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2-8 Nisan 5780 • March 27-April 2, 2020 Connect. Inform. Inspire.

by David Suissa
N &

To our wonderful friends,

colleagues, and clients
We are now entering a challenging time. Today we are faced with an
unfamiliar set of rules where the term “social distancing” has become a
common phrase in our daily conversation. I would like everyone to know
that we at Nourmand & Associates care deeply about our community
as we have been involved in its growth for many decades.

Although we will be continuing to work at this time, we are doing our

best to keep everyone safe and healthy by following the directions
of our local and national leaders, the CDC, and Center for Disease
Control and Prevention. With today’s technology, we will be utilizing
our enhanced digital marketing and telecommunications tools to stay
connected to our clients. Our office is now working remotely.

In light of today’s situation, I would like to encourage everyone to take

advantage of this time to pause, whether by force or choice, and
regenerate, reconnect with one another, and focus on your children,
parents, and entire families. This is the perfect time to try new recipes,
plant a vegetable garden, exercise, or even simply spend time in your
yard taking in the beauty of nature we are so blessed to have.

We are very grateful for this supportive community and we are dedicated
to working together through this difficult time. Please know that we are
available to answer any questions and/or concerns you may have,
whether personal or business related.

Sending you all best wishes for continued health!

Myra Nourmand
310.888.3333 | dre#: 00983509
20 28 24 34


20 » DARKNESS CLASHING WITH LIGHT Publisher and 27 » FINDING WAYS TO MOURN With gatherings forbidden,
Editor-in-Chief David Suissa reflects on the light shining through the rabbis are finding creative ways to help the bereaved without traditional
darkness of an unprecedented crisis. funerals or shivah rituals. Debra Nussbaum Cohen reports.

9 » COLUMNISTS Tabby Refael on how couples are impacted by 28 » SIMCHAS ON HOLD Postpone? Cancel? Celebrate? Weddings
the lockdown; Courtney Mizel on testing positive for COVID-19; Sandra
and b’nai mitzvah in the age of the coronavirus. Staff Writer Erin Ben-
Heller on helping the most vulnerable; Mark Schiff on dating during
Moche reports.
these days of physical isolation; and Rabbi and Cantor Eva Robbins on
shifting our perceptions.
29 » SHULS CLOSE, ONLINE OPENS Synagogues are rising
15 » CORONAVIRUS AND THE ELDERLY Asra Nomani to the challenge of social distancing by taking Jewish learning, praying
and rituals online. Staff Writer Ryan Torok reports.
on the importance of ensuring that our parents and grandparents survive

31 » VIRTUAL EDUCATION With parents now having to home-

the quarantine of 2020.

16 » EUROPE HUNKERS DOWN As the numbers of those school their children, several organizations are offering online Jewish
infected continue to rise, Europe begins to implement even stricter content to keep kids connected to Judaism. Kylie Ora Lobell reports.
regulations. Orit Arfa reports.

19 » ISRAEL’S TWOFOLD CRISIS Political Editor Shmuel

34 » MOVING ON FROM ‘SHTISEL’ Israeli actress Shira
Haas, who played the beloved Ruchami in “Shtisel,” discusses her new
Rosner on how Israel is facing a health crisis with the coronavirus and a
role about a woman leaving her Orthodox community in the Netflix series
political one with its still non-functioning government.
“Unorthodox.” Gerri Miller reports.
23 » TABLE FOR FIVE: VAYIKRA Justin Levi, Miriam Yerushalmi, 39 » STAN LEE: A LIFE IN COMICS’ Rabbi Stuart Halpern
Heftsibah Cohen-Montagu and Rabbis Avraham Greenstein and Mendel
Schwartz share their insights on this week’s Torah portion. reviews Liel Leibovitz’s book about the Marvel creator and his
superheroes’ Jewish roots.
24 » PASSOVER RECIPES Judy Zeidler serves up charoset and 50 » ON PANDEMICS AND FAITHFULNESS Louis Keene
a fish in tomato sauce, while the Sephardic Spice Girls share recipes for
fava bean soup, ratatouille and lamb shanks. offers seven ways to remain faithful to Judaism during the coronavirus.

» SHABBAT CANDLE LIGHTING 9 » Columnists 27 » Community 40 » What’s Happening

Fri March 27 6:46 p.m. 17 » Nation/World 32 » Movers & Shakers 47 » Jonathan Fong Style
Shabbat ends March 28 7:51 p.m.
24 » Food 34 » Arts 50 » In Good Faith

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 5


Volume 37, Number 2

March 27-April 2, 2020

Covering the Story of Stories

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief David Suissa
Managing Editor Kelly Hartog
Senior Political Editor Shmuel Rosner
Book Editor Jonathan Kirsch
Staff Writer Ryan Torok » by David Suissa
Copy Editors Sharla Etkin-Ives, Steven Mirkin,
Linda Whitmore, Chris Woldt REMEMBER THE BDS MOVEMENT? Of all the categories they surveyed, I But when I take the journalist hat off, it
Contributing Editors Tom Tugend, Jane Ulman Remember the rise in anti-Semitism? Re- took a particular interest in Community. A can get depressing. I see the fear, the isola-
Contributing Writers Michael Berenbaum, Steve member Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloom- community, after all, lives on human con- tion, the anxiety, and it’s sobering. I’m not
Greenberg, Esther D. Kustanowitz, Kylie Ora Lobell, berg? Remember the Iran deal? tact. We feed off the energy of company we just a journalist, I’m also a member of the
Gerri Miller, Gina Nahai, Ari Noonan, Judea Pearl, The covers of the Jewish Journal from enjoy. We connect in real time. We hug. We community. I walk down Pico Boulevard
Ben Shapiro, Raphael J. Sonenshein, Tom Teicholz, just a few weeks ago look ancient: the dance. We pray. We share meals. on a Shabbat morning and it feels like a
Michelle K. Wolf, David Wolpe threat of automation, a New York Times ghost town. That may be valuable news to
JEWISHJOURNAL.COM initiative reframing American history, Ber- cover, but it also stings.
Digital Team nie and Bibi, and so on. It’s especially sad that just when we
Aaron Bandler, Armando Koghan Not too long ago, Joe Biden clinching need each other most, we’re being told to
Digital Content Manager Erin Ben-Moche the Democratic presidential nomination stay away from each other. Is this a “Twi-
Social Media Director Nicole Behnam would have been epic news. Now, it’s just light Zone” episode?
Social Media Editor Ariel Sobel swallowed up by the biggest news story of But wait, there’s more.
Podcast Producer Shanni Suissa our lifetimes: a global pandemic, a nasty Human beings don’t give up that eas-
ADVERTISING virus terrifying humanity. ily. Our community, and all of humanity,
Executive Director, Advertising When we think of major events that is fighting back. That is the subject of my
Martin Finkelstein have influenced our lives in recent years, cover story this week, how “Despite all this
Senior Account Executives we think of 9/11 and the 2008 financial cri- darkness, despite all this fear of the un-
Shoshana Cohen, Arlyn Isen sis. But as horrible as those were, the coro- known, I can’t recall a time when I have
Digital Ad Sales Jim Burns navirus crisis is on another level. seen so much light and so much strength.”
Traffic Manager David Fox In a cover story titled, “Coronavirus Will
Sales Coordinator Angela Hay Change the World Permanently,” Politico Now, suddenly, we must watch the
Style Director Jonathan Fong magazine surveyed more than 30 macro company we keep.
PRODUCTION thinkers in different categories to get a “We know now that touching things,
Art Director Lynn Pelkey
Graphic Designer Paul Takizawa
sense of our changing new world. Here is
an excerpt:
being with other people and breathing
the air in an enclosed space can be risky,” As much as we
Chief Financial Officer Adam Levine
Deborah Tannen writes. “How quickly that
awareness recedes will be different for dif- must cover the
Bookkeeper Andrea Alonso ferent people, but it can never vanish com-
pletely for anyone who lived through this dark news, we’re
Israel Advertising Partners
Imp Group Ltd
Not too long ago, year.”
Those few words stuck with me — “it grateful that there
POB 7195, Jerusalem 91071 ISRAEL
Tel: 972-2-625-2933
Joe Biden clinching can never vanish completely.”
At this moment, of course, vanishing is is also hopeful
Fax: 972-2-624-9240
the Democratic hardly on the horizon. We are just at the
beginning of an unprecedented journey news. To tell you
Legal Counsel/Accountants
presidential into an unknown future.
Being a journalist at times like these the truth, I’ve never
Jonathan Kirsch of Law Offices of Jonathan Kirsch
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
nomination would can be both exhilarating and depressing.
It’s exhilarating because the news never been prouder of our
(pro bono legal services on employment law matters)
have been epic stops. We’ve been working around the
clock at to give you the entire community.
Past Publishers
Richard Volpert (1985-1986)
news. Now, it’s just story from every possible angle. And we’re
always looking for new things to add. As much as we must cover the dark
Ed Brennglass (1986-1997)
Stanley Hirsh (1997-2003)
swallowed up by the Last week, we produced a video of rab-
bis from across the community sharing
news, we’re grateful that there is also
hopeful news. To tell you the truth, I’ve
Irwin S. Field (2003-2011)
Rob Eshman (2011-2017)
biggest news story words of wisdom to help us get through
these trying times. Every morning, I host a
never been prouder of our entire commu-
nity. As I write: “My email inbox overflows
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1250,
of our lifetimes. podcast titled “Pandemic Times,” to share
the latest developments, good and bad.
with hundreds of initiatives from activ-
ists, spiritual leaders, organizations and
Los Angeles, CA 90010. (213) 368-1661 We’re also expanding our coverage to individuals who have decided to com-
Annual subscription rate: $75 for home delivery “A global, novel virus that keeps us give you useful, practical information, bat this disease with love, creativity and
(restricted in certain areas); $160 for mail both contained in our homes — maybe for such as where to get help, where to volun- light.”
in California and out of state; $350 outside of the months — is already reorienting our re- teer, where to access services, and so on. Keep an eye out for these warriors of
United States. For all subscription services, visit light. You’re probably one of them. You’ve
lationship to government, to the outside That’s the exhilarating part — serving or call (213) 368-1661, ext.129.
The Jewish Journal does not endorse the goods world, even to each other. Some changes the community. We’ve never felt more decided that no matter how bad things
and services advertised in its pages, and it makes these experts expect to see in the coming helpful. I’m getting many emails such as get, you’ll still wake up every morning,
no representation as to the kashrut of the food months or years might feel unfamiliar or this one from a prominent local leader: wash your hands for 20 seconds and see
products and services in such advertising. unsettling: Will nations stay closed? Will “Kudos to you and your staff for the JJ is- what you can do to help.
Published weekly by TRIBE Media Corp.
touch become taboo? What will become of sues during this unprecedented time in And the Journal will be there to cover
All rights reserved. © 2020
restaurants?” history!” Yes, it’s rewarding to feel valued. it. n

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 7

Don’t be shy. Send your letters to

‘Hunters’ TV Show as the “Jewish virus” or the “Jew flu”? Religious Jewish Community: No
After reading Stephen D. Smith’s Richard W. Merel One Wears Masks
column (“The Danger of Nazi ‘Hunters,’ Hermosa Beach We are intensely concerned about the

” March 20), I totally agree with him that lack of care that some in the religious Jewish Letters should be no more than
Amazon must cancel “Hunters.” Some on the left have accused President community have about this pandemic that 200 words and must include a valid
I’ve been watching the show with my Donald Trump of racism for referring to is killing thousands around the world. Some name and city. The Journal reserves
father and we have realized that even COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” although of them walk through the streets here in the right to edit all letters.
though the show is set in New York after Trump and others have explained that this Hancock Park and elsewhere with little care or
the Holocaust, the Nazis are still conveyed just means where it originated. concern, as if nothing is wrong. It is upsetting »
as more powerful than the Jews. The show The Chinese government is as oppressive to see how uninformed or neglectful they are
also doesn’t express how much the Nazis to Uighurs and others as Pharaoh was to the about this crises. government offer to infuse cash in companies
did to the Jews. The show features an Israelites. Its use of slave labor, harvesting Please do something about running a by buying additional shares of their stock (at co
inaccurate scene that shows Jews killing prisoners’ organs, forcing women into story in the paper about this matter right current depressed prices). to
each other as human chess pieces. Most of unwanted abortions, forbidding free speech, away. Call it socialism — I don’t care. I call it
all, it makes the Jews look like a vengeful censoring the internet, and its policing system Eva Dayan finally waking up to the fact that not only
and unruly people. that utilizes facial recognition and public via email individuals but also businesses rely on and su
Holocaust survivors weren’t seeking humiliation is right out of “1984.” Should need our federal government for a lot of a
revenge on Nazis. Rather, they were on a American media be supporting it? Adam Schiff on the Coronavirus things. th
quest to achieve justice for their brothers, Rueben Gordon It’s rather incredulous that Rep. Adam Coleman Colla
sisters and parents who were tortured and via email Schiff (D-Burbank) is criticizing President Los Angeles a
slaughtered. However, I would be open to Donald Trump stating “the initial response in
seeing a new season if it were to show No Chicken, No Meat was very poor and the most important time Time of Pandemic m
realistic stories of the Holocaust. In answer to Judy Gruen’s question, for the response was early on.” Perhaps if Chassidim say those who sow ha
Aaron Javidzad “Buddy, Can You Spare a Chicken?” (March Schiff and the Democratic in Congress hadn’t with tears and joy
Los Angeles 20), the answer is “no” if we wish to prevent spent the entire month of January on the will reap with joy ha
pandemics in the future. From the 1918 president’s impeachment trial, the focus of At sunrise here in Venice, co
‘Chinese Virus’ and Ethnic Slurs Spanish flu pandemic to the present, these our government would have been on the rise a double rainbow
President Donald Trump and members deadly viruses jump from animals to humans of the coronavirus. Arches across the sky in
of his administration have defended as a direct result of our unnecessary use, abuse Trump wisely suspended all flights from And I know we will survive su
calling the novel coronavirus the “Chinese and slaughter of animals, be they from factory China the second week of January and to
virus,” and some have referred to it as the farms, bushmeat or wet meat markets. should be given credit for preventing a worse- Leah and Moshe say, “We’ll try to make
“Kung flu,” as if it were appropriate to mix It’s dismaying that people fail to see the case scenario. Instead he was criticized by up for the six million ... not a day passes
an ethnic slur with a pun in such a tragic connection, the “message” of this pandemic, Democrats for being racist and xenophobic. when we don’t think of them ...”
and serious situation. Saying “we have and continue to promote this deadly system Janet Polak
no racist intentions” and “it originated
in China, so it’s a Chinese virus” doesn’t
by “filling carts with titanic mountains of
meats, chickens, turkeys and briskets …” Are
Beverly Hills And they come to their child’s wedding
Moshe’s father. Child survivor I’
diminish the damage to our multiethnic
we doomed to repeat this cycle again and
again? Are the costs, both economic and in
Prayer in the Time of Virus
During these troubling times, our thoughts
of the Warsaw ghetto ... their nine
children, grandchildren ... friends ... just to
Perhaps the administration and its
apologists would benefit from thinking
human life, worth it? Let us look forward to
the day when no one says, “All I needed was a
and prayers are with everyone impacted by
the spread of COVID-19 and we hope that
say “Mazel tov”
From Jerusalem, Cleveland, Atlanta,
from a different perspective. chicken,” joyfully eating healthful plant-based this crisis will pass quickly. Phoenix st
If the first cases of COVID-19 had foods instead. We pray for those affected; we mourn New York ... in airlines, private planes, po
appeared in Israel instead of China, would Michael Lackner those who lost lives. We come together cars a
the president have been free to refer to it Los Angeles the world over, 7 billion strong, beseeching Undeterred by collapsing borders
almighty God. Microscopic murderers fo
Heal us in this time. 4
Strengthen us in this turmoil. Under the chuppah, they pray ...
Give us the vision and understanding to Circling ... seven blessings w
overcome and see an end to this pandemic. While police wait outside ... re
Amen. Chussan and kallah dance the mitzvah m
Rabbi Israel Rimler dance ... folded napkins between them or
via email Young yeshiva bochurs co
on pink skateboards of
Making the Federal Aid bounce for the chussan and kallah tr
Package Fair And there is simcha and music
The Republicans, conservatives, major And laughter. And ancestors, six million co
corporations and the Koch brothers rail stand behind them, grandfathers, us
against high taxes, “big government,” grandmothers, children al
government regulations, environmental And they break the glass to
controls, etc. To them, “government is the Space between them es
problem.” But no distance st
But when they wake up and realize that Mina Friedler se
their beloved earnings and share prices and via email m
401(k) s are threatened by the coronavirus, at
they immediately turn to Uncle Sam for a CORRECTION
handout — airlines, cruise ships, automakers, The captions on the two photos that th
etc. ran with the March 20 food story (“The gl
If we are going to help any large Cauliflower Cult”) appeared on the wrong fo
corporations, let’s do it this way: have our photos.

8 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020 M


Love in the Time
of Coronavirus CARE
» by Tabby Refael The Los Angeles Jewish Home has provided
premier care to seniors in need for over a century.
LAJH’s award-winning services go far beyond
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A MARRIED selves — whether angelic or intolerable
couple spends too much time at home — to float to the surface, it would be now,
together? during this time of unprecedented stress. exceptional medical treatment to deliver care with
Divorce, apparently. If the fear of dying or losing loved ones
In China, local registrars are reporting a from the novel coronavirus wasn’t enough,
surge in couples filing for divorce, now that we’re also missing work, frustrated while
a five-week home quarantine to prevent trying to home-school our children, and in Our professional and caring staff develops a
the spread of COVID-19 finally is over. my case, running dangerously low on rice personalized plan for you or a loved one, which helps
improve, enrich, and extend lives. We offer care in
On March 12, Lu Shijun, who manages and pasta.
a wedding registry in the city of Dazhou For many, this moment encompasses a
in the province of Sichuan, told the local perfect storm of fear, instability, financial our Home, in your home, or in the community.
media that an unprecedented 300 couples struggle and debilitating burdens on
have filed for divorce since late February. relationships — relationships that
“The divorce rate [in the district] probably already are strained. Our Services Include:
has soared compared to before [the Some couples might kill each other
coronavirus outbreak],” he said. before the coronavirus kills them. • Short-term Rehab • Palliative Care
Officials in a marriage registration office Imagine the obituaries: “Mr. and Mrs.
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in the city of Xi’an said local couples had Katz perished during the 2020 COVID-19
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to file for divorce. consecutive week of home quarantine,
If you’re surprised to learn that being Mrs. Katz pushed her husband off the
• Skilled Nursing

I’m not about to start giving my spouse the

silent treatment in the middle of a global
stuck at home with your spouse could balcony of their 17-floor high-rise, then
potentially lead to divorce, you’re probably fatally tripped over his collection of
a newlywed. suitcases and fell from the balcony herself.
My husband and I have been married She was last heard yelling at her husband

for six years, and we have two boys, ages about his untidy pile of old and damaged
4 and 2. suitcases.”

to our
As soon as my husband began We’re only human, and most of us are
working from home two weeks ago, we experiencing a real sense of cabin fever,

realized we had two choices: unleash the especially in Los Angeles, where recent
most miserable versions of ourselves, rainfall has made it difficult to go for a

of care!
or attempt to replicate the rose- short walk.
colored, compassionate tunnel vision Something tells me after this pandemic
of newlyweds. It’s hard, but we’re really is over, we will run out of our homes like
trying. the desperately grateful animals that ran
I’m not easy to live with. I’m a little out of Noah’s ark. They may have inhabit
compulsive about tidying up; I ruthlessly different areas of the same zoo, but some
usurp the remote control; and worst of animals aren’t meant to live cheek by jowl.
all, I often assign nefarious intentions Our baser selves always seem to rise
to people’s actions. If I don’t change, to the surface in times of panic. If you’re

Connect with us!

especially now that my husband and I are prone to belittling others, you’ll probably
stuck at home together, I will essentially be even more judgmental; if you normally
set him up for failure while I turn into a try to see the good in others, you’ll probably
miserable victim. There’s simply too much be easier to live with; and if you’re known Call CONNECTIONS TO CARE at
855-227-3745 to access the Jewish
at stake to fight. for being dismissive and thoughtless, you
I’m not about to start giving my spouse probably should know that your wife is
the silent treatment in the middle of a
global pandemic. There’ll be plenty of time
right behind you on the balcony. n
Home’s comprehensive senior services.
for that in the fall.
If there was ever a time for our base-level
Tabby Refael is a Los Angeles-based writer
and speaker.
Visit us at

