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13-19 Sivan 5780 • June 5-11, 2020 Connect. Inform. Inspire.

YULA High Schools join our community

in mourning the loss of


Rabbi Dr. Lamm was the former President, Rosh HaYeshiva and Chancellor of Yeshiva
University. He was one of the most extraordinary, elegant, and articulate spokesman
for Jewish life in modern times. His oratory, wisdom and leadership inspired
communities around the world for over three decades. He will be remembered
as a leading Modern Orthodox thinker and Rabbinic scholar of our generation.
Additionally, Rabbi Lamm was instrumental in partnering with Rabbi Hier in sharing
Yeshiva University’s name when YULA began in 1979.
We join the community - and indeed the entire Jewish world - in mourning his passing.


Scientific, Medical and

Halakhic Experts Converge at
Yeshiva University this Summer


Learn how to use computational tools to visualize proteins, search protein databases and model protein
structure. Learn about lab techniques to synthesize proteins and measure how well they bind target
molecules. Opportunity for promising student drug designs to be synthesized and analyzed.

Jeremy Wertheimer, PhD, is a computer scientist and received his doctorate from MIT in Artificial Intelligence.
Dr. Wertheimer is a Vice President of Engineering at Google and a trustee of Cooper Union.


This course will explore historical epidemics from medical, social and the religious angles. Students
will learn about the Black Death, smallpox, cholera, influenza, HIV and place the current COVID-19
pandemic in context, using eyewitness accounts, historic and contemporary scientific papers, literary
depictions and religious perspectives.
Jeremy Brown, M.D., is the Director of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where
he works on government-wide efforts to improve emergency care.


This course examines a variety of rabbinic and communal responses to COVID-19 in the realms of
ritual and theology. Using six case studies, students will analyze the relevant question and diversity of
opinion on the issue, focusing on primary sources and zeroing in on the issues and values at stake.
Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier, PhD, is a member of YU’s Kollel Elyon and a professor at Yale Divinity School. Rabbi Zuckier
is an alumnus of Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshiva University (BA, MA, Semicha), as well as of the Wexner, Tikvah,
and Kupietzky Kodshim Fellowships.


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20 » A NATION IN TURMOIL In the wake of George Floyd’s 30 »SHABBAT OF SHATTERED GLASS Former Journal
death while in police custody in Minneapolis, protests and riots sweep intern Michelle Naim writes about the looting of her father’s jewelry stall
the country and our community. Jewish Journal staff reports. in downtown Los Angeles.

9 » COLUMNISTS Tabby Refael on dealing with her fears; Rabbi 32 » JEWS WEIGH IN ON PROTESTS After peaceful
Aryeh Cohen on the Jewish obligation to first “shun evil”; Ariel Sobel on protests decrying police brutality devolved into riots over the weekend,
why antifa should not be designated a terrorist group; Steve Smith on the Jewish organizations took to social media to share their concerns. Staff
lessons of survivors; Rabbi Ilana Grinblat on managing overwhelming Writer Aaron Bandler reports.
moments; Deborah Blum on the foibles of wearing a mask; and Rabbi
Adam Kligfeld on sweeping away racism. 36 » ISRAEL FILM FEST GOES VIRTUAL Seven Israeli
15 » BLACK AND BLUE (AND WHITE) We re-publish a films from the Israel Film Center Festival will be available to view, along
with Q&As with cast and crew over two weeks in June. Gerri Miller
thought piece by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson from July 2016 that deeply
resonates with the chaotic times we are in.

FX series highlighting Phyllis Schlafly’s pushback against the ERA in the
Rosner on how we should combat civil unrest around the globe by
’60s pits her against loud, proud, progressive Jewish women. Ariel Sobel
listening to the advice of a first-century Jewish scholar on the necessity
of prayer. reports.

26 » BREAKFAST OF KINGS The Sephardic Spice Girls share 39 » ‘HITLER’S TRUE BELIEVERS’ Jonathan Kirsch reviews
Robert Gellately’s book subtitled, “How Ordinary People Became Nazis.”
their recipe for a quintessential Israeli breakfast dish: shakshuka.

27 » TABLE FOR FIVE: NASSO Judy Gruen, Kylie Ora Lobell 42 »leader
TORAH GIANT REMEMBERED A tribute to longtime
of Yeshiva University Rabbi Norman Lamm, who died on May 31
and Rabbis Avraham Greenstein, Nicole Guzik and Nolan Lebovitz offer
their unique insights on this week’s Torah portion. at 92.


Berenbaum’s moving tribute to the erudite historian and social worker Rehfeld discusses his new job, and how the Reform movement is adapting
who worked tirelessly with the homeless on Skid Row. to rapid change during pandemic times. Jessica Donath reports.

» SHABBAT CANDLE LIGHTING 9 » Columnists 26 » Food 39 » Book Review

Fri June 5 7:43 p.m.
Shabbat ends June 6 8:47 p.m. 17 » Nation/World 30 » Community 40 » What’s Happening
19 » Rosner’s Domain 36 » Arts 46 » Just Asking

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 5

A new website

pandemic t i m e s
More urgent. More useful. More human.
The New

Volume 37, Number 12

June 5-11, 2020

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief David Suissa

When the Riots Took Over the Story

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 THE VIDEO OF GEORGE FLOYD It’s quite possible an immediate ar- These are easy comments to make for
Contributing Editors Tom Tugend, Jane Ulman pleading for his life while Minneapolis rest of Chauvin and his three accomplices those who are not victims of racism and
Contributing Writers Michael Berenbaum, Steve cop Derek Chauvin dug his knee into his might have prevented or at least mitigated violence, but the mayor has a point. The
Greenberg, Esther D. Kustanowitz, Kylie Ora Lobell, neck felt all too familiar. Like Eric Gar- the rioting. In any case, the failure of law rage among protestors is justified, but the
Gerri Miller, Gina Nahai, Ari Noonan, Judea Pearl, ner in New York, Floyd cried out, “I can’t enforcement to move swiftly and force- rioting only sets back their cause.
Ben Shapiro, Raphael J. Sonenshein, Tom Teicholz, fully was unforgivable. Instead of the Summer of Riots, this
Michelle K. Wolf, David Wolpe
Digital Team
Aaron Bandler, Armando Koghan
Digital Content Manager Erin Ben-Moche
Social Media Director Nicole Behnam
When the media sees
Social Media Editor Ariel Sobel
Podcast Producer Shanni Suissa
burning police cars,
Executive Director, Advertising
the looting of small
Martin Finkelstein
Senior Account Executives
businesses or an
Shoshana Cohen, Arlyn Isen
Digital Ad Sales Jim Burns
attack on CNN offices,
Traffic Manager David Fox
Sales Coordinator Angela Hay
you can bet they’ll be
Style Director Jonathan Fong
all over it.
Art Director Lynn Pelkey
Graphic Designer Paul Takizawa breathe.” As with Michael Brown’s death
ADMINISTRATION in Ferguson, riots ensued. Floyd’s death
Chief Financial Officer Adam Levine also occurred not far from where an un-
Bookkeeper Andrea Alonso armed Philando Castille was killed by po-
lice in 2016. What especially pains me is that the should be the summer of “I Can’t Breathe.”
Israel Advertising Partners In other words, we’ve seen this movie rioting has taken over the story. Floyd’s If I had a magic wand, I would orga-
Imp Group Ltd before. killer doesn’t deserve that we change the nize Million People Marches with protes-
POB 7195, Jerusalem 91071 ISRAEL Well, yes and no. subject. His crime ought to remain the tors across the nation wearing masks that
Tel: 972-2-625-2933 This latest episode of a heartless cop story. But that’s not how the media works. say, “I can’t breathe.” In fact, everyone
Fax: 972-2-624-9240 crushing his knee into a poor man’s neck, When the media sees burning police cars, who wears a mask during these pandemic
E-mail: while his fellow cops just stood by, seemed the looting of small businesses or an at- times should write “I can’t breathe” on
to reach another level. The revulsion was tack on CNN offices, you can bet they’ll be them.
Legal Counsel/Accountants instant and widespread, with condemna- all over it.
Jonathan Kirsch of Law Offices of Jonathan Kirsch tions from police chiefs across the country. Even if it’s only a criminal minority ex-
O’Melveny & Myers LLP No one was cautioning that we should get ploiting the chaos, for the media, the op-

