was referring to Jacobs and Wernick by the title “rav” — rabbi
in Hebrew. At least one of his predecessors pointedly
refused to use that appellation.
It was a sign of how little progress the Reform and
Conservative movements have made in getting Israeli
recognition and rights that the president felt that
merely calling them rabbis merited highlighting.
The Israeli rabbinate still does not recognize nonOrthodox conversions, does not allow Conservative
or Reform rabbis to preside over funerals, and does
not sanction weddings performed by non-Orthodox
rabbis. In fact, any rabbi who performs a wedding in
Israel outside the auspices of the rabbinate may be
subject to a two-year prison sentence, even if the rabbi
is Orthodox.
The current Israeli government has rolled back even
some recent baby steps toward greater religious pluralism. The last government loosened conversion rules
to allow prospective Israeli converts to convert under
any municipal rabbi in Israel (still all Orthodox). That
step would have allowed those with strict hometown
rabbis to convert under a more flexible rabbi from out
of town, but the current government rescinded it.
The rhetoric from the Israeli rabbinate and Religious
Affairs Ministry hasn’t been encouraging either. Last
week, after Naftali Bennett, Israel’s minister of diaspora affairs, visited a Conservative Jewish day school
in New York and tweeted that he found the students
inspiring, Israeli Chief Rabbi David Lau called the visit
unacceptable.
“When you go to a specific place and recognize a
specific community, if it’s a community that creates
distance from the Jewish people, I don’t see how you
can consider that,” Lau told a charedi Orthodox radio
station. “You cannot go to a place where the education distances Jews not only from the tradition, but
also from the past, and therefore from the future of
the Jewish people.”
In July, Israeli Religious Services Minister David
Azoulay said Reform Jews aren’t Jews.
That echoed a comment Rivlin himself famously
made back in 1989, when as a Knesset member he visited a Reform synagogue and referred to the service as
“idol worship, not Judaism.” Rivlin since has distanced
himself from that comment and made amends with
Conservative and Reform leaders.
Since his election last year as president, largely a
ceremonial role in Israel, Rivlin has sought to build
bridges, not burn them. He has become an outspoken advocate for Arab-Israeli rights, slammed Jewish extremism, and vociferously condemned Israeli

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IsraeliPresidentReuvenRivlin,left,metU.S.
Jewishreligiousleaders,includingtheUnionfor
ReformJudaism’spresident,RabbiRickJacobs,
inManhattanonDecember11.
COURTESY OF THE UNION FOR REFORM JUDAISM

racism.
At Friday’s event in New York, Rivlin, who wore a
large white kippah, offered warm talk to the Reform
and Conservative leaders, but no prospect of concrete
changes. (Rivlin also embraced the Orthodox organizational leader present, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb,
executive vice president emeritus of the Orthodox
Union.)
“It’s important for the State of Israel to show full
respect and full sensitivity to all American Jews,” Rivlin said. “Even the major differences between us are
an honest expression of concern shared by all of us,
whether Orthodox, Reform, or Conservative.
“We can and we should argue aggressively, but from
the position of respect, of fairness, without denying
anyone’s Jewishness, without denying the place of one
approach or another within Jewish dialogue today,” he
said. “Jewish culture is a culture of dispute through listening, and that is the most important thing: to listen
one to another, even if sometimes we cannot agree or
we are not ready to agree.”
After the meeting, Jacobs hailed Rivlin for being a
constructive voice while noting the president’s limitations to effect legislative change, given his ceremonial
role.
“Rather than just talk about it and sing about it, we
have to make change happen,” Jacobs said.
Nevertheless, Jacobs said he holds out little prospect
for change under the current government, given the
right-wing and charedi composition of the ruling coalition. The focus for the Reform movement during this
term is to hold the line, Jacobs said.
“We want to hold the little gains that we have and
not go backwards,” he added. “In the meantime, those
of us in the non-Orthodox movements have a challenging moment both in strengthening the ties to Israel
and in helping her become what she has always said
she can be.”
For his part, Wernick said that even though Rivlin
doesn’t have political power, his bully pulpit gives him
influence.
“If he and his staff can become voices for change,
that presents more opportunities,” Wernick said. “And
he’s changed even from when I first met with him as
president. I feel like he’s listening. Let’s give him credit
where credit is due.”
JTA WIRE SERVICE

STRAIGHT
TALK

ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S
FUTURE AT YESHIVA UNIVERSITY
Hear from Rabbi Menachem Penner, Dean of the
Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary; Rabbi
Mordechai Willig, Rabbi Dr. Sol Roth Chair in
Talmud and Contemporary Halakhah; Dean Karen
Bacon, The Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C.
Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and
Sciences at Yeshiva University; Professor Smadar
Rosensweig, Judaic Studies Faculty, Stern College
for Women; and Dr. Avi Giloni, Associate Dean of
Sy Syms School of Business, about the benefits of
educating your child at Yeshiva University. Questions
regarding financial aid will also be addressed.
Recent alumni will be in attendance to discuss
their experiences at YU.

Wednesday | December 23 | 7 p.m.
At the home of David and Sarah Goldstein
15 Crescent Avenue, Passaic, NJ 07055
The evening is tailored to parents of high school
juniors and seniors and parents of students
studying in Eretz Yisroel.

RSVP to nextgeneration@yu.edu

For information about Yeshiva University, visit www.yu.edu/admissions or call 212.960.5277

JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 35

Jewish World

3 strategies for Sheldon Adelson
in dealing with the Trump conundrum
RON KAMPEAS
WASHINGTON — For months, Republican Party insiders
have speculated about who Sheldon Adelson, the pro-Israel
billionaire, will back in the GOP presidential primary.
Now there’s a follow-up question: How does Donald
Trump’s continued perch atop the polls scramble the casino
magnate’s calculations?
In 2012, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, backed Newt Gingrich to the tune of $40 million. Insiders say that money
forced eventual candidate Mitt Romney to spend dollars
fending off Gingrich — expenditures that helped cripple
Romney’s efforts against incumbent Barack Obama in the
general election. Republicans who have communicated with
Adelson say the billionaire is loath to repeat that experiment
and wants to be sure of a front-runner before he steps in.
But Trump, the maverick real estate billionaire and reality
television star, is rewriting the script. Establishment Republicans and the party’s Jewish donor base fear that his impolitic outbursts and alienation of constituencies being courted
by the GOP may destroy the party.
Adelson’s office declined comment, and Adelson has
never said on the record what he thinks of Trump. Sources
close to Trump, however, leaked to Politico last month that
there was a time when Trump sought Adelson’s backing.
After speaking with a number of GOP operatives,

including several who back Trump’s rivals, here are three
possible strategies for Adelson.

Save it for the general election
Reports suggest that the Adelsons are down to deciding
between backing Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted
Cruz of Texas. Miriam Adelson favors Cruz, while Sheldon
Adelson favors Rubio, according to Yahoo News. Both candidates are rising in the polls and have been targeted by
Trump in his stump speech.
Backing one or the other now would be a zero-sum game:
Like with Gingrich in 2012, whoever receives the money
could inflict serious damage on the eventual nominee.
Meanwhile, Trump, who has benefited from media attention money can’t buy — and who has plenty of his own cash,
should he need to start spending seriously — would emerge
unscathed.
A number of factors — the growth of social media, surging
grassroots resentment of the establishment, and Trump’s
ability to command free media attention for every outrageous utterance — have conspired to render fundraising far
less useful in the primaries. Former Florida Governor Jeb
Bush is flush with cash, yet remains stranded in the single
digits in polls. All that may change as the actual voting nears,
but as Bush can attest, trying to stop Trump with cash seems
to be a case of throwing good money after bad.

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Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, gave $40
million to Newt Gingrich’s failed presidential
candidacy in 2012. So far, the Adelsons have declined to support a 2016 Republican candidate. 

WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES

Give it to a SuperPAC
The Adelsons may be able to spend against Trump,
while avoiding favoring another candidate, by giving
to a SuperPAC, political action committees that allow
unlimited spending against a candidate.
One contender could be Club for Growth Action,
the SuperPAC affiliated with the famed anti-tax group,
which already has targeted Trump for his calls to tax
the super-rich.
One smart move for Adelson might be to back a
SuperPAC that targets Trump strategically in states
where he may be vulnerable, like Florida, whose
March 1 primary is considered a must-win for native
son Rubio.

Crush him — now
Waiting out Trump might seem tempting, but there
are reasons Adelson might want to bash Trump early
and often. The prospect of Trump as the Republican
nominee spooks estπlishment Republicans in general, but Adelson and other donors for whom Israel
is the premier issue have specific reasons for fearing
his candidacy.
Trump could drive away moderate Republicans
from the polls and galvanize minority voters repelled
by his rhetoric. That would be a disaster for pro-Israel
Republicans in Congress who face tough re-election
campaigns, chief among them Senators Rob Portman
of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois.
Trump has also refused to toe the line that proIsrael Republicans expect from their candidate. At
the Republican Jewish Coalition’s candidates forum
earlier this month, Trump made headlines for joking about the wealth and business prowess of those
in attendance. But more substantively, Trump raised
eyebrows by blaming Israel in part for the impasse
in peace talks with the Palestinians, and would not
commit to moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and
keeping the city as Israel’s undivided capital. 

JTA Wire Service

Jewish World

Which diaspora rabbis does the rabbinate trust?
It all depends on this guy
BEN SALES
Remember Itamar Tubul, the mid-level bureaucrat
who decides who can marry in Israel?
Tubul evaluates requests from Israeli immigrants
seeking a marriage license. To do so, he needs to ensure
that they’re Jewish, and receives proof-of-Judaism letters to that effect from around the world.
Tubul made the news two years ago for rejecting a
proof letter from Rabbi Avi Weiss, a liberal Orthodox
leader from Riverdale. Following the controversy, the
chief rabbinate of Israel decided to accept Weiss’ word.
Since then Itim, an organization in Israel that helps
people navigate the religious bureaucracy there, has
petitioned a Jerusalem municipal court to have the
rabbinate be more transparent about the proof-ofJudaism process. Itim’s key demand — that the rabbinate release the list of diaspora rabbis whose proof letters it accepts.
The rabbinate’s response came last week: There is no
list. At least not one the rabbinate is prepared to show.
In its response, the rabbinate confirmed that Tubul
is the only employee to handle proof-of-Judaism letters and marriage requests from immigrants. Tubul,
working alone, evaluated all 5,000 such requests from
2013 through 2015. The rabbinate wouldn’t even say
how many were accepted or rejected. That would
require having Tubul tabulate three years of cases,
which the rabbinate said would be “an unreasonable
expenditure of resources.”
So which rabbis does Tubul trust? The rabbinate
claims there is no list, and Tubul judges proof of Judaism on a case-by-case basis.
“Rabbis are not approved; rather, cases are
approved,” the rabbinate said. “Personal status
requests have been approved based on all the circumstances in the case, not necessarily based on the rabbi’s identity. And at present there is no list of approved
or recognized rabbis.”
To approve or reject requests, Tubul turns to a
group of senior rabbis he trusts in each country and
confers about the rabbi who sent the proof of Judaism. So according to the rabbinate, there is some kind
of list of accepted rabbis, though it did not identify
in its response who those rabbis are. The rabbinate
also doesn’t say what criteria are used to determine
whether individual rabbis are reliable enough, though
it says it is working on such guidelines.

Until that happens, immigrants seeking to marry in
Israel depend entirely on the personal judgment of Tubul,
a man the rabbinate itself portrays as an overloaded
bureaucrat singlehandedly managing a heavy caseload.
Itim’s executive director, Seth Farber, called publicizing the list a matter of “basic transparency and 

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American rabbis are qualified to vouch for the
Jewishness of Israeli immigrants.

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respond to the rabbinate’s claims.
“This doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable request,” Farber said. “If they don’t have the material organized, they
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Jewish World

Ayman Odeh ends trip with applause,
but not from the Jews he hoped to reach
RON KAMPEAS
WASHINGTON — Ayman Odeh got the rapturous Jewish
reception he had wanted. It just wasn’t from the Jews he
had hoped to reach during his recent trip to America.