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 9


Living With a Positive H

COVID-19 Result V
» by Courtney Mizel
over my head, a sweet (although needy)
my own well-being. As the week pro-
gressed, anxiety overtook the symptom-

food in a desert
dog, two amazing kids and an incredible atic discomfort. lif
network of friends and family who are When the call came informing me the ha
there for me, albeit virtually for the mo- test was positive, I was shocked. I didn’t sis
ment. know where to start with the questions: w
I also have an abundant supply of flush- Who do I need to tell? What about my ab
able Preparation H wipes ordered during a children? The physician assistant couldn’t he
moment of toilet paper-shortage panic. have been nicer, even giving me her per-
sonal number in case I had questions or

taught us about
The not-so-good news: I tested positive us
for COVID-19. worsening symptoms.
On Friday the 13th, I was experiencing I was relieved to learn that since I m
tightness in my chest. I felt fine otherwise, hadn’t seen my parents and some higher- ab

surviving droughts? so I attributed it to the anxiety of learning

my teens would be home from school for
an indeterminate amount of time.
risk friends since March 9, the fact that
they were asymptomatic was a good sign.
I called my mom to give her the news

On Saturday morning, March 14, I woke up and began compiling a list of people with ho
feeling achy, tired and feverish. My tempera- whom I had been in “close contact” with nu
ture started at 99.8 F and went up to 100.6. during the week before I developed symp- ac
I called my doctor, explained my symptoms toms. Although I knew it wasn’t my “fault,” be
A F H U.O R G / W H E AT and that I had been traveling, including at- I was embarrassed, shameful and guilty.
tending the AIPAC conference, where several Most people appreciated me letting
them know. One person asked, “Who gave
it to you?” I was at a conference of 20,000

Professor Zvi Peleg and his team at the Hebrew people, on three airplane flights and at-
University of Jerusalem developed a new cultivar of tended a funeral of more than 1,000 peo-

I was more r
ple; anyone could have exposed me.
wheat that is 30% more water efficient than the standard, The next day, a woman from the health
domestic crop today. By crossbreeding domestic crops
concerned for a
department called and conducted an ex-
tensive interview covering where I had
with wild wheat, we’ve shown that it’s possible to
those I might have c
been, including flight numbers and Uber
grow more with less. Since 1925, American Friends of trips.
the Hebrew University has connected the passions of
exposed than my c
Making calls after my diagnosis showed
me how the exponential spread works.
Americans with innovation at the Hebrew University.
own well-being. e
Any one of those people I had exposed, es-
KNOWLEDGE MOVES US. pecially if they were not practicing social

distancing, could expose several addition-
COVID-19 cases were confirmed. al people.
At his suggestion, I went to the Cedars- Admittedly, I considered the whole
Sinai ER, finding it eerily empty. I had my coronavirus “thing” overblown. And al- as
vitals taken and staff asked a number of though statistics still are unclear, absent a ce
questions regarding possible exposure. vaccine or treatment, we don’t have many tu
The doctor came in and explained they choices except to follow the guidelines for Be
would test me for the flu and if the results slowing the spread of the coronavirus. co
were negative, they would run the COV- Every time I read about people disre- sa
ID-19 test. garding the directives, my heart sinks. Ev-
SHERI L. KAUFER They took six samples from the very ery day someone decides not to listen is co
top of my nasal passages and two from my another day we all face in isolation from in
Western Region throat. I was sent home with an inhaler our friends and families, and another day st
Executive Director to keep my chest clear. When I returned of sickness and loss. “T
from the ER, I took steps to keep those This isn’t something any individual can ha
T: 310.843.3100 around me “safe”: extra handwashing and fix alone — yet we each have a personal pl
spending most of my time confined to my responsibility to protect our neighbors and ar
E: bedroom and office. I also did my best to loved ones. n
wear a mask when I was in the kitchen or m
around others. Courtney Mizel is a business and legal sp
Truthfully, I was much more concerned consultant, community activist and mother to
for the people I might have exposed than of two. in

10 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020 M

COLUMNIST advertisement

Helping the Most

» by Sandra Heller
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o- shuls and community centers are closed. Will says the residents have been “journal-
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Annuities and making distributions to You can give a gift to yourself
assisted living
x- phen Wise Temple streams Friday night
ad services live on Facebook and beginning our donors without interruption. If you and a gift to Israel by supporting
are looking for a steady and reliable Jewish National Fund-USA through
communities have
er this week, the clergy will offer a daily
thought for those who seek comfort and income stream, look no further. a Charitable Gift Annuity. Jewish
Through the ups and downs we have National Fund-USA not only offers you
canceled all outside
ed guidance. Rabbi David Woznica of Stephen
ks. Wise Temple, who is Beverly’s husband, fulfilled our promise and continue to a highly competitive rate of income
do so. and valuable tax savings, but your
entertainment and
s- said, “I think of our spiritual, intellectual
al and emotional well-being. While there are
How does this work? A Jewish donation will ultimately be used for
National Fund Charitable Gift projects that are of vital importance
n- times when electronic devices can dis-
Annuity is a simple agreement that to securing a bright and prosperous
tance us, this is a time they can connect
offers you a lifetime income at rates future for the Jewish homeland.
le us. In addition to phone calls, many of our
as high as 9.0% in exchange for For complete information, including
al- assisted living communities have can- elderly are comfortable with Facetime and
your gift. In addition to supporting a personalized Charitable Gift Annuity
a celed all outside entertainment and lec- other options, and it’s a wonderful way to
Jewish National Fund-USA’s work for illustration, call 800-562-7526 or email
ny turers. Patricia Will, president and CEO of stay in contact with one another.”
the land and people of Israel, with
or Belmont Village, says staff has taken “dra- It is during times such as these that we
conian measures” to enhance the health, question whether living alone is the right
e- answer for seniors. One major advantage
safety and security of its residents.
“During the past several days, we have to living in a community is you are nev-
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is conducted many resident council meet- er alone. You have a “built-in” family and Age 65 4.7%
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Age 75 5.8%
“The reaction on the part of the residents Mom or Dad are isolated.
Age 80 6.9%
an has been very uplifting, and they have ap- Life will return to normal at some point.
al plauded our efforts. They understand they This is a wake-up call to plan ahead for Age 85 8.0%
nd are the most vulnerable.” the most vulnerable in our lives. They Age 90+ 9.0%
To keep the atmosphere positive, Bel- need us.n
mont has challenged its programming *Attractive 2 life and deferred rates are also available.
al specialists to come up with creative ways Sandra Heller, a senior living advo- Call 800-562-7526 or email for additional rates.
er to engage residents with purposeful learn- cate and placement specialist, is the owner of
ing, including tech classes on communi- Compassionate Senior Solutions in Los Angeles

20 March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 11

Jewish Contributions to Humanity
#43 in a series

These Chemists’
Influence is Dating, S
Ubiquitous. Coronavirus Style P
» by Mark Schiff
ORTHODOX JEWISH DATING ISN’T LIKE trunk and home you go.
secular dating. In the Orthodox tradi- One problem with Coronavirus Dating
tion, there isn’t supposed to be any con- is you don’t know if you’re dating someone di
tact — no kissing, no hugging, no holding who’s overly cautious or if that person is in
hands or playing footsies under the table. a full-blown OCD’er. The behaviors are ee- pe
Some Orthodox Jews still send a chaperone rily similar. For instance, if you’re on a first re
Aaron Ciechnaover Avram Hershko Irwin Rose along on the date. And sex is off the table date and it’s not coronavirus season and fr
until marriage. In fact, even after marriage, your date Lysols a doorknob, you might ev
sex is off the table again until the kids go reconsider the relationship. Or if by acci- ne
AARON CIECHNAOVER (1947-). b. Haifa, Israel. to medical school or invent a multimillion- dent, your date touches you and then runs gl
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004. dollar app. to the nearest bathroom to scrub his or her fe
An Israeli biochemist who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Avram Well, ladies and gentlemen and other hands is if they just touched poison oak, it
Hershko and Irwin Rose (see below), Aaron Ciechnaover was born in Haifa one year couple pairings that I don’t have room to might be over. en
before Israel’s War of Independence. His father was part of the Haganah defense forces. acknowledge, welcome to Coronavirus You can learn a lot just by looking at al
From an early age, Ciechnaover loved studying biology and nature, and collected Dating. Almost everyone who dates dur- and talking to a person for a few hours. be
flowers and small creatures like frogs, snakes, and turtles. After high school, he pursued ing this science fiction movie we’re living Imagine coming home after a first date ex
and obtained a medical degree from Hadassah Medical School and a masters in through, is to some extent dating Ortho- and actually knowing a lot about the pe
biochemistry, and served in the Israeli military. In 1976, Ciechanover joined Dr. Avram dox Jewish style. They even have a chaper- person. Almost unheard of. Coronavirus ne
Hershko’s lab at Technion , Israel Institute of Technology. There, Hershko’s team, which one: Mr. Coronavirus. has in some ways set the clock back 100
included Ciechnaover and Rose, discovered the ubiquitin system—the process by which Mr. Virus is there to make sure there’s years. In 1920, it wasn’t uncommon for se
the body disposes of proteins that are no longer useful. “If proteins are not degraded at no hanky-panky during this trying time. two young people to sit in their mother’s ea
the right time,” Ciechnaover said, “The cell continues to divide unchecked. This is what There is no getting to first base. Accord- kitchen and get to know each other over
happens in many cancer cells; something has gone wrong in the ubiquitin system.”

AVRAM HERSHKO (1937-). b. Karcag, Hungary.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004. “
Avram Hershko was a joint winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Aaron
Ciechnaover and Irwin Rose, As a child, Hershko and his family were living in Nazi- This might be a golden opportunity for s
occupied Hungary. By fortune and fate, they were sent to forced labor in Austria, where
the Soviets liberated them in 1945. Five years later, the Hershkos emigrated to Israel. you to meet your bashert. n
From an early age, possibly due to his older brother being a medical student, Avram
wanted to study medicine. At Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Hershko fell in c
love with biochemistry. As a post-doctoral fellow from 1969-1971 at the University of ing to the Centers for Disease Control, if some tea and biscuits.
California, San Francisco, Hershko began learning about protein degradation. Returning you’re in a car, one should sit in the back One other way to look at this, though, a
to Israel to run his own lab at Technion, Hershko and Ciechnaover (who joined the lab seat — or better yet the trunk — while the is that there might be a silver lining. This ea
as a researcher), along with Irwin Rose. embarked upon the discovery of the ubiquitin other drives. No visiting crowded restau- might be a golden opportunity for you to pe
system, Ubiquitin, Hershko and the other scientists discovered, is a ubiquitous protein rants, movie theaters, concerts or sporting meet your bashert (soul mate). This might pi
that exists in every eukaryotic cell (cells that have a nucleus). It is known as the cellular events. Restaurants aren’t seating diners be just what you’ve been hoping and se
“kiss of death” because it targets cells for destruction. Its discovery forever changed and museums are closed. No parties. So, praying for. By not going to the movies or re
how scientists understand cancer and certain neurodegenerative diseases. what’s left to do? crowded bars or noisy restaurants or bor- ch
What’s left is “Orthodox Jewish Dating.” ing parties, here’s a chance for a person to in
IRWIN ROSE (1926-2015). Don’t worry. She doesn’t have to put on a get to know another person on a deeper in
b. Brooklyn, New York. d. Deerfield, Massachusetts. wig; he doesn’t have to wear a tallit; and no level. And isn’t that what we all want? Peo- ca
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004. one has to eat flanken. What you do have ple to really know who we are. It’s scary
Splitting his time as a child between Brooklyn and Spokane, Washington, Irwin Rose to do is meet somewhere for a cup of cof- because if they find out who we are, they w
attended one year of college in Washington, but then joined the Navy, enrolled in the fee. Sit 6 feet apart and talk and talk and may not like us. But so what. or
University of Chicago, and received his undergraduate degree and biochemistry PhD talk. Then later, if you still have more to say Listen folks, this reset will not last em
from there. After working at the Yale School of Medicine for nine years, Rose joined the (a very good sign), maybe take a walk and forever. So, if I were you, I’d try to take ad- cl
Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia in 1963, where he worked until his retirement talk some more. You might be surprised vantage of it. The coronavirus might be ed
in 1995. Fox Chase was unique in that it sought to understand cancer beginning with an by the outcome. You might find that you just what the doctor ordered. And if you ta
understanding of biology. At Fox Chase, with visiting scientists Aaron Ciechnaover and got to know each other on a whole other do get the virus, you can spend the next w
Avram Hershko, Rose discovered the protein, ubiquitin, that heads the process by which level and you really like this person. Or you two weeks talking to your date on the th
might find that you heard enough to last phone en route, God willing, to a full re- m
cells that are no longer useful are destroyed. This unmasked how protein degradation
you 10 lifetimes and you’re changing your covery.
helps control cell division, the repair of DNA defects, and gene transcription. Cystic fibrosis,
phone number and Instagram handle. Ei- Good luck. Good health. I wish you the cl
for example, occurs when there’s something wrong with the protein-degradation system.
ther way, you don’t have to decide how far best. n op
Original Research by Walter L. Field Sponsored by Irwin S. Field Written by Jared Sichel to take this date because after the coffee so
and walk, one of you climbs back into the Mark Schiff is a comedian, actor and writer. pa

12 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020 M

Rebbe’s Teachings


Shifting Our When God

» by Rabbi and Cantor Eva Robbins
EACH OF US IS EXPERIENCING ANXIETY, haviors that prevent moving forward. With
T he first section of the Book of Leviticus opens as God calls out (Vayikra in
Hebrew) to Moses, bidding him to enter the Tabernacle so He can teach
him the procedures for offering sacrifices.
Leviticus is the third, and thus central, book of the Five Books of Moses. As
such, it forms the core of the Torah; in this sense, the Books of Genesis and Exo-
discomfort and fear right now. We are liv- more in-home — and at times, solitary dus can be considered its prelude and the Books of Numbers and Deuteronomy
ing with real circumstances that have re- moments — an inner search might bring its postlude.
percussions, unknowns and yet-to-unfold enlightenment. The Book of Genesis describes why there had to be a Jewish people living
realities. We are worrying about families, This is a good time to tap into spiritual in the Land of Israel. There was an original vision for creation, an opportunity
friends, our communities, ourselves and resources: prayer, psalms, studying To- that was missed due to the sin of Adam and Eve; this set into motion a down-
even strangers in far-off lands. We have rah, yoga, nature walks or writing down ward spiral of history that made it necessary for God to isolate a faithful core of
never been so united as a country and as our deepest fears and concerns as well as humanity — Abraham’s family — to preserve, bear, and eventually re-announce
global neighbors as we are now. Even the our gratitude and gifts. We now have the
His message to the world. The Book of Exodus describes how this family was
fear of death always is present. time to stop, sit, close our eyes and
made into “a kingdom of nobles and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6), and how the
Jewish tradition teaches death is not an breathe deeply, tapping into the Divine
mechanisms whereby this nation could indeed bring the Divine Presence down
end, but a beginning — a belief that may presence. Torah teaches “God formed the
to earth (i.e., the Torah, repentance, and the Tabernacle) were set up. The Book of
allay some fears. But we should remem- human from particles of dust and then
Leviticus records the details of exactly how this end is to be achieved.
ber we are alive now, challenged by new blew into the nostrils the souls of life.”
expectations and protocols. Shifting our With each breath, we touch the gift from
This notion is eloquently expressed by the very first word in the book, from
perceptions may help wade through this the Divine.
which the whole book takes its Hebrew name: Vayikra, meaning “and He called.”
new normal. We take breathing for granted, but if we The prefixed “and” immediately connects the beginning of Leviticus with the end
Time is no longer the same. In one get upper-respiratory disease or asthma, of Exodus: “Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting since the cloud had rested
sense, it feels painfully stagnant — we understand how precious this gift is. It on it and God’s glory filled the Tabernacle” (Exodus 40:35). Since Moses could
each minute, hour and day moving at nurtures and heals, filling us with neces- not enter himself, God called out to him, thereby enabling him to enter and bear
sary oxygen. What we give back feeds all of the experience of His Glory in order to hear His message.
nature, God’s creation. The breathing tech- This clearly indicates that the events recorded in the Book of Exodus were
nique I suggest has a third part, a pause, intended to set the stage for God to call Moses and convey to him the con-

“What once
resting in the Divine spark. Like half of the tents of the Book of Leviticus. Furthermore, the usual way the Torah opens its
Magen David, a triangle, it is three sided. descriptions of God talking to Moses is with the ubiquitous phrase, “God spoke

seemed so urgent
When we are fearful, we feel alone and to Moses, saying.” In the opening of the Book of Leviticus, however, before the
alienated. When we take time to sit, close variant of this phrase — “God spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying” —

now pales in this

our eyes and breathe — the first step into a the Torah informs us that whenever “God spoke to Moses,” He first “called out to
place of meditation or mindfulness — we Moses,” implying that His communications with Moses were not merely for the

current reality.” purpose of laying down His law for humanity, but in order to call out to us, im-
allow ourselves to look inward and be re-
minded we are not alone. We might even ploring us to respond, asking us to treat the laws of the Torah not merely as dry
feel safe, if only for a few moments. This obligations but as our common meeting-ground with Him. To emphasize this
a snail’s pace. It also feels like our once is what helps build resilience in times of point, this opening phrase is not worded “God called out” but “He called out,”
easily accessible treasured moments — difficulty. As a caregiver, I have had many referring to God’s very essence, not to any aspect of Him that can be defined by
people, places and activities — are slip- moments over the years when I needed to any of His Names. It is God’s essence that calls out to us in the Book of Leviticus.
ping through our fingers. What once go to that place to affirm and strengthen Thus, although there is very little “action” in the Book of Leviticus, it is here
seemed so urgent now pales in this cur- my core.
that the real “action” takes place: the inner life of the individual soul and the soul
rent reality. What this means is we must Times such as these demand personal
of the community in their communion with God. It is significant that Leviticus is
change how we view what we face. See- attention. The clock is not demanding
not only the middle book of the Torah but the third book, for the number three
ing the blessing in the difficult and the gift our attention. Obligations, meetings and
expresses the essence of the Torah. The Torah is composed of three parts — the
in the challenge is perhaps what we are schedules have changed and halted in
Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings; it was given in the third
called to do. some cases. Shifting our perceptions to
see we have been given the gift of time
month — Sivan; it was given to a nation of three classes — Priests, Levites, and
The world has ceased as we know it, so
we now have the opportunities to begin and space creates ease and openness to a
Israelites; it was given after three days of preparation; and it was taught to the
or finish projects avoided and neglected: more positive attitude. When you are most people by three siblings — Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. The number three signi-
empty and reorganize files, drawers and frightened, stop, sit, close your eyes and fies the synergy that results from the paradoxical but harmonious combination
closets; curl up with a book that has wait- breathe: in, out, then pause. of the two elements of a duality, and this is the very essence of the Torah: it takes
ed to be opened; talk and connect with dis- There is light in the dark, sparks to fo- two opposing entities, the physical and the spiritual, and creates from them a
tant friends and family; play board games cus on and treasure. Baruch atah Adonai, third — the peaceful fusion of the mundane and the holy. u
with your children; explore documentaries B’ruchah at Shechinah, Blessed is the One From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson.
that offer wisdom; or stream shows and who opens new pathways that are un- The Rebbe’s inspirational teachings on the Torah portion can be found in the Kehot
movies you have missed. known, unexpected and often deep inside Chumash, produced by Chabad House Publications.
Passover is approaching, so the time to ourselves. n
clean out our homes of chametz also is an
opportunity to clean the chametz from our Eva Robbins is a rabbi, cantor, artist and Sp ons o re d by Cha ba d o f Ca lif o rnia , in lov ing m e m o ry o f Ra bbi Tze m a c h
Yeh osh u a Cunin, E m is s a ry o f the Re bbe a nd Dire c to r o f Cha ba d o f Ce ntury City.
souls — the unnecessary and outmoded the author of “Spiritual Surgery, Journey of
parts of ourselves, such as beliefs and be- Healing Mind, Body and Spirit.”