Instead of the
(pro bono legal services on employment law matters) all the facts before rushing to judgment. tics of riots are like red meat to a lion. That
The cruel face of an abusive cop oblivi- is where we are now; “Violent Protests

Summer of Riots,
Past Publishers ous to the cries of a dying man was all we Break Out Across Nation” has become the
Richard Volpert (1985-1986) needed to see, and it sent everyone into a major headline.
Ed Brennglass (1986-1997)
Stanley Hirsh (1997-2003)
It also felt like a tipping point, a final
It goes without saying that there’s no
excuse for violence, looting and destruc- this should be the
Irwin S. Field (2003-2011)
Rob Eshman (2011-2017)
straw that turned frustration and anger
into rage and fury. In the midst of the pan-
tion of property, just as there’s no excuse
for an overly aggressive police response to summer of “I Can’t
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1250,
demic crisis, when so many have lost their
lives and livelihoods, Floyd’s death was
the demonstrations. But the deeper trag-
edy, as I see it, is that the rioting is under- Breathe.”
Los Angeles, CA 90010. (213) 368-1661 the match that lit a national tinderbox. mining and overtaking a worthy cause.
Annual subscription rate: $75 for home delivery Equally outrageous was the failure to Instead of talking about police violence, An “I can’t breathe” solidarity move-
(restricted in certain areas); $160 for mail both immediately arrest Chauvin. The killing we’re talking about protestor violence. ment that would rally the nation would
in California and out of state; $350 outside of the occurred on a Monday; authorities didn’t That’s not justice. keep the focus on the original crime and
United States. For all subscription services, visit the original issue. Looking beyond the
arrest him until Friday − well after the ri- During a press conference on Saturday, or call (213) 368-1661, ext.129.
The Jewish Journal does not endorse the goods ots had started. As legal expert and former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged peo- present riots, it’s not too late to plan na-
and services advertised in its pages, and it makes prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote in Na- ple who would resort to violence, “Do not tional marches for July Fourth — our na-
no representation as to the kashrut of the food tional Review Online, “The claim that the do a disservice to the memory of George tional holiday of freedom.
products and services in such advertising. prosecutor had to wait to authorize an ar- [Floyd] . … Do not make a disservice to the George Floyd and other victims of rac-
Published weekly by TRIBE Media Corp.
rest until the investigators nailed down all folks who have died at the hands of the ism and police violence deserve nothing
All rights reserved. © 2020
the evidence is nonsense.” brutality that we all stand against.” less. n