The Arab-Israeli lawmaker’s speech to a conference Sunday hosted by the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz and the
New Israel Fund, a nonprofit that focuses on civil rights in
Israel, earned a standing ovation, participants said. But his
message of mutual support and solidarity between Arabs and

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38 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

Jews, catnip as it was for the liberal room at a Manhattan
hotel, did not entirely erase the bad taste left last week
when he refused to enter another room in New York
filled with Jews of influence.
On December 10, Odeh balked at the last minute
at entering a meeting convened by the Conference of
Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
That was because the umbrella group’s office shares
space with the Jewish Agency for Israel, which facilitates Jewish immigration to Israel.
The resulting testy exchange with the Presidents
Conference leadership set off a day or so of recriminations, each side accusing the other of bad faith,
scuttling one of Odeh’s missions on his first tour as
head of the Joint List. (With 13 seats, the party is the
third largest faction in the Knesset.) Odeh had hoped
to recruit U.S. Jews into a civil rights era-style bid to
achieve equality for Israel’s Arab citizens.
In the United States, Odeh visited Washington and
New York, and met with members of Congress including civil-rights activist Representative John Lewis
(D-Ga.), and Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
the first Muslim elected to Congress. He also met with
senior Obama administration officials at the White
House and State Department.
Odeh’s message of common destiny did come across
loud and clear at the Haaretz-NIF conference.
“Arab citizens of Israel speak Arabic and Hebrew,”
Odeh said, and listed three leading Israeli poets — one
an Arab, one an Ashkenazi Jew, and one a Sephardic
Jew. “More than anyone else, we know both people’s
stories. Because I know these stories, even though it
is not my story, I deeply identify with the suffering of
the Jewish people, who have known hatred and terrible pain.”
As heartened as he may have been by the applause,
a joint message he issued late Sunday with Rabbi Rick
Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism,
who also had attended the conference, was more telling.
“The only future is a shared future,” the statement
issued by aides to both men said. “We both understand the importance of honest, deep, difficult and
necessary conversations. We were glad to meet today
at the Haaretz conference to agree to work together
for a better future.”
Contrast the “deep and difficult” in that statement
with Jacobs’ rapturous description of his December
8meeting with Odeh at Temple Emanu-El in New York.
“MK Odeh has an inspiring vision for a brighter
future for Israelis and Palestinians,” Jacobs said. “We
were delighted to host MK Odeh in one of our leading
houses of worship, to share with him the beauty, history, and activism of our Reform movement, and to
discuss together our shared commitment to a vision
of Israel that draws from the prophets of justice and
righteousness for all.”
Jacobs’ statement was issued just a day before the
dust-up at the Presidents Conference.
“Representatives of a broad spectrum of organizations came to hear him and were rightly upset by his
decision not to appear, although he was in the building
lobby,” the Presidents Conference statement released
after the incident said.
Odeh said that as a representative of Israel’s Arab
citizens, he could not enter a Jewish Agency office.
“I cannot in good conscience participate in meetings
SEE AYMEN ODEH PAGE 56

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 39

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40 Jewish Standard DECEMBER 18, 2015

Healthy Living & Adult Lifestyles

The flu and you:

How to best protect yourself and your loved ones

W

inter is a wonderful time
of the year. It is filled
with sledding, snowy
landscapes, and hot
cocoa by a cozy fire. Unfortunately, along
with all of the joys of winter, we also find
ourselves faced with the arrival of the flu
season.
“Although the flu season has already
begun, it does not typically peak until
January or February,” says Jane Clementi, supervisor of public health, The Valley Hospital Department of Community
Health and Community Benefit. “This
means that, although it is recommended
that everyone 6 months of age and older
should get their yearly flu vaccine by
October, it is not too late to get your flu
shot!”
There are many reasons to make sure
that you get your flu shot this year, Clementi says, including:

• The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important
step in protecting against flu viruses;
not only will you protect yourself, but
you will protect your loved ones as
well.
• The immunization is readily available
and in abundant supply.
• The vaccination is cost effective and
the most effective way to prevent the
flu. If your insurance does not cover
vaccination, it will typically cost
between $20 and $30.
In addition to getting your flu shot, there
are several steps you can take to decrease
your risk of catching the flu. These include:
• Avoiding close contact.
• Washing your hands. If soap and water
are not available, use an alcohol-based
hand rub.
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or
mouth.

• P racticing good health habits: Get
plenty of sleep, be physically active,
manage your stress, drink plenty of
fluids, and eat nutritious food.
By ensuring that you have received
your flu shot and by following the above
preventive measures, you are minimizing your risk of experiencing the dreaded
symptoms of the flu such as:
• Fever or feeling feverish chills
• Cough
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches
• Headaches
• Fatigue (very tired)
The good news is that most people are
able to recover at home from flu without medical care. To ease symptoms:
get plenty of rest; drink plenty of fluids;
treat aches and fever; use cough suppressants and expectorants to treat cough. In

addition, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications that can make your illness milder and shorten the time you are
sick.
Please note that the flu is highly contagious and is spread when a person with
the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in someone else’s mouth or nose. If you become
sick, you can lessen the chance of spreading it to others by:
• Staying home when you are sick
• Covering your mouth and nose with a
tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• Avoiding close contact
If you wish to schedule a flu vaccine,
call your doctor or contact one of Valley
Medical Group’s Primary and Urgent Care
Centers. You can find a center near you by
visiting ValleyMedicalGroup.com. Valley
Medical Group will have flu vaccine available through January.

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 41

Healthy Living & Adult Lifestyles
YOU

YOU

YOU

ATE. DRANK. SHOPPED.

Holy Name Medical Center
reports twin achievements
Awarded “A” in 2015
Hospital Safety Score and
begins use of Magellan
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42 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

Holy Name Medical Center has been
awarded an “A” from The Leapfrog Group
in its Hospital Safety Score, which rates
how well hospitals protect patients from
accidents, errors, injuries and infections.
More than 2,500 U.S. hospitals were
assigned scores, with about one-third of
hospitals receiving an “A”. Of the 66 New
Jersey acute care hospitals The Leapfrog
Group graded, less than half earned an
“A” for safety.
“Year in and year out, Leapfrog’s
survey results demonstrate Holy Name
Medical Center’s commitment to providing the region with the highest standard
of patient care by fostering a culture of
safety and quality,” said Michael Maron,
CEO of Holy Name Medical Center. “We
credit our outstanding medical, nursing, technical and administrative staff for
meeting and exceeding expectations.”
The Hospital Safety Score is compiled under the guidance of the nation’s
leading experts on patient safety and is
administered by Leapfrog, an independent industry watchdog.
The first and only hospital safety rating to be analyzed in the peer-reviewed
Journal of Patient Safety, the score is
designed to give the public information

they can use to protect themselves and
their families.
Calculated under the guidance of
Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel,
the Hospital Safety Score uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety
data to produce a single “A,” “B,” “C,”
“D,” or “F” score representing a hospital’s overall capacity to keep patients
safe from preventable harm.
“We were pleased to be recognized
once again for excellence in patient
safety,” said Sheryl Slonim, Holy Name
Medical Center’s chief nursing officer.
“We have several ongoing programs in
place throughout the hospital which
are designed to meet and exceed the
National Patient Safety Goals, including
infection prevention, medication management, and reducing surgical errors.”
“Holy Name Medical Center’s A grade
is a powerful reminder of its commitment to putting patient safety above all
else, and we are pleased to recognize the
persistent efforts of your clinicians and
staff to protect your patients,” said Leah
Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Our families, neighbors,
colleagues and friends deserve a hospital that will pull out all the stops to keep
them safe, and we urge Holy Name and
all other “A” hospitals to preserve and
renew your commitment to safety year
after year.”
The Hospital Safety Score is fully transparent, and its website offers a full analysis of the data and methodology used in
determining grades.

The thieves in our midst
RICHARD PORTUGAL

T

here are thieves that prowl
our American cities and lay
hidden ready to pounce upon
unwary prey. They are cunning, ugly and beastly; they are unforgiving and unemotional; they are cannibalistic and devour all in their path. They
are not satisfied to steal things or property. They steal lives; they steal families;
they steal love!
These thieves are called disease and
specifically they are christened Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. During our
lives most of us, one way or another, will
know these villains. When a common
thief steals, it normally will affect its
immediate victim or cause a ripple to lap
other shores. But when these diseases
steal, they are ambitious and voracious
in their appetites. Alzheimer’s steals a

person’s brain; Parkinson’s steals a person’s body. Not satisfied with mundane
worldly things, they seek the very soul
of its victims and their families.
There are other terrible diseases that
wreak havoc with people’s lives and visit
untimely suffering and death. Cancer,
heart disease, diabetes, strokes all contribute to untold heartbreak. But both
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have no
definitive causes or cures. These are
thieves that you cannot guard against;
their stealing goes unpunished.
Yet these thieves of movement and
memory are also unintentional purveyors of hope, humor, and determination. I
have witnessed victims and their families
fight to maintain their dignity and continue to evolve even with these thieves in
their very mist. This is not an easy battle.
Those who suffer these afflictions
endure a constant battle. Their families

Healthy Living & Adult Lifestyles
In another advance for Holy Name
Medical Center, physicians there have
become the first in the Northeast to use
the Magellan Robotic System, which
enables them to perform complex, yet
minimally invasive, vascular procedures
with extraordinary precision and speed.
Holy Name is one of only eight hospitals nationwide using Magellan, proven
to provide safe navigation through small
vessels, allowing targeted treatments,
reducing radiation exposure, and producing superior outcomes.
In many cases, Magellan allows a nonsurgical alternative for the patient who
either wishes to avoid endovascular
surgery or whose prior surgery was not
successful.
Procedures performed with Magellan are done in Holy Name’s Interventional Institute, a state-of-the-art facility, regionally recognized for minimally
invasive therapies and successful outcomes in complex cases.
“Holy Name Medical Center is pleased
to expand its range of robotic services
with the addition of the new Magellan
Robotic System,” said Maron. “With the
leadership of our internationally recognized interventional radiology specialists, this new platform will provide the
region with the most cutting-edge intravascular technology for nonsurgical,
minimally invasive procedures.”
The key to the Magellan system is its
image-guided navigation: The catheters
are fully controlled robotically by the physician, and yet there is complete maneuverability to rotate them 360 degrees and
bend 180 degrees in any direction.
This flexibility leads to shorter procedure times and greatly reduced sideeffects compared to open surgery.

Stenting and other endovascular procedures performed with Magellan can
quickly restore blood flow and, in
acute cases, save a patient from limb
amputation.
“We are able to do peripheral vascular
procedures with this new device because
it allows us to place catheters with pinpoint precision and accuracy,” said Dr.
John Rundback, director of the Interventional Institute. “The robotic system
and robotic catheter give us maximum
flexibility and control through a remote
workstation.”
Dr. Rundback performed his first procedure with the Magellan on a 64-yearold man for critical limb ischemia —
severe blockages of leg arteries — which
was causing him severe pain. Because
the patient had very twisted blood vessels and previous procedures to try to
correct the condition, he was not a good
candidate for surgery or traditional catheter techniques to open up the blockages. The Magellan robot allowed the
Interventional Institute physicians to
successfully navigate the many turns in
the patient’s leg, unblocking the vessels
to eliminate the pain he had been living
with for years.
Currently, the Magellan is FDAapproved for use in treating the following
conditions: peripheral arterial disease,
or “PAD,” (a blockage of the arteries in
the body), liver cancers, enlarged uterine fibroids, and significantly enlarged
prostates that do not respond well to
other treatments.
For more information about procedures that can be performed with the
Magellan Robotic System, call the Interventional Radiology Department at (201)
833-7268 or visit holyname.org/magellan.