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 13


Coronavirus graphic by dowell/Getty Images

Bethlehem photo by Andreas Krumwiede/Eyeem/Getty Images

Israel has issued permits for several thousand

Palestinian workers to enter into Israel — but
not from the Bethlehem area. These permits
allow them to work in the construction and
agricultural sectors as well as in a Jerusalem
industrial zone right outside of Ramallah, with
the condition their Israeli employers provide
them with lodging in Israel during the current
30-day lockdown also being enforced in Israel.
Diana Babish, who runs the Animal and
Environmental Association-Bethlehem ani-
mal shelter in neighboring Beit Sahour, had
just started a new job as the manager of the
Bethlehem’s bus station, which saw hundreds
of tourist buses coming in every day before the
outbreak of the crisis.
“I had a lot of hope to change the bus sta-
tion to better condition[s] but was disappoint-
ed because with the virus … tourism will not

Palestinians Grapple with Coronavirus

be back as before,” she said. “We don’t know
when tourists will visit Bethlehem or Jerusa-
lem or Palestine again. We don’t know when

Lockdown in Bethlehem
this nightmare will end. Many families are …
now living [with] the fear of [not] having tour-
ists back.”
The closure, which also prevents move-
ment between the three towns, is also making
» by Judith Sudilovsky it difficult to run her shelter, which is chal-
lenging even in normal times, she said.
“Bethlehem has been through a lot of set-
backs, difficulties, wars, obstacles, many hard
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY WASTED Tulkarem and one in Ramallah. Palestinians now lies with what will come afterward and times during the first and second Intifada, but
no time when seven staff members of a Beit have largely applauded the PA’s handling of they wonder when, and if, tourists will return [none like] the current situation we are having
Jala hotel tested positive on March 5 for the the coronavirus crisis. to the area. nowadays with the COVID-19,” she said.
COVID-19 virus, contracted from of a group “The first three days, people here were With between 17,000 and 20,000 people Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, who lists his title
of Greek pilgrims who had stayed at the hotel in trauma; how can we deal with this situa- from the three sister towns of Bethlehem, Beit as head of office, World Health Organization
and some of whom were diagnosed with the tion? We couldn’t believe what happened. We Jala and Beit Sahour employed in the tourism (WHO) for the occupied Palestinian Territory,
virus when they returned to Greece. are [always] busy living our lives 24 hours a sector and another 15,000 employed in Israeli said the PA has “put the right measures in
Beit Jala is a traditionally Christian Pales- day,” said Arwa Hodaly, a PA-employed social construction (the majority as day laborers), place” with assistance from the WHO, and he
tinian town adjacent to the western border of worker who counsels women survivors of Bethlehem’s economy has been dealt a hard noted that Israel, the PA and the neighboring
Bethlehem. domestic abuse. “But then we started seeing blow, said Samir Hazboun, chairman of the countries of Jordan and Egypt have been co-
The infected staff members along with the our Palestinian Authority was containing the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce. ordinating behind the scenes to contain the
rest of the staff — and a group of 13 Ameri- situation. We are committed to our PA quar- “Tourism is the most important branch virus.
can pilgrims who had just checked out of the antine and we don’t go out. Our government is for our economy and basically for all the Pal- Palestinian journalist Daoud Kattab wrote
Angel Hotel — were immediately quarantined working in a perfect way and that strengthens estinian territory. We also have financial obli- that the coronavirus has managed to do what
in the hotel and police cordoned off the area. politicians and activists have not.
The Palestinian Authority sent a doctor to the “It has sparked an extraordinarily high
hotel for daily checkups and local restaurants level of cooperation and coordination be-

“Bethlehem has been through a lot of

sent in food for those quarantined. tween Palestinians and Israelis,” Kattab said,
On the same day the cases were identi- noting that Palestinian officials told him the

setbacks, difficulties, wars, obstacles,

fied, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mah- relationship has improved as both govern-
moud Abbas declared a state of emergency ments struggle in a joint effort to contain the

many hard times during the first

and ordered the closure of the Bethlehem outbreak and that the cooperation is “neces-
area to all tourist groups, but those that were sary and important” because it is serving a

and second Intifada, but [none like]

already there were permitted to remain until humanitarian purpose.
the end of their planned stay. Nobody was al- Nonetheless, Hodaly said the talk of col-

the current situation we are having

lowed in or out of the area. All schools, univer- laboration cannot gloss over the fact the Pales-
sities, shops, restaurants and group activities tinians are under occupation, and she believes

nowadays with the COVID-19.”

were ordered closed, as were all mosques and many of the conditions are being dictated by
churches, including the Church of the Nativ- Israel.
ity, revered by Christians as marking the birth- “There is a constant dialogue between Pal-
place of Jesus. — Diana Babish estinians and Israel. Both are aware the virus
As of March 20, the Palestinian Ministry of doesn’t respect any borders,” Rockenschaub
Health had reported 48 confirmed cases of the the relationship between our people and the gations for factories,” he said. “In the coming said. “We are in this jointly, so we will jointly
coronavirus, all defined as noncritical, with Palestinian Authority.” weeks, we will feel the impact.” succeed or we will jointly have an even bigger
901 people quarantined in government facili- But while the people understand the need Israel also closed off all checkpoints, pre- problem.” n
ties, 8,778 people in self-quarantine and zero for a strictly enforced lockdown, which pre- venting movement between Israel and the
deaths. Seventeen people have already recov- vents them from visiting with family in their Palestinian territories. But Major Yotam She- Judith Sudilovsky is a veteran freelance
ered, the ministry said. Most of the cases have close-knit community and going out other fet, head of the international department of journalist covering Israel and the Palestinian
been in the Bethlehem area, with two cases in than for essential needs, their biggest concern the Civil Administration in the West Bank, said territories.

14 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020





Petri Dishes

Photo illustration by MammothCat



» by Asra Q. Nomani
on CEARLIER THIS MONTH, PAT JAMES, COVID-19. About 3%, or about 1.5 million, live a career working in global health, has par- to have CDC on site briefly, and a select group
ry, 77, started to feel sick in the duplex he shared in skilled nursing facilities. There are another ents in a nearby assisted living center. She of residents were tested, a significant number
in with his wife, Jean, at the Texas Masonic estimated 28,900 assisted living facilities with said, “In King County and nationally, as the of whom were without symptoms — but who
he Retirement Center in Arlington. High fever. 811,500 residents. In Jewish nursing homes, federal Coronavirus Task Force wisely puts still tested positive. My parents’ center was
ng Wheezing. Last Tuesday, March 10, he was residents in quarantine, like in other homes, senior facilities under quarantine, there is a then able to redouble its quarantine efforts.
o- checked into a hospital. As the entire Utah struggle with loneliness and confusion. potentially deadly situation kindling inside “All of the vulnerable residents and pa-
he Jazz NBA team and its traveling party were With the current triage as it is, the virus the centers.” tients in these centers and their health care
tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19), James workers deserve to be tested so the spread of
te wasn’t. the virus can be managed, especially among
at Until Saturday, March 15. the elderly and chronically ill who are already
The next day, he died. so vulnerable with weakened immune sys-

“All of the vulnerable residents and patients

gh On Tuesday, March 17, his family got the tems. We must save their lives.”
e- test results. Yes, he had been infected. She has three recommendations she sent

in these centers and their health care

d, From Washington state to Georgia, we the White House Coronavirus Task Force this
he have created a heart-wrenching de facto tri- week, and we need to implement them: pri-

workers deserve to be tested so the spread

n- age in society in the face of this catastrophe. oritize the chronically ill and elderly in fa-
he The people who changed our diapers and cilities for testing; do on-site testing; and test

of the virus can be managed.” — Pam Norick

s- cheered us at graduation are at the bottom: new patients entering facilities and inform
a our precious parents and grandparents. them if the facility is coronavirus free.
As the federal Coronavirus Task Force This is very personal to many of us. My
ol- quarantines senior care centers as adult chil- will spread, as it has in King County, Wash. She is concerned too many of these fa- parents are healthy in their 80s, living in
s- dren wave to their elderly parents through In a report released on March 18, the Cen- cilities are not testing their residents for the Morgantown, W.V., with their 20-something
es windows, we must fix something devastating ters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deadly coronavirus virus, even when the vi- grandchildren, one of them a nurse, but we
by happening behind closed doors. Where they said many of the 29 deaths linked to Life Care rus is known to be inside a facility. Today, she are hypervigilant they don’t fall or fall ill. My
once played bingo, our parents and grandpar- Center in Kirkland, Wash., were because sick argues, there is insufficient capacity and in- father survived the Bengal famine of 1943 in
al- ents now live in potentially toxic Petri dishes, workers flowed through many centers in King adequate protocols for testing patients and India. My parents lived through World War
us under the same roof as infected peers, too County, as the virus went undetected. Work- residents in these care facilities. “If coronavi- II and India’s war for independence. I want
ub often without adequate testing, isolation or ers and residents went without testing for too rus is present, many of our loved ones, living them, and all of our parents, to survive the
ly strategy to “flatten the curve” and slow the long, celebrating Mardi Gras in late February, inside these now closed off centers, are sitting quarantine of 2020. n
er spread of the devastating coronavirus. We with family, patients and staff packed into ducks needlessly vulnerable to infection and
must widen testing to include the elderly and a room, as a band played “When the Saints death,” she said. Asra Q. Nomani is a former reporter for The
chronically ill in centers, and we must better Go Marching In.” New patients, later dying Even if tests are available, the current pro- Wall Street Journal. With others, she has started
ce isolate and treat them if they’re positive. from COVID-19, were admitted after Life Care tocol is to test only seniors and the chronical- an all-volunteer civilian Coronavirus Task Force
an About 15% of the U.S., or 49 million people, knew it had infections. ly ill who exhibit symptoms of the virus. “At to advocate for health education and community
is 65 or older, an at-risk group for fatality from In Seattle, Pam Norick, who has spent my parents’ center,” she said, “we were lucky building.

20 March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 15

Members of Spain’s Military Emergency
Unit (UME)
“There’s movement in the streets,” Sa-
daka said, “but it’s down by 60-70%.”
Sadaka’s tourism business catering to
Israelis and accounting for 65% of his in-
come is on indefinite hold.
“Cancellations already took place in
February,” he said. “If it takes two to three
months to finish with this coronavirus, I
don’t think the tourism industry will see
fruitful results, and it will take at least un-
til holidays in Israel for something to flour-

Europe Braces for

ish again, because only then will they have
some kind of income.”
He said the Polish government has of-
fered citizens no relief package for small
and medium-sized businesses. “You’re

Extended Lockdowns
starting generally to burn your savings.

Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Savings can last three to four months,” he
said. “After that I don’t know what will be.”

United Kingdom
Late in the game to shut down schools and
» by Orit Arfa public gatherings, U.K. Prime Minister Boris
Johnson joined other major European coun-
tries in enacting severe social distancing mea-
sures as the number of cases surged to 6,650.
As in France, no one can leave their home be-
EUROPEANS ARE BRACING FOR EVEN Germany result, his team is providing recipe ideas yond a certain distance except for work, lim-
more restrictions amid the rising number Germany has amped up legally enforce- using locally sourced ingredients. ited outdoor exercise and essential shopping.
of coronavirus fatalities. able restrictions effective for the next two Even as the holiday of liberation will be “There is an overwhelming sense of re-
weeks. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel spent in a homemade captivity, Noy has lief that the prime minister is finally going
Italy was placed under quarantine after being faith. “If God decided that we’re living here to enforce a lockdown, as too many people
Calling the pandemic the country’s treated by an infected physician. She ulti- for this period, then we’re here for thriving were not keeping to social distancing rules
gravest post-World War II crisis, Italian mately tested negative for the virus. Public and not for surviving.” voluntarily, endangering everyone’s lives,”
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has or- meetings are limited to up to two people said Miriam Shaviv, a London-based busi-
dered all nonessential production to shut while others must maintain a six-foot Poland and Eastern Europe ness owner, via Facebook messenger (she
down. The death toll has surpassed 6,000 distance between them. Only core family Poland was one of the first European is a Facebook friend of the reporter). “It is
out of over 63,000 people infected and all members are allowed in the same house. countries to close its borders, causing a clear that countries that enforced these
citizens are homebound. An Israeli doctor With communal Passover seders can- bottleneck of trucks along the German- rules early have saved lives. I’m willing to
in Italy told Israeli television that his hos- celed, Morasha Germany-Olami, a Jewish Polish border. Other Eastern European stay under lockdown with my family for as
pital in Parma has stopped offering venti- educational institute, has altered its op- countries have followed suit. long as it takes, in order to save lives.”
lators to patients older than 60. erations to hand out (via gloves) Passover In Poland, 774 cases have been reported Shaviv said she personally knows one
Genoa resident Eyal Lerner is an Is- essentials like matzo and haggadot to the with nine deaths, but Guy Sadaka, an Is- person who died from the virus and at least
raeli who has been living in Italy for the several thousand students it serves. All To- raeli tourism operator living in Warsaw for two friends and acquaintances who have
past 25 years. He believes Italy serves as rah-study classes are taking place online. the past 17 years, believes the number is been ventilated. She works from home but,
a warning to other countries. Among the Germany’s Jewish population is estimated much higher because of the lack of testing. with children at home, finds it more difficult.
dead is his friend’s 78-year-old father, who to be 200,000. “There is no lockdown like in Israel,” Sada- “We have instituted a fairly rigid timetable
couldn’t properly say goodbye to his loved “Most people will do the seder alone ka said. “People are going to work but less. for them including homework, chores, exer-
ones. cise, TV time and a ‘personal project,’ which
Lerner, a freelance musician and the- seems to keep them occupied,” she said.
ater director who has postponed or can- Shaviv attributes Johnson’s delay in

“There is an overwhelming sense of

celed upcoming projects, said, “It’s very ordering a lockdown to his reluctance to
similar to people who go to war to another impose on people’s civil liberties, and she

relief that Prime Minister Boris Johnson

country and they come back in a coffin. hopes that the health services will be able
The system is collapsing so what happens to handle the surge in cases.

is finally going to enforce a lockdown,

is that other people who have so-to-speak
normal urgent problems like heart attacks Other European countries

as too many people were not keeping

… cannot get hold of the emergency line, Spain has extended its state of emer-
and they die.” gency, banning everyone from all but es-

to social distancing rules voluntarily,

Lerner lives in isolation in his apart- sential movement. In Austria, Chancellor
ment. Italians must acquire a special per- Sebastian Kurz praised Israeli Prime Min-

endangering everyone’s lives.”

mit to justify leaving the house. He blames ister Benjamin Netanyahu for his recom-
the Italians’ carefree and cavalier attitude mendation that Spain implement Israel’s
to the rapid spread of the disease. “If you strict lockdown rules. As of press time, the
have a Mediterranean atmosphere, peo- — Miriam Shaviv number of cases in Austria was around
ple are not disciplined enough to stay at 5,000 with 25 deaths.
home.” with their really close circle of people, so If they can work from home, they work at The Netherlands has extended its social
He also believes the government’s mea- we’re really trying to help the people,” said home.” distancing measures through June 1. In France,
sures are justified, despite the looming Morasha Director Eliezer Noy (an associate Poland’s lockdown is not as strict as in Prime Minister Édouard Philippe told citizens
economic recession. “I believe it is an oc- of the reporter). He said enough matzo has other countries. No one is required by law to brace for lockdown for weeks to come. n
casion for positive changes in our global arrived safely from the United Kingdom to stay at home but only essential shops
social, economical and political system,” but other kosher-for-Passover foods are remain open and eateries offer delivery or Orit Arfa is a journalist and author based in
he said. stuck at the Austrian-Italian border. As a takeout. Berlin. Her second novel is titled “Underskin.”

16 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020


largely based on countering the aggressive Chabad world headquarters in New York have The Israeli Ministry of Health is work-
White Supremacists Call for Jews push by Hatikvah and substantially improved tested positive for the coronavirus. ing to locate the 200 people aboard the flight
and Police to Be Infected with the to 8.3% of the vote from 4.8% in 2015.Overall The Chasidic students returned after the who have been exposed to the virus and place
Coronavirus voting, which ended on March 11 and took headquarters in the Crown Heights neighbor- them in quarantine.
The FBI sent out an alert to local law en- place over two months, more than doubled to hood of Brooklyn was closed for the first time There had been concerns at the outset of
forcement agencies on March 19 warning that 123,629 this year from 56,737 in 2015. ever. the flight since Crown Heights was the site
white supremacists are hoping to infect Jews — Ron Kampeas, JTA They were placed in quarantine after they of a large outbreak of the coronavirus. The
and police officers with the coronavirus. arrived in Israel last week at the Dan Hotel students told the Israeli media that they had
ABC News reports the alert stated that At Least 65 Yeshiva in Jerusalem, which has been repurposed for been asked to sign an affidavit that they were
the white supremacists plan to target Jews Students Test Positive for quarantining citizens who have been exposed not experiencing signs of illness and to the
at “any place they may be congregated, to the Coronavirus to the coronavirus. The students who tested best of their knowledge had not come into
include markets, political offices, businesses More than half of a group of 114 students positive have been hospitalized in central Is- contact with someone with the virus.
and places of worship.” According to Yahoo! who returned to Israel from a yeshiva near the rael. — Marcy Oster, JTA
News, white supremacists are also looking to
infect police with spray bottles; leaving saliva
on door handles; and committing crimes to
leave items with the coronavirus on them at
the scene for detectives to handle.

The FBI declined to comment on the alert.
Michael Masters, who heads the national
Secure Communities Network that coordi-
nates security measures for Jewish organi-
zations, told ABC, “While the world faces a
deadly pandemic, it’s a stark reminder that
certain groups — notably the Jewish com-
munity and law enforcement — must also
continue the battle against those who wish to
hurt or kill them.”
The American Jewish Committee tweeted,
“If you ever wondered whether a deadly pan-
demic would cause white supremacists to
think about something other than harming
Jews and law enforcement, you now have your
answer. We thank our friends at the @FBI for
their vigilance during these dangerous times.”
— Aaron Bandler

Orthodox Lists Surge in World Zion-

ist Congress Elections
The two Orthodox lists surged in the U.S.
portion of the World Zionist Congress elec-
tions amid a record turnout since the bal-
loting began for the entire American Jewish
community 30 years ago.Mizrachi and Eretz
Hakodesh together earned 33.7% of the vote,
almost double the 16.9% by the single Or-
thodox list in 2015, Vote Torah. The two lists,

Get the Jewish Journal

which advocate for spending on Israeli settle-
ments and in the Orthodox community, split
about evenly.The Reform movement list was
the overall leader, winning 25.5% of the vote,

delivered to your door.

but saw a sharp drop from its 38.4% in 2015.
Mercaz, representing the Conservative move-
ment, also fell, to 11.9% from 17.4%.The World
Zionist Congress determines about $1 billion
a year in Jewish Agency spending in Israel
and the Diaspora. The Reform and Conser-
vative lists generally advocate for better rep-
Subscribe today to stay connected
resentation in spending for non-Orthodox
movements.The American Zionist Move-
to what’s happening in our
ment noted the record number of votes in a
news release. Turnout was more than double
community locally, nationally and
than the last election five years ago, with ev- around the world.
ery movement seeing an increase. Hatikvah,
a progressive list, ran a high-profile campaign
this year opposing spending in settlements Only $75 for one year!
and brought in well-known liberal Jewish fig-
ures including writer Peter Beinart and actor
Josh Malina to encourage voting. It more than
doubled its absolute number of voters, but in-
creased its percentage only to 6.4 from 5.5 in
2015.The Zionist Organization of America list,
which leans pro-settlement, ran a campaign

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 17


The Nurse Treating

COVID-19 Patients H
» by Deborah Danan, Contributing Writer

WHEN 32-YEAR-OLD RACHEL GEMARA and can house 20 patients. Within three to as the headquarters. Medications are have become surrogate caregivers for the
volunteered for the new COVID-19 ward weeks, however, the staff was told that passed through a special glass door. Oc- older, more critical ones. “They’re on the
in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Cen- another ward would be built. As of March casionally there is a need to go into the inside and we’re on the outside,” Gemara »
ter at the end of February, she had no idea 19, Israel had 529 confirmed cases, but the room to perform hands-on tasks, but the said.The younger patients help the older
what she was getting herself into. At the number was ballooning at a rate of about staff take care not to stay inside for longer ones to call their families, readjust their ox-
time, only 15 people had been diagnosed 100 a day. Two were in critical condition but than is absolutely necessary. Each patient ygen masks or fluff their pillows. “They’re
with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). “We there had been no deaths. has a video intercom and most of the care angels. It’s heartwarming to watch. They un
were being very careful and people were feel like they’re a family because they’re so te
being quarantined,” she said. Her father, distanced from their real family.” ca
a high school principal with no medical The absence of family, Gemara said, is A
background, told her months earlier that the most painful part of the entire situa- lo

Patients are isolated from the health workers.

what was happening in Wuhan, China, tion. One of her patients was 88-year-old is
would soon spread throughout the world. Holocaust survivor Aryeh Even who be- so

Almost all of the care is done virtually.

But, Gemara said, “I didn’t think it was go- came the first Israeli to die from the virus ra
ing to grow.” Trained as an oncology nurse, on March 20. “That they have to end their
Gemara left her own ward to volunteer for lives alone is devastating,” she said. fe
the newly formed COVID-19 department. The virus’ contagion means that pa- is conducted via video conference. “We’re Tiredness seeping into her voice, Ge- it
She said unlike in many of the hospitals in tients are isolated from the health work- very grateful for such advanced technol- mara admitted she is overwhelmed. “Every sa
Italy, where staff had to be forced to trans- ers. Almost all of the care is done virtu- ogy,” Gemara said. time I come in to my shift there are more ha
fer to COVID-19 units, doctors and nurses ally. Patients wear sensors on their chests Gemara credits the other patients, those and more patients.” si
at Shaare Zedek readily volunteered. “I’m that constantly monitor their vital signs. with mild symptoms, as holding down the Nonetheless, there’s nowhere she’d th
proud to be part of that kind of system,” she The results are broadcast on a screen in a fort. Empathizing with the nurses’ need to rather be. N
said. The ward has about 40 staff members separate room for staff that Gemara refers maintain distance, the moderate patients “I want to save lives.” n th



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18 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020 M

Sanders and the Jews
R O S N E R ’ S D O M A IN
Fro m Is ra e l

Rosner online

Health Crisis Begets On March 23, the results of the World Zionist Congress were out, and on Rosner’s
Domain online we wrote about the rise of Orthodox lists:

Political Crisis
Why has this happened? Ironically, it was the progressive side that began the
process of making this race more competitive, by trying to convince voters that the
Congress can be a tool with which to alter Israel’s policies. For some reason, the
Orthodox were convinced that the stakes were high. And since their crowd is easier
to mobilize, their rise was swift, and their message resounding: If this is serious, we
» by Shmuel Rosner are going to show up and get our share of the cards.