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 7

Don’t be shy. Send your letters to

Annexation and History who favors Biden, focuses primarily on then condemns the apology on official
Shmuel Rosner offers much food for President Donald Trump’s inadequacies university media. Should that professor be
thought regarding Israel’s annexation and that “we cannot afford another four honored?
of Judea and Samaria (“Annexation years” of Trump in the White House. That’s basically what happened here.
Complications,” May 15). Yes, the proposed annexation would be SFSU has a long, shameful history of
There are two opposing issues: moral a deterrent to a two-state solution to the condoning anti-Jewish and anti-Israel
and practical. It boils down to whether Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But there are extremism by pro-Palestinian groups. In
Jews have a moral right to live in the other more important factors — such as 2017, SFSU President Leslie Wong even
West Bank and would the Palestinians be planting the seeds of hate in the minds of suggested that Zionists, notwithstanding
treated by Israel’s moral standards. the Palestinians and other Arabs/Muslims. the First Amendment, weren’t welcome on
Historically and based on the Balfour I question whether a two-state solution is his public university campus. A year later, Letters should be no more than
Declaration and similar mandates from realistic at this point. he apologized, saying: “Let me be clear: 200 words and must include a valid
recognized international authoritative That Biden aligns with the Jewish Zionists are welcome on our campus.” name and city. The Journal reserves
organizations, Jews have every right to live community on many policy priorities has Abdulhadi, an ethnic studies the right to edit all letters.
there. nothing to do with the question: Would a professor who has praised Palestinian
On the other hand, until recent years, President Biden be good for Israel? No. terrorists Rasmea Odeh and Leila Khaled,
there was no semblance of a Palestinian George Epstein condemned Wong’s apology, calling it a
nation, nor did the Arabs or Muslims claim Los Angeles “declaration of war.” Her post appeared
that land. on the official SFSU Facebook page for a lobby for those promoting these ugly
Would Israeli annexation force the Columnist’s Buddy program Abdulhadi directs. Subsequently, beliefs.
Palestinians living there to suffer South Mark Schiff’s column about his graffiti saying, “Zionists not welcome” Morton A. Klein
African-type apartheid? One need only close relationship with a Palestinian is covered the campus. National President
observe how Palestinians currently so appropriate in our nation’s current Abdulhadi abused her academic Zionist Organization of America
serve in the Israeli parliament, attend its situation (“A Palestinian Muslim Calls Me position to promote hate. That’s the very (ZOA)
universities, work in its industries and His Brother,” May 29). A person doesn’t antithesis of academic excellence.
receive treatment in its hospitals. have to be black to be outraged by what Stephen A. Silver Intergenerational Magic
Then there is the practical matter happened in Minneapolis and a person San Francisco Emma Steuer, thank you for honestly
as to whether “Israel might turn into doesn’t have to be white to be outraged at describing the Pressman Academy
a binational state and lose its Jewish the looting across the country. We are all ZOA and HIAS Election students’ mixed emotions about their
majority.” That is an issue to be considered in this together, whites and blacks, Jews A recent Journal online story reported visit to the Iranian Senior Jewish Center
in the future as we see how things develop and Muslims and all political foes. We on a letter that maligned me and my (“Bringing Joy,” May 29). It is truly a
over time. may disagree and may want to protest but organization (Zionist Organization of beautiful, rewarding journey of give and
Second, I agree with Larry Greenfield there’s a respectful way to do so. America) for opposing the election of HIAS take that you have begun.
— that Biden would not be good for Israel Richard Katz chair Dianne Lob to become chair of the As a creator of many intergenerational
(“Would a President Biden Be Good for Los Angeles COP (Conference of Presidents of Major and intercultural programs for almost 30
Israel?” May 15). Jewish Organizations). years, these visits are a great opportunity
Biden has opposed Israel’s annexation Poor Choice for Award The letter misleadingly identified its for students and seniors to learn about
of the West Bank. Historically, there is no I was saddened to learn that San signers as caring “young Jews.” In fact, commonalities between generations and
doubt that the land under consideration Francisco State University (SFSU) professor these “young Jews” were predominantly cultures. The collaborative aspect of this
was part of its home going back to the days Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi was given J Street U officials or members. Top J explorative journey is essential, and art,
of Moses when the Hebrews escaped from an academic leadership award (“SFSU Street U signers also recently tweeted in music and oral histories are wonderful
slavery in Egypt, and that it was set aside Professor Who Called Zionists White honor of “Nakba Day” (meaning Israel’s vehicles.
to be part of the national Jewish home, Supremacists Selected for Academic rebirth was a catastrophe); supported When I lived in Mount Washington,
starting with the Balfour Declaration Award,” May 22). teaching a notorious, virulently anti-Israel a hillside community near downtown
in 1917 and re-confirmed by several To put this into perspective, imagine “Colonizing Palestine” course at Tufts; and L.A., a group of Jewish, African American,
recognized international authoritative that a public university with a history of boasted about helping to organize J Street’s Japanese, Italian American and Irish
organizations. discrimination against a racial minority campaign to insert anti-Israel planks into women and I gathered with a multi-ethnic
On the other hand, Halie Soifer, group issues an apology. A racist professor the Democratic Party platform. sixth-grade class at the Mount Washington
J Street’s letter wrongly claims that it School.
is “odious” to oppose resettling “heavily Through the five senses and probing
vetted” Muslims. questions, we met one another as equals,
In fact, numerous bipartisan experts, unified across experience and generations.
including top Obama officials (including Through music from our varied ethnic
former FBI Director James Comey and backgrounds, we created movements that
former director of National Intelligence expressed our emotions, dancing together
James Clapper) confirmed the weakness undaunted by physical limitations. We
of U.S. vetting, and the unavailability of shared ethnic food, smelled flowers and
needed information. spices, and listened to one another’s voices.
ZOA does not oppose anyone “because” We created collages and exhibited our
they are Muslim. ZOA opposes the entry of stories in art galleries and on community
and HIAS’ resettlement of certain people center walls.
because they come from nations where Yes, there is a miracle in survival, but
ADL polls show that 74% to 93% of the the greater miracle lies in how much
population is anti-Semitic, and where wisdom we gain from living, each of
studies confirm that schools teach hatred our stories unique and precious. Also,
of Jews and Israel, and glorify “martyrdom” our sages teach that, in the times of the
from early childhood onward. HIAS may Messiah, the children will teach their
well be endangering American Jews and elders. What can we learn, and what can
support for Israel by resettling anti-Semitic we teach? The journey itself will tell.
refugees who also likely will oppose strong Mina Friedler
U.S.-Israel relations and will vote for and Venice

8 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020

Support the Jewish Home’s
COVID-19 Emergency
Relief Fund
Mourning in Fear Your actions today will save lives.
» by Tabby Refael The Los Angeles Jewish Home is on the front
AS AN OBSERVANT JEW, I TURNED I’ll never forget the television images line protecting thousands of seniors afraid of
off all electronics from the evening of May of some of those Korean business owners what COVID-19 may mean for them. The
Home is their last line of defense, and we
28 to the evening of May 30 for Shavuot who’d formed armed militias, standing on
and Shabbat. When my husband and I took the roofs of their stores, armed with AK-
our 4- and 2-year-old boys out for a walk at
dusk, police helicopters chopped through
47s to thwart the looters. The sight was
surreal. I can’t, however, confirm whether
simply cannot fight this without you.
Going Above and Beyond for Senior Care
the skies and two Hatzolah vehicles the Persian shopkeepers stood with kabob
drove by with an ominous warning via skewers.

For over a century we have been a leading

megaphones: “Go home. Lock your doors.” Many of these immigrants saw in the
ly It wasn’t long before I understood what police officers, security and protection,
was happening. In fact, it was transpiring
less than half a mile away on La Cienega
contrary to what many members of the
black community associated with law
provider of high-quality care to seniors. As we
Boulevard during an alleged armed attack enforcement, while others expressed confront COVID-19, we are fighting for our
loved ones, heroic staff Lorand healthcare
by looters at a Panda Express and a pawn feeling abandoned by police and left alone
shop. Siren blares interplayed with the to protect their stores.
unsettling sound of helicopters, followed
by what sounded like small explosions.
Whether in 1992 or the past two weeks,
a lot of immigrant shopkeepers, including
Even though I’m a mother in my 30s, in
that moment, I just wanted my parents.
Persians, devastated by the loss of their
livelihood and the physical trauma of
Please help us by contributing to our
I wanted to be near them because the
last time there were looters and structure
walking past shattered windows and
empty shelves, may well have wondered:
COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund today.
a fires near my home during the 1992 L.A. Why me? What did I have to do with any
nd riots, I was 9, and my family was recently of this?


As I hugged our oldest son in his bed, I


realized I had become my parents. I had

ul to keep this child safe, physically and
n, emotionally.
n, arrived refugees. My parents couldn’t help In 1992, looters burned a Korean-owned
sh me process the violence, sirens and flames. pharmacy in a small shopping center on the
ic There was only fear. But the one thing they corner of Pico and La Cienega boulevards,
on could offer was physical protection and and I wasn’t able to find answers as to
that was enough. I still remember how, why a place that helped people had been
ng in true Persian style, my father held vigil targeted, and what the owner had done to
s, behind our front door, armed only with deserve it. On May 31, my phone alerted me
s. long, steel kabob skewers (in his defense, to an attempted break-in at the T-Mobile
ic they were very pointy). store in the same shopping complex.
at Twenty-eight years later, as I hugged A lot has changed in the past few
er our oldest son in his bed, I realized I had decades. I now know what the 1992 riots
We become my parents. I had to keep this would have been like had smartphones and
nd child safe, physically and emotionally. social media existed. And yet, some things
s. I also realized everything I process remain unchanged. Black Americans still
ur about civil unrest, whether it’s related face injustice. As I mourn for members of
ty to my experiences in Iran, or in 1992, or the black community in the face of such
today, is filtered through a prism of my unforgivable injustice against people like
ut experiences as a refugee — and a lot of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud
ch fear. And something tells me in this city of Arbery, I also mourn for the shopkeepers

of immigrants, I’m not alone. across the nation whose businesses were
o, In 1992, hundreds of Iranian refugees destroyed — in the middle of a pandemic,
he had set up shop in downtown L.A., selling no less — by looters.
ir products ranging from trimming to leather I’m still a little child who can’t shake
an car seat covers. They were joined by her fear. n
Korean shop owners who, too, were forced
to start again in the United States, but it Tabby Refael is a Los Angeles-based Or CALL 818.774.3031
was a small price to pay to be in America. writer, speaker and activist.