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4 Assisted Living: Minds rest easy knowing highly trained,
or significant others become the guardians of new and alternative coping
methods. They become their own support groups and advocates. Their enemy
is progressive and they are forced into
alternating dramas of anger, frustration,
and ultimately, acceptance and hope.
The end stages of these diseases are
heartbreaking and I have witnessed families and support groups tread this path
with heroic stoicism.
There are no answers for this most
vulnerable of human conditions. To witness the evaporation of a body or a mind
is simply a hard road to travel. But one
of my clients, at a time when the enemy
was making determined inroads, said,
“You can steal my body; you can steal
my mind; but you cannot steal my hope,
my love, my resolve. You cannot steal
my place on this earth!”
She is a brave lady with a brave family. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other
thieves in our midst can be successfully met in battle. Those with the

determination to live their lives in
spite of these diseases are heroic in the
extreme. Families and health care providers who do battle on a daily basis give
the gift of hope and support. And those
professionals who conduct research to
defeat these diseases deserve the highest accolades.
As with all bullies, when confronted
directly, they eventually wither under the
spotlight of determined hope, support,
and unabashed courage! Someday these
thieves will be punished; someday they
will be vanquished; and someday they
will be forced into submission. Although
that day is not today, it may be tomorrow!
Richard Portugal is the founder and
owner of Fitness Senior Style, which
exercises seniors for balance, strength,
and cognitive �itness in their own
homes. He has been certi�ied as a senior
trainer by the American Senior Fitness
Association. For further information, call
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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 43

Healthy Living & Adult Lifestyles

The fast five tips for holiday eating
GLEN TOBIAS
The average holiday dinner is around 2000 calories...this
could be a problem! Here are five tips to help you avoid the
most common temptations.
1. Decrease your speed of eating: This is the easiest to do.
It takes 15-20 minutes for your stomach to stretch and send
a chemical signal to your brain that says you’re full. If you
eat too fast, you will eat too much and that leads to “eating

to pain”... at that point you know you overdid it.
Tip: Do not “pre-load” your fork. If you are chewing...
don’t stab more food.
2. Pick your favorite - “cheat well”: Don’t just eat it because
it’s there and it’s a holiday... only eat what you really love.
If sweet potatoes are your thing, then have some, but pass
on the mashed.
3. The “Egg Theory”: If you buy a dozen eggs at the store
and one breaks on the way home... you don’t throw out the

whole dozen, right? Every
meal is its own egg and if you
“go off your plan” (break an
egg), then do not toss the day
(throw out the dozen) and
tell yourself, “I will start on
my diet tomorrow.” Eating is
cumulative and nothing you
do today will make you wake
Glen Tobias
up at 600 pounds tomorrow
... so understand when you
break an egg; just go to the next meal and follow
your plan.
4. “Calorically cheapen” your meal: There are
no “good” or “bad” foods. People always say foods
like cheesecake are bad... I say they are delicious,
but expensive. Everyone understands money and
high calorie foods are “expensive” and low calorie
foods are “cheap”. Now when you are making your
mashed potatoes... if you use skim milk instead of
half and half, you just “calorically cheapened” that
dish. If you are going to eat a piece of pie... forgo the
a la mode and you just “calorically cheapened” that
dessert. This will only help minimize the “damage”
and help prevent you from feeling deprived.
5. “Pre eat” prior to the big holiday meal: Eat a
regular breakfast and lunch, then eat something
right before you go to dinner. Now the “battery” on
your willpower will be fully charged. If you go into
the meal too hungry you will eat faster and longer.
So prevent yourself from getting too hungry. Do not
save up the calories by not eating all day.
Glen Tobias, MS, RD, CSSD is a sports nutritionist at
The Gym of Englewood. For more information, call
(201) 567-9399 or visit GetToTheGym.com/englewood.

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44 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

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Healthy Living & Adult Lifestyles

Israeli biomed’s novel technology could cure diabetes
Betalin Therapeutics’ engineered micro-pancreas will provide
1a lasting scaffold for transplanted insulin-producing beta cells
ABIGAIL KLEIN LEICHMAN
In people with type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas don’t function
properly. Daily injections or infusions of insulin
are necessary to regulate energy-producing glucose absorption in all the body’s cells.
Doctors know how to implant type 1
patients with donor islets full of healthy
beta cells, but they cannot keep the transplanted cells from failing within a matter of
days. Unfortunately, half of all transplanted
patients are back on insulin injections one
year later, and 90 percent revert to insulin
dependency within five years.
Israeli biotech company Betalin Therapeutics is developing an engineered micro-pancreas (EMP) that can sustain significant levels of
glucose-regulated insulin secretion from transplanted beta cells.
If this tissue-engineering breakthrough
proves effective in human trials, it has the

potential to cure, rather than only control, type
1 and even severe forms of type 2 diabetes.
The essence of the EMP is a micro biological scaffold that is added to the donor
islets before implantation. It uniquely supports the cells’ survival, leading to longterm functionality, says Dr. Eduardo Mitrani,
who engineered the EMP in the department
of cell and developmental biology at the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem and now
chairs Betalin’s scientific advisory board.
“The main problem we have in developing
new treatments for diabetes is that diabetes is far more complicated than we think,”
Mitrani says. “Providing insulin is easy, but
regulating insulin has proven very difficult
because regulation requires many different
sensors in the beta cells.”
Findings from Mitrani’s lab were published in the November 2015 issue of the
journal Tissue Engineering Part A, showing
that beta cells derived from EMP-supported

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islets function similarly to freshly dissected pancreatic islets in the lab. They
continue to secrete insulin in a regulated
manner and in levels comparable to
fresh islets for more than three months,
whereas beta cells not supported by a
scaffold function for about two days.
When transplanted into suitable hosts,
EMPs connect quickly with the body’s
vascular system, and because of their
microscopic size they can receive the
natural amounts of nutrients and gases
needed to survive through diffusion.
“Connecting to the network” is essential
for proper glucose sensing and efficient
insulin secretion.
This is a major step forward from other
experimental approaches, says Mitrani.

Next step: clinical trials
As opposed to artificial pancreases that
cannot function to the same degree as a
natural pancreas, Betalin’s micro-scaffold
technology enables creating an actual
micro-pancreas, in all its natural complexity, in the laboratory.
“Our micro-organ becomes vascularized
in a remarkable three to five days and can
produce insulin,” says Mitrani. “What distinguishes us is the micro-scaffold. We have
worldwide IP for this technology, which
allows the islets to survive, function in a
regulated manner and connect to the circulatory system.”
There is another significant advantage to the EMP. The current method for

transplanting beta cells necessitates using
a large amount of donor cells in two infusions. In contrast, the EMP should require
a much smaller number of islets introduced
in one infusion. “This should translate into
the ability to treat a higher number of
patients,” says Mitrani.
Dr. James Shapiro from the University
of Alberta, Canada, has been collaborating for the past two years with Mitrani to
advance this new approach to curing type
1 diabetes.
Shapiro said that if Betalin’s micro-scaffold technique is proven to work as well in
human subjects as it does in the lab, “it has
the potential to substantially improve cellular engraftment and survival both for islets
and potentially for stem-cell engraftment.”
Following five years of optimizing the
technology, Betalin Therapeutics was
established in 2015 under an exclusive
worldwide license from Yissum, the technology-transfer office of the Hebrew University. The company’s office is in Ramat
Gan, while the lab work is done in Mitrani’s
and Shapiro’s labs.
“We are now are doing whatever is necessary to comply with regulatory agencies in the United States and Canada,” says
Mitrani. “We are already in conversation
and submitting data to the FDA, which will
determine what needs to be done to start
our first human trials within a year.”
In anticipation of clinical trials, Betalin
has begun a financing round of $2.5 million
ISRAEL21C.ORG
from private investors.

New study: Trauma passes genetically
to the third generation
Effects of exposure of females to stress during
adolescence are transmitted not only to children
but also to grandchildren, say Israeli researchers
Exposing female adolescent rats to stress
even before they become pregnant leads to
changes in behavior and hormones in their
children and grandchildren, according to a
groundbreaking study from Israel.
The University of Haifa researchers —
psychobiologist Inna Gaisler-Salomon and
doctoral student Hiba Zaidan, in collaboration with Dr. Micah Leshem — found in
previous studies that exposing rats to stress
during adolescence causes behavioral
changes in adult direct offspring.
They also found that a stress-related gene
(CRF1) expresses itself differently in the
brains of direct offspring from the moment
they are born.
In the current study, Gaisler-Salomon
and Zaidan examined whether these effects

extend to grandchildren. In addition to the
CRF1 gene, they tested the third generation for the presence of the stress hormone
corticosterone.
As in previous studies, the researchers
exposed the young female rats to minor
stress involving changes in temperature
and routine for a week. Their subsequent
children and grandchildren grew up without any stress-inducing intervention.
On the behavioral level, the grandchildren (mainly females) were more daring,
spent more time in the “frightening” parts
of the maze, and exhibited less anxious
behavior in various tests when compared
with the offspring of rats that were not
exposed to stress. In addition, the offspring
(both male and female) of the rats exposed

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Schoolchildren studying Holocaust hear
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Martha Sternbach visited Park Ridge Elementary
School last week to share her story of surviving the
Holocaust with young people studying it in history
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Ms. Sternbach recounted her years growing up
comfortably before Hitler came to power, her deportation to Auschwitz, the murder of her family, her
slavery, and eventual liberation.
She spoke about her love for America as well as

to stress demonstrated a more rapid acquisition of fear.
They found that the effect of the trauma is transmitted between generations, but it affects each generation
differently.
The CRF1 gene, which expressed itself strongly among
the first generation, was much weaker in the second generation. However, corticosterone was found in higher levels among both the first and second generations.
“It’s possible to try and explain the results as showing
that the rats whose grandmother was exposed to stress
displayed more adaptive behavior to their surroundings. Wherever greater curiosity was needed to improve
their chances of survival, they displayed curiosity, but
the moment they were exposed to a frightening event,
they learned quickly and reacted more extremely to this
event,” said the researchers.
This finding has far-ranging implications on the epigenetic influence of stress. Epigenetics is the study of cellular
and physiological variations caused by external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off and affect
how cells read genes.
“Adolescence is a very sensitive period, and our studies show that exposure to stress at this stage of life affects
not only the affected female, but also the behavior and
stress hormone levels of her first- and second-generation
ISRAEL21C.ORG
offspring,” concluded Gaisler-Salomon.

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her family, saying she wanted to spread the message that
“nobody should discriminate against anyone.” She also
took questions from the students.
Sternbach lives in River Vale at the Jewish Home
Assisted Living with her husband. The lecture at Park
Ridge Elementary is an ongoing project.

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Rochelle Park, NJ 07662
201 226-9600
Combat cold season and stay healthy

Here at The Chateau we combine the very same sophisticated technologies and
techniques used by leading hospitals with “hands on” skilled rehabilitative/nursing care.
Sub Acute care ensures that patients return home with the highest degree of function
possible.

Our Care Service …

Antibiotics, disinfectants, and detergents are proving no match for biofilm,
the sticky cluster of microbes that can
form on everything from household surfaces to medical implants and devices.
A reported 75 percent of healthcareassociated infections — which cause
99,000 deaths every year in the United
States alone — can be traced to biofilm
on devices such as catheters, ventilators,
and endotracheal tubes.
Within the next 24 months, the Israeli
company NanoLock expects to win regulatory clearance for its first two products
embedded with a novel antimicrobial
nanomaterial developed in the lab of Dr.
Ervin Weiss, former head of prosthodontics at the Hebrew University Hadassah
School of Dental Medicine in Jerusalem
and current dean of the Tel Aviv University dental school.
Dental materials are NanoLock’s first
priority and from there the sky’s the
limit, depending on the needs of strategic partners for the Kfar Saba-based
company.
The Israeli company has a wide variety of potential partners, considering that the U.S. National Institutes of
Health estimates biofilm is responsible
for more than 60 percent of all microbial infections.