THE FEAR IS REAL AND So yes, this is Demonstrators protest against Prime Minister
understandable. Throughout history, of- dangerous. When Benjamin Netanyahu
ten a crisis has been a prelude to a politi- we shift from a bat-
cal coup. And now there’s a crisis in Israel. tle of politics to a
And political tension. And profound ideo- battle of values, the
logical disagreement about the most vital result is often de-
issue: the rules of the political game. So,
some Israelis have begun to worry that Is-
structive. Netanya-
hu can compromise
The court’s critics
rael is becoming a non-democratic state.
I’m not that worried. I think that the
with a rival because
of political necessity
believe that its
fear is somewhat manufactured, and that
it is, in fact, part of the game. That is to
but it’s harder for
him to compromise
decision to intervene
in Knesset procedures

Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images

say: There are leaders and parties who with a rival whom,
have an interest in creating the impres- he believes, uses un-
sion that democracy is in danger. It’s a tool
they use against Prime Minister Benjamin
democratic means
to undermine him.
is the real threat to the
Netanyahu and his government. Never-
theless, there’s no denying that Israel is in
Blue and White
leader Benny Gantz
democratic process.
the throes of a twofold crisis, one that it can compromise
shares with the rest of the world — a pub- with a rival because
lic health and economic crisis — and the of political neces-
other, political. Apparently, three rounds of
elections without a clear outcome is not a
sity but it’s harder
for him to compromise with a rival whom,
A week’s numbers
recipe for calm and stability. he believes, is a threat to democracy itself. For now, these are the only numbers that count. Noah Slepkov’s graphs make
What happened this week? The Su- The public discourse is poisoned by a them easy to follow: This one shows the number of COVID-19 cases and the num-
preme Court ruled against Speaker of the mutual sense of anger. Rather than think, ber of days that have passed since the first case in each country.
Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein and demanded “We did not have sufficient political suc-
that a vote to elect a new speaker take cess and therefore must bargain,” the
place on March 25 (after the Journal went parties think, “We were robbed by our ri-
to press). By doing this, it deepened Is- vals and therefore must take revenge.”
rael’s political crisis in two ways. First, it Whether the court had to act the way it
ignited a rebellious mood among govern- did is an interesting and separate debate
ment ministers, some of whom went so far (I think not). But even if one believes that
as to advocate for disobeying the court’s the ruling was necessary, it complicates
ruling. Second, it decreased the likelihood an already complicated situation. Justices
that a unity government would be formed. are not good judges of the political arena,
Netanyahu repeatedly warned that if Blue as was evident again in this recent ruling.
and White moved forward with a vote to Just consider these two detached-from-
elect a speaker of its choice, a unity gov- reality statements: “Political calculation,”
ernment would no longer be an option. the justices wrote, “does not have a place”
If this is his final word, Israel is in a bind. in determining the Knesset’s agenda. And
No party can form a stable government. A no, they’re not worried that a speaker
fourth election might be the only solution. who comes from the opposition could
But how does a nation hold an election undermine the government’s work be-
during a pandemic? cause they’re confident that “whomever
The justices argued in their detailed is elected” will act with the necessary self- Insight: Patience is always a challenge, but we are still far from the end, and very
ruling that the attempt to prevent a ma- restraint. far from understanding this health crisis’ long-term effect.
jority from electing a new speaker “under- Sadly, restraint is hardly our politicians’
mines the foundations of the democratic
process.” Their critics believe that their de-
most common quality. And therefore, even
though they all understand — and admit
A reader’s response:
cision to intervene in Knesset procedures — that a unity government is the only vi- Aviva Klompas responded on Twitter to a recent Election Handbook online post:
is the real threat to the democratic process. able solution to Israel’s twofold crisis, they “Remember when Israel’s elections were newsworthy? Hahaha. Me neither.”
Thus, a debate that begins with political seem to be walking away from it. In fact, My response: Yes, but if all goes well, the coronavirus will go away yet the politi-
maneuvers becomes one about core values by walking away from it, they raise the cians are here to stay.
with each side arguing that the other side prospect for the riskiest political crisis: A
is using undemocratic means to win a po- march toward a fourth election that Israel Shmuel Rosner is senior political editor. For more analysis of Israeli and international
litical battle. cannot hold. n politics, visit Rosner’s Domain at

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 19


can’t recall a time when life felt so dark and fore-
boding. Our economy is shutting down. Whole in-
dustries are crashing. Retail businesses are clos-

ing. Countless people are losing their livelihoods.
As if that weren’t bad enough, there is a genu-

ine fear our health care system may be overrun by too
many patients who have contracted the coronavirus. To
prevent that disaster and “flatten the curve” of infections,
our government has asked us to stay home, to freeze our
lives, to no longer be the consumers who keep our econo-
my going. Put another way: to prevent a medical disaster,
we are virtually guaranteeing an economic one.
Some worry that because we didn’t take such radi-
cal action early enough in the crisis, it may be too late
to prevent a medical disaster. Other critics worry the
cure may be worse than the disease, that the financial,

emotional and societal toll will be too much to bear. Dr.
David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Preven-
tion Research Center, recently argued in The New York
Times that there are “more targeted ways” to beat the
pandemic than the mass approach. But that train, I’m
afraid, has left the station.

We’re at the beginning of

a collective journey, where
the finish line is not yet in
sight, where darkness and
light will continue to clash.
Meanwhile, for the multitudes among us stuck at
home, we keep hearing that things will get worse before
they get better. Every rock bottom has a trap door. We are
dancing with uncertainty, whether we like it or not.

» by David Suissa, And yet, despite all this darkness, despite all this fear
of the unknown, I can’t recall a time when I have seen so
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief much light and so much strength.
Humanity is fighting back.
My email inbox overflows with hundreds of initiatives
from activists, spiritual leaders, organizations and indi-
viduals who have decided to combat this disease with
love, creativity and light.
I never imagined I would stand on my sidewalk at sun-
down on Friday and sing along with my neighbors. Well, I
did just that. Because all synagogues were closed, a neigh-
bor decided it’d be a good idea to gather on the street and
sing the soulful Shabbat melody, Yedid Nefesh. I’m hoping
we’ll turn it into a weekly tradition — crisis or no crisis.
Programs have sprung up all over to help feed the
needy and mitigate the economic fallout. Communities
are joining hands to better leverage their efforts. Building
on its past experience with other crises, The Jewish Fed-
eration of Greater Los Angeles has mobilized its resources
to assist the most vulnerable and is coordinating its ef-
Here is what I do know right now:
Photo by Tonktiti/Getty Images

forts with other groups.

Even our politicians in Washington are trying gamely
In the midst of a pandemic darkness, to put partisanship aside in favor of the national inter-

humanity is rising up to show that there

est — although we’re still not totally there on that front.
Some habits die hard.

still is plenty of light to go around.

Individuals everywhere are chipping in. People are
sharing phone numbers with the elderly and the lonely to
offer simple conversation.

20 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

e- I saw this story in one of my emails: Taran Tien and crash? Will hospitals be overrun? Will we, ourselves, catch
n- his sister, Calliope, heard their 78-year-old neighbor, a big the virus, and if so, will we get the help we need? Can
classical music fan, was self-isolating. So what did they
do? They put on some nice clothes, took their cellos to her For the multitudes among we protect our parents, grandparents and those who are
most vulnerable?

us stuck at home, we
u- front porch and gave an impromptu concert. With Passover around the corner, what will our seders
oo There are thousands of similar stories of people trying look like? Who will sit around our tables?

keep hearing that things

To to do what they can with what they have. The anxiety weighs on us. Some of us respond by en-
s, We ought to retire the term “social distancing.” It’s re- gaging in outside activism to help the world; others by
ur ally physical distancing. It may be difficult to touch one looking inside themselves and asking deep, uncomfort-
another physically, but we can touch one another emo-
tionally and, yes, socially. We are blessed with technology
will get worse before able questions. For many of us, this is an opportunity to
reflect on the things that matter most to us and how we

that can do an end run around this nasty virus.
We also are blessed with our humanity. Nothing can they get better. Every can use this crisis to better ourselves.
Regardless of which direction one takes — outside

rock bottom has a trap

te stop that. These words of Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, which we or inside — it comes down to knowing how to deal with
he put on the cover of the Journal last week, best capture the anxiety. Not all anxieties are created equal. There is pro-

door. We are dancing with

al, altruistic aspirations of the moment: ductive and unproductive anxiety. As psychiatrist Jennifer
Dr. “Every hand that we don’t shake must become a Yashari writes:
n- phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid “In the context of this COVID-19 pandemic ... we do
must become a verbal expression of warmth and con-
cern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place
uncertainty, whether we need to be anxious, enough so that we can practice hyper-
vigilance around hand-washing and be responsible about
m between ourselves and another must become a thought
as to how we might be of help to that other, should the like it or not. social distancing.”
But when anxiety is unproductive, she adds, our minds
need arise.” engage in “obsessing and ruminating,” “cognitive distor-
I encourage you to watch a video the Journal produced Yes, I spend most of my days as editor-in-chief focus- tions” and other “unhelpful ways of thinking, such as cat-
with rabbis throughout our community (including Kanef- ing on how best we can cover this story from as many astrophizing and fortune-telling.”
sky) sharing their wisdom to help us deal with these try- angles as possible. But my biggest challenge is balancing The “warriors of light” stepping up these days clearly
ing times. These are spiritual leaders at their best, inspir- the darkness with the light. are channeling their productive anxiety. Can we all do the
ing us to bring out the best in ourselves. I feel this dilemma every morning on my podcast. How same? Who knows? There will be no shortage of anxiety
The great irony of this moment is that we’re facing an much bad news should I share? How much hopeful news? in the weeks and months ahead. We’re at the beginning

Despite all this darkness, despite all this fear

at of the unknown, I can’t recall a time when I
have seen so much light and so much strength.

unprecedented crisis with an enormous amount of time I worry that if I sugarcoat the darkness, listeners will see of a collective journey, where the finish line is not yet in
on our hands. Stuck at home, many of us are asking: What through it and tune out. But if I focus too much on it, lis- sight, where darkness and light will continue to clash.
es can we do with this unexpected free time? Beyond taking teners will get depressed and also tune out. Can we remember the light in the darkness? That will
di- health precautions and bingeing on Netflix, how can we This is the dilemma we all face right now and will face be our challenge.
th be useful? How can we retain, and even double up on our
humanity while being so physically isolated?
n- Among the many poems I’ve read that speak to these
,I questions, here’s one of my favorites, by Kitty O’Meara:
h- “And the people stayed home. And read books, and
listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and
played games, and learned new ways of being, and were This is the dilemma we all are facing right now and will face
for the foreseeable future: How do we balance the horrible
still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some
he prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the

with the hopeful, the dark with the light, the anxiety with
es people began to think differently.
ng “And the people healed. And, in the absence of people
d- living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless
ways, the earth began to heal.
“And when the danger passed, and the people joined
the action?
together again, they grieved their losses, and made new
ly choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways for the foreseeable future: How do we balance the horrible It’s tempting for some of us to draw grand conclusions
r- to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” with the hopeful, the dark with the light, the anxiety with about what all this means and where this is going. Yes,
nt. Those evocative words remind me it’s not easy being a the action? this moment feels biblical, but let’s stay humble. Let’s not
journalist in these harsh times. We don’t have the luxury Times of crises fuel anxiety. One of the biggest sources pretend we can know the unknowable.
re of poetry. We must get the story out. But this particular of anxiety these days is simply not knowing. We don’t Here is what I do know right now: In the midst of a
to crisis is too overwhelming for us to stay calm and profes- know where we are headed. We don’t know how long pandemic darkness, humanity is rising up to show us
sional at all times. it will last or how bad things will get. Will the economy there still is plenty of light to go around. n

20 March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 21

» by Rick Lupert

The man who has a conscience suffers

whilst acknowledging his sin. That is his punishment.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Olah - The Ascending Offering Shelamim - The Peace Offering Chatat - The Sin Offering

We start with the hardest one. The instructions for the Justice is delivered
Let the people know what they’re in for peace offering read like on a sliding scale.
before you lighten up with food. an episode of Hannibal. The wealthy

I think it was the The word blood already in gave a sheep or goat.
voices in Ralph Wiggum’s head verse two, then three more times A person of lesser means
that said “Burn Everything.” before we move on. only two birds.
Mentions of kidneys
And so everything is burned. and innards and the fat that A pauper, required
Every piece of the animal. surrounds them. to bring a meal. (Hopefully
Nothing left they didn’t forget the salt.)
The liver makes an appearance.
but smoke Who knew they were already This was the first flat tax.
a pleasing fragrance to the Lord concerned with the names People required to give
a fan of barbecue, no doubt. what they could
of internal organs
When we give away back before history no concern at all
something expensive could be proven. paid to the sin
we all go up. they committed.
It seems peace
II always begins V
Minchah - The Meal Offering with death. Asham - The Guilt Offering

This is where the Italians Have you ever

got the idea for focaccia crossed a line you
unleavened bread didn’t know was there

drizzled in oil. You can see only to find yourself

where we’re going with this. on the other side, surprised
The Lord was the first one by the wreckage?

to emphasize the importance Isn’t it true it is only

of seasoning your food. every other driver who is the pagan?
Salt with salt, God says Until you veer into their

as if one could salt lane, with a wave

with anything else. of acknowledgement
Don’t forget the salt trying to communicate Photo by coffeekai/Getty Images

God goes on that’s not who I am.

in the very same sentence. We are all unintentionally guilty.
No wonder it took Prepare your kidneys

forty years to get somewhere the Lord is hungry.

with so much time spent Rick Lupert, a poet, songleader and graphic designer, is the author of
23 books including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion.”
on these details.

22 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020

Edited by Salvador Litvak, Accidental Talmudist

Heftsibah Cohen-Montagu Rabbi Avraham Greenstein

Arevot Women’s Beit Midrash, Sephardic Educational Center Professor of Hebrew, Academy for Jewish Religion California
The meal offering is one of the voluntary offerings in the Temple. In the hierarchy of This verse is part of a series of verses that give instruction as to how the voluntary meal
the sacrifices from the most expensive to the cheapest, the meal offerings are at the lowest offerings were to be brought. Each one had to consist of fine flour, olive oil, frankincense and
level. Rambam makes the point that anybody can make a voluntary offering; even a poor salt. The manner of preparation, however, was up to the one bringing the offering.
person can bring “one of the types of bread that were common in those days” (Guide for the This verse addresses the options one had when bringing a baked offering. Although the
Perplexed III, 46). details of this Mincha (gift offering) may seem somewhat removed from our day-to-day
Poor people typically have fewer options. Here, too, the ingredients experience of Judaism, they nonetheless play a significant role in the
are prescribed in advance: flour, water and oil without leavening. But biblical narrative, and they offer us insight even now. The first person to
from then on, there is a range of options: The dough can be shaped offer a Mincha was Cain. He brought a simple offering of “the earth’s fruit.”
into cakes (round loaves) or rolled out into flat wafers. The loaves have Unlike Cain’s simple offering, which God did not find acceptable, the
oil mixed in and the wafers have oil drizzled on top. The oven is one of Mincha brought in the Tabernacle and in the Temple was complex and
three possible cooking methods (along with a griddle or a pan). involved. The Mincha required time and an attention to detail. Before
The simplest food, poor people’s daily bread, is what marks them it was even fit to be offered, the grain had to be milled and sifted, and
as poor. Here in the context of a voluntary offering, it takes on a new the olives had to be pressed. Each cake or wafer needed to be kept
significance — it is the product of a free choice made in a moment unleavened. In this manner, the Mincha offering rectifies Cain’s error by
of liberty. The badge of poverty changes its meaning and becomes an requiring a level of attentiveness and personal investment that perhaps
offering, and the poor person becomes an equal partner in the sacred Cain’s offering lacked.
service. Through this baseline offering, the Torah grants the poor person a sensation of It is noteworthy that both the words “challah” and “matzah” appear in this verse. These
freedom and endows society with an awareness that everybody’s contribution has an equal breads are still central to Jewish life and are even emblematic of it. In Jewish life, and life in
value — no portion is too small, and every individual is part of a greater whole. general, we must harness our attentiveness for things of substance and offer our very best.

Miriam Yerushalmi
Rabbi Mendel Schwartz CEO, SANE (Save A Neshama Endowment);
The Chai Center
Sometimes the most seemingly arcane
VAYIKRA author, “Reaching New Heights Through
Prayer and Meditation”
Torah verses can have surprising relevance How does oil “mixed in” a cake differ from
to our modern lives. I run The Chai Center, that “spread on” a wafer? Chassidus teaches
a Jewish outreach organization, and we
When you present an offering that there are two levels of meditating on
hold free High Holy Days services for the of meal baked in the oven, the greatness of HaShem: with the head
Los Angeles community every year. No and with the heart.
tickets and no appeals! [it shall be of] choice flour: When your connection to HaShem is only
We always get a crowd, no matter the through your mind and thoughts, it is like
venue. Now we’re at the Writers Guild unleavened cakes with oil the oil spread on the wafer. The connection
Theater, but we used to hold services is easily broken when your concentration
at various upscale hotels. We always
mixed in, or unleavened wafers slips. A higher level of connection, re’usah
encountered the same glitch. We needed spread with oil. delibah (the will of the heart), is formed
to serve wine and when your thoughts become “mixed in” and
honey cake to the 600- absorbed into your heart. This actualization
900 attendees for the of the meditative wisdom allows one to
advertised “Largest Leviticus 2:4 experience the essential love connecting a
Jewish New Year’s Jew to HaShem, a love like that of a parent
Eve Party,” aka Rosh and child, for, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Hashanah Kiddush. explained, “the father and a son are a single
The hotels wanted Justin Levi entity sharing one
to charge us a “food President, The Community Shul essence.”
and drink fee” that I don’t know about you, but when a global pandemic hits that fundamentally alters How can you mix
included a $25 corkage our daily life, the part of the Torah I look to for guidance is … the meal offerings. Wait, the oil in, to rise to
fee per bottle. My father, Rabbi Shlomo what? Seems a bit anticlimactic. re’usah delibah?
“Schwartzie” Schwartz, of blessed memory, In truth, however, some of the Torah’s most seemingly subtle passages offer Through genuine,
cleverly told the hotel management that great depth and insight. This pasuk describes some of the requirements of bringing happy teshuvah
the wine was our holiday “wine libation” meal offerings, which are composed of nothing more than wheat flour, oil and (repentance) that cuts
dating back to the times of the Temple. frankincense. Very often, the individual bringing such an offering was poor and through the layers
For the sake of religious freedom, the therefore could not bring an offering of any type of animal. In blocking your heart and
hotels were willing to set aside the corkage our current state of affairs, this should be a clue for us all to allows God’s wisdom
fee. But what about the honey cake, they devote ourselves to helping those around us, no matter how to intermingle with our own essence.
asked? To answer this question, my father much we are struggling, because, let’s face it, we are all going There are two levels of teshuvah, as well.
referenced this week’s Torah portion: through hardships right now of one sort or another. Even if Teshuvah tataah (the lower level) springs
“When you present an offering of meal all you can do is something small, like delivering food to an from bitterness. Teshuvah ilaah (the higher
baked in the oven, it shall be of choice elderly neighbor, then even that is something great that will level) comes out of happiness. When a
flour: unleavened cakes with oil mixed in.” earn God’s favor. person is bitter, their connection to HaShem
This explanation convinced them not to The pasuk also specifies that the offerings are to be is tenuous, like a thin layer of oil floating on
charge us a food or drink fee. It’s nice to unleavened. In a few weeks, we will eat the ultimate but not penetrating a wafer.
know that gentiles still respect the Jewish unleavened food — matzo. We are taught that the lack of Happiness, though, makes a person
Bible thousands of years later! leaven is a metaphor for humility — all the substance but without the hot air. Right expansive, accepting, like oil permeating
These yearly gatherings resulted in now, it’s not about you. It’s about everyone in our society. It’s about doing what is flour to create a cake. Teshuvah from that
dozens of Jewish marriages, and hundreds necessary without regard for our own egos or opinions. source serves to strengthen and expand our
of children. Shabbat shalom! Ultimately, we’ll all get through this together. connection to HaShem.