20 June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 9


A hub for student, faculty, and community engagement at

First, Shun Evil

the University of California, Berkeley

» by Aryeh Cohen T
“SHUN EVIL AND DO GOOD” THE We, in the United States, especially the »
Psalmist charges (Psalms 34:15). OK, we say, white community (and white Jews among
but why is that a two-step process? Why them), are still in the sura me-ra/shun
not just “do good?” As the kids used to say evil stage. We still are implicated in the be
on Facebook — when the kids used to use workings of systemic racism and white ni
Facebook — “it’s complicated.” supremacy. One way we do this is that on
The Izbica Rebbe, a 19th-century we demand black and brown protestors ies
Chassidic master, puzzled over the first behave nonviolently. Many of us do this de
verse in Chapter 19 of Exodus. “On the out of solid motivations, believing this
third new moon after the Israelites had is the way we would behave in the same led
gone forth from the land of Egypt, on that situation. However, we have to ask the ed
very day, they entered the wilderness question: Do we embrace nonviolence tio
of Sinai.” Israelites had arrived at the now? Not in some hypothetical situation, ch
moment which would define their “being but in our lives. The answer, I’m afraid, is lia
in the world,” their reason for existence, no. Let me explain. sa
the height of their sojourn: the revelation In those situations where we demand ta

at Sinai. Yet the moment was introduced protestors behave nonviolently, what Se
by recalling the lowest moment in their exactly are we doing? Well, law enforcement en


spiritual, but especially their physical personnel, who are operating in our name, an
existence: Egypt, the house of bondage. are carrying weapons (lethal and nonlethal)


Why mention Egypt in this context? The and are using them. “We” are responding or
Izbica Rebbe replied to his own question: to the protestors by rolling up in armored sh
While it only took a short while to vehicles and deploying officers clad in full ha
EPISODE 1: Ha-Haydak Ha-Politi EPISODE 8: On Denisovans and bl
(The Political Bug) Neanderthals - Breakthroughs in

EPISODE 2: Coronavirus Lesson - How

Human Evolution
After we have learned to be
Jews and Arabs United to Fight a Plague EPISODE 9: Holocaust Museums and
nonviolent, we might have the right P
in Ottoman Palestine a Century Ago Memory
to demand that others behave o
EPISODE 3: A Coronavirus Recession in EPISODE 10: Borders - Why Are States
Israel Putting up Fences?
nonviolently. b
EPISODE 4: Democracy, Religion and EPISODE 11: Haredi Communities and
State: Israeli Constitutional Law Update the Religion and State Divide during
physically exit from Egypt, it took three
months to get Egypt out of them. Before
combat gear. “We” are asking the National
Guard to patrol our streets. “We” reportedly A
COVID-19 being able to hear the revelation of God, are shooting rubber bullets, tear gas, tasers
EPISODE 5: Mental Health and the
they had to get Egypt out of their souls. and live ammunition at the protestors.
Politics of Trauma in Israel - A Nation EPISODE 12: Talmudic Wisdom on Crisis
This is the “shun evil” that precedes the “We” are far from having learned to shun Am
on the Couch “do good” of the revelation. evil. We must train ourselves in nonviolence.
EPISODE 13: Jewish Journalism and
What is Egypt in the Torah? Egypt is The nonviolence of voting against expanded ly
EPISODE 6: Emergency Law and Power Reporting on Crisis
systemic oppression and racism. Egypt police budgets and expanded jail budgets at U.
in Israel - Where Are the limits? is the argument that one people has the the expense of expanded education and M
EPISODE 14: Online Extremism in a Time
right to enslave another people. Egypt health care budgets. co
EPISODE 7: Technology, Surveillance, of Global Pandemic is the argument that some humans are After we have learned to be nonviolent, fa
and COVID-19: The Israel Experience worth more than others. More than the we might have the right to demand that re
physical oppression, the Israelites had others, especially the others whom we
to leave their intellectual and spiritual have been oppressing for centuries, behave cla
oppression — the belief that the Egyptians nonviolently.
had a right to oppress them. Only then Our ancestors, on the road out of Ho
The full series is now available could they hear “I am God, your God, who slavery and toward Sinai were able to free re
to stream online here: has taken you out of the land of Egypt, the themselves of Egypt — for a while, at least.
house of bondage.” For the first thing that We, who have benefited from the toil of “te God says, as the early 20th-century Rabbi enslaved people directly or indirectly, must St
Aharon Shmuel Temares teaches us, is “I am commit ourselves to do the same, lest our th
God who despises cruel oppression.” country go the way of biblical Egypt. Am
After Israel has acted on sur me-ra, shun First, we shun evil. n w
evil, then it can embrace the aseh tov, the “do w
good” of the rest of the Ten Commandments Aryeh Cohen is professor of rabbinic studies
and all the other commandments. at American Jewish University. th