“The implications are vast. We’re more
interested in the medical field but other
potential fields such as makers of air filters and water filters also are approaching us. There are diverse realms that deal
with biofilm issues.”
The material has been tested with
plastic and glass, and could also be
embedded in textiles. A formulation for
metal is still in development.
Rothman says the cost of the product
is not yet determined but it is expected
to be manufactured on a mass scale.
“We’ve done first-in-man clinical trials in Israel involving 13 volunteers with
wonderful results. We will do more trials
depending on the regulatory path and
indications needed by our partners,”
she says.
Meanwhile, NanoLock is completing
a feasibility study for a company that
requested to test its nanoparticles, and
the self-funded company is looking to
complete its first investment round by
year’s end.
The World Health Organization and
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
consider fighting microbial infections
a top priority. In 2009, President Barrack Obama and then-EU President
Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden established
a transatlantic taskforce on antimicrobial
resistance.
Statistics show that on any given
day, about one in 18 European hospital patients and one in 25 U.S. hospital patients is affected by at least one
healthcare-associated infection.
“One of our main missions is to
enable the use of medical devices, such
as catheters, bearing inherent antimicrobial proprieties that are maintained
throughout the product life cycle,” says
Rothman.
The core technology was commercialized and licensed to NanoLock through
Hadasit Medical Research Services &
Development, Hadassah Ein-Kerem
Medical Center Jerusalem, and Yissum
Research Development Company of the
Hebrew University. Rothman co-founded
NanoLock with Weiss, who established
the department of dental materials at
Hadassah’s Dental Rehabilitation LaboISRAEL21C.ORG
ratory.

Ventilator Care/Vent-Dialysis
IV Therapy
Tracheotomy Care
Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapy
Physician Supervised Wound Care
On-Site Internal Medicine Physicians
24 Hour Nursing Care

The Graf Center for Integrative Medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center is hosting a free Winter Wellness event on Friday, December 18
from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Attendees will
have an opportunity to sample integrative services including aromatherapy,
meditation, massage, acupuncture,
Reiki, healthy skin product demos, and

will leave with tips and recipes to boost
immunity. Registration is requested but
not required. Call 201.608. 2377 for more
information.
The event will take place at The Graf
Center for Integrative Medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, fifth
floor, 350 Engle Street, Englewood.

Sub Acute Rehabilitative Care Center for Hospital After Care

For
more information,
information,or
ortotoschedule
schedulea tour
a tour
TheHealth
Chateau
Rochelle
For more
of of
Alaris
at at
The
ChateauPark,
at
please
call
our please
Admissions
Department
201 336-9317
Rochelle
Park,
call our
Admissionsat
Department
at 201 336-9317

After
care is so important to a patient’s recovery … once a patient is released from the
48 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015
hospital the real challenges often begin – the challenges they now have to face as they
try and regain their strength and independence.

B

IC
A
S
AS
P
& TS
N
E
N
E
G
R
D
BE RESI

Rest easy

knowing that your loved one is receiving the

best possible care from our
dementia care experts...

If your loved one suffers from dementia or related disorders, the newly
expanded Alzheimer’s Care Pavilion at Daughters of Miriam Center/The
Gallen Institute is your answer. To better meet the needs of our community,
the Center has added a second, newly re-furbished floor to the pavilion,
creating a safe and secure home-like environment for your family member.
Residents receive 24-hour medical care in the only Jewish JCAHO*
accredited facility in the state of New Jersey, from nurses and physicians
with the experience and training to meet their specialized needs. The
interdisciplinary team creates an individualized care plan for each resident.
Structured activities run from 8 AM to 9 PM every day to help maintain
residents at their highest level of function.
The Center is located just over five miles from Routes 4 and 17 and directly
off of the Garden State Parkway. In addition, we are easily accessible from
the NJ Turnpike, Routes 80, 46 and 3 and less than 15 miles

from New York City. With its convenient location and state-of-the-art
services in beautiful, private and semi-private accommodations, our new
pavilion is the perfect choice for Bergen and Passaic County residents.
You can rest easy knowing that your loved one is receiving the best
possible care from the dementia care experts at Daughters of Miriam
Center/The Gallen Institute.
To find out how Daughters of Miriam Center may care for your loved
one suffering from dementia, or for a tour of the new pavilion, please
contact the Admissions Department at 973-253-5358.
No entry fee is required for admission into any Daughters of Miriam
Center/The Gallen Institute program or facility.
We are pleased to accept Medicaid, Medicare, private pay and
managed care.

ALZHEIMER’S CARE PAVILION
at

Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute
a Jewish continuum of care campus at 155 Hazel Street, Clifton, NJ 07011 · 973-253-5358
DAUGHTERS OF MIRIAM CENTER IS A KOSHER FACILITY

*Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations,
a voluntary accrediting agency whose standards exceed federal and state requirements.
Daughters of Miriam Center/The Gallen Institute is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jesey.

JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 49

D’var Torah

Vayigash: The journey of a lifetime

O

ne of the most meaningful readings I offer at a
funeral is by Rabbi Alvin Fine. It begins, “Birth is
a beginning, and death a destination, but life is a
journey…”
It is an apt metaphor. Each of us over the course of our lives
makes stops along the journey of life, spending time with people
and then parting ways with them. Every journey and every life

is filled with seeing new things, learning lessons, and perhaps
realizing all the things we don’t know.
But alas for some people life as a journey is no metaphor.
In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Vayigash, Joseph has
become a chief assistant to Pharaoh in Egypt. And he is the
architect of a plan to save the country from a famine. After
testing his brothers, he reunites with them after over twenty

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50 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

Roberta Abrams Paer
Vice president, Campaign

years of estrangement. This
has set the stage for Joseph
to introduce his aging father
Jacob to the Pharaoh. The
Pharaoh asks the old man,
“How many are the years of
your life?”
It is not clear to me
whether this is a standard
Rabbi Steven
question or whether there
Sirbu
is something about Jacob’s
Temple Emeth,
countenance that makes him
Teaneck, Reform
appear especially aged. The
commentator Ramban (11941270) posits that it is the latter, that Jacob appears to be and is much older than most
men in Egypt.
Given that this is their first meeting, and that a good
amount of deference is to be shown the king, Jacob gives
an unusual response: “The years of my sojourn [on earth]
are one hundred and thirty. Few and hard have been the
years of my life, nor do they come up to the life spans of
my fathers during their sojourns.”
When Jacob speaks of life as a sojourn, is it to be taken
metaphorically, as Rabbi Fine clearly intends in his poem?
Or is it to be taken literally? All the patriarchs were wanderers, but Jacob much more so than his father and grandfather. He faced more danger and adversity in his wanderings than they did. In fact, it is Jacob’s wanderings that
form a starting point from which Jewish history is told. In
Deuteronomy 26:5 — in a line excerpted into the Passover
Haggadah — someone making a thanksgiving offering to
the priest is obligated to say, “My father was a wandering Aramean.” The wandering that later comes to define
Jacob’s life has taken its toll on him, for he tells the Pharaoh that he is not as old as his ancestors were (and at this
rate does not expect to surpass them).
I think, like Jacob, many people use their parents as
their yardstick of their accomplishments in life. Most people consider it a noteworthy accomplishment to live longer than a parent, especially the parent of the same gender. I, for one, reflect that my father was a year younger
than I am now when he mourned the death of his mother.
In contrast, I am blessed that both my parents are alive
and well.
In coming to Egypt, Jacob has found stability. The man
whose life is defined by his journeying will stay in one
spot for the last 17 years of his life. But his implication to
Pharaoh that he will not live as long as his ancestors is
proven true. At 147, he lives for a shorter time than his
father, grandfather and great grandfather. And, befitting
of a man whose life is shaped by his journeys, his body
is returned from Egypt to the family’s burial ground in
Canaan as part of an elaborate procession.
As I consider Jacob’s life, I wonder about the men and
women, and especially the children, who have recently
fled their home countries because of war or other dangers. Will this simply be one chapter they tell in the
story of their life’s “journey?” Or will this journey and its
obstacles come to define their lives? The answer depends
in large part on the treatment they receive. If met with
kindness, they may well say that the journey ultimately
enabled them to be in a safer and better place than their
ancestors. If met with coldness or closed doors, they
may likely say that their days have been “few and hard”
because of the experience.
By the time Vayigash concludes, the unlikely journeys
of Jacob, Joseph and the brothers all converge in Egypt.
It will be their home for 400 years until the Israelites are
destined to wander again. We Jews are heirs to this history. We strive to ensure that for ourselves and for others
that “life’s journey” remains a metaphor.

Crossword
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1. Asher ___....
5. Schindler of “Schindler’s List”
10. Word before Yisrael
14. False god of war
15. Didn’t dine in the sukkah
16. Jewish frat
17. Weapon for an Israeli Jedi?
19. Scotch not used for kiddush
20. Ian Kinsler played at this level, once
21. Fit for David or Achashverosh
22. How Michaels’ show is broadcast
23. Esau felt it for Jacob
25. Bounty hunting Prime Minister?
28. “___ Monday”, tune by Susanna
Hoff’s band
29. Letter that can be long
30. Long in Ben Younger’s
“Boiler Room”
31. Farmar, once
33. Sight for Eilat divers
34. Seconds, in Israel
35. Frum part of the Force?
39. ___ Yikra
40. Make like Moses hitting the rock, e.g.
41. ___-mo, effect used by Kubrick
42. In a ___, might need some tzedakah
43. Wrap in Nichols’ “The Birdcage”
44. Where Warren Buffet bought chametz from Rabbi Jonathan Gross
48. Wookie of the tribe?
51. Rabbi Weil of the OU
52. It’s the least anti-Semitic country in
the world, according to the ADL
53. NYU arts name
55. Like the Rova
56. (Just a) bissel
57. Lord of Passover?
59. Like Shabbat after about 25 hours
60. Best group in the IDF, perhaps
61. Savior of many a Jew during WWII,
e.g.
62. You might need one’s help for
this puzzle
63. Kind of question asked before a
l’chaim celebration
64. Clarinetist Artie

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6. Guy in need of a shiduch, maybe
7. Grill item
8. El Al, e.g.
9. Makeup for Estee Lauder?
10. Gush ___
11. Unlike matzoh
12. Many Jews have one on 11 Tishrei
13. What Diodotus Tryphon did to gain
Jonathan Maccabee’s trust
18. Israel has made several with
neighboring lands
22. Jeremy who played with Casspi
24. Short-lived job for Ben Stiller in
“Zoolander”
26. ___ up (starts looking like Goldberg)
27. Yiddish pops, for short
32. Former Adam Brody show
33. Itzhak Perlman gift
34. The Negev, e.g.
35. “The greatest thing in the world...”,
according to Billy Crystal’s Miracle
Max
36. It’s prepared before Shabbat
37. Piece of Talmud
38. What some might call really slow
cantors
39. Nickname Jonas Salk could have
shared with Julius Erving
43. Some Stern degs.
45. ___ Zara
46. Female foe of Daniel in the “Harry
Potter” films
47. Garfield on screen
49. Get on an Israir flight
50. Buenos ___, home of a kosher
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51. Joe who’s a yutz
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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 51

Arts & Culture
The cast of
“The Golden
Bride” in an
exuberant
number from
the show.