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 23

A Sephardic Passover
» by Rachel Emquies Sheff and Sharon Gomperts

PASSOVER IS ONE OF THE MOST would ask us who we were and we would of Los Angeles, Rachel’s husband, Neil Sheff, from the crowd. In order to dispose of the
cherished dates of the Jewish calendar. answer that we had been wandering in the would celebrate second-night haggadahs bowl of wine and water that represented
It is a celebration of our redemption from desert for 40 years. They would cheer and with 300 people at the Sephardic Hebrew the plagues, the matriarch would go out-
slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised laugh. We’d go to our seats and we’d sing in Center (later merged with Sephardic Temple side while everyone else remained silent,
Land. We are commanded to tell the story Judeo Arabic and Aramaic that all the hun- Tifereth Israel). Led by well-known accoun- and throw it on the lawn of the least-favor- R
of the Exodus to our children. We read the gry should join us at the seder. The haggadot tant Lou Hasson, the seder was conducted ite neighbor or in the gutter. She would re- W
haggadah, we sing, we drink four cups of at the table were old and stained with wine in Hebrew and Ladino. When it was time to turn and proclaim “Anyada buena!” (Happy 4
wine. We point to the symbols of the holi- New Year!). When Rachel and Neil started
day: Pesach, a lamb shank that represents to host the family haggadah, they began 1
the sacrificial lamb of the past; matzo, the a new custom to add a bit of drama. Neil 2
unleavened bread that represents the Isra- added a piece of dry ice to the bowl and, 2
elites’ haste in leaving Egypt; and maror, the
bitter herbs that we dip in saltwater to rep-
The haggadot at the table were old with the pronouncement of every plague,
the drop of wine would create smoke and
resent the bitterness of slavery and the salty
tears of our ancestors. and stained with wine and date honey, bubbles, captivating the children.
This year we will gather to celebrate
Sharon’s father recalls that as a young
boy in Baghdad, right after Purim, the family reminding me that I was part of a long Passover in conditions that we have never
experienced. Our cities are under lockdown M

would learn to recite the entire haggadah by and we are forbidden to have large gather- 1
heart and how excited he would be to help ings. 1
his parents make silan, the sweet date hon- But it remains our responsibility to tell 1
ey used for charoset. and date honey, reminding me that I was eat the hard-boiled egg, all the firstborns the story of the miracles of the Exodus and 2
As a child in Australia, Sharon remem- part of a long tradition. (bechors) would exit the room and eat their that God took us out of bondage with an 1
bers how her Iraqi grandparents, Aba Naji In Morocco, Rachel’s father would hold egg “hiding” in the lobby, symbolizing God’s outstretched arm and a mighty hand. 6
and Nana Aziza, worked so hard to make the seder plate over each of his children’s miracle of sparing the firstborn Israelites Food is always a big part of any Jewish 1
a beautiful seder. They made the story heads and sing “Bibhilu,” which translates in Egypt. Upon their return, Lou would celebration and these delicious recipes are
come alive by wrapping silk scarves filled to “In haste, we left Egypt.” It has become a yell to the leader of the bechors, “Uncle” traditional and comforting and (mostly)
with matzo around their grandchildren. symbolic blessing and a tradition the family Jack Aboulafia, “How do you feel, Jack?” easy to prepare. g
We would walk into the dining room, pre- waits for in great anticipation at every seder. Jack would yell back, “Como Lonso!” (Like And hopefully we will all make happy n
tending to be tired and weary. All the adults Growing up in the Rhodesli community a fool!). This always elicited a huge laugh memories.

24 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020 M



In heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat olive In small bowl, mix tomato sauce, garlic Add salt and pepper, turmeric, chopped
oil and sauté sliced onion until it starts to and spices. cilantro and remaining fava beans.
soften. Pour half tomato sauce mixture on the Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes
Add vegetables and dried fruits. Place eggplant and squash and the other half over and stir often.
lamb and all marinade liquid in pot. peppers and tomatoes. Garnish with cilantro and a drizzle of
Add 2 cups of water, cover and bake 2 Roast all vegetables for 10 more minutes. olive oil, if desired.
hours. Serve hot. Makes about 12 servings.
he Lamb should fall off the bone. If not, bake Serves 10-12.
ed for another 15-30 minutes. SHARON’S CHOCOLATE BARK
t- Serves 8-10. RACHEL’S NORTH AFRICAN 30 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
nt, PASSOVER FAVA BEAN SOUP 2 tablespoons safflower oil
r- RACHEL’S LAMB SHANKS 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
e- WITH DRIED FRUITS SHARON’S RATATOUILLE 2 large leeks, white and pale green parts 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
py 4-6 lamb shanks, marinated 1 large eggplant, cut into 2-inch squares only, cleaned and sliced 1/2 cup dried cranberries
ed (recipe follows) 5 Mexican squash, cut into rings 1 large onion, chopped 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
an 1 large onion, thinly sliced Olive oil, for drizzling 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
eil 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch strips 4 stalks celery, chopped Place chocolate in microwave-safe
d, 2 large carrots, sliced into thick rounds 1 orange pepper, cut into 1-inch strips 2 medium turnips, peeled and diced bowl. Pour oil on top and microwave on
e, 2 stalks celery, sliced thinly 6 Campari tomatoes, cut into quarters 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced high for 2 minutes. Stir chocolate with
nd 1 cup pitted prunes 1 purple onion, sliced 2 cups frozen double-peeled fava beans spatula to make sure it is completely
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped 3/4 cup oil 2 quarts water, vegetable stock melted.
te 2 cups water 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce or chicken stock Pour melted chocolate onto parch-
er 4 cloves garlic, crushed Salt and white pepper, to taste ment-lined, 9x13 tray.
wn MARINADE 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon turmeric Scatter almonds, seeds and cranberries
r- 1/2 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced onto chocolate. Sprinkle with salt. Chill in
1 tablespoon cumin 1 teaspoon salt refrigerator.
ell 1 tablespoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon white pepper Heat oil over medium heat in heavy Chop into rough pieces.
nd 2 teaspoons salt Fresh lemon basil for garnish soup pot or Dutch oven. Makes about 3 dozen pieces.
an 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence Add leeks, onion, carrots and celery
6 garlic cloves, grated Preheat oven to 425. and cook until tender, about five minutes. Rachel Emquies Sheff’s family roots are
sh 1/2 cup red wine Arrange eggplant and squash in a single Add the turnips, potatoes, 1 1/2 cups Spanish Moroccan. Sharon Gomperts’ family
re layer on baking tray. Drizzle with oil and fava beans and liquid and bring to a boil. hails from Baghdad and El Azair in Iraq. Known
y) In large bowl, combine all marinade in- roast for 20 minutes. Cover pot, reduce heat and simmer for 30 as the Sephardic Spice Girls, they have on the
gredients and rub on lamb shanks. Mari- Arrange peppers, tomatoes and purple minutes until vegetables are tender. Sephardic Educational Center’s projects, SEC
py nate for 1 hour. onion slices on baking tray, drizzle with oil Purée soup with hand masher or im- Food Group and community cooking classes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. and roast for 15 minutes. mersion blender. Join them on Facebook at SEC FOOD.

20 March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 25


With a Little Charoset From Her Friends

» by Judy Zeidler
THIS YEAR FOR PASSOVER, I’M sauce that will replace our family’s tradi- Add the grape juice or sweet wine and Using your hands, shape fish mixture
thrilled to share some traditional reci- tional gefilte fish course. mix well. into into 2-inch balls. Place balls on sauce
pes from an Israeli friend, Hedva Amrani, so they aren’t touching.
which we’ll include at our seder. HEDVA’S YEMENITE CHAROSET YEMENITE FISH IN TOMATO Top with remaining sauce (if not
Amrani is a famous Israeli pop singer. 1 cup walnuts SAUCE enough sauce, add a little water).
She performs worldwide and recently has 1 cup almonds Yemenite tomato sauce (recipe follows) Cover and cook in preheated oven for
released a new album. 10 dates, seedless 3 pounds white fish, ground 40 minutes.
Her grandparents came to Israel from Water 1 small onion, chopped Serve warm or cold.
Yemen. Amrani was born in the Yemenite 1/2 cup raisins 2 teaspoons garlic, mashed
quarter of Tel Aviv, where she lived until 1 apple, peeled, cored and diced 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped YEMENITE TOMATO SAUCE
she was 10 years old. Amrani considers 1/4 cup sugar 1 egg, beaten 8 soft tomatoes (2 to 3 pounds)
herself a Yemenite Israeli. She started sing- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon matzo meal 1/4 cup olive oil
ing at age 12 and won talent competitions. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 small onion, chopped
By the late 1960s, she was internationally 1/4 cup grape juice or sweet red wine Pepper, to taste 3 teaspoons garlic, mashed
known. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Amrani’s mother taught her to cook tra- In a food processor, lightly grind walnuts Prepare the tomato sauce and set aside. 1 teaspoon hawayege (Yemenite herb
ditional dishes; her father was also a great and almonds. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F. blend)
cook. Every year, Amrani and her husband, Soak dates in water for 1 hour and cut In a food processor, grind fish. 3 ounces tomato paste
Dudley, host a seder for family and friends. 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
She loves preparing her Yemenite special- Salt, to taste
ties during Passover. Pepper, to taste
Amrani’s Passover memories include 1 cup water, if needed

My friend loved the family seder ritual

her father making shmura matzo, the
handmade matzo that was made at her In a food processor, zip tomatoes. Set

when the young and the old sat on

grandparents’ bakery, and she loved the aside.
family seder ritual when the young and the Heat olive oil and saute onion and gar-

pillows on the floor, like in ancient times.

old sat on pillows on the floor, like in an- lic lightly, so not to burn. Add cumin and
cient times. hawayege, tomato paste, tomatoes, cilan-
I’m adding a Yemenite Charoset recipe tro, salt and pepper to taste.
from Amrani’s mom, Shoshana — a tasty Bring mixture to boil and reduce to low,
blend of walnuts and almonds combined into halves. In medium bowl, combine fish, onion, heat for 1 hour. Add water if needed.
with dates, raisins, apples and special Grind dates, raisins and diced apple in garlic, cilantro, egg, matzo meal, salt and Serves 8-10.
spices. food processor. pepper to taste. Set aside.
I’m also including a Passover Yemenite Add walnuts, almonds and remaining Warm tomato sauce on medium heat. Judy Zeidler is a cooking teacher and
recipe for fish cooked in a spicy tomato ingredients. Spread some sauce on bottom of a roaster. cookbook author.

26 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020


L.A. Rabbis Grapple with Funerals

and Shivah During Pandemic
» by Debra Nussbaum Cohen
Photo by Brad Herman/Getty Images

VALLEY BETH SHALOM RABBI ED It’s part of a much larger societal shift. It’s Temple Kol Tikvah Rabbi Jon Hanish, space,” he said. And having family mem-
Feinstein has officiated at four funerals unprecedented, so it will be hard to figure who is the incoming chair of the Board bers and friends visit via FaceTime or an-
since California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s or- out how that will work. The reality that of Rabbis of Southern California’s funer- other online platform “gives greater depth
ders on March 15 in the wake of the out- we’re not able to be each other’s physical al practices committee, told the Journal to it right now. I’m not sure as much is be-
break of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. comfort will test us — how much we’re the board emailed its approximately 250 ing lost as we think because everything is
re They included closure of many businesses, willing to give to each other.” member rabbis on March 22, outlining the so raw for everyone, and every moment of
ce and together with Los Angeles County or- “There’s just no sugarcoating that it’s new policies of each of the four major Jewish caring really affects other people.”
ders, limited gatherings to no more than going to make grieving more difficult,” cemeteries in the Los Angeles area. “The newest order to ban any gather-
ot 50 people and required people age 65 and Wilshire Boulevard Temple Rabbi Steven The message stated in part, “Our goals ings will make us re-evaluate the entire
older and those with compromised im- Leder said. “We as rabbis have to do as are the same — to protect everyone from process during these extraordinary times,”
or mune systems to self-quarantine. much as we possibly can to soothe people’s the coronavirus while still showing re- Rabbi Denise Eger of Congregation Kol
None of the funerals Feinstein offici- souls, because it’s now going to be done spect to the deceased. Changes are hap- Ami said. “If families or mourners cannot
ated at during that period were coronavi- mostly in the absence of community.” pening on burial issues rapidly.” gather at the graveside nor for shivah, we
rus-related, but the son of one deceased will have to use a combination of delayed
man is a pulmonologist at a local hospital mourning when we can gather or perhaps
and attended the funeral “heavily gloved, a virtual memorial service without the
masked and terrified,” Feinstein told the body present or witnessing the lowering

“As good as FaceTime and Zoom and

Journal. He said they have been among the of the casket. This will change our rituals,
most challenging funerals he’s held in his albeit temporarily. It may have a difficult

the other virtual platforms are, there’s

decades as a rabbi. effect on the process of Jewish mourning,
Now, with the governor’s March 19 or- as well, since our expectations for how to

nothing like being in the presence of

der that the entire state of almost 40 mil- mourn must change.”
lion people must shelter in place due to She added, “As good as FaceTime and

somebody and being able to offer a

the pandemic, with only essential services Zoom and the other virtual platforms are,
to remain open, Jewish funerals and the there’s nothing like being in the presence of

hand and a hug. It is just so much a part

seven days of shivah (mourning) are going somebody and being able to offer a hand and
to be even more challenging, given that as a hug. It is just so much a part of Jewish tradi-

of Jewish tradition.” — Rabbi Denise Eger

of March 21, the Los Angeles County De- tion. What’s it like not to make the lines at the
et partment of Health banned all gatherings, cemetery mourners walk through? Even in
no matter how small. the numbness of grief, hearing words of con-
r- “This has broken up our normal pat- He added, “This is what it is. It means As Leder predicted, on the morning of solation, and walking literally in the midst of
nd terns of connection with each other in a that only one person other than the rabbi March 22, Hanish led the final minyan for your community, is so powerful. How do you
n- brutal way,” Feinstein said. “We are a con- can be at the graveside and everything else a family sitting shivah via Zoom and con- mourn sheltering in place if it’s your parent
necting people. The opposite of Judaism is needs to be done before or after on Zoom ducted a meeting with a recently bereaved or sibling and you’re not in the same city?
w, social isolation. We gain our sense of san- or Google Hangout or some other platform. family, also by Zoom. He said that perhaps How will that work now? These are the ques-
ity through community. When you break We have no choice and therefore we will surprisingly, using technology to facili- tions I’m asking. And I have more questions
that apart, you create a coldness, and the adapt. This will make mourning more tate these mourning rituals has enhanced than answers at this point.” n
hurt of a loss becomes redoubled.” painful than it already is. It will be lone- them. “Saying Kaddish for a shivah min-
nd Sinai Temple Senior Rabbi David Wolpe lier and take longer to move forward, but yan now, everyone is looking right into the Debra Nussbaum Cohen is a journalist in
said, “We’re not gathering. It’s that simple. somehow we will. We always do.” camera. No one is fidgeting or staring into New York City.

20 March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 27


Coronavirus’ Toll on Weddings and B’nai Mitzvah

» by Erin Ben-Moche, Staff Writer

Photo by Mike Kemp/Getty Images

CHICAGO NATIVE DEBBIE STEINBERG canceling simchas because of quarantine kids, but I feel like that made it easier to mitzvah, it’s just gut-wrenching” Laderberg
never imagined she’d have to cancel her restrictions. However, unlike weddings, bar handle.” said. “They will start planning as soon as
dream wedding celebration and move it and bat mitzvahs can be more complicated Justine’s mother, Jana Gusman, said she they get their date. It hits you because it’s
to the living room of a friend’s house. But to reschedule, given that b’nai mitzvah are canceled the bat mitzvah early because she such a special time in their families’ life
that’s exactly what she and her fiancé, assigned a specific Torah portion that is paid close attention to what was going on and a special time for that kid.”
Jordan Kagan did on March 16, in the wake fixed in the Jewish calendar. with the pandemic in Italy. She also has a But while many simchas are being
of the coronavirus pandemic. Within a few The latest Los Angeles County friend who works at the L.A. County health canceled, some synagogues are offering
hours, they had gathered close friends, Department of Public Health directive on department who warned her that the virtual celebrations.
brought out a chuppah, dresses and suits, March 21 has now banned all gatherings. coronavirus outbreak would get worse by Wilshire Boulevard Temple Rabbi
and filmed the ceremony on Facebook Live Even prior to the latest restrictions, Valley the time of the celebration. Steve Leder said that although these
for family and friends. Beth Shalom synagogue had already “[Italy has been] ahead of us for months are distressing times, it is important to
“Everything was basically planned,” canceled all in-person services, functions now, and I was already sickened. … I was continue Jewish life by welcoming new
Steinberg told the Journal of her original and b’nai mitzvah. panicking a little bit,” Gusman said, adding Jewish adults into the world.
Rabbi Ed Feinstein said, “We say to that she was worried about people flying “I’ve been saying to bar and bat mitzvah
the kid, ‘It’s not that we don’t love you.’ in for the event and the kids who would be kids that we go forward; we livestream. To
But they get it because their schools are attending the party, all of whom would be their parents, we talk to our kids about
closed. The kids are handling it well. So far, at risk, which is why she ultimately decided being resilient,” Leder said. “If you cancel,
everyone has been very understanding.”
Sinai Temple Senior Rabbi David Wolpe
said, “We’re delaying [b’nai mitzvah] and
will do them when this passes. It’s better
to have a fuller celebration when you can,
rather than no friends and no extended “There are a lot of other people in my
families. We have canceled this for a month
out, but I expect this will last longer than
position. It makes me feel better knowing
that. Once this passes, in addition to the it isn’t just me. Kids, not just in America,
but all over the world are affected by this.”
regularly scheduled bar and bat mitzvahs
on Saturday mornings, we’re going to do
Mincha bar and bat mitzvahs every week
[to make up for] the ones we had to miss.” — Justine Gusman, 13
At Kehillat Israel, all b’nai mitzvah have
Debbie Steinberg and Jordan Kagan been canceled until May. Thirteen-year-
married in a friend’s living room. old Justine Gusman was supposed to be to “pull the plug.” then that’s sending the wrong message.
Photo courtesy of Debbie Steinberg celebrating her bat mitzvah this coming Now, hundreds of simchas around the Many people have come to me to reschedule
weekend and reading from parashat country have been canceled and many their child’s [bar or bat mitzvah] and I talk
dream wedding. “It’s devastating at first to Vayikra. states have coronavirus lockdown orders. most out of it. I did a bar mitzvah on 9/12
put so much into something like that, but “I was so excited. I was ready for it,” Jessica Laderberg, who runs EVENTfull [2001]. I did a bat mitzvah for a girl whose
this was our time and we were ready, so Justine said. “All my friends had their bat ATX, a full-service event planning company father died four days before. We don’t stop.
we postponed the party and we gathered mitzvahs already. There are a lot of other in Austin, Texas, said that a handful of It adds meaning; it doesn’t detract. This is
a few people, called the rabbis and made people in my position. It makes me feel events that were supposed to happen in not unprecedented.” n
it happen.” better knowing it isn’t just me. Kids, not the next few months have been postponed.
Steinberg and Kagan are among the just in America, but all over the world are “When you hear that something has Additional reporting by Debra Nussbaum
growing number of people postponing or affected by this and so I feel bad for those to be postponed, especially a bar or bat Cohen.