10 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020 Ju


Why Antifa Is Not a OPEN!
Terrorist Organization
he » by Ariel Sobel
un “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Right now, the NCTC is prohibited from pre-
he will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Or- venting violent anti-Semites like the Pitts-
te ganization,” President Donald Trump tweeted burgh and Poway, Calif., shooters. Trump’s Na-
at on May 31, the morning after American cit- tional Strategy for Counterterrorism includes
rs ies were engulfed with protests decrying the preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons.
is death of George Floyd. However, known neo-Nazis still are able to ob-
is Trump declared the lootings were “being tain firearms.
me led by antifa,” a decentralized movement unit- Unlike white supremacist groups, which
he ed by its militant, sometimes violent opposi- explicitly call for victimizing racial and reli-
ce tion to fascism and the far-right. Pittsburgh’s gious minorities, antifa’s mission is not in-
n, chief of police agreed. Attorney General Wil- herently violent. Antifa’s rampages normally
is liam Barr also pointed his finger at the group, end in property damage. The only recorded
saying the protesters were using “antifa-like antifa-related death was in January 2019
nd tactics.” However, acting Homeland Security when member Charles Landeros fired at po-
at Secretary Chad Wolf said, “A number of differ- lice while being arrested. He missed and was
nt ent groups are involved in these whether it’s killed by returning fire. Compare that to self-
e, antifa or it’s others, frankly.” described white supremacist Robert Gregory
al) Whether you agree with antifa’s ideology Bowers, who is charged with walking into the
ng or approach, the president’s announcement is Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue in October
ed shocking, given that many of the most violent 2018 and killing 11 Jews. That incident was
ull hate groups in the United States aren’t des- not isolated. Patrick Crusius is charged with
ignated as terrorists. One notable example is killing 23 people at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart
the Ku Klux Klan, which for decades has used in August, leaving behind a white nationalist
bloodshed, intimidation and crime to terrorize manifesto.
Crusius had posted about his intent to kill
on the website 8chan. If white nationalists
were considered terrorists, the NCTC might
President Trump isn’t have been able to track and potentially stop
the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern
Valley Vista offers a full suite of senior living
only ignoring white American history. options, including Assisted Living and Memory
supremacist terrorism
However, Trump isn’t only ignoring white
supremacist terrorism but actively pushing Care. We are committed to going the extra mile
but actively pushing American institutions to overlook it.
According to Reuters, Trump attempted
to ensure our residents are safe and healthy and
ly American institutions to rename the Countering Violent Extremism
program to “Countering Radical Islamic Ex-
can experience life to its fullest.
not to address it. tremism” — erasing white nationalist violence
from its mission. Let us make your search for the best senior living
un Americans. “White supremacy is a greater threat than
e. “White supremacist extremism is current- international terrorism right now,” David
destination stress-free and enjoyable. We look
ed ly the most lethal form of extremism in the Hickton, a former U.S. Attorney told Time, not- forward to talking with you and providing you
at U.S.,” American University professor Cynthia ing the Trump administration has limited the
nd Miller-Idriss told Congress in September. Ac- persecution of white nationalist terrorism. “I’d with your own customized senior living solution.
cording to the Anti-Defamation League, the have to pursue a white supremacist with hate
nt, far-right caused 73% of domestic extremist- crimes, unless he interfaced with al-Qaeda.
related slayings from 2008 to 2019.
However, Trump has been hesitant to de-
Does that make any sense?”
One thing that does not make sense is Call us today at (818) 906-4400 and
ve clare these menacing groups as terrorists.
Countless other home-grown neo-Nazi,
cracking down on antifa instead of more per-
nicious groups.
schedule a tour at our Visitor Veranda.
of Holocaust denial and Skinhead organizations Whether you approve of antifa’s message
ee remain undesignated. or tactics, it is not nearly as consequential a
st. When the United States labels a group as threat to Americans as white supremacist
of “terrorist,” it is not a symbolic gesture. If the groups. Although it might be more politi-
st State Department designates antifa as such, cally advantageous for Trump to rail against
ur the Treasury Department will freeze any the anarchy-loving movement, he is driving 7040 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91405
American property or assets the group has. It this nation, and his blind spot endangers all
will be illegal for Americans to deal financially Americans in his backseat. n
(818) 906-4400 |
with antifa.
License #197609969
es Terrorist groups are under the purview of Ariel Sobel is the Journal’s social media
the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). editor.

20 June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 11


Survivors Teach Us A Lifeline in the Waves

‘There Is No Forgiveness » by Rabbi Ilana Grinblat

Without Rage’
IS THERE NO MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE a place where some lives seem to count
level of tsuris (troubles)? more than others? Where some have so
Last week, my daughter wore the dress little and some have so much? Where
we bought for her bat mitzvah party to some lives are lost much more easily
» by Stephen Smith my cousin Stanley’s Zoom funeral in- than others?
stead. Stanley died from COVID-19 after The next lines of the Torah portion tell
MY NEIGHBORHOOD IS BURNING. ago survived Gunskirchen concentration seven weeks on a ventilator. My daugh- us the answer: We must remove from the
Buildings were smoldering as I walked camp. Eger knows what it means to have ter’s party had been canceled because camp anyone with a malady, and each
my dog on the morning of May 31. Shat- to explain to young people that the world of the coronavirus. On the night of May person much confess the wrongs they
tered glass was on the sidewalk, graffiti is more dangerous than we wish it was; 30, that daughter, who already is terrified have done and make amends.
on the store windows and on the shuls. the shadow of injustice longer than we that more family members might get the What should we now confess?
George Floyd’s death has awoken our might realize; and the specter of cruelty disease, saw the video of the police of- In the Atlantic, George Packer wrote,
country to a tragic reality: Too many black closer at hand than we might wish to ac- ficer’s knee on George Floyd’s neck and “When the virus came here, it found a coun-
Americans still live in justified fear of rac- knowledge. her beloved Hello Kitty store looted. She try with serious underlying conditions, and
ist violence. It’s a weight that, too often, is “Forgiveness cannot be realized with- heard the police sirens. The destruction it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills —
carried by too few. The rest of us live most out justice,” Eger told me as the protests was a few miles from our house, three a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureau-
of our lives at a comfortable distance grew, “It’s OK to be angry … there is no blocks from where her grandparents live, cracy, a heartless economy, a divided and
from the injustice we know persists. forgiveness without rage.” on the block where her friend lives. distracted public — had gone untreated for
Today, we all feel a searing sense of She knows that generations of Ameri- “Why, Mommy,” she asked, “did the years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably,
police officer stand on the man’s neck with the symptoms. It took the scale and in-
until he died?” “Why, Mommy, are people timacy of a pandemic to expose their sever-
burning down the stores?” ity — to shock Americans with the recogni-
I have questions, too. As parents, we tion that we are in the high-risk category.”

Too many black Americans still live in

want to help our children feel safe and Indeed, we must confess the preexist-
confident. How is that even possible in a ing conditions that have plagued humanity

justified fear of racist violence.

world like this? for centuries and threaten our democracy
At the beach, strong waves crash today: racism, sexism, classism, homopho-
near the shore, but if you swim out past bia, xenophobia, transphobia and ableism.
them, calmer waters await. These past These ills all boil down to thinking some
shared anger. On May 30, tens of thou- can Jews have their own need to reckon few months, I’ve felt that if I work hard lives matter more than others.
sands gathered in Pan Pacific Park to with persistent hate. Anti-Semitic kill- enough at my job, try hard enough to The Book of Psalms teaches, “If Your To-
protest — me included. The spirit of the ers who have attacked Jewish communi- help and comfort my children, somehow, rah had not been my delight, I would have
protest gave me a cautious sense of hope. ties from Pittsburgh to Poway instilled in
People of all ages, races and backgrounds us the recognition: That could have been
stood shoulder-to-shoulder, donning their me. That could have been my father, my
masks and risking infection to stand up sibling, my partner, my friend, my com-

How can anyone keep their spirits up in

against an even more insidious disease munity.
with an even higher body count: racism. How many African American men and

a place where some lives seem to count

This is a moment to see past differ- women must be thinking the same thing
ences, to rediscover both our common right now? How painful it must be for

more than others?