‘The Golden Bride’ weds old and new
MIRIAM RINN

N

ational Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s production of “The
Golden Bride” has yichus.
The comic operetta premiered at the 2000-seat Second Avenue
Theater in 1923. It ran for 18 weeks, then
went on the road across the country, making it as far as Argentina and England. Part
fable, part romantic comedy, the show
incorporated different aspects of Jewish
life at the time, including homesickness for
the old country, capitalist fervor, romantic fantasies, and the sentimentality surrounding motherhood.
This season, the Folksbiene is snugly
ensconced in the Museum of Jewish Heritage near Battery Park, a particularly suitable spot for the company. The museum’s
large auditorium accommodates a sizable
crowd, and the acoustics are good. That
benefits this production, co-directed by
Bryna Wasserman and Motl Didner, which
is dominated by songs and music. The
opening production number is a good
indication of what is to come. A crowd
of attractive young performers cram the
stage, singing and dancing to “Freyt Aych.”
Everyone is rejoicing because a rich American is arriving in their poor Russian shtetl
with a marriageable son, Jerome. This rich
52 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

Americaner has come to collect his sweet
orphaned niece Goldele and take her
back to America, where she is to become
a rich heiress. Her adoptive parents, the
innkeepers Pinchas and Toybe, are weepy
but happy. The only person dismayed by
the upcoming journey is Misha, the handsome revolutionary who has just returned
to claim Goldele as his own.
This is the basic storyline, but “The
Golden Bride” includes so much more.
There’s a masked ball, a number in drag,
a hymn to the Soviet revolution, a comic
toast to the life of the actor, various love
songs, and everything else the producers
could think of. Yiddish theater in the first
part of the twentieth century in America
was not known for its subtlety or dramatic
sophistication, and the Folksbiene honors
that tradition. “The Golden Bride” was
written for an audience exhausted by long
hours of work in terrible conditions, who
wanted and needed a few hours of distraction and amusement. Pretty girls, rich costumes, melodic tunes, and a happy ending
fit the bill.
The Folksbiene has pulled together a
cast of 20, many with exceptionally fine
voices. The romantic leads, Cameron Johnson as Misha and Rachel Policar as Goldele, have operatic training, and it shows.
Their acting skills are not as developed,

who provide the comedy in
a classic musical, and while
they work hard, their timing seemed off in the performance I saw. That may
improve with practice. Allen
gets a lot of mileage out of
his comically bad Yiddish
— he cannot pronounce the
“Kh” in Khanele so he calls
her Kanele throughout. The
show is in Yiddish with easyto-see supertitles in English
and Russian. Several of the
songs are in Russian, including that mysterious paean to
the revolution.
The music by Joseph Rumshinsky is ably performed
by the orchestra conducted
by Teaneck’s own Zalman
Cameron Johnson as Misha woos Rachel Policar as
Mlotek, the Folksbiene’s
Goldele in “The Golden Bride.”
artistic and music director.
Rumshinsky arrived in the
but this material may be impervious to
U.S. in 1903 and became known as the Jewish Victor Herbert. Lyricist Louis Gilrod,
interpretation. They look good and they
who lived in Newark for a time, became
sound great, which seemed to be enough
famous for his song “Dos Pintele Yid.”
for the audience at the show I attended.
Filled with music and song, “The Golden
Sharper comic timing would have
Bride” is a tribute to the Yiddish theater
improved Jerome and Khanele’s several
that entertained several generations of
numbers. Glenn Steven Allen and Jillian
immigrants.
Gottlieb play the second couple, the folks

Arts & Culture

‘Son of
Saul’
ERIC A. GOLDMAN

T

here is little doubt in anyone’s
mind that the release of Otto
Preminger’s “Exodus” 55 years
ago had a profound effect on
how America — and indeed the world —
perceived Israel.
Who better to represent the new Jew
than Ari Ben-Canaan, played by the handsome Paul Newman? But we often overlook the fact that it was many viewers’
first onscreen encounter with the Holocaust. Concentration camp survivors play
a significant role in Leon Uris’s novelturned-film; a major part of the story is
about them. On board the ship Exodus, it
is the survivors who demand to fight the
British with a hunger strike. Then there is
Karen, who chooses to remain onboard
with her fellow survivors, rather than go
to the safety of America with Kitty. But
one of the most remarkable characters is
Sal Mineo’s Dov Landau, the feisty young
fighter. When Dov is being interrogated
by the Irgun leadership to determine
whether he would be able to join their
organization, they demand that he share
what he did in Auschwitz. He tries to evade
their questions with a variety of answers,
but Akiva Ben-Canaan pushes him to tell
the full story, and we learn that he was a
sonderkommando.
Uris deliberately wanted us to understand the transformation of Dov from
Auschwitz sonderkommando into Israeli
commando. Indeed, screenwriter Dalton
Trumbo, who adapted Uris’s novel, felt
this to be an important part of the story,
a part of Holocaust history that always has
been troublesome.
Writer Primo Levi, a survivor of Auschwitz, aroused ire in many readers when,
in his effort to bear witness, he described
“a disturbing but inevitable phenomenon” in Auschwitz. It was the “gray zone”
that existed between the oppressed and
their oppressors, where some prisoners
joined their captors in beating and maltreating other prisoners. Levi wrote: “We
are aware that this is very distant from
the picture that is usually given of the
oppressed.” He went on to suggest that
in some situations, anyone’s conscience
might be assuaged. What someone
chooses to do in order to survive can be a
troubling topic; in the ongoing discussion
of the Holocaust, this remains one of the
more disturbing issues.
It was the “special commando” who
had the task of escorting Jews to their
death in the “showers,” and clearing out
the gas chambers once the victims were
asphyxiated. It was these young, healthy

Geza Rohrig as Saul in “Son of Saul,” written and directed by Laszlo Nemes.

Jews, supervised by a handful of SS or
Ukrainian guards, who removed the dead
bodies’ gold teeth and brought them to
the crematoriums. Their role in the camps
ultimately was the disposal of the bodies.
Becoming a sonderkommando was a temporary commutation of your death sentence, but what would life be like once
you made this choice?
Although most of them understood that
they too would be murdered within a few
months, there always was the possibility
that liberation might be at hand. Indeed,
some, like Dov Landau, did survive the war.
If you could save your life by bargaining for
a few months, would that be so wrong?
Is this the stuff that movies are made
of ? Fourteen years ago, Tim Blake Nelson made a film that he titled “The
Grey Zone,” the first American film to
touch on the question of what people
did in the concentration camp to survive. The writer/director focused on the
sonderkommandos and did a fairly good
job tackling the moral dilemmas they
faced. We watched, as spectators, as the
actors on screen struggled with their
choices. Now Hungarian writer/director Laszlo Nemes takes us into another
sphere in his film “Son of Saul.”
Rather than watch from the audience,
we become part of the action. We are
there in the camp as the sonderkommandos tackle their various responsibilities
and make their choices. If fact, we quickly

become one with Saul in experiencing firsthand the terror that was synonymous with
being a sonderkommando at Auschwitz.
“Son of Saul” is not your typical story
of survival. The director wants us to feel
as if we become Saul. We see every action
through his eyes; we co-exist with him.
Through the lens of a handheld camera —
a technique that we are seeing more and
more in today’s cinema — we take every
step with Saul. We encounter every twist
and turn together. If Saul seems uninterested or un-invested, all is out of focus;
there is a steady flash of unintelligible
images throughout. If something affects
Saul, what we see is crystal clear.
The cinema frame is limited to what
he sees. Much of the action is out of the
frame; we continually hear barked commands and voices and the sounds of
people around us. As our point of view
is Saul’s, we seem to see more and hear
less, but as writer/director Nemes told
me, “Showing less was giving more to the
viewer and hinting in a more effective way
at the enormity of what took place there.
“I wanted to do something about the visceral experience that I had, based on testimonies that I had found,” he continued.
“This was about the limitations of human
beings in the middle of the concentration
camp and the extermination process. I
wanted to take the viewer in a very organic
and immersive way through the story… on
a human level, an individual level….

“We wanted for the viewer to have some
sort of intuition— a mental perspective that
is not limited.”
Nemes succeeds in making us feel as if
we are there, in his hell. At times I questioned why I was watching this film and
experiencing it. Had I not seen enough
films on the subject? Elie Wiesel has
famously lamented that cinema “trivializes” the Holocaust, and no one can in any
way reconstruct the horror.
But in “Son of Saul,” Laszlo Nemes does
succeed in immersing us in his “inferno.”
By not saying too much and visually and
aurally providing us with only one person’s perspective, we experience so much
more. This film, which won the Grand
Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and is a
Golden Globe nominee for best foreign
language film, is a masterpiece. New Yorkbased actor Geza Rohrig gives an exceptional performance as Saul.
This is not a film for everyone, but I was
glad I experienced it. Primo Levi wrote,
“If understanding is impossible, recognizing is necessary, because what happened
can happen again, consciences can again
be seduced and obscured: even our own.”
If you like brilliant cinema, “Son of Saul”
is a must. The film opens today at Lincoln
Plaza Cinema and Film Forum in New York.
Eric Goldman writes and lectures about
Jewish film. He teaches cinema at Yeshiva
University’s Stern College in New York.

JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 53

Calendar
“Understanding
Relationships,
Understanding Yourself,”
with a discussion on
dealing with stress,
9:45 a.m. 411 South
Little Tor Road, off exit
10, Palisades Interstate
Parkway. (845) 708-9181
or www.nanuethc.org.

the New York Times.
1666 Windsor Road.
Breakfast reservations,
(201) 833-1322 or www.
emeth.org.

Film in Paramus:

Margie Gelbwasser
Author in Fair Lawn:
The Jewish Federation
of Northern New
Jersey’s One Book, One
Community author,
Margie Gelbwasser,
discusses her book,
“Inconvenient” at a
sisterhood meeting at the
Fair Lawn Jewish Center/
CBI, 10 a.m. Books for
sale in shul office for $10.
All welcome, including
teens and their friends.
10-10 Norma Ave.
(201) 796-5040.

DEC.

25
Friday
DECEMBER 18

Shabbat in Washington
Township: Temple Beth
Or offers a tot family
service with Rabbi
Noah Fabricant and
Cantor Sarah Silverberg,
6 p.m., followed by an
oneg and craft activity.
56 Ridgewood Road.
(201) 664-7422 or
templebethornj.org.

Cantor Mark Biddleman

Saturday
DECEMBER 19
Chop with Eitan
Bernath: Teen chef
Eitan Bernath, who
was featured on Food
Network’s “Chopped!”,
leads and judges
a friendly cooking
demonstration and
competition for thirdto fifth-graders at the
Kaplen JCC on the
Palisades in Tenafly,
7:30 p.m. (201) 408-1467
or www.jccotp.org.

Shabbat in Woodcliff
Lake: Temple Emanuel
of the Pascack Valley’s
cantor emeritus, Mark
Biddelman, on guitar,
hosts Shabbat Yachad,
Hebrew prayers set to
easy-to-sing melodies,
accompanied by
54 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

Magic/music in
Fort Lee: “America’s
Got Talent” finalist,
master illusionist Oz
Pearlman, performs at
Congregation Gesher
Shalom/JCC of Fort Lee,
8 p.m., along with the
synagogue’s cantor, Paul
Zim. Limited tickets. 1449
Anderson Ave., Fort Lee.
(201) 947-1735 or go to
geshershalom.org/oz.

Climbing high in
Tenafly: The Kaplen
JCC on the Palisades
offers climbing at
different heights,
8-10:30 p.m. (201) 408-1470
or cfutterweit@jccotp.org.

Sunday
DECEMBER 20
Meet ‘Elsa’ and ‘Olaf’
in Oakland: Children

2- to 7-years-old are
invited to meet “Elsa”
and “Olaf” at the
Academies at Gerrard
Berman Day School,
9:30-11:30 a.m. Photos,
science experiments,
crafts, edible snowmen
treats. 45 Spruce
St. Registration,
(201) 337-1111 or www.
ssnj.org.

Children’s program:
The JCC of Paramus/
Congregation Beth
Tikvah continues its
“Sunday Specials” series
for 4- to 7-year-olds
with “Indoor Fun in the
Winter Time,” 9:30 a.m.
Monthly activities include
songs, crafts, bouncy
castle, science, and
cooking. Nut-free snacks.
East 304 Midland Ave.
(201) 262-7733 or
edudirector@jccparamus.
org.

Dealing with stress:
The Nanuet Hebrew
Center in New City
offers an interactive
seminar for individuals
and couples with author
Michael Jason Sherman,

Film in Scotch Plains:
Temple Sholom screens
“Above and Beyond,”
produced by Nancy
Spielberg. The film
chronicles the history
of the Israeli Air Force,
7 p.m. 1925 Lake Ave.
(908) 889-4900 or go to
www.sholomnj.org.

Michael Avi Helfand

The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly presents a family
show, “Mish Mash,” with ventriloquist Jonathan Geffner, on
Friday, December 25, at 11 a.m. 411 E Clinton Ave. Alexa, (201)
408-1467, or www.jccotp.org.
keyboardist Jonathan
Hanser, bassist Brian
Glassman, and drummer
Gal Gershovsky, 8 p.m.
Free copy of CD at the
shul. 87 Overlook Drive.
(201) 391-0801 or www.
tepv.org.

The JCC of Paramus/
Congregation Beth
Tikvah screens “‘Black
or White,” starring Kevin
Costner, 3 p.m. RSVP
deli dinner follows.
East 304 Midland Ave.
(201) 262-7691.