28 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020


Shuls Close, Online Opens:

Synagogues Navigate the Crisis
» by Ryan Torok, Staff Writer
SINCE THE OUTBREAK OF THE Lizzie Weiss led a Shabbat song session for invention.” own online community, Valley Beth Shalom
coronavirus, is just one children 2 and under. Earlier in the week, TEBH Senior Rabbi Jonathan Aaron @ Home; and Wilshire Boulevard Temple
collaborative online community that has Weiss led a Hebrew boot camp for all skill wrote in an email to the Journal, “Judaism has similarly launched WBT@home, with
helped Jews connect and engage now levels. Jewish people from across the coun- takes place in community, and it is inspir- livestreaming of Shabbat morning services,
that all communal gatherings have been try, including a man from Tennessee, tuned ing that all of us are gathering remotely and discussions and more.
banned. in. virtually — actually finding connections American Jewish University’s Ziegler
Launched by Temple Emanuel of Beverly “[That man] hasn’t been able to learn even though we can’t physically touch. Just School of Rabbinic Studies likewise has
Hills (TEBH) and Temple Isaiah, Jew It At Hebrew and here he was on our hourlong as the rabbis of the first century had to dis- turned to engaging its students using on-
Home has been hosting a variety of events, Hebrew boot camp starting to learn Hebrew cover what community can look like with- line tools, with school dean and professor
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson teaching class-
es on Zoom.
“I think the Jewish tradition values com-

“Just as the rabbis

of the first century
had to discover
what community
can look like without
the Temple, we are

Photo courtesy of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

From left: Temple
discovering what
Emanuel of Beverly
Hills' Rabbi Adam Lutz,
community can look
Senior Rabbi Jonathan
Aaron and Cantor Lizzie like without places of
Weiss take part in a
conference call. They worship to gather.”
have launched the on-
line community — Rabbi Jonathan Aaron
munity,” Artson said. “While certainly there
is a long tradition of private individual
including book clubs, yoga classes, film for the first time in this era,” Weiss said. “I out the Temple, we are discovering what prayer, I think Judaism wanted to lean in to
discussions and children’s song sessions, did have the thought as I was sitting there, community can look like without places of making people communal and sees that as
using such real-time video broadcast and ‘We can’t end this.’ Hopefully, we will be out worship to gather.” a spiritual value.”
conferencing tools as Facebook Live, Google of this crazy quarantine in a month or two Other participating congregations in- IKAR also has created online learning
Hangout and Zoom. and even if we are, we have the responsibil- clude Temple Israel of Highland Park and and davening throughout the week and on
“Basically, the whole idea behind all of ity to reach out to the Jewish community. Eagle Rock, Beth Chayim Chadashim, Tem- Shabbat via Zoom and Facebook Live ses-
this was if our community is going to be It doesn’t matter if you can pay a penny or ple Judea, Temple Beth Am and Malibu Jew- sions. In an email to the community, IKAR
locked at home, [I thought] how cool would not — it’s just about putting Judaism in the ish Center and Synagogue. wrote, “These are difficult and unsettling
it be if we, as an entire Jewish community, world.” After Lutz mentioned the idea to Temple times for all of us. One thing we know: hu-
could come together?” TEBH Rabbi Educa- The site’s resources also include read- Isaiah Rabbi Dara Frimmer, Lutz’s father, man beings need human contact. So we’re
tor Adam Lutz told the Journal. ing, podcasts and binge-watching recom- Rabbi Barry Lutz, interim rabbi of Univer- working to establish new opportunities for
The website pooled resources from more mendations. Streaming suggestions in- sity Synagogue, said he would like to get on deeper spiritual connection, even in this
than a dozen local synagogues and Jewish clude the Israeli television series “Fauda,” board. And Weiss is friends with Cantor Jes- time of physical social distancing.”
organizations including University Syna- “Shtisel” and “Beauty and the Baker.” sica Hutchings of Ner Tamid near Las Vegas, “The extraordinary leadership of our
gogue, Temple Akiba, Congregation Kol Ami Lutz and Weiss worked closely in put- so Hutchings brought her community into community’s rabbis to respond to the ex-
and Congregation Ner Tamid of Henderson, ting together the website. Lutz, whose the mix. treme limitations caused by this virus has
Nev., along with Jewish breast cancer orga- background is in aerospace engineering, While the website has shown what is been incredible,” said Jewish Federation of
nization Sharsheret. said he has been building websites since possible when many synagogues come to- Greater Los Angeles CEO Jay Sanderson.
The site has both live and static re- his teens. Even before the coronavirus out- gether, some of the larger congregations “The Los Angeles Jewish community con-
sources. The live resources are listed on the break, “I have been trying to get this going are opting to have their own virtual com- tinues to innovate and this innovation is
calendar, which color-codes events based for 2 1/2 years,” he said. “How do we make munities. Sinai Temple has launched Sinai happening within our synagogues. Prayer,
on whether they are for kids, adults or ev- use of technology to bring Judaism into Streamed at study and community are continuing in
eryone. Last Friday afternoon, TEBH Cantor people’s homes? Necessity is the mother of sents; Valley Beth Shalom has launched its new ways, and it’s truly inspiring.” n

March 29-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 29


A Local Mohel on Brit Milahs J

During COVID-19 o
» by Steven Mirkin, Contributing Writer
WHILE MANY SYNAGOGUES chant ‘Barukh ha-ba!’” “It says, ‘You have a child who grows up eighth day,” [but] in this situation it’s a
have responded to the coronavirus However, if the family decides to wait and never has a bris. It doesn’t speak about matter of health. We’re dealing with fear
shutdown by taking their services and until after the eighth day to perform the the reasons why, but just says he never and anxiety and public concern.” to
rituals online, there’s one Jewish tradition brit milah, it is, Denbo said, still a “valid, had a bris. He has to take care of it; it’s now However, Denbo did caution parents tu
that simply cannot be performed that way: ch
the brit milah. on
With the Los Angeles County re

“Parents should not take lightly that

Department of Health now banning all or
gatherings, Rabbi Shalom Denbo, a Los ed

the bris should happen on the eighth

Angeles-based mohel, told the Journal U
that he’s gone from “ceremonies in a hotel

day [but] in this situation, it’s a matter

ballroom with 500 people to a bris with in
just me, the father and the mother.” Some th

of health. We’re dealing with fear and

parents, he added, have just “outright co

Photo bfrom Wikipedia

canceled.” vi

anxiety and public concern.”

But, he added, it’s only the tone of the an
ceremonies that have changed, given that th
there is no halachic requirement that a
minyan be present for a brit milah. Now, — Rabbi Shalom Denbo It’
he said, “it’s less of a public event and fig
more the observance of the covenant and kosher bris.” He explained that the Talmud his responsibility,” Denbo said. not to wait too long, because a few weeks W
a celebration of that. You don’t have a large deals with the possibility of the brit milah He added, “Parents should not take after the birth, the circumcision has to pr
crowd to joyously welcome the baby, and not happening on the eighth day. lightly that the bris should happen on the take place in a hospital. n An









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30 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020 M


Jewish Virtual
Education in the Time
of Pandemic
» by Kylie Ora Lobel, Contributing Writer
ar WITH SCHOOLS SHUT DOWN DUE Torah Research and Development Beth Lesch
to the coronavirus pandemic, parents are told the Journal if this were any other year,
ts turning to online resources to educate their the site would be putting out a lot of Passover
children from home. In an effort to ensure content at this time. Now, however, in addition
ongoing Jewish education, one of those to Passover videos, it is doing what it can to
resources is OpenDor Media (opendormedia.
org), a nonprofit that creates Jewish
educational content via its YouTube channel,
support the Jewish community.
“We’ve set up a resource page where
people can find high-quality, curated
Never Limit Love
Unpacked. recommendations for how to pull together I went to Ralph’s, and above the bread section were these words:
OpenDor is a hub for 400 educational Pesach under stressful circumstances; how
institutions across the globe and has more to support your kids and how to care for your LIMITS…
than 25,000 subscribers. In response to the own mental health,” she said.
coronavirus outbreak, Unpacked has created To encourage kids to keep reading books Due to the huge increase in demand and to ensure that more of our valuable customers
videos, quizzes, feature-length films, classes at home, the National Library of Israel (web. have the opportunity to purchase, we are limiting bread to 2 packages per customer.
and webinars for students in sixth grade navigate to English page) is offering
There were signs like this all over the store. Yet, all I could see was that word: “Limits.” Yes,
through high school. free audio books as part of Pocket Library,
limit the amount of food and supplies in taking what we need. But the idea of limits extends
“We’re facing an unprecedented challenge. an initiative from its Israel National Center
far beyond the grocery store.
It’s not only the schools that are trying to for Humanities Education, in partnership
figure things out, it’s the parents,” said Noam with the Ministry of Education. Some of the In order to live within the unknown, our minds and bodies survive within limits. Under-
ks Weisman, OpenDor Media’s senior vice audiobooks on the ICast app include “The standing there must be a limit to the energy we expend, the anxiety we produce, the tension
to president of education, who is based in Los Moroccan Boy’s Love” by Dorit Orgad, “Uncle we feel, the rapid beating of our hearts. While fear is normal and healthy, limiting our fright
Angeles. “They’re now dealing with teenagers Arie’s Adventures in the Tibetan Ocean,” by so that we do not remain paralyzed, glued to the couch watching the news play over and
being home and managing them, while Yannets Levi and Orit Bergman’s “Diary of a over again.
hoping they learn in a meaningful way.” Shark Catcher.”
Already, YULA Boys High School, YULA A group of U.S.- and Israel-based Jewish Consider these limits:
Girls High School and Milken Community children’s book authors called The Book
Schools are some of the local partners using Meshuggenahs (www.nancychurnin. Limit the number of harsh words expressed to a love one. We are often cruel to those we
OpenDor Media’s resources. On March 23, com/bookmeshuggenahsactivitypage) love.
OpenDor launched a new livestreaming are offering free online activities inspired
Limit the anger toward our children who cannot understand why their environment has
30-minute class. Classes also will have well- by their books. They include coloring pages,
changed so dramatically. Choose embrace and understanding over rage and avoidance.
cut paper illustration lessons for Passover
and instructions on how to write haiku with Limit the grudges against those who hurt us. Now is the time to exercise forgiveness and

“We’re facing an
Jewish themes. expansion of heart.
“It is important for kids to stay occupied

and interact with children’s books to keep Limit your judgment of self. We are all in this together. Trying. Stretching. Falling. Getting
their minds and imaginations alert, growing back up. We are all doing our best. Our expectations of yesterday will look very different

challenge. It’s not

and ready to dive back into school,” said than tomorrow. Give yourself a break.
Amy Losak, who is a member of The Book
Halachah is the Hebrew word for Jewish law. It also means “walking.” We use our Jewish
only the schools
Meshuggenahs. “Also, these activities are a
reminder that learning and reading are fun.” tradition to keep walking, understanding that each day the path may look and feel different.
But it is the commitment of family, friends, community and God that propels us forward.
that are trying to
To help parents navigate their
homeschooling tasks, the World Center for Devotion that knows no limits. Support that knows no bounds.

figure things out,

Jewish Education (WCJE) (jewisheducation.
Limit resentment, bitterness, anger and fear. Limit disappointment, frustration, hatred, and
net) is offering a 24-hour hotline for

it’s the parents.”

educators by educators, free advice on
distance learning, substantial subsidies But never limit love. It will be love that allows us to remain on the curvy path. It will be
for shipping educational materials and love that enables our spirits to rise higher and higher. Love for God. Love for one another.
— Noam Weisman guidance on technical troubleshooting. Love for the stranger. Love of self.
WCJE CEO Mickey Katzburg said
known guest speakers. Upcoming guests the organization can help parents and Limit so very much.
include author Yossi Klein Halevi, journalist children maintain some semblance of
Bari Weiss and speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz. stability. “Ongoing learning keeps them But never limit love.
Another online resource providing access engaged and positive, which is important
Shabbat shalom.
to its content is Aleph Beta (, for mental well-being,” Katzburg said.
which is normally $7.50 to $15 per month but “Maintaining their bond with their teacher
now is free for one month. It also is giving and classmates provides them with a sense
teachers access so they can build virtual of stability and connectedness during this
classrooms. period of increasing isolation. The time that Rabbi Nicole Guzik is a rabbi at Sinai Temple.
Aleph Beta’s website is geared toward the students are engaged in distance learning
Jewish children and features cartoon videos also provides an important break for their
on biblical subjects. Aleph Beta Director of parents.” n

20 March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 31


Guardians Dinner, Sephardic Temple Centennial

» by Ryan Torok, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of American Jewish Committee

Francine Lis, the recently hired
development director at American
Jewish Committee.


(AJC) Los Angeles has hired Francine Lis as
its development director.
“Francine’s expertise in cultivating new
and existing leaders will be a strong asset
to AJC,” a statement by the organization
Lis joined the AJC L.A. staff earlier this

Photo courtesy of L.A. Jewish Home

A Los Angeles native, Lis spent the past
nine years as a senior member of the Anti-
Defamation League (ADL) staff in L.A. She
was the organization’s director of planned
giving, legacy and endowments.
Prior to working for the ADL, Lis served as
director of annual giving at the USC Gould
School of Law, as an assistant director of
From left: Guardians of the Los Angeles Jewish Home Co-President Zane Koss, Guardians dinner event chairs
Andrew Westling, Anthony Behar and Kenny Stevens and Guardians of the L.A. Jewish Home Co-President Peter development and public affairs at Hebrew
Steigleder. Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion,
and as director of member services for
THE GUARDIANS OF THE LOS ANGELES JEWISH HOME that will eventually feature apartments, condominiums, Southern California Grantmakers.
held its annual real estate dinner on March 5 at the Beverly commercial space and a hotel on Sunset Boulevard. She joins a team that includes AJC
Wilshire hotel. The event chairs were Anthony Behar, executive vice Regional Director Richard Hirschhaut
The event drew 525 attendees and raised $472,000. president of Major Properties; real estate broker Kenny and AJC Regional Board President Scott
Morton La Kretz, a real estate developer and the founder Stevens; and Andrew Westling, vice chair of events at the Edelman, a senior partner at the law firm
of Crossroads Management, received the Legend Award Guardians. Honorary chairs included Luster’s brother, Bradley Gibson Dunn.
for his philanthropic and real estate impact on Los Angeles, Luster, president of Major Properties; and past Guardians AJC describes itself as a leading global
according to Jessi Cazary, manager at the Guardians of the L.A. President Alan Shuman. Jewish advocacy organization. It has
Jewish Home. Established in 1938, the Guardians of the Los Angeles Jewish access to government officials, diplomats
The evening included a panel discussion with the three key Home nurtures young philanthropists to financially support and other world leaders. AJC’s mission
players in the Crossroads of the World development project in the L.A. Jewish Home, one of the leading senior health care is combating rising anti-Semitism and
Hollywood: La Kretz; David Schwartzman, president and CEO systems in Los Angeles offering residential and community- extremism, defending Israel’s place in the
of Harridge Development Group; and real estate professional based programs. world and safeguarding the rights and
Jeff Luster, CEO of Major Properties. They discussed the story “With more than 1,000 members and donors, it is one of freedoms of all people.
behind the largest development deal in Hollywood, Crossroads the largest support groups of its kind in the United States,”
of the World, a historic landmark built in Hollywood in 1936 according to L.A. Jewish Home’s website. JEWISH BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF
Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) has announced that
it is transitioning from in-person meetings

32 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020


Photo courtesy ofSephardic Temple

Women of the Sephardic Temple community celebrates the congregation’s centennial.

SEPHARDIC TEMPLE CELEBRATED ITS CENTENNIAL WITH A FEB. 9 LUNCHEON video reflecting on the congregation’s storied past, present and future; participation by
that drew 150 people. the Levy Family Early Childhood Center and Talmud Torah students; and the launch of
The gathering marked the start of the congregation’s 100th anniversary the UCLA Sephardic Archive Project, highlighting 100 years of Sephardic Los Angeles.
commemoration and was organized by Centennial Co-Chairs Rae Cohen, Neda With a lunch provided by Pat’s Catering, attendees marked the event by remembering
Mehdizadeh, Mireille Mathalon and Elaine Lindheim. community milestones, including the congregation’s founding on Feb. 1, 1920, by a
Attendees included Sephardic Temple President Kamran Nickfardjam; past presidents group of 39 immigrants, mostly from Turkey; its years of operation on Santa Barbara
Abe Yazdi, Hamid Yashar, Larry Clumeck, Ben Mehdizadeh, Alex Rachmanony and Avenue; and its 1975 relocation to its home at Wilshire Boulevard and Warner Avenue.
Leon Hasson; Cantor Haim Mizrahi; and longtime congregants Max Candioty, Ness “We are unique in many ways, as far as our services are concerned, as far as the
Tiano and Hy Arnesty. makeup of the temple is concerned,” Nickfardjam said in a video celebrating the
The program was held at Sephardic Temple’s Amado Hall and featured a prepared anniversary. “And we are very proud to turn 100.”

between its “Bigs” (mentors) and “Littles” plan for JBBBSLA summer camp; and that
Photo courtesy of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles

(youth mentees) to virtual meetings via its college guidance, scholarship and teen
FaceTime, Zoom, phone calls, texting and programs continue to be resources in
email. “uncertain times.
In a message sent out to the JBBBSLA “A lot has happened over the last
community, the organization’s CEO, few days — these are unprecedented
Randy Schwab, said that the staff has times,” Schwab said. “From all of us at
been working remotely and is using Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los
videoconferencing to keep engaged with Angeles, we sincerely hope that you and
one another; that the staff continues to your family are safe and healthy.” n

Want to be in Movers & Shakers?

Send us your highlights, events, honors and simchas.
The work of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, which offers one-to-one Email
mentoring for Jewish youth ages 6-17, will continue via virtual meetings.

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 33


“We took so much effort to tell

this complex story with empathy
and all the smallest details — the
props, mezuzahs, the dining table,
everything.” — Shira Haas

‘Shtisel’s’ Shira
ROSNER’S DOMAIN Haas Leaves the
Charedi Life in

» by Gerri Miller, Contributing Writer

IN “UNORTHODOX,” A YOUNG of being a minority.” The daughter of
woman tries to break away from the anthropologists who met in Africa, she
restrictions of her ultra-Orthodox lived in Kenya and Mexico in her youth. “I
community and discovers that it’s easier had a lot of exposure to Jewish culture but
said than done. not religion, so this show was a deep dive
The Netflix miniseries — inspired into that. It was the most unusual Jewish
by Deborah Feldman’s bestselling 2012 experience and yet it felt very right.”
memoir, “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Written, filmed and edited last year
Rejection of My Hasidic Roots” — begins and told in the present and via flashbacks,
streaming on March 26. “Unorthodox” was shot in English and
Written by Anna Winger and Alexa Yiddish. Former cantor Eli Rosen, who
Karolinski and directed by Maria Schrader, plays a rabbi, served as Yiddish translator
the four-part drama stars Shira Haas and cultural adviser. “For all of us who had
(“Shtisel,” “The Zookeeper’s Wife”) as Yiddish-speaking grandparents, it was so
Esty Shapiro, who makes the wrenching much fun to make something in Yiddish, to
decision to leave her arranged marriage be part of the revival,” Winger said, noting
in Brooklyn to seek independence and that the production faced some challenges
personal fulfillment in Berlin. during filming, notably a 100-degree heat
“The people who don’t live in the wave that had the male actors sweating
community now love where they come under their wigs and hats, even though
from, and they all struggle with the the shtreimels were made of faux fur.
tension between their individuality and Casting was a major concern. “We
their desire for belonging,” said Winger, needed to find people who spoke Yiddish
who previously created the eight-part and were comfortable with it, or at least
series “Deutschland 83.” It was important familiar with it. We couldn’t expect [the
to her to depict Charedi life accurately and actors] to master it overnight,” Winger
show “the universality of our characters’ said. The mostly Jewish cast includes
experiences.” many Israelis, including Haas. “She was
The project grew out of the friendship our only choice,” Winger said. “We did
between Berlin residents Winger, a casting and saw 60 girls, but we didn’t
Karolinski and Feldman. “We had spent a show Netflix anyone else.”
lot of time talking about Jewish identity, Familiar with the Charedi world from
German history, all the things you think playing Ruchami Weiss on “Shtisel,” Haas
about when you live and raise kids also has Orthodox family members. “None
here,” Winger said. “Identity becomes of this is new to me,” she said. But she
more important when you’re conscious found the two religious characters very

34 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020


Photo courtesy of Netflix


Shira Haas in “Unorthodox”

The UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel

Studies is educating students of all
of different, and she seized the opportunity accents, different cultures. I have the drive backgrounds about Israel’s rich and complex
he to play Esty. “It was the strongest feeling in me to tell those stories. I want to do it in
“I I’ve ever had for a role. This character was Israel and abroad. I love having the ability history, multi-ethnic democracy, vibrant
so challenging emotionally, one of the
most complex characters I’ve done,” Haas
to dive into something, learn new stuff
about people and cultures,” she said.
culture and role in the region and the world.
sh said. “She has so many conflicts within She also hopes to write and direct.
her. She’s very brave but also scared. She’s “Being able to affect other people with
ar curious but she hesitates. She’s naïve something and bring people together Support Israel’s future by supporting Israel
s, and has all these questions. I could go on to have discussions about it, like with
Studies on campus. Help us reach future
nd forever.” ‘Shtisel,’ is amazing.”
ho Haas prepared by reading Feldman’s Haas already has filmed “Asia,” an American leaders through our courses,
or book multiple times and talking to the Israeli mother-daughter drama in which
ad author when she came to the set. “I did she plays the dying daughter, and “Esau,” programs and scholarships.
so my research and I came to the production a family story starring Harvey Keitel,
to more than a month before. I love learning but release plans are now uncertain.
ng new stuff, new languages and accents. Production on the third season of “Shtisel” Find out more and donate at
es I don’t know Yiddish, so I took Yiddish was to begin in May but that, too, is in
at lessons. And piano lessons and vocal limbo.
ng lessons,” she said. “We took so much effort Winger, whose next two projects also or call (310) 825-9546.
gh to tell this complex story with empathy have Jewish characters and themes,
and all the smallest details — the props, believes “Unorthodox” will bring home
We mezuzahs, the dining table, everything.” the message that “we have a lot more in
sh The youngest child born to Israeli common as Jews and humans than we
st parents of Polish, Hungarian and Czech realize. ”
he heritage, Haas was a shy child who loved Haas thinks the story may prompt
er writing and theater. Accepted to an arts some people “to question the world they
es high school in Tel Aviv, she was approached live in and find the power to use their
as by the casting director for her first film, voice to do something else. Other people
id “Princess” (2015). That led to “Shtisel” and will watch the show and see a community
n’t “The Zookeeper’s Wife.” “I worked hard, of that they don’t know — or thought were
course, but I was very lucky,” she said. “My very different — and see that they’re real Younes & Soraya Nazarian
family was very supportive. It happened in
a good way that allowed me to process it.”
human beings with desires and dreams,
and have more empathy for them.” n
Center for Israel Studies
ne Based in Tel Aviv, Haas traveled often for
he projects before the coronavirus outbreak “Unorthodox” premieres March 26 on
ry brought that to a halt. “I love languages, Netflix.