humanity and our common fight against black communities to process not only
man’s ever-present inhumanity to man. the pain of George Floyd’s death, but to
There are five people sheltering in my know that so many other victims came
house in the burning Melrose district. A before George Floyd and too many will I can get to more tranquil waters. drowned in my sorrows.” We now are all at
Christian parent, a Jewish parent, two come after? How doubly crushing it must But the waves keep crashing, harder risk of drowning in tsuris.
Asian American kids and a house guest of be to feel this pain in the wake of a pan- and harder, and try as I may, I can’t get But we have one rope to hold onto. The
African descent. We will not allow others’ demic that claimed such a disproportion- to the other side. The current carries me lifeline is Genesis 1:27, the idea that “each
narrow-minded views to divide us. This ate number of black lives. away and I feel like I’m drowning. Don’t person is created in the image of God.” If
is a moment for solidarity between com- One thing that Holocaust survivors of- we all? everyone in this world could hold in their
munities. ten tell me is that loss can bring clarity This week’s Torah portion is called hearts that each person’s life counts, that
Solidarity is not easy. It cannot be about what really matters. My realization Nasso because it starts with the shop owners, honorable police officers, black
boiled down to a neat equation of his- is that what matters today is being an ally words Nasso et Rosh — lift up the heads men walking down the street are all created
torical suffering. When you deal every and showing up for other communities as of the people of Israel. The phrase refers in the image of God, and act accordingly,
day with Holocaust survivors, as I do, you would wish them to show up for you. to the census. The portion begins with then we can stay afloat.
you know that each group’s suffering Turning that common feeling into mutual this uplifting start, but in the next sen- On the morning of May 31, my daughter
is incomparable and unique. The racial support is painstaking, important work tence, we learn not everyone is counted. learned her synagogue community, Temple
violence in Minnesota surrounding the that must be sustained and cannot come Because the census is for military pur- Beth Am, gathered (with social distancing
death of George Floyd taps into four cen- and go with each crisis. poses, only males from the ages of 30 to and masks) to clean up looted stores near
turies of pain that is uniquely felt within As Edith Eger reminded me during the 50 are counted. her grandparents’ home. Maybe, just
the black community. increasing violence, “Love is not what you Lift up your head. I’ve been doing ev- maybe, there’s still some hope yet. n
And yet it’s a pain that many of the feel, it is what you do.” n erything I can think of to hold my head
Holocaust survivors I am proud to con- high — to keep my hopes up through the Rabbi Ilana B. Grinblat is the vice presi-
sider friends can understand viscerally. Stephen D. Smith is Finci-Viterbi execu- last 12 weeks of the pandemic. But how? dent of community engagement for the
People like Edith Eva Eger, who 75 years tive director of the USC Shoah Foundation. How can anyone keep their spirits up in Board of Rabbis.

12 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020


A Mask Standoff We Must Sweep

» by Deborah Fletcher Blum
Away Racism With
the Broken Glass
AS I RECENTLY WALKED MY DOG ON touched surfaces cuts down on the spread
Hollywood Boulevard one morning, two of the coronavirus. Wearing masks is crucial
young men approached me, not wearing for public safety, especially as we reopen
masks. I worried. Then I gestured to my our economy. One can avoid touching items
mask-covered face, hoping they would get and carry sanitizer, but we must breathe. » by Rabbi Adam Kligfeld
the idea. One guy shook his head “no.” I Los Angeles County’s population of
darted across the street to avoid possibly approximately 10 million is larger than New EACH MORNING, IT SEEMS WE WAKE UP shul, Temple Beth Am (along with
being exposed to COVID-19, but what about York City’s or Hong Kong’s. Wearing masks to a different city than the one we lived in a many members of many local Jewish
next time? may go against our individualist grain, but week ago. Of course, we must acknowledge communities), spent hours sweeping up
Were these gentlemen too self-absorbed it certainly would help many stay alive, and that far too many citizens have, for too long, broken glass, recommitting ourselves to
to care, or had they simply not heard would keep those who venture out of their been living in a different reality than the our neighborhood and bringing deeply
about the mayor’s new order requiring all homes safer. blessed one most of us inhabit. appreciated comfort and care to small-
Angelenos to wear facial coverings outside Los Angeles endures unprecedented loss That imbalance, which is deeply unjust business owners reeling from the violence.
their homes? of lives and livelihood. Sadly, the pandemic and undermines the lofty stated values of At the same time, Jews know broken
While driving on the 405 Freeway, I saw stubbornly persists. As retail shops reopen, our nation, is the source of today’s pent-up glass always means more than one
signs advising Angelenos to “Remember to life resumes — but at what cost? If we wish outrage, pain and sadness. We were afraid, thing. We are only conveniently righteous if
practice social distancing” and “Remember to help our city get back on its feet, stand justifiably, over the last few nights. For our we focus only on the lawlessness of those
to wash your hands.” But one sign was proud and strong, and not tumble again in well-being. For our neighborhoods. For
notably absent: “Remember to wear a face the near future, we need to ensure every our shuls. There is reason to fear that the
covering.” person follows best practices. unrest may still impact us. And we also
Many around the city share my As a former elementary and high school must confront the fact that so many in our

Jews know broken

frustration with people not complying teacher, I believe strongly in education. I society, just because of the color of their
also believe we Jews cannot idly stand by. skin, are afraid many nights.

glass always
We can find ways to educate the public We will not solve this centuries-old
because one-to-one battles are dangerous, societal malady, imbalance, injustice and

We must keep means more than

exhausting and inefficient. We have laws, conflict today or this week. We, as the Jewish
but don’t want cops on every corner. community, will not ourselves bring peace

the entire city one thing.

The other day, I walked by three to Los Angeles or the nation. But we also
people with masks on their chins. As cannot refrain from our duty to do what is

in our hearts
I approached wearing my mask, they right and good, to listen to others’ pain, call
pulled on theirs. In this instance, my out injustice when it is obvious, and call out who diverged from the peaceful and just

and minds to
individual example worked, but reached and refuse to tolerate lawlessness when it protests, and absolve ourselves from the
only three people. This message needs spills from righteous and legally protected obligation to look inward, into the crevices

combat COVID-19
to be shouted from the rooftops. Our protest. We cannot stand idly by and wait of our own souls that may unconsciously
synagogues could schedule Zoom for others to do tikkun olam. or consciously harbor hatred, racism and

successfully and
meetings to brainstorm. We could create Tens of thousands of us have spent many bigotry; if we focus only on sweeping away
apps, hire creatives, use nonprofits, of the last nights within a few hundred feet the glass shards of neighborhood stores,

pave the way for a

volunteers and even college students at of terrifying rioting and damaging looting. then look away as too much of society tries
home for the summer. We must search our consciences and hearts to sweep away centuries of racist policies,

brighter future for

We must keep the entire city in our to find solidarity with so many in our society thuggery and brutality; if we focus only on
hearts and minds to combat COVID-19 traumatized by injustice, racial profiling and condemning those who exploited rage to

our beloved city.