Religious liberty,
same-sex marriage:

Matt Nadel
Young baseball blogger
in Fair Lawn: Matt
Nadel, 16, the youngest
blogger on MLB.com
and author of “Amazing
Aaron to Zero Zippers:
An Introduction to
Baseball History,” speaks
at a men’s club breakfast
at Temple Beth Sholom,
10 a.m. 40-25 Fair Lawn
Ave. (201) 797-9321.

Professor Michael Avi
Helfand of Pepperdine
Law School discusses
“Religious Liberty in
the Age of Same-Sex
Marriage” for the adult
education committee
of Congregation Rinat
Yisrael in Teaneck, 8 p.m.
389 West Englewood
Ave. (201) 837-2795,
www.rinat.org.

Monday
DECEMBER 21

Feature film: The Kaplen
Author in Teaneck: New
York Times reporter
and columnist Joseph
Berger discusses his
recent book, “The Pious
Ones — The World of
Chasidism and Their
Battles with America,”
at Temple Emeth’s
B’yachad breakfast,
10:30 a.m. Mr. Berger
is a longtime writer for

JCC on the Palisades
in Tenafly screens the
Cannes Film Festival
winner “Leviathan,”
7:30 p.m., as part of a
series, “Top Films You
May Have Missed or
Want to See Again.”
411 E. Clinton Ave.
(201) 408-1493.

Calendar
Connecting body and
soul in Fair Lawn:
Anshei Lubavitch offers a
discussion, “The Sense of
Smell — Seeing Beyond
the Surface,” 7:30 p.m.
10-10 Plaza Road. www.
flchabad.com or Rabbi
Avrohom Bergstein,
(201) 362-2712.

Tuesday
DECEMBER 22
Funny ladies of the
stage: Dumont historian
Dick Burnon gives a
lecture, “Women Who
Mattered: Funny Ladies
of the Stage and Screen,”
at a meeting of REAP
(Retired Executives and
Active Professionals)
at the Kaplen JCC on
the Palisades in Tenafly,
10:30 a.m. 411 East Clinton
Ave. (201) 569-7900, ext.
235 or www.jccotp.org.

Thursday
DECEMBER 24
Seniors meet for dinner:
The Renaissance Club
of Wayne’s Temple Beth
Tikvah, a social club for
seniors, meets for dinner
at ChengDu 23 in Wayne,
5:30 p.m. Dues for the first
year are free to members

of the community. The
social club also supports
organizations for Jewish
causes at the shul and
in the community.
(973) 595-6565 or
templebethtikvah.org.

Friday
DECEMBER 25
Shabbat in Ridgewood:
Temple Israel and Jewish
Community Center holds
a Reconstructionist-style
worship service, 6:30 p.m.,
followed by a community
Chinese dinner. 475
Grove St. Reservations,
(201) 444-9320.

Sunday
DECEMBER 27
Blood drive in Teaneck:
Congregation Beth Aaron
holds a blood drive in
conjunction with the
American Red Cross,
8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. All
presenting donors will
receive a long-sleeved Red
Cross shirt. Appointments
preferred. Call 1 (800)
RED-CROSS or sign up
at redcrossblood.org and
enter sponsor code: Beth
Aaron. 950 Queen Anne
Road. (201) 836-6210.

Museum of Jewish Heritage offers
diverse program on December 25

Monday
DECEMBER 28
Blood drive in Teaneck:
Holy Name Medical
Center holds a blood drive
with New Jersey Blood
Services, a division of
New York Blood Center,
1-7 p.m. 718 Teaneck Road.
(800) 933-2566 or www.
nybloodcenter.org.

Singles
Sunday
DECEMBER 20
Singles meet in Caldwell:
New Jersey Jewish Singles
45+ meets for a postChanukah party with food,
games, and mingling at
Congregation Agudath
Israel, 12:45 p.m. $10. 20
Academy Road. Sue,
(973) 226-3600, ext. 145,
or singles@agudath.org.

Seniors meet in Suffern:
Singles 65+ of the JCC
Rockland meets for
lunch at Sutter’s Mill of
Suffern, 1 p.m. 214 Route
59, Suffern, N.Y. Individual
checks. Reservations,
Gene, (845) 356-5525.

On
F r i d ay,
December 25, the
Museum of Jewish
Heritage — A Living Memorial to
the Holocaust in
Lower Manhattan
will be open from
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,
offering exhibitions, tours, and
a matinée performance of the
National Yiddish
Theatre Folksbiene’s production
of “The Golden
Bride/Di Goldene
Kale.” Visitors can
see the core exhibition featuring Jewish history and heritage before, during, and after the Holocaust. There
are also two special exhibitions,
“Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism,” and “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945.” Adult
and family-friendly tours of the core
exhibition will be offered at 11 a.m.

GRAN
GRA
and 2 p.m., and they are free with
museum admission.
The matinée show will be performed
at at noon in the Museum’s Edmond
J. Safra Hall and separate admission
required.
The museum is at 36 Battery Place.
For information, call (646) 437-4202 or
go to www.mjhnyc.org.

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Tuesday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m.
Lightfoot has recorded 20 albums and earned five
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regularly for 50 years. For information, call (201) 2271030 or go to www.bergenpac.org.

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 55

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Jewish World
BRIEFS

Ayman Odeh
FROM PAGE 38

in the offices of organizations whose work displaces Arab citizens, just as in the Knesset, we do not participate in the Ministry of Defense, the Foreign Ministry, and the Ministry of Aliyah
and Immigrant Absorption,” Odeh said in his statement.
A spokeswoman for Odeh said the displacement of Arab
citizens cited by Odeh referred to the Jewish Agency’s affiliation with a separate entity, the Jewish National Fund, which
Arab-Israeli groups long have challenged over policies they
say have favored Jews over Arabs in leasing land. Arab-Israeli
groups allege the policy blocks the growth of Arab towns.
The spokeswoman also said that Odeh sees aliyah, the
immigration of Jews to Israel, as expanding the Jewish majority in Israel at the expense of its Arab population. Together
with the Ministry of Absorption, the Jewish Agency is responsible for settling newcomers in Israel.
Another issue for Odeh, the spokeswoman said, is that
money is funneled to West Bank settlements from another
Jewish Agency affiliate, the World Zionist Organization.
Jewish organizational representatives who were stuck
upstairs while Presidents Conference staff spoke with Odeh
in the lobby said that they were taken aback. Not speaking
for the record, the officials said they disagreed with Odeh on
some issues, but looked forward to discussing areas where
they could cooperate.
Jacobs, who was unable to make the Presidents Conference
meeting, was ready to put his unhappiness with Odeh on the
record.
“I am profoundly disappointed by MK Ayman Odeh’s decision to walk away from that important opportunity for him,
for the cause of equality in Israel, and for the Conference
of Presidents,” the Reform movement leader said after the
incident.
Odeh offered to meet elsewhere, but in its statement the
Presidents Conference said the request was “outrageous.” The
lawmaker accused the group of stirring the pot, and was especially upset by the Presidents Conference mentioning Odeh’s
contretemps with the Arab mayor of Nazareth earlier this year
in its release.

Heritage

Lakewood rabbi
who led divorce ring
sentenced to 10 years

Arab-Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh speaks at the
Haaretz Conference in Manhattan on December 13. 

ERICA GANNETT FOR IRL PRODUCTIONS

“We now understand the recent demand of the Mayor of
the Nazareth, Ali Salem, that Odeh leave his city because his
presence promotes divisiveness,” the Presidents Conference
release said.
“I didn’t want to talk about this at all in the press, but they
continued to incite against me through media outlets here in
the U.S.,” Odeh said in a Facebook post.
For its part, the Jewish Agency accused members of the
Joint List of being more interested in “scoring cheap and expedient political points than they are in advancing the well being
of their communities.”
In a statement, the Jewish Agency’s chairman, Natan
Sharansky, listed programs that specifically assist Israel’s Arab
minorities. 
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A rabbi who ran a ring that violently attempted to
coerce Jewish men to grant their wives religious
divorces has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Rabbi Mendel Epstein, 70, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Trenton, NJ.com reported.
Epstein was one of nine people, two of them rabbis, convicted for their roles in the ring, which kidnapped and tortured recalcitrant husbands for a fee.
According to halachah, or Jewish law, a Jewish
woman cannot remarry without receiving a Jewish
divorce, or get, from her husband. The women who
are trapped in such marriages are called agunot, or
“chained women.”
The group’s members were busted in an FBI sting
operation in 2013.
Epstein, a prominent rabbi in Lakewood, received
the most jail time meted out so far. Among the six
already sentenced, the longest sentence is four years
in prison. On Monday, the other rabbi in the ring,
Martin Wolmark of Monsey, N.Y., was sentenced to
38 months.
During the sentencing hearing, according to
NJ.com, prosecutors noted that in conversations
recorded by undercover FBI agents, Epstein boasted
about using a cattle prod and other tools to pressure
recalcitrant husbands.
In a 10-minute speech to the judge, Epstein said he
was “embarrassed and ashamed” at what he said in
those conversations and insisted he had been motivated not by money but by a compassion for agunot. 

JTA WIRE SERVICE

Top Reform bodies
renew call for Redskins
to change name, logo
WASHINGTON — Two top Reform movement groups
repeated their call on the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change the team’s name and logo.
“‘Redskin’ is a racial slur that references the
deplorable treatment of American Indians that has
been a significant part of this country’s history,”
Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who heads Reform’s Religious
Action Center, said in a letter delivered to the franchise’s headquarters by the group Change the Mascot on Monday.
“The logo, seemingly attempting to draw upon
the archetype of an Indian warrior, blatantly mocks
a culture that struggles to survive,” said the letter
addressed to owner Dan Snyder, who is Jewish. Snyder in the past has called on Jewish groups to defend
him against what he perceived to be anti-Jewish
slurs.
The Reform movement’s Central Conference of
American Rabbis also wrote to the team.
“The intransigence of Redskins ownership is
appalling, particularly in light of the tremendous
offense that Native American Indians continue to
experience as a result of the team’s inappropriate,
insulting name,” said the letter signed by Rabbi
Denise Eger, the CCAR president, and Rabbi Steven
Fox, its CEO.
Reform bodies for decades have advocated for
the team to change its name. The Anti-Defamation
League has also repeatedly called for a name change. 

JTA WIRE SERVICE

Obituaries
Bernard Cohen

Bernard Cohen, 83, died on
December. 10.
He was a textile executive, who
traveled the world.
He is survived by his wife of
61 1/2 years, Frances, children,
Elyce (Evan), Harlan (Lori),
Shauna (Fred), Jared (Randi), and
grandchildren, Addison ( Jasmin),
Zachary, Ethan, Simeon (Ariel),
Gabe, Sophia, Cooper, Lyle, Kaila,
Ari, Avi, and Eitan.
Donations can be made to the
Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Arrangements were by Robert
Schoem’s Menorah Chapel,
Paramus.

Anne Greenblatt

Anne C. Greenblatt, neé Rosner,
94, of Morganville, formerly of
Teaneck, died on December 9
at Villa Marie Claire Hospice in
Saddle River.
Born in Philadelphia, she was
a member of the Jewish Center of
Teaneck.
Predeceased by her husband
Burton in 2013, she is survived by
her children, Ronald (Melodie) of
Morganville, Donna Zisholtz (Paul)
of Boca Raton, Fla., and Judy
Zaklin ( Joel) of Harrington Park;
a sister, Helen Finestone of Elkins
Park, Pa.; seven grandchildren,
and eight great-grandchildren.
Arrangements were by Eden
Memorial Chapels, Fort Lee.

Louise Kaplan

Louise Kaplan, neé Snyder, 91, of
Emerson, formerly of Philadelphia,
died on December 15.
Predeceased by her husband,
Arthur, she is survived by
children, Carolyn Ginsberg
of Westwood and William
of White Lake, N.Y.; a sister,
Sarah Weinger of Cherry Hill;
three grandchildren, and four
great-grandchildren.