20 March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 35


Israeli Designer Competes for

$1 Million on ‘Making the Cut’
» by Gerri Miller, Contributing Writer
TELEVISION FASHION DESIGN what I want out of this religion and make
competitions like “Project Runway” have it my own in a way,” she said. Currently
launched careers and made household single, she’d like to change that “if any
names of talented newcomers. Season nice Jewish men want to come by. I think
4 winner Christian Siriano now dresses I’m at the point where I’m ready to be in a
top celebrities and became the show’s relationship, but I think it takes a certain
mentor, replacing Tim Gunn in Season 17. type of man to be with me. He has to be
Gunn and former host Heidi Klum jumped strong enough to catch me when I fall.”
ship to preside over Amazon Prime’s new She hopes to keep growing her fashion
series “Making the Cut,” which combines brand, but has no current plans to expand
design and commerce, marshalling the it to Israel. “Israel is the place where I go
resources of Amazon’s online marketplace to recharge my batteries and see my family
to immediately sell the winning designs. and friends. I don’t have the energy to start
Premiering on March 27, the competition a business there,” Brodach said. “New York
comes with higher stakes: The winner is my home now. If you can make there, you
receives $1 million. It also has a global focus, can make it anywhere.”
with locations in Paris, Tokyo and New York She’d love to have the opportunity
and an international cast of experienced
designers. Among them is Rinat Brodach
from Beersheva, Israel, whose eponymous,
gender-neutral line has been worn by Billy

“I like to accentuate
Porter, Laverne Cox and Adam Lambert.
“It’s about finding the next global fashion

the person’s body. I

brand, not someone who has a passion for
sewing,” Brodach told the Journal. “These

consider my clothes
designers all have a foot in the door in
the industry and have real stories about

more than just

the struggles of making it, and they’re
trying to put the second foot in.” Dressing

clothes. They’re
a “very eclectic group” of clients ranging in

Photo by David Scott Holloway/Amazon Studios

age from early 20s to 65, she describes her

tools for people to

clothing aesthetic as “very minimal, very
bold. I drape a lot. I like to accentuate the

express who they

person’s body. I consider my clothes more
than just clothes. They’re tools for people

are.” — Rinat Brodach

to express who they are.”
Brodach said she was urged to apply by
the same casting agent who had persuaded
her to audition for “Project Runway” a few to dress Gal Gadot, Lady Gaga, Rihanna,
years ago. She hesitated. “I didn’t put much Angelina Jolie and P.J. Harvey, “people who
effort into the audition. I did it without are very ballsy and out there and have a
expectations or thinking too much. But I voice. I think my clothes have a voice too,
guess the universe had a different plan, and Rinat Brodach and that they would go very well together.”
I’m glad it happened that way,” she said. Reflecting on her “Making the Cut”
Her approach going in was to “be always drawing. Around the age of 12, I brought him to the United States. experience, Brodach is glad she participated,
real and raw and be myself; show my started designing clothes. My mom is a Brodach’s Zionist father volunteered noting that she came away with “some really
capabilities and my passion,” Brodach said. very stylish woman and I’d go shopping for the Israeli army, where he met her strong bonds; friendships that continue
“I went into this to push myself out of my with her. She would always let me express Moroccan Israeli mother, and the family today. “It’s really rare to meet designers that
comfort zone. I embraced the discomfort. myself, choose my outfits and wear returned to the States a few months after are genuine and don’t have an agenda,” she
If I wanted to be comfortable, I would not whatever I wanted,” she said. her birth. They moved back to Israel when said. Taking part taught her to be herself and
have done it.” Her great-grandfather was a tailor in she was 8. “I think growing up in Israel get out of her comfort zone.
She acknowledged the challenges she Czechoslovakia before he was killed at makes you a stronger person, less naïve, “Anything big you want to accomplish in
faced, “But I’m very adaptable. And like Auschwitz. “I think I’m here to finish what and makes you think outside the box,” she life is not going to happen while you stay
Tim Gunn says, I ‘make it work.’ I’ve run he was not able to,” she said. His daughter said. After her own service in the Israel comfortable,” she said. “You need to feel the
my own business alone and I’m involved — her grandmother — made it to Brooklyn, Defense Forces, she returned to New York at discomfort and push yourself to the limit
in all areas. The hard times I’ve had really N.Y., after the war. “She went through 21 to pursue her dream of being a designer. to get results. I had a once-in-a-lifetime
prepared me to perform to my best on the horrible stuff but it made her stronger. Brodach considers herself “more experience and I don’t regret anything.” n
show.” She’s my inspiration,” Brodach said. Her spiritual than religious. I do my morning
Brodach has been interested in art Polish grandfather escaped to Shanghai, prayers. I light Shabbat candles. I do all “Making the Cut” premieres on March 27 on
and fashion since she was young. “I was where he spent five years before relatives the Jewish holidays. I talk to God. I know Amazon Prime.

36 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020


MOST PEOPLE KNOW FRENCH entertaining children because he thought it to figuring out a role,” Eisenberg said. der a negative light” and left for Los Angeles
actor Marcel Marceau as the most famous was beneath him. What’s so beautiful is that The project was equally personal for the following year.
and perhaps greatest mime of all time, but in the course of the movie he finds a way to Jakubowicz, who lost hundreds of mem- He attends Wilshire Boulevard Temple
few are aware that he was a Jewish hero reconcile being an artist and helping other bers on both sides of his Polish family in the on the High Holy Days, loves reading To-
who worked with the French Resistance and people and realizes they’re not mutually ex- Holocaust (four relatives were Schindler’s rah and visits his mother in Israel. “I’m very
the Jewish boy scouts to rescue thousands of clusive.” List survivors). “I had a sense of the level of connected to Judaism. I love our history, our
children from the Nazis. He connected to the role in additional evil humans were capable of, embedded in culture, our values. My Judaism is mostly
Based on accounts by Marceau’s cousin ways. “Growing up, my mother was a birth- my brain from childhood,” he said. Meet- rooted in cultural traditions,” he said. “Only
and Jewish boy scouts leader Georges Lo- day party clown. Every morning, she would ing Georges Loinger, who died in December recently have I started praying, especially on
inger, “Resistance” recounts the dangerous put on the makeup that Marcel Marceau was 2018, convinced him further that he should the set of this movie. I truly felt the need.”
secret missions to spirit children out of oc- known for and entertained children,” Eisen- tell the cousins’ story. “When you witness Eisenberg, a native New Yorker, wasn’t
cupied France that gave Marceau the op- berg said, adding that his family came from their heroism, how they risked it all to save raised in a religious home. “I found my Ju-
portunity to put his unique talents to use. the same area in Poland as Marceau’s fore- orphan children, you can’t help but be hum- daism through cultural things like comedy,
Writer-director Jonathan Jakubowicz wrote bears. He recalled arriving on set in Prague, bled and inspired,” he said. social justice work, stuff that I didn’t asso-
it with actor Jesse Eisenberg in mind. which had been transformed into occupied Shooting in Nuremberg, Germany, on the ciate with the religion but is inherent in it
“I thought he was perfect for the role France, swastikas and all. day after the Tree of Life shooting in Pitts- and is practiced by Jewish people in modern
— that combination of edgy artistic arro- “As a Jewish person who pays special burgh in November 2018, Jakubowicz said, “It life,” he said. “Like many Jews, I found my
own way to being Jewish. It’s a religion of
curious, questioning people, and there are
Jesse Eisenberg in “Resistance” as many ways of practicing it as there are
He has become more religious since
marrying his wife, a social activist, and hav-
ing a son. “I show him Jewish humor and

“I thought Jesse
was perfect for
the role — that
of edgy artistic
arrogance and a
lot of heart. At the
beginning of the
movie, Marcel is
Jesse Eisenberg Is Marcel completely focused
and obsessed with
Marceau in ‘Resistance’
Photo courtesy of IFC Films

his art.”
— Jonathan Jakubowicz
» by Gerri Miller, Contributing Writer
comedians that I like and she takes him to
protests,” he said.
gance and a lot of heart,” Jakubowicz told attention to Holocaust movies, it was so was breathtaking that a group of Germans Although his plans to begin new projects
the Journal. “At the beginning of the movie, surreal,” he said, noting that several of his and Jews were together making art in a coli- are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
Marcel is completely focused and obsessed forebears died in the Holocaust. “I have one seum Hitler had built for himself. The Shoah Eisenberg has another, very different film
with his art. The last thing he wants is to surviving relative who lives in Poland,” he is there, staring at you, reminding you of the releasing digitally the same day as “Resis-
become a war hero. It’s fascinating to watch said. She inspired his 2013 play, “The Revi- horror and the miracle of being alive. I don’t tance.” “Vivarium” is a modern horror tale
him change from a self-centered genius to sionist.” think any of us will ever forget it. The ruins about a couple trapped alone in a maze-like
the most generous man on Earth. In many Eisenberg prepared for the role by study- of hatred were exorcised in art.” housing development.
ways, Jesse is like that, a part-time obsessive ing mime for nine months with a protégé Jakubowicz grew up in Caracas, Venezu- “It’s a fever dream of a movie, really un-
genius and a full-time fantastic human be- of Marceau’s who choreographed the mime ela, which was open to Jews after World nerving but in an artful way,” he said, noting
ing.” scenes in the movie. He also read up on the War II, but Hugo Chavez came to power the irony of people watching it while shel-
Eisenberg — no stranger to Jewish char- history of the period, practiced a French ac- in 1998 “and his anti-Semitism contami- tering at home. “It’s about the claustropho-
acters including Mark Zuckerberg in “The cent and investigated “the great trove of ma- nated government media and everything bia of being stuck.” n
Social Network” — readily accepted the chal- terial available” about Marceau. “The way he changed,” Jakubowicz said. After making
lenge to tell “a beautiful, heroic story about talks about himself and phrases things, the “The Secuestro Express” in 2005, he became Both “Resistance” and “Vivarium” release
a Jewish hero,” he said. “Marceau resisted gestures he makes. It’s an amazing shortcut a target for “portraying the authorities un- March 27 digitally and on video on demand.

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 37

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Author Expertly Explores

Superheroes’ Jewish Roots
» by Rabbi Stuart Halpern
“IS SPIDER-MAN’S STORY A RETELLING preserve the righteous citizens of Sodom.
of the story of Cain and Abel? Is the dynamic And Peter Parker, so enamored with his
tension within the supergroup the Fantastic newfound physical abilities after being bit-
Four meant to be modeled after the Tal- ten by a radioactive spider that he neglects
mud’s constant passionate disagreements? to stop the robber who ends up murdering
And how do Bruce Banner and his alter-ego, his beloved Uncle Ben, is, in this biogra-
the Hulk, embody the religious ethos at the pher’s eyes, a retelling of the story of Cain,
heart of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s most who neglected God’s warnings to keep his
famous work? evil inclination crouching at the door. As Lei-
In his new biography of Stan Lee (born bowitz writes of Parker, “His aunt and uncle
Stanley Martin Lieber in Manhattan on Dec. had argued him to stay humble, study hard,
28, 1922), Liel Leibovitz offers a historical and and follow his dreams, but his innate re-
theological reflection on the man who for- sentment — all those years of being laughed
ever changed popular culture before dying at by classmates who were more beautiful
on Nov. 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. Leibovitz is and more beloved — led him to succumb
a master storyteller in multiple media. He is to the temptations of might, and, like Cain,
a senior writer for Tablet Magazine, offering suffer the consequences. His real struggle,
passionate and well-argued takes on Ameri- then, would be not with a gallery of fantas-
can and Israeli politics, Jewish thought, mov- tic villains, but with himself, the spiritual
ies and books, and hosts two wildly popu- wanderer straining to hear and answer that
lar podcasts, “Unorthodox” (a weekly show holy calling.”
about Jewish news and culture co-hosted Although the full flowering of Lee’s cre-
by Tablet’s Stephanie Butnick and Mark Op- ations took place after his professional
penheimer); and “Take One,” a five-days-a- golden age (in 1981 he moved his family to
week series on the Daf Yomi cycle that has California to oversee what amounted to nu-
featured guests including Chabad rabbis, merous failed television and film projects
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), character actor based on his characters), the decades before
Kurt Fuller, and Enes Kanter of the Boston his death saw Lee enter the pantheon of
Celtics. Leibovitz’s characteristically creative American cultural icons, alongside his now
take on Lee, it should come as no surprise, world-famous characters. Iron Man, cre-
surpasses the usual biographical fare (there ated by Lee in 1963, led the charge into the
are at least six previous biographies of Lee, ubiquitous Marvel Cinematic Universe with
as well as a graphic novel memoir). the release of his first film in 2008. Count-
The stories of Lee’s early struggles and less cameos by Lee throughout the dozens
eventual creative successes sit alongside of movies since present him as a winking,
tales of competition with colleagues and zayde-like presence, America’s wise grand-

Liel Leibovitz brings into thoughtful

late-in-life challenges. The Jewish back- father smiling in satisfaction at the legacy
ground of the creators of rival DC Comics’ he gifted the world.

comparison Stan Lee’s classic heroes

Superman and Batman are reviewed, and As Leibowitz’s brilliant account shows,
the later-stage Jewish “secret identities” of Lee’s legacy can best be encapsulated by the

alongside the classic works of the

some his creations, including the X-Men’s talmudic-style mantra of Spider-Man, hav-
arch nemesis Magneto and the Fantastic ing learned the importance of utilizing his

Jewish tradition.
Four’s heroic the Thing, a natural evolution talents for good, “with great power comes
of the Judaic origins of so much of the com- great responsibility.” Lee’s imaginative mind
ics industry, are recounted. (Jewish writer offered countless readers — and now view-
Chris Claremont gave the former an origin Leibovitz’s work is truly unique (one of the pology described in the seminal essay on ers — across the globe a reminder that al-
story as a Holocaust survivor who changed author’s previous books was a religious the dual aspects of the Bible’s first man by though some fictional heroes wear capes
his name to Erik Lehnsherr and set out to meditation on the music of Leonard Cohen Soloveitchik, “The Lonely Man of Faith.” Ban- and come from outer space, the ones we
punish evil humans for their wickedness, and another is on video games and spiritu- ner’s smashing green (originally gray, as Lei- more easily relate to are the ones like you
and the latter, a Hulk-like creature whose ality, the topic of Leibovitz’s Columbia Uni- bovitz notes) alter-ego, the Hulk, on the oth- and me, struggling with very human foibles,
skin is made of rocks, is depicted in a 2002 versity doctoral dissertation). He brings into er hand, is Adam the Second, “vying for the who find themselves in extraordinary cir-
issue responding to a character who ques- thoughtful comparison Lee’s classic heroes sort of redemption that comes only when cumstances, and use their abilities to make
tioned why the Thing’s never told the media alongside the classic works of the Jewish you spend every waking hour trying to get a difference. n
that he’s a Jew, “Anyone on the Internet can tradition. Leibovitz posits that Bruce Ban- closer to the mysteries of your creation.”
find out, if they want. It’s just … I don’t talk ner, the ambitious scientist who “struggle[s] The Silver Surfer, in Leibovitz’s analysis, Rabbi Stuart Halpern is the senior adviser
it up, is all. Figure there’s enough trouble in for recognition, respect, status, power … is an Abraham-like defender of the inno- to the provost and senior program officer of the
this world without people thinkin’ Jews are toil[ing] to find balance between competi- cent, arguing against his master, the world- Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah
all monsters like me.”) tion and collaboration, an alienating pursuit destroying Galactus, for the preservation and Western Thought at Yeshiva University in
It is in the theological possibilities that if there ever was one” is Adam the First, a ty- of Earth, just as the Patriarch had fought to New York.

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 39


» by Ryan Torok, Staff Writer
Because the community has now been ordered to shelter in place to halt the spread of the coronavirus, the Journal has compiled
a list of virtual happenings. If your organization is holding a virtual event, please email us at

FRI MARCH 27 selling author and Rabbi Paul Kipnes a

VIRTUAL SHABBAT SERVICES and Grammy-winner Cantor Doug Cotler w
Sinai Temple offers a virtual Kabbalat accompany her. 7:30 p.m. Live-streamed at S
Shabbat service and a virtual Shabbat a
morning service. “Even though we will not
be together physically, the Kaddish in the DAILY MEDITATION
virtual minyan fulfills your obligation,” The Institute for Jewish Spirituality
the Sinai website says. 5:45-6:15 p.m. offers a virtual series, “Daily Jewish
Kabbalat Shabbat. 9:30 a.m.-noon virtual Meditation for Challenging Times.” Join
Shabbat morning service. 8 p.m. virtual master teachers who lead this live, daily-
Havdalah service. For more information, guided meditation of Jewish mindfulness
visit Access the videos, with people from around the world.
which will be recorded, at No experience necessary. 9:30-10 a.m.


Join yoga teacher Michelle Aaron in Temple Judea of Tarzana welcomes
your living room and ensure you are in people to experience Shabbat via
excellent physical condition as Shabbat livestream. The Reform congregation
approaches. You can join her via Vimeo invites you to partake in the holy day with
and Facebook at 8:30 a.m. For more prayer, music and community. 6:15 p.m.
information, visit



Chava Mirel

Congregation Ori Ami of Calabasas Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills’ a
offers a live stream Shabbat MusicLab Simply Shabbat services continue a
and service. Acclaimed singer-composer uninterrupted as a virtual service only. T
Abby Stein
and multi-instrumentalist Chava Mirel Worship from the comfort of home as M
performs uplifting Shabbat songs. Best- the Reform congregation blends nostalgic a
Limmud North America hosts its inaugural e-Festival. Presenters include Journal Have an event coming up?
contributing writer and social media consultant Esther Kustanowitz; Sarah Tuttle- Send your information two weeks prior to the event to B
Singer, new media editor at The Times of Israel; author-activist Abby Stein; and for consideration. For groups genealogist Janette Silverman. Noon-5 p.m. $18-$36. All ticketed staging an event that requires an RSVP, please submit details o
attendees will receive program registration access. about the event the week before the RSVP deadline. o

40 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020 M

es and contemporary melodies to begin the
er weekend with a peaceful start. Simply
at Shabbat features an hour of music, prayer
and a d’var Torah. 6:15 p.m.



Max Chaiken


Join Kol Ami Rabbi Max Chaiken’s GLOBAL ANTI-SEMITISM
livestream of Shabbat services. A copy Wilshire Boulevard Temple and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) live-stream the final lecture in their ongoing series on “Global
of Kol Ami’s prayer book, as a free online Briefing on Anti-Semitism — Past, Present and Future.” The subject is “AJC Practicum: Best Practices in Combatting Anti-Semitism Online, on
flipbook, is available at Campus and on Both Sides of the Aisle,” featuring political experts explaining, analyzing and guiding a response to the growing anti-Semitism
publications/mishkan-tfilah-for-shabbat. around the world. 7:30 p.m.
Participate in the service at
livestream or on Facebook Live at facebook. watching and participating in Kabbalat not need a Facebook account to connect
Rabbi Sarah Bassin
com/kolamiweho. 6:30 p.m. Shabbat services. Tune in at 6:30 p.m. to with the Reform synagogue. Beth Shir Shalom Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels leads
VIRTUAL TORAH, SHABBAT, services. 6:30 p.m. Friday. 9 a.m. Saturday.
To remain connected during Shabbat, Beth Shir Shalom of Santa Monica
IKAR is offering plenty of virtual brings the services directly into your SUN MARCH 29
programming via Facebook Live sessions. living room via live streaming. You do VIRTUAL SING-A-LONG
They include “Virtual Words of Torah,” Cantor Jessica Hutchings and the Shir
featuring one of IKAR’s rabbis delivering Jessica Hutchings Heart Girls of Congregation Ner Tamid of
words of learning before finishing with Henderson, Nev., lead a virtual Sunday
song and the Mourner’s Kaddish, at 5 p.m.; sing-a-long. Hutchings has spent almost
“Virtual Songs of Shabbat,” with IKAR a decade conveying the beauty of Jewish
Hazan Hillel Tigay mixing the liturgical music to children and adults in Southern
s’ and contemporary at 10 a.m. Saturday; California and Nevada. 4:30-5:30 p.m.
ue and “Virtual Havdalah” at 8 p.m. Saturday.
ly. The congregation is also holding a “Virtual
as Morning Minyan,” a half-hour of prayer THU APRIL 2
ic and learning via Zoom, at 8 a.m. Mondays- and unending horror when a bubonic RABBI’S MEDITATION
Thursdays. For more information, visit plague ravages a North African coastal Join Temple Emanuel of Beverly town. 1-2:30 p.m. For more information, Hills Senior Rabbi Jonathan Aaron for
visit an evening meditation, immediately
BOOK CLUB: “THE PLAGUE” followed by the rabbi’s weekly parsha
Rabbi Sarah Bassin of Temple Emanuel CELEBRATING KABBALAT SHABBAT study. The portion for Shabbat HaGadol,
of Beverly Hills leads a book club discussion San Fernando Valley community the Shabbat immediately before Passover,
of Albert Camus’ 1947 bestselling novel Kol Tikvah encourages worshippers to is Tzav. Meditation begins at 5:30 p.m.
“The Plague,” a story of human resilience join from the comfort of their home in

20 March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 41

David N.