successfully and pave the way for a brutality. Our nervousness about the former wreak havoc and commit robbery without
brighter future for our beloved city. As does not absolve us of reckoning with the condemning those who committed the sins
we head back to the beach, and to our latter. And our sensitivity to the latter does that served as the engine of the protesters’
with the mayor’s order. As we struggle beloved synagogues — although we don’t not preclude our focus on the former. We indignant rage.
to understand the dissent of non-mask know how that will work yet — let us can, as Hillel taught us, both be for ourselves We will condemn ourselves, and our
wearers, or occasionally lash out at them keep in mind the parts of the city where and for others. We must. brothers and sisters, to a never-ending cycle
in anger, I believe we must seek creative the disease is still running wild. Eighty-six As a resident of this city, I am hurting. of broken glass, sweeping up glass, broken
solutions to the problem. percent of people who tested positive in As a citizen of this nation, I am hurting. As society and empty promises of liberty and
Some people may need tickets and fines nursing homes had no symptoms. The only a man who considers assessing another’s justice.
to be convinced, but others might merely way to stop this deadly virus from spreading worth and treatment as a result of the color We must stand against racism,
be unaware. If this sounds like the four is for everyone to wear masks. We still need of his or her skin to be about the foulest way eradicating it even where it hides in our
children at the Passover seder, perhaps to work out how to chant Torah with masks to express one’s humanity, I am hurting. As souls. We must continue to think and act
re-reading the Haggadah can inspire us on, but I am sure it can be done! a leader who tries to stand for important both righteously and wisely. We must do
to find ways to educate with compassion The sky’s the limit to what we can issues while maintaining stances of nuance all this as Angelenos. As Americans. As
and creativity, using the powerful tools of accomplish when we work together. and clear-headedness, I am hurting. I am humans. As Jews. I write this with a heavy
technology and brainpower. Wearing masks Communication is an art. Let us become witnessing yet another moment where heart, and with great love for my fellow
is new for most Americans. We enjoy the angels for our City of Angels and help society devolves into screaming matches, Jews, my fellow residents of this great city
freedom to dress and speak as we like. We Angelenos through this crisis. n out-outraging the other; and when the good, and my fellow citizens. n
are not used to donning masks to avoid the the just and the righteous deteriorate into
spread of illnesses. Deborah Fletcher Blum is a Hollywood- lawlessness, violence and mayhem. Rabbi Adam Kligfeld is the senior rabbi at
But the reality is that washing commonly based writer and documentary filmmaker. Sunday morning, members of my Temple Beth Am.

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 13


THE VIRUS THAT THREW US ALL A former President Barack Obama apparently for the assault on Israeli sovereignty that relationship between Israel and the United
curve until we anxiously flattened it is still a dusted off on his trusty vice president. Presi- Resolution 2334 represented. (And Article States. Third, it’s not how we should treat a
public health menace. No vaccine. No reliable dent Obama received a pass on Israel. 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which friend that happens to be the only democ-
antibody tests. No scientific certainty. Joe Biden, hopefully, will not. states, “The Occupying Power shall not de- racy in the region. Fourth, our silence will
No matter. The people want out, and gov- Every police procedural TV show or film port or transfer parts of its own civilian pop- be interpreted as if we believe that Israel
ernors are slowly giving it to them. has the same obligatory scene. A potential ulation into the territory it occupies,” simply should return to its former indefensible bor-
Which means that the news cycle is be- suspect or eyewitness is asked, “Where were does not apply to this situation. Jews had ders. And lastly, sir, the resolution says noth-
ginning to spin toward new stories — the you on the night of ... ?” a possessory claim to the land. The Israeli ing about Palestinian rejectionism and vio-
tragic racism and riots in Minnesota and In Biden’s case, the relevant date is Dec. 22, government did not transfer anyone — the lence, which is the main reason why there is
across the country and an impending presi- 2016. settlers sprinted toward the territories of no peace and no two states.”
dential election. What happened that night? Well, a Mid- their own volition. Finally, neither the West Biden was known for his fierce loyalty to
Remember that? Bernie, Buttigieg, Booker, dle-Eastern Pearl Harbor occurred the very Bank nor the Gaza Strip was part of an ac- the president. It is unlikely that he responded
Bloomberg, Biden. An impeachment trial and next day, with the United States serving in tual state contemplated by Article 49.) in this manner, or at all. He knew that his boss,
acquittal of the president. All to kick-off 2020! the role of Japan. Guess who got blindsided? Before the passage of Resolution 2334, the despite the many areas of cooperation and as-
The choice between President Donald America’s inaction infamously tarnished official American position on Israeli settle- sistance between the two countries, also had
Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden the “special relationship” between Israel ments was that they were unhelpful to the a curious fetish when it came to spanking Is-
rael, and especially its prime minister, Benja-
min Netanyahu.
And he was fixated on Israeli settlements
with a passion he couldn’t summon when it
came to challenging the tyrannical ayatollahs
of Iran, and brutal dictators elsewhere. The
Obama administration was less interested in
American Exceptionalism than with Ameri-

Remember that?
Bernie, Buttigieg,
Booker, Bloomberg,
Biden. An
A Question impeachment trial

for Joe Biden

and acquittal of the
president. All to
Photo illustration by MammothCat

on Israel kick-off 2020!

can contrition. And it treated Israel as if it, too,
had colonial sins to atone for.
» by Thane Rosenbaum After a long and distinguished career of
public service, many fine things can be said of
Vice President Biden. But if he was silent on
the night of Dec. 22, 2016, then being solidly
will be decided in November. Many voters and the United States. peace process. Never were they deemed “il- pro-Israel is, I’m afraid, not one of them — es-
likely will be wearing masks — some safe- The U.N. Security Council passed Resolu- legal.” And before Resolution 2334, whenever pecially when compared with the Middle East
guarding against bacteria at the ballot box, tion 2334, with a 14-0 vote and one absten- Israel was being ganged up on at the Security track record of President Donald Trump.
and the rest in shame. tion — the United States. The U.S. has Security Council, which always dominated the agenda Trump’s bona fides as a booster of the Jew-
It will be a momentous but largely unin- Council veto power; the other four nations of the U.N. in ways that genocides in Congo, ish state are without equal. Even if reelected,
spiring presidential contest, except for the fact that also have veto power — China, France, Sudan and Syria, and occupations in North he may still be remembered as the most po-
that both candidates suffer from a virus of a Russia and Great Britain — all voted in favor. Cyprus, Kashmir and Kurdistan never do, the larizing, anti-democratic and possibly worst
different sort, located in their mouths: Biden In the most extreme language possible, the United States could also be relied upon to veto president in American history. But in Israel,
exhales giant gaffes; Trump insults without resolution condemned Israeli settlements as the resolution. after four-years of unprecedented gift-giving,
any impulse control. a “flagrant violation” of international law with Not this time, however. During the final he can rightly claim to be the stepfather of
As we anticipate whether the national “no legal validity.” It also referred to all of Je- days of the Obama administration, the United Zionism. Theodor Herzl might not even mind
conventions will comply with social distanc- rusalem as “occupied territory” — meaning States abstained. It is simply not possible to the shared billing.
ing or be held at all, many questions will be a return to the border that existed before the overstate the magnitude of this betrayal.
directed toward the candidates. For Israel sup- Six-Day War, and the implication that even “Well, Joe, where were you on the night be- Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law
porters, however, one very important matter the Western Wall was not part of Israel proper. fore that unfortunate vote?” professor and Distinguished University Profes-
has gone unanswered and Biden should be Given that Israel captured these territo- If in the Situation Room, did you say sor at Touro College, where he directs the Forum
required to address it. ries in a defensive war, the land was never anything that resembled the following: “Mr. on Life, Culture & Society. His work has appeared
The question hasn’t bedeviled him yet, part of a Palestinian state, and that violence President, if I may: We simply must veto in major national and global publications. His
probably because the angel dust that the against the Jewish state has never subsided, this resolution. First, it is legally wrong on most recent book is titled “Saving Free Speech ...
media and Jewish liberals sprinkled all over there is no legal, moral or political basis its face. Second, it completely upends the From Itself.”

14 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020


A version of this story originally appeared on inclusion, greater peace is very much ours to also requires recognition that although most form us about what their lives, communities in July 2016. determine. Those choices also will constrain Americans oppose racism, the culture has and struggles mean to them.
and empower our children’s generation. What marinated in racist belief and practice for so If we can nudge ourselves to build com-
WE ARE SWIMMING IN BLOOD. we do matters. long that we all are infected by its residue. In munities beyond the boundaries of our own
Ancient American fault lines of race, wealth, 1775, when Patrick Henry sought to defend group so that our circles of belonging include
privilege and violence are ripping open be- Truth, justice and peace the new democracy, he chastised his fellow those who are not like us, who look differ-
fore our weeping eyes. Whatever progress to- “The world stands on three virtues: on jus- (white) Virginians that they should be men ent than we do, whose faith or traditions are
ward healing the rifts we thought we might tice, on truth, and on peace.” (M. Avot 1:18) and not slaves. As with his fellow Founding Fa- not our own, we can open our hearts to their
have achieved seems vulnerable to the new We cannot heal our social divisions if we thers, African slavery was not marginal to his points of view even as we insist they extend
assaults and the rage they reflect. Whatever don’t begin with justice as our goal, with truth identity; it was at the core of his sense of what that same circle of grace to us.
coalitions we have built seem fragile in the as our standard, and with peace as our way. a worthy American is not: not a slave, not a We Jews can hone our abilities to see
face of new realizations of inequality, race Our goal must be a society in which some- black person. The pervasive sense of blacks as through the eyes of another, to stand in their
hatred and access to too-accessible weap- one’s race doesn’t matter — and yet matters inferior, suspect, alien, runs through the very place, by finding members of the African
American community to join in conversation,
in renewed commitment to democracy, to en-
gage in dialogue in which we do more listen-
ing than speaking.
And in that regard, the vast majority of our
police forces seek the greater good, and we
need to listen to them, as well. What can we

America is not a level

playing field, and
truth requires us to
acknowledge there is
much work yet to do.

Photo illustration by MammothCat

Black and Blue (and White)
do to help them do their jobs better, to achieve
their goals of service and safety on behalf of
us all? We need to hear their voices and work
with them for the common good.

» by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson The future depends on each of us

“If I am not for me, who will be? If I am only
for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”
ons of mass destruction. very much. Vis-à-vis one’s rights as citizen, core of American democracy. To acknowledge (M. Avot 1:14)
In this storm, we seek haven. Perhaps Jew- one’s race should be irrelevant. But as a mat- these truths is not to foment a race war; it is In the end, there is no clear boundary
ish tradition contains some wisdom to help ter of identity, culture and pride, one’s race simply to root ourselves in truth. America is around what counts as American values. We
us find the path toward healing, to guide us and community matter equally for each citi- not a level playing field, and truth requires us will determine which values make the cut by
toward policies of true tzedek u’mishpat (justice zen, and deserves honor and attention from to acknowledge there is much work yet to do. our own actions, our own participation, our
and equity). Perhaps if we train ourselves to society at large. Justice requires we keep the goal of equal- own shared struggle for justice. Similarly, the
see through heaven’s perspective, we might Truth means recognizing a second bipolar ity, diversity and shared values firmly in place. American story doesn’t have a conclusion;
discern the way out of this ancient ruin. Dur- reality. On the one hand, we have made great Truth requires acknowledging the chasm each generation writes the subsequent chap-
ing these dry summer months, it is a Jewish progress as a society. African Americans now between what ought to be and what is. And ter, which constrains and empowers the fol-
tradition to read the Mishnah’s compilation serve as leaders in scholarship, industry, gov- peace reflects the American conviction that lowing generation while allowing new options
of rabbinic wisdom, Pirkei Avot (“Ethics of the ernment, education and a host of other are- the locus of value lies in each individual per- to emerge from the past. Our generation can
Fathers”). Let its perspective elevate our own. nas. Our nation has benefited from females son. If liberty is built one person at a time, claim its inheritance: a legacy of life, liberty
and black males as Supreme Court justices, then we must respect the rights of every per- and the pursuit of happiness, of all people be-
We didn’t cause it, but we have to fix it secretaries of state and president of the Unit- son, starting with their right to life, to security, ing created equal. But we also have a legacy of
“It is not for you to complete the task, but ed States. Legal battles won for voting rights, to well-being. slavery, Jim Crow, of segregation and privilege.
neither are you free to stand aside from it.” (M. access to fair housing and equal education If we want our children — and other peo-
Avot 2:21) have made a real difference. Seeing with another’s eyes ple’s children — to live in a world of peace
Each of us was born into a world we did not But these changes are not nearly enough. “Do not withdraw from the commu- and harmony, of creativity and decency, then
fashion. We did not invent the social structure The rate by which black individuals get pulled nity; do not be sure of yourself until the day we must fashion that world now. Our par-
that privileges some and marginalizes others, over by police for often-minor offenses, get your death; do not judge your fellow human ents were able to wrest greater justice and
nor did we launch the democratic structures arrested for those offenses, and the length of beings until you have stood in their place.” (M. opportunity in their time. Together with our
that make progress possible. The problems, their sentences and their rate of incarceration Avot 2: 5) brothers and sisters in the African American
the creativity and the institutions were cre- is markedly different than for white Ameri- For us to begin the work of our time, to take community, with the men and women of the
ated by the generations before us. We are their cans. But on the ground, the rates of violence America forward as a land of liberty for all and police forces, with other faith communities,
heirs to both the good and the bad. Regard- against blacks are significantly higher than it of true justice, we must recognize that our we face that same possibility today. n
ing the problems, we are not guilty. But we is for other races. Access to nutritious and af- own take on the world is informed by our per-
are responsible. How we respond to the real- fordable food, to affordable housing, to quality sonal perspective, our distinctive history, our Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson is the
ity we find ourselves facing, how we take the education still is largely correlated to race and particular communities. To reach beyond the Abner & Roslyn Goldstine Dean’s Chair and
democratic institutions our forebears created income. endless loop of our own perspective requires professor of philosophy at the Ziegler School
and advance a vision of greater justice, greater A commitment to the standard of truth us to listen to others, and to ask them to in- of Rabbinic Studies.

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 15


Image by Feodora Chiosea/Getty Images

Some Thoughts About Being Safe » by Dennis Prager

In a recent “Fireside Chat,” my weekly video I started teaching myself to conduct movie about free speech “No Safe Spaces” He was an officer on a troop transport
podcast on the PragerU platform, I commented an orchestra when I was in my teens. I ( ship, a prime target of the Japanese. He
on society’s increasing fixation on being “safe.” have conducted orchestras periodically for “Safe” has become a dirty word. I rarely wasn’t safe. The World War II generation
The following is a condensed version of what much of my adult life. As a guest conduc- use it in the context of living life. It’s one of has been dubbed “