Arrangements were by Eden
Memorial Chapels,
Fort Lee.

Norman Levin

Norman Levin died on December 7.
He was a 1968 Fairleigh
Dickinson University graduate
and owned the family businesses,
Herman’s Department Store
and Norman’s Discount Center,
both in Jersey City. He served on
business councils in Jersey City,
was a member of the Hackensack
Board of Education, was
president of Temple Beth Israel in
Maywood, and chair of the Giving
Council of the Stevens Institute of
Technology Parents’ Association.
In 1997, he was appointed
constable of Hackensack and
served until retiring in 2011.
He is survived by his wife of
47 years, Susan, neé Jacobson,
children, Adam (Christine),
and Lauren ( Juan); a sister,
Joyce (Harvey), and eight
grandchildren.
Arrangements were by
Gutterman and Musicant Funeral
Directors, Hackensack.

Freda Macy

Freda Brell Macy, 98, died on
December 13.
Born in Harrison, she grew up
in Kearny. This was the first time
she was in a hospital, except when
she gave birth 76 years ago. She
and her husband, Bill, owned
Bill Macy’s Men and Boys wear in
Kearny for 20 years. She was also a
certified braillist for the Library of
Congress since 1950.
Predeceased by her sisters,
Martha Rogoff and Rose
Robinowitz, she is survived by a
daughter, Brenda Boss (Larry);
godson Leonard Robinowitz (Ann);
five nephews and nieces; cousin,
Sam Pech; sister-in-law Ruth Macy;
grandchildren, Scott (Robyn),

Garry (Sharon), Lauren Mack,
and Barry Boss (Cathy), and eight
great-grandchildren.
Arrangements were by Jewish
Memorial Chapel, Passaic United
Hebrew Burial Association, Clifton.

Estelle Ostrow

Estelle M. Ostrow, 97, of Teaneck,
died on Dec. 12.
She was an administrator for the
Teaneck Board of Education.
Predeceased by her husband,
Moe, and a son, Stuart, she is survived by her children, Paul (Ricki),
and Alice Seidman (the late Gary);
grandchildren, Michael, Lauren,
Matthew, Bradley, Douglas, Ashley,
Keith, and Sara, and great-grandchildren, Aidan and Scarlett.
Donations can be sent to Holy
Name Medical Center Foundation,
Teaneck or to the Michael J.
Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s
Research. Arrangements were by
Gutterman and Musicant Jewish
Funeral Directors, Hackensack.

Walter Perlstein

Walter Perlstein, 91, of Delray
Beach, Fla., formerly of
Englewood, died on November 13.
Before retiring, he was vice
president of sales at Artistic Design
in Pompton Lakes and was a
member of the Masonic Order in
Englewood.
Predeceased by his wife,
Lucille, neé Kessel, he is survived
by daughters, Lynn Fischer
( Jeffrey) of Delray Beach, and
Susan Wasserman (David) of
Fair Lawn; grandchildren,
Benjamin Fischer (Emily),
Aaron Wasserman (Sandra),
and Lisa Wojcik (Mark), and six
great-grandchildren.
Donations can be made to
hospice. Arrangements were by
Louis Suburban Chapel, Fair Lawn.

Remembering and honoring

DIANE COOPERSMITH
A true Ayshis Chayil

May her memory be a blessing.
Mindy and Marty Angstreich,
Alyson (Michael Chananie), Evan, and Jaclyn
Marc and Robin Coopersmith,
Adam and Matthew

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Jewish Standard DECEMBER 18, 2015 57

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www.ansantiques.com
58 Jewish Standard DECEMBER 18, 2015

Help Wanted
. Private Elementary School in Bergen County, N.J. seeks certified General Studies Teacher wih masters degree for upper
elementary classes for immediate hire. High achieving students and stimulating work environment with professional and
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Send resume to resumes@rynj.org

office COORDINATOR
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player for clerical duties: answering phone, entering
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Please send resume to:
publisher@jewishmediagroup.com

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Interfaith
FrOM PaGe 7

Stutzel said. “And being surrounded by so many different faiths, so many people — it was just a wonderful sign
of solidarity. It was a way of examining what it means to
live out our faith in northern New Jersey. What does it
mean to speak out on issues of justice and peace?
“We are not a homogenous community, but we all call
this place home.
“One thing that struck me is something that Imam
Charaf said, that the point of creation is to get to know
each other. I believe that we were living that out last
night. So I was privileged and proud to be able to speak
from the Christian tradition of the long history of loving
your neighbor, of fighting injustice, of doing what we

can so that our neighbors can live and thrive and we can
all be the people God wants us to be.”
Like the Rev. Suriano, the Rev Stutzel was struck by
what he called “the passing of the peace.
“People were encouraged to meet other people, to
talk to them, and to share God’s peace with people they
didn’t know,” he said. “What was amazing was meeting people from Temple Beth Or, or from the Midland
Park mosque, shaking their hands, getting to know their
names. Everyone had energy. They all wanted to do
more, to meet more, to see each other more, to speak
out more. And that struck me. We were giving a voice to
something that already exists in the world.
“There is a hunger for justice, and for loving your
neighbor, and it was being spoken out loud and felt at
the service on Sunday night.”

GUTTERS · LEADERS

Roof
Repairs

83 FIRST STREET
HACKENSACK, NJ 07601

PARTY
PLANNER
Jewish Music with an Edge
Ari Greene · 201-837-6158
AGreene@BaRockorchestra.com
www.BaRockOrchestra.com

Christianity
FrOM PaGe 14

for all of us; Jewish Sacred Scriptures; a belief in a binding tradition; and the values of life, family, compassionate righteousness, justice, inalienable freedom, universal love and ultimate world peace.
Besides Rabbis Korn and Riskin, the statement’s drafters included Rabbi Irving Greenberg and Rabbi David
Rosen of the American Jewish Committee. It has now
garnered 50 signatures. So far, the names seem to align
with the liberal Orthodox International Rabbinical Fellowship, rather than the Rabbinical Council of America.
“We are not saying that we agree with all of Catholic
theology,” Rabbi Korn said. “In fact, the statement says
we do not want to minimize the very serious differences
that we have.”
Rabbi Korn’s statement came on the eve of the Vatican’s release of “The Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable,” a 10,000 word “reflection on theological
questions pertaining to Catholic-Jewish relations on the
occasion of the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate.”
Rabbi Korn said that while much of the document is a
history of the last fifty years of the Jewish-Catholic relationship, “and in that sense there’s nothing that’s really
new, it’s an important statement because not many Jews

or Catholics are familiar with all of this.”
The document drew headlines for its explicit statement that, in Rabbi Korn’s words, “there is no mission
to convert the Jews to the Catholic church.”
That statement drew condemnation from Jews for
Jesus, which accused the Catholic church of selling out
the Gospel.
“It’s important for the Jewish community to understand that the Catholic church has changed its position
regarding missionary work with regard to the Jewish
people,” Rabbi Korn said.
The renunciation of missionizing was “implicit” in
Nostra Aetate, and “has emerged to be more and more
explicit over the past 50 years,” Rabbi Korn added. “Nostra Aetate said the covenant between God and the Jewish people started in the Bible is still valid. The logical
implication is there’s no need to convert us out of fidelity from the covenant.”
While the rabbinic statement is explicitly addressed
to the Catholic church, Rabbi Korn noted that “the overwhelming majority of Christians in the world are Catholics. Of 2.2 billion Christians, 1.3 billion are Catholics.
When they make a formal statement, it reverberates
throughout Christianity.”
The full text of the statement is at cjcuc.com.

No one should have to put himself in harm’s way
just to put food on the table
Solution to last week’s puzzle. This week’s puzzle is
on page 51.

©2012 MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger/Barbara Grover

Emery just chose to re-enlist in order to feed his family.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
MAZON is working to end hunger for Emery and the millions
of Americans and Israelis who struggle with food insecurity.
Please donate to MAZON today.

mazon.org

Jewish standard deCeMBer 18, 2015 59

Gallery
1

3

2

4

5

n 1 Religious school students at the JCC of
Paramus/Congregation Beth Tikvah, under the guidance
of Cantor Sam Weiss, on piano, entertained at the synagogue’s annual Chanukah breakfast. COURTESY JCCP/CBT
n 2 The Barnert Temple Preschool kindergarten class
recently made 100 chocolate lollipops to sell at its
annual “gelt-sale.” The funds they raise purchase
products for a class trip to the Center for Food Action, where they sort items and learn about the mitzvah of feeding the hungry. COURTESY BARNERT

60 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

6

n 3 More than 20 middle schoolers from Valley Chabad’s
Teen Leadership Initiative celebrated Chanukah with
residents at the Jewish Home Assisted Living in River
Vale. Billy Gold of Woodcliff Lake lit the menorah for
the residents while others paired up for a Chanukah
craft, dreidel games, and singing. COURTESY CHABAD
n 4 Families and friends gathered at the Academies
at Gerrard Berman Day School for the annual Chanukah talent show. Emily Maines of Wayne, Ariel Aharon of Fair Lawn, Brielle Berger of Wanaque, and
Aubrey Kawka of Fair Lawn performed a dance to
“Candlelight” by the Maccabeats. COURTESY GBDS

n 5 Jewish Family Service of North Jersey celebrated
its 71st anniversary at the “Chai-To Life” dinner honoring its 26 past presidents, including, from left, Carol
Newman, Paula Shaiman, Ellen Bernstein, David Goodman, Ruth Friedland, current president Allyn Michaelson, Marcia Bograd, Linda Davis, Larry Lipman, David
Roth, Janet Finke, Sue Ann Levin, Michael Rubin, Lynn
Cooper, and Elaine Schlossberg. COURTESY JFSNJ
n 6 History was made in Wayne as Chabad of Passaic
County hosted a public menorah lighting in front of the
Wayne Municipal Building. More than 400 people attended and a celebration followed. COURTESY CHABAD

Real Estate & Business

Links Residential, a boutique real
estate agency, is proud to welcome
sales associate Kenneth Schwartz
to its growing team.
Schwartz is energetic and hardworking, loves a challenge, and takes
Ken Schwartz
great pride in his accomplishments.
Through communication, responsiveness, and follow through, he is able to see that his
clients remain informed and confident in their decisions,
and his top priority is to guide you through each transaction with speed and ease.
“Your requests and needs will be listened to and
become his priority. He strives to make the real estate
transaction process smooth and easy, keeping you
updated on all aspects of the deal,” said Bruce Elichman,
broker manager of Links Residential Teaneck.
With experience in construction and remodeling, he
has a keen eye for finding the hidden potentials within
a home.
“If you want it, I’ll find it. If you have it, I’ll sell it,”
Schwartz said.
He is a member of the National Association of Realtors,
Eastern Bergen Board of Realtors, and New Jersey MLS.

TM

TEANECK OPEN HOUSES, SUNDAY 12/20
1- OPE
4P N
M

The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera, the
house opera company of the Bergen Performing Arts
Center (bergenPAC), invites soloists in all vocal categories to audition for selected roles in the grand opera
company’s 2016 productions.
Solo roles are available in the company’s debut of
Amilcare Ponchielli’s “La Gioconda” and Giuseppe
Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” Open auditions will be held on
Mondays, January 4 and January 11, 2016, from 5 to
9 p.m. at bergenPAC’s Drapkin Cabaret & Lounge,
located at 30 North Van Brunt St. in Englewood. The
company will present “La Gioconda” on Sunday, April
17 and “Rigoletto” on Sunday, October 23. All the productions will be presented at 3 p.m. at bergenPAC.
“This is very good training and experience for vocalists to perform in costume on the stage with full sets
accompanied by a live orchestra and chorus. In our
productions, they hone their vocal and acting skills
and are able to continue and perform with larger companies,” said Lucine Amara, artistic director, Verismo
Opera.
Open auditions will be held only for these roles in
“La Gioconda”: a Monk (bass), a Public Scribe (tenor)
and a Steersman (tenor). Vocalists are invited to apply
to audition for the following roles in “Rigoletto”:
Borsa (tenor), Countess Ceprano (mezzo), Count
Ceprano (bass), Marullo (baritone), Sparafucile (bass),
Giovanna (mezzo), Maddalena (mezzo-contralto), a
Page (soprano) and Count Monterone (bass). All other
roles have been cast.
All applicants must have previous experience in a
fully staged production and the necessary vocal training to perform leading or supporting roles. The application deadline to audition is December 26.
Although an accompanist will be provided, applicants may bring their own pianist. For an audition
appointment, call (201) 886-0561 or send an e-mail to
info@verismopera.org. Applicants must submit a bio
listing current or past performances and roles sung,
a resume, and a photo by the application deadline to
Verismo Opera Inc., P.O. Box 3024, Fort Lee, New Jersey 07024-9024, or to info@verismopera.org.
Vocalists should provide a list of three arias in their
application, including at least one from the role to be
presented in the audition and another in the same
style. All vocalists should be prepared to perform the
music for the role they would like to perform in “La
Gioconda” or “Rigoletto.”
A refundable $25 deposit must be submitted with all
applications to secure an audition time. The deposit
will be refunded at the audition time. Checks should
be made out to Verismo Opera.
The selected vocalists will receive free coaching
from professionals in the field, including Artistic Director Lucine Amara and General Manager/Stage Director
Evelyn La Quaif. Professional photos and a DVD of the
production will be available to use for future engagements and performances.
The audition site and theater are handicapped
accessible. Designated handicapped parking spaces
are available. Vocalists requiring a special accommodation should call (201) 886-0561 at least two weeks
before the audition.
For more information, visit www.verismopera.org
or call (201) 886-0561.

Schwartz joins
Links Residential
sales associates

1- OPE
3P N
M

Verismo Opera
to hold auditions
for ‘La Gioconda’
and ‘Rigoletto’

Rugby Rd to 310 Edgewood Ave
Fabulous family home in prime W.
Englewood on 80x120 property,
gracious rooms, retro EIK, kingsized mstr suite w/dress rm & bath,
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w/2 PRs, 2 recrooms, CAC, 4 zone
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New to market, bright & modern w/open
floor plan, 4-5 Bdrs, 2.5 baths, mod kit w/
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Pack your bags.
$519,000

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CRESSKILL
Orna Jackson, Sales Associate 201-376-1389

894-1234
768-6868

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568-1818

894-1234 871-0800

OPEN HOUSE

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20
— TEANECK —

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PRICES NEGOTIABLE

NG
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Martin H. Basner, Realtor Associate
(Office) 201-794-7050 · (Cell) 201-819-2623

GARDEN STATE HOMES
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Serving Bergen County since 1985.
Thank you for your trust in me.
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Broker/Associate

201-461-6764 Eve
201-970-4118 Cell
201-585-8080 x144 Office
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BY APPOINTMENT
— TEANECK —

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ALL CLOSE TO NY BUS / HOUSES OF WORSHIP /
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For Our Full Inventory & Directions 2015
Visit our Website
READERS’
CHOICE
www.RussoRealEstate.com
FIRST PLACE

(201) 837-8800

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JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 61

Real Estate & Business

SELLING YOUR HOME?

BRIEFS

Israel sends ‘rock-thrower’ dolls overseas
to expose Palestinian incitement
A recently confiscated shipment of about
4,000 dolls with mock rocks in their hands
will be used to highlight Palestinian incitement against Israel, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced Monday.
The Palestinian Authority-bound dolls
were seized at the port at Haifa following
an inspection of several containers from
the United Arab Emirates.
“The dolls were sent to the Palestinian
Authority for one clear reason — brainwashing children,” Hotovely said. “I have
instructed the Foreign Ministry to send

the dolls to Israeli missions abroad to have
them shown to PA donor countries and
prove that we cannot hold any form of
meaningful dialogue with our neighbors
until their school system undergoes drastic
change.”
The dolls’ faces are masked and the
Dome of the Rock is prominently featured
on their keffiyehs, bearing the inscriptions
“Jerusalem is ours” and “Jerusalem, here
we come.” Their colors mirrored those of
the Palestinian flag. 

JNS.ORG

Two-thirds of Palestinians support
knife attacks on Israelis, poll says
Call Susan Laskin Today
To Make Your Next Move A Successful One!
BergenCountyRealEstateSource.com

Cell: 201-615-5353

©2015 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Coldwell Banker is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.
An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Owned and Operated by NRT LLC.

According to a poll by the Palestinian
Center for Policy and Survey Research,
67 percent of Palestinians support the
use of knives in the current wave of terror
attacks against Israelis, while 66 percent
believe that “if the current confrontations
develop into an armed intifada, such a
development would serve Palestinian

national interests in ways that negotiations could not.” The poll also found that
79 percent of Palestinians back continued
attacks on Israeli soldiers.
More than 20 Israelis have been killed
during the current spate of near-daily
stabbing, shooting, and car-ramming
attacks by Palestinian terrorists. JNS.ORG

MORE listings. MORE experience. MORE sales.
TEANECK

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175 Cherry Lane

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1289 Hudson Road

579 S. Forest Drive

BERGENFIELD

94 Spring Avenue

$779,000 • 5 BEDROOM 3.5 BATH

$869,000 • 5 BEDROOM, 3.5 BATH

BERGENFIELD

19 Belvin Court

$729,000 • APPROXIMATELY 91 X 110

vera-nechama.com
62 JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015

BERGENFIELD

82 Surrey Lane

$494,900 • 4 BEDROOM 3.5 BATH

201.692.3700

BERGENFIELD

4 Highgate Terrace

$345,000 • 57 X 120 OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS!

VERA AND NECHAMA REALTY • 1401 Palisade Avenue Teaneck, New Jersey
facebook.com/VeraNechamaRealty

info@vera-nechama.com

M

The Art of Real Estate
NJ:
NY:

Jeffrey Schleider
Broker/Owner
Miron Properties NY
ENGLEWOOD

201.266.8555 •
T: 212.888.6250 •
T:

201.906.6024
M: 917.576.0776
M:

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Ruth Miron-Schleider
Broker/Owner
Miron Properties NJ

ENGLEWOOD

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212 MAPLE STREET

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ENGLEWOOD

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Jeff@MironProperties.com · Ruth@MironProperties.com
www.MironProperties.com
Each Miron Properties office is independently owned and operated.

JEWISH STANDARD DECEMBER 18, 2015 63

`

STORE HOURS

646 Cedar Lane • Teaneck, NJ 07666

SUN.-TUES. 7AM-9PM
WED. 7AM-10PM
THURS. 7AM-11PM
FRI. 7AM-1½ HOURS
BEFORE SUNDOWN
SAT. CLOSED

Tel: 201-855-8500 • Fax: 201-801-0225

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12/20/15 -12/25/15
Idaho
Potatoes

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5

Veal Breast
with or
without Pocket

7

$ 99

$ 99
Lb

Galil Pickles
in Brine

2 $3

Libby’s
Whole Kernel
Corn

$

FOR

Grape
Tomatoes

25
$

FOR

Loyalty
Program

SUSHI

MARKET

DELI SAVINGS

646 Cedar Lane • Teaneck, NJ 07666
201-855-8500 • Fax: 201-801-0225
www.thecedarmarket.com
info@thecedarmarket.com

FISH
`

Meal Mart
Pastrami

Crispy Dragon
Roll

95
11
Vegetable

$

ea.

Roll

4

$ 75ea.

1699

$

Tuna & Avocado
Roll

6

$ 25ea.

Mikee
Chinese
Rib Sauce
17 OZ.

2

Save On!

Arizona
Lemon
Iced Tea

2

1 GALLON

$ 79
Pinebelt
Extra Large
Eggs

2 4
DOZEN

$

FOR

Breakstone’s
Whipped
Butter8 OZ.
Cups

2 5
$

FOR

Yummy
Shredded
Cheese

9

2 LB.

$ 99

$ 99
Lb

Save On!

FOR

Original Only

Snack Pack
Chocolate
Pudding

Lb

Original

Hunt’s
Tomato
Sauce

3 $4
4 PK.

FOR

FROZEN

Birds Eye
Chopped
Broccoli

99
10 OZ.

¢

Super
Pretzel
Bites
12 OZ.

2

$ 99
Enlightened
Hot Chocolate
Bar

299

4 PK.

1

Save On!

Clic
Chick
Peas

15 OZ.

5 LB.

2 $7
FOR

Eggo
Homestyle
Mini Pancakes

2 5
14.1 OZ.

$

FOR

Bellacicco
Garlic
Bread

2 5
8 OZ.

$

FOR

Dole
Whole
Strawberries

2

16 OZ.

$ 99

LB.

LB.

Lb

Ready to Bake

EA.

Check Out Our New Line
of Cooked Fish
HOMEMADE DAIRY

$ 69

15 Inch

Cedar
Pizza

Lb

Seasons
Whole Hearts
Of Palm

14 OZ.

15 OZ.

King Arthur
All Purpose
Flour

Sole
Florentine

Marinated
Chicken Wings

$ 99

79¢

12 OZ.

7

699
$ 99
9
$ 79
4
$

sh
$ 99 Whitefi
Salad

Family Pack

Pickled
Top of the Rib

8

FISH

Beef
Stew

2 $5

Heinz
Red Wine
Vinegar

$

Square Cut
Roast

79

¢

$ 99

American Black Angus Beef

8

Lb.

Breaded
American Black Angus Beef Flounder

99¢

15 OZ.

FOR

Save On!

Lb

Save On!

7-9 Ct

23 OZ.

Lb

Save On!

Baby Back
Ribs

GROCERY

Original Only

CEDAR MARKET

Cedar Market’s Meat Dept. Prides Itself On Quality, Freshness And Affordability. We Carry The Finest Cuts Of Meat And
The Freshest Poultry... Our Dedicated Butchers Will Custom Cut Anything For You... Just Ask!

Chicken Whole Chicken
Split
Legs

$ 99

Loyalty
Program

ORGANIC • ORGANIC • ORGANIC

Save On!

at:
Visit Our Website om
et.c
www.thecedarmark

646 Cedar Lane • Teaneck, NJ 07666
201-855-8500 • Fax: 201-801-0225
www.thecedarmarket.com
info@thecedarmarket.com

MARKET

TERMS & CONDITIONS: This card is the property of Cedar Market, Inc. and is intended for exclusive
use of the recipient and their household members. Card is not transferable. We reserve the right to
change or rescind the terms and conditions of the Cedar Market loyalty program at any time, and
without notice. By using this card, the cardholder signifies his/her agreement to the terms &
conditions for use. Not to be combined with any other Discount/Store Coupon/Offer. *Loyalty Card
must be presented at time of purchase along
with ID for verification. Purchase cannot be
reversed once sale is completed.

CEDAR MARKET

ORGANIC • ORGANIC • ORGANIC

PRODUCE
Sunday Super Savers!

Fine Foods
Great Savings

2 $5

8

$ 49
EA.

Save On!

Wacky Mac
Macaroni
& Cheese
5.5 OZ.

99 ¢

FOR

Jason
Flavored
Bread Crumbs
15 OZ.

Save On!

Tradition
Ramen
Noodles

2 $4 2 $1
2.8 OZ.

FOR

FOR

Shibolim
General Mills
Whole
Wheat
Golden
Knockers
Grahams
6 OZ.
Save On!

2 $6 2 $4
12 OZ.

FOR

Southland
Butternut
Squash
12 OZ.

2 4
$

FOR

McCain
5 Minute
French
Fries
28 OZ.

2 5
$

FOR

Macabee
Cheese Pizza

2 $5
3 PK.

FOR

FOR

BAKERY

Flaky

Cheese
Danish
2 Tone

Seven
Layer Cake
Lemon
Cake

7
$ 99
6
$ 49
4
$ 49

15 OZ.

22 OZ.

12 OZ.

PROVISIONS

A&H
Beef Salami

Jack’s
Gourmet
Pulled Beef Brisket

5
$ 99
9
$ 99

14 OZ.

10 OZ.

We reserve the right to limit sales to 1 per family. Prices effective this store only. Not responsible for typographical errors. Some pictures are for design purposes only and do not necessarily represent items on sale. While Supply Lasts. No rain checks.