Photo by Simona Weinglass/Times of Israel in

Israeli Seniors’ World


Grows Sharply


» by Simona Weinglass
NILI KEINAN, 77, A RETIRED group,” said Rachel Weissbrod, 70, a retired a
nonprofit administrator from Tel Aviv, hasn’t librarian from Rehovot. Her husband, 72, su
left her apartment for the past few days, is employed as an electronic engineer in a
except to take out the trash. neurobiology lab at Rehovot’s Weizmann Is
“This isn’t normal for me.” she said. “Most Institute of Science. an
days, I go to the pensioners’ club. We have A few days ago they told him to work from ca
exercise classes and lectures. I am part of a home, because of his age.
group that plays bridge. Now I am stuck at Weissbrod and her husband like to sh
home for who knows how long? There’s no attend lectures, films and the theater but
one who can tell us when this will be over.” nowadays they barely go out, with the
Keinan, who lives alone, is generally exception of a brisk morning walk on
healthy and active, but she does have asthma unpopulated streets and an occasional
and high blood pressure, so in these days of trip to the supermarket.
spreading coronavirus, she prefers to stay at “If there are crowds or a long line at the
home. supermarket then we leave and come back
On March 17, the health ministry advised later,” she said.
that all elderly or people with chronic health By March 17, the health ministry had
conditions should not leave the house at all. advised seniors not to go out for any
Others should leave only if they absolutely purpose at all.
have to. Weissbrod has a son whose partner is
By then, the number of confirmed a doctor. She and her son have decided
coronavirus cases in Israel had climbed to 337, to speak only by phone. She also has a
up from 61 a week before. Despite school and daughter with small children.
workplace closings and dramatic warnings “It’s very hard for me not to see my
from health officials to stay at home, many grandchildren. Sometimes I missed them
younger Israelis have in recent days used so much that I went to see them anyway
the time off to visit parks and beaches or even though I knew I shouldn’t.”
buy takeout coffee while socializing on Weissbrod also works as a volunteer
public benches, prompting an Israeli health at the Center for Advice to Seniors of
ministry official to warn that “people have the National Insurance Institute (Bituah
not internalized the gravity of the situation. Leumi). She visits people older than herself
People are still behaving as if it’s a holiday … to socialize and also helps them navigate
just stay at home.” the bureaucracy of obtaining government
But for many elderly, defined in Israel as benefits. But the National Insurance
anyone older than 65, the warning has been Institute recently told volunteers that that
heard loud and clear. Many avoid leaving their has come to an end for now.
homes altogether, and all elder care homes “They called off home visits and told us
are on lockdown, according to a spokesman to make phone calls instead.”
for the Union of Nursing Homes.
According to data compiled from Chinese THE PANDEMIC REACHES
cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the NURSING HOMES
death rate for those who contract coronavirus A social worker at the Nofim nursing
younger than 50 is less than 1% but for those home in Jerusalem has tested positive for
ages 60-69, the death rate is 3.6%, for those the coronavirus. She infected other staff
aged 70-79 it is 8% and for those older than and residents. The infection soon spread
80 it is 14.8%. to staff at another nursing home, Nofei
“It’s scary; we know we’re in a high-risk Yerushalayim.

42 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020 M


Roni Ozeri, chairman of the Israeli quarantine, there is no one to replace he said. “It’s a hard job to lift and shower equipment for their workers but has yet to
Nursing Home Union, which represents them,” the spokesman said. and take care of an elderly person. We’ve hear back.
most elder care facilities in Israel vis- Ozeri’s spokesman said he would like to tried all kinds of groups of Israelis — “The health ministry bought a large
a-vis the government, said through a see the government take foreign workers Russian speakers, Arab Israelis, Bedouins, amount of equipment on the market, and
spokesman that he believes nursing who have a work visa, but whose industry, Ethiopians. They all end up dropping out.” now it’s only available for four times the
homes and assisted living facilities are on for instance, tourism, has collapsed, and With the coronavirus, said the price.”
the edge of a precipice. have them come work in nursing homes. spokesman, some of the current workers Gil Horev, a spokesman for the Ministry
“For years there has been a shortage of He said, at present, the law doesn’t permit are afraid to come to work. of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services,
workers,” Ozeri’s spokesman said. “This “They don’t want to endanger families. said that his ministry is now home
has nothing to do with coronavirus. I’d say They are supposed to be vital workers but delivering food to elderly people who need
we are chronically about 6,000 workers we don’t get the masks and disinfectant it.

“Now I am stuck
short. The reason there was an outbreak and other protective equipment that “We bring food and leave it outside
ael in two institutions is because the same hospitals and health clinics get. We don’t their doors. There is no person-to-person

at home for who

worker worked in both places. If our even have rooms for quarantining people. contact and that is for their protection.”
industry weren’t so short-staffed, she Our facilities are filled to capacity.” The ministry runs a network of 168

knows how long?

would have worked in just one place.” All nursing homes and assisted living senior centers around the country for
The spokesman said that not just the facilities in Israel are on lockdown, Ozeri’s those seniors who do not live in nursing

There’s no one
infected woman but the entire staff of the spokesman said, not just the ones where homes or assisted living communities.
nursing homes had to be quarantined, as people were exposed to the virus. About 30,000 seniors attend these senior

who can tell us

did the residents. The spokesman said that in his centers and their average age is about
About 40,000 Israelis live in elder care experience, elderly Israelis understand 80. The centers offer exercise classes,

when this will be

homes, he said, of whom 27,000 require the concept of social distancing but it’s computer classes, art classes and free hot
nursing care while the others are in emotionally hard for them. meals.

over.” — Nili Keinan

assisted living. “It is hard to be away from their But because of the outbreak of
Of the 27,000 who require nursing care, families.” COVID-19, these senior centers have all
70% are there because they can’t afford Even within the nursing homes, there been temporarily shuttered.
ed a home caretaker. Their nursing care is is social distancing. “The employees call on a daily basis to
72, subsidized by the state. this kind of pivoting of foreign workers “We have lots of social activities, but check if seniors are OK,” Horev said. “They
a Tens of thousands of other elderly from one industry to another. we are trying to make them smaller. At can visit their homes once a week as well
nn Israelis live at home, some independently Elder care jobs pay above average, he mealtimes, we let just 10 people into the if necessary. If seniors need anything, they
and some with a part-time or full-time said, about NIS 10,000 ($2,600) a month, dining hall at once.” should call our hotline at 118.” n
m caretaker, usually a foreign worker. and even more with overtime, but not The spokesman said that on March 5,
“Because we have a chronic worker enough Israelis want to do them. his organization wrote to the government A version of this story appeared on timesofisrael.
to shortage, when some workers are in “It’s a problem in all Western countries,” explaining that it lacks protective gear and com earlier this month.
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20 March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 43

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Now Is a Great Time

to Draw Closer to
Your Parents
» by Kara Baskin
AMY SCHECTMAN IS THE PRESIDENT ing, “We luckily live in a time and a location
and CEO of 2Life Communities, which houses where we have access to the latest informa-
low-income elderly residents in the Boston tion instantly, as it comes out,” Schectman
area. said. “We’re analyzing that information. We’re

These seniors need somewhere to live, and reading and carefully curating the informa-
like all isolated seniors during the coronavirus tion, and taking those responsibilities seri-
pandemic, they need social contact. ously. The public health world is all united and
Are you wondering how to support your doing everything we can to flatten the curve
own older relatives? Schectman has ideas and [of coronavirus infections].”
perspective. Thank them for staying home: If your
Pick up the phone: Set aside a time to call, parents are active and don’t quite understand
Skype or FaceTime with relatives as often as that a game of bridge or a trip to the market
you’re able. (I’m calling my own parents every is needlessly risky, frame your request that
evening and putting them on the phone with they stay home as a thank you, not an order.
my kids, which helps them to feel less lonely Schectman’s advice: Say “Thank you for do-
and also adds structure to my kids’ already ing your part by staying home, by trying to not
haphazard days.) increase contacts with the outside world. It’s
Ask leading questions: Usually, you can hard, it’s really hard, but you’re a big part of the
check in on your parents in person and see team that’s helping on a larger scale. Thank
firsthand if they seem frail, tired and so forth. you for being part of that team.”
No more. So, ask the right questions: How are Share stories of resilience: Older genera-
they feeling? Are they frightened? “Generally, tions have lived through surreal times, too; let
that opens up a lot of different ways you can them share their wisdom. “A lot of our folks

Passover possibilities
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ids?’ Because often people, when they get de- resilient. We know that you get through these
store for details.
pressed, they forget to eat,” Schectman said. things,’ ” Schectman said. “Someone from Be-
Also, Gelson’s carries an excellent selection
Make doorstep drop-offs: Even if you can’t larus described to me, ‘When the Soviet Union of Kosher products and wines.
go inside, you can drop puzzles, books and fell, the stores had no food. All the shelves Enjoy a lovely, stress-free Seder.
photos at the door. were empty. There was no place one could go. Stop in today!
Get cultured: To that end, ask how your And people were in the streets, screaming. It
parents and loved ones are spending their was a panic and there were no resources. But
day; engage them on topics like books and we all figured it out and it was horrible, and we
movies. (Admit it: When’s the last time you got through it.’ They are a lot better at keeping
talked film with your parents?) perspective than we are, and there’s a lot of re-
Ask how you can help: Now’s not the time silience.” Let them share that resilience with

$10 off
*Offer valid at all Gelson’s locations. Excludes
to be shy; ask direct, pointed questions about you. You’ll feel calmer and they’ll feel useful pharmacy, bakery, tobacco, gift cards, and
postage stamps. Cannot be used with any
how you can make this uncertain time easier. in sharing their wisdom, even if confined at other offer. Limit one coupon per customer
Do they need grocery delivery? Do they want home. your entire order of $50 or more* per day. No cash back. No reproductions
accepted: coupon must be surrendered when
more information about the virus itself? Can Don’t go it alone: Pull in reinforcement if tendered.
you order them cleaning products, or help to needed. Call the Substance Abuse and Mental
Expires: 04/20/20
explain what they’re seeing on the news? Ask Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) di- PLU #8142
directly what they’re confused, uncertain or saster distress helpline at (800) 985-5990. The
scared about. 24/7 national hotline, Schectman said, “offers
Provide reassurance: Yes, it’s a scary time crisis counseling for emotional distress relat-
even for healthy adults. But Boston, like Los ed to disease or disaster.” n
Angeles and other big cities, is rich in resourc-
es. If your parents are local, you certainly can A version of this story originated at jewishbos-

om tell them that, while this situation is daunt-

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 45


Donald Alschuler died March 1 at 84. 5 grandchildren; sister Shirley (Dave) at 90. Survived by cousin Fran Morris and Pearl Reep died March 4 at 90. Survived
Survived by wife Lynne; daughters Trina Feldman-Summers; brother Bernie (Sherry). family. Hillside by her daughter Andrea Provenzale; on Scott
(Eric), Melanie (Michael); 4 grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman Edith Rose “Duczi” Reich Mora died Feb. (Shelley); 7 grandchildren. Mount Sinai
Hillside Benjamin Feldman died Feb. 23 at 99. 12 at 97. Survived by sons David, Jeffrey, Sali Schlank died Feb. 21 at 98. Survived
Arleen Bachner died Feb. 25 at 81. Survived by sons Charles, Samuel (Robin), Steven; 3 grandchildren. Mount Sinai by daughter Margie (William); son Joseph;
Survived by husband Samuel; daughters Daniel, Harold. Hillside Charlaine Beverly Moss died Feb. 29 at 90. 2 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren.
Jennifer, Dana, Laurie; 9 grandchildren; Galina Gelfer died Feb. 25 at 92. Survived Survived by daughters Debbie (Bruce) Marks, Hillside
sister Sandra. Hillside by daughters Sofia (Isaac) Zukerman, Anna Adrienne (Jack) Leftwich; 4 grandchildren. Charles Selarz died March 8 at 101.
Roslyn Benezra died Feb. 21 at 93. (Felix) Livits; son Ilya (Tatyana) Gelfer; Mount Sinai Survived by daughter Etta (Larry) Kahn; son
Survived by daughters Robin (Peter) Benezra- 6 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren. Frances “Geri” Novak died Feb. 29 at Murray (Barbara). Mount Sinai
Herwitt, Lisa Benezra-Poller; son David; Malinow and Silverman 90. Survived by daughters Lorie (Arnold Harriet Simon died March 1 at 94.
5 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren. Sherri Ellyn Weiner Gross died Feb. 23 Aronson), Karen (Daniel Dickson), Patricia Survived by sons Craig (Joan), Steven
Malinow and Silverman at 58. Survived by husband Gary; mother (Nick Zappas); 6 grandchildren; 2 great- (Esperanza), Daniel (Annie); grandchildren;
Rhonda Lee Bramson died Jan. 22 at 67. Corinne; sister Lori; brother Kenneth. grandchildren; sister Barbara Faierman. great grandchildren. Mount Sinai
Survived by mother Shirley Bramson-Gieras; Hillside Mount Sinai James Tyre died March 3 at 66. Survived
father Bernard; sister Joanne Dobrowlski; Arthur Helfat died Feb. 20 at 76. Survived Lillian Pailet died Feb. 29 at 92. Survived by sister Ellen. Hillside
brother Gene. Chevra Kadisha by wife Frances; sister Carol McCall. Mount by daughters Debbie (Jack Eisen), Janet Marilyn Vecchio died March 5 at 90.
Reyna Waller Horesh Bridges died Feb. Sinai Briggs; sons Steven, Jeffrey (Irene), Ron; 7 Survived by daughters Debra, Lynn (Chuck);
10 at 73. Survived by daughters Marnee Agnes Kun died March 4 at 93. Survived by grandchildren. Mount Sinai son Michael; 3 grandchildren; brother
Horesh, Jenni Bridges; son David Horesh; 5 daughters Annie (Frank), Marianne (Barry); Claudette Nevins Pick died Feb. 20, Joseph. Hillside
grandchildren; brothers Randy Ventura, Karl 3 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren. at 82. Survived by daughters Sabrina Beverly Wdowinski died Feb. 27 at 89.
Waller, Eric Waller. Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hillside (Adam Griffin), Jessica (James) Dabney; 5 Survived by daughter Sharlene (Nimrod)
Hills Josef Lesser died Feb. 28 at 83. Survived grandchildren; sister Harriet Kaley. Mount Blau; 2 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren.
Marlene Joan Cobin died Feb. 23 at by wife Jo Ann; daughter Rebecca (Michael) Sinai Mount Sinai
79. Survived by stepson Michael (Judith). Dubowe; son Michael (Al); 4 grandchildren; Gretchen Plotkin died March 5 at 64. Abigail Sabina Weiner died Feb. 28 at
Malinow and Silverman brothers Robert Charles, Laurence. Mount Survived by husband Daniel; daughters 66. Survived by husband Stephen; mother
Jay Reder Epstein-Lev died Feb. 23 at Sinai Abigail, Michelle; mother Phyliss; 1 Lucille Melcher; brothers Carey (Susan)
67. Survived by father Saul Epstein; brother Sidney Lubin died March 4 at 92. grandchild; sister Susan; brother John Melcher, Alan (Jodi) Melcher. Mount Sinai
Marc Epstein. Malinow and Silverman Survived by wife Debra; daughters Susan (Virginia). Hillside David Young died Feb. 26 at 92. Survived
Albert “Al” Feldman died Feb. 22 at (Mark) Dubow, Melody (Bobby) Tabesh; 4 Joshua Matthew Ranta died Feb. 23 at 36. by wife Barbara; sons Jeffrey (Beth), Larry
90. Survived by wife Eleanor; daughters grandchildren. Mount Sinai Survived by daughter Ava; mother Pamela (Darren Thomas) Young; 1 grandchild. Mount
Lori (Gary Caine), Jodi (Rob) Fleishman; Shirley (Sarah) Margolis died Feb. 25 “Pam”; brother Evan. Malinow and Silverman Sinai

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46 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020


If y
pro ou ma
, w ke thi
Pos to see e’d lov s
t it e
me n soo it!
d c
#JJc ia with ial

Quarantine Crafts: Stamping With

Toilet Paper Tubes
» by Jonathan Fong
NOW THAT WE’RE ALL SELF-ISOLATING Here’s a craft project that addresses both found this project online, and some tutorials What you’ll need:
in our homes with cases of toilet paper, questions. After the toilet paper is gone, you’ll have some pretty elaborate shapes. Instead
two questions come to mind: One, how are have a lot of empty tubes. Save those tubes of getting too complicated, I prefer working Toilet paper tubes
we going to pass the time and two, what because you can use them for art projects. By with simpler shapes such as hearts, circles Paper plate
are we going to do with all that toilet pa- bending the ends of the tubes into different and ovals, and building the stamped draw- Paint
per? shapes, you can create stamps out of them. I ings from there. Paper

1. Bend one end of the toilet paper tube 2. Squeeze out some different colors of 3. Place the toilet paper tube on a piece 4. Feel free to dip the tube into mixed
into a heart shape. Experiment with other paint onto a paper plate. Dip the end of the of paper and press down. Lift to reveal your colors to create some rainbow effects.
shapes as well. toilet paper tube into the paint. design.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at

March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 47

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March 27-April 2, 2020 Jewish Journal | 49

Photo illustration by MammothCat1

Repent, and Six Other Ways
to Be Faithful in a Pandemic
» by Louis Keene
YOU ARE ON A SHIP IN THE MIDDLE become a six-days-a-week Jew. Sunday mindfulness along the way — during this separate the stress and exhaustion of the
of a tempest. The ship is pitching and through Friday, I’m saying Shir Shel Yom Sabbath sabbatical: week from the day of rest. Which, shul or not,
heaving. Water is sloshing over the deck. (the psalm of the day); on Shabbat, I’m we still have. Yarmulke: I rarely wear mine to
The crew is throwing cargo overboard. rarely at shul in time for it. During the Washing your hands before eating work. However, now I’m working from home. I
You realize with a sinking feeling: This week, I’ll bentsch; Shabbat, I’ll retire to the bread can wear it again. It covers my cowlicks. These
is all about you. Saying the grace after meals mitzvot often are gendered so I lumped them
Anyone else been seasick lately? What if I told you that the Torah together. Also it helps me reach the target
Peering into the gaping maw of the predicted COVID-19 and included safety number of six.
most dangerous pandemic in centuries precautions in Jewish ritual? You might
answer that washing your hands, like the Going to shul
The coronavirus
and wondering what you are doing so
flagrantly wrong to bring it about, or what blessings said before eating, is actually a If you drive to services every once in a
drastic measure you can take to reverse rabbinic commandment, not a biblical one, while, you can try it on Zoom. I’ve heard rave
it? Making it all about you may not be so
counterproductive. Maybe you weren’t
has forced me to and you would be right. They’re a package
deal with the grace after meals, which is
reviews of a few congregations doing this. Of
course, daily morning prayers on my shul’s
trying to outrun a prophetic mission, like
Jonah was on his way out of Tarshish. On appreciate what I right there in Deuteronomy. Last week I went
shopping for the first time post-quarantine
Zoom still are being held at 7 a.m., so I can’t
testify personally. We’re working on a late
the other hand, maybe the storm helps
you realize what your mission is. took for granted; and discovered that food was being rationed.
Two of everything. I came home with gluten-

it may unlock a
Anyway, I’m not going to be the guy who free bread that tasted like raisins dipped in Honoring your parents
pins any great calamity on gay marriage — sand. I’ll never take flour and water for granted Popular with older demographics.

new dimension
some other Jewish man who is evidently again. Which is why I’ll be praying before and
closer to God than I am already has done after eating them henceforward. Join me. Expressing solidarity with Asian
the honors. Instead, I’m using this time American friends
to reflect on my own actions. It was not
very hard to figure out why the ship was
of observance for Ashrei
You’ve heard of lifehacks; here is an
When we get upset about anti-Semitic
dog-whistling, we want other groups to
taking on water with me in the hold. But
this isn’t a confession column. So I will others. afterlifehack: Reciting Ashrei (Psalm 145; the
alphabetical one; page 68 in the Artscroll) three
be outraged, too. President Donald Trump
defiantly calling the coronavirus the “Chinese
get to work on my problem(s), and offer times a day guarantees you prime real estate virus” unfairly put a target on the backs of
some suggestions to readers interested in couch after lunch and forget about it. in the World To Come. No connection to the our Asian American friends. Dehumanizing
helping me. The coronavirus has forced me to coronavirus here, because you are not going to language matters, and Jews should be
As it turns out, many of my friends are appreciate what I took for granted; it may die, because you already started observing No. consistent about condemning it. We can’t
dismayed that Shabbat is not the same unlock a new dimension of observance 1 — washing your hands. control how other people speak, but we can
with no shul, no minyan, no child care, for others. There are six other days of the make sure the people who are affected by that
no Kiddush. And Shabbat not being the week when we can be just as Jewish as we Lighting candles speech know we’re hurting, too. n
same has meant that Judaism has not felt are on Shabbat. Wearing a yarmulke
the same. I understand the sentiment, but Here are six ways you can observe Lighting candles: a Shabbat-oriented Louis Keene is a writer living in Los Angeles.
don’t share it. Over the past year or so, I’ve your faith — and practice a kind of Jewish mitzvah (also rabbinic). A good way to He’s on Twitter at @thislouis.

50 | Jewish Journal March 27-April 2, 2020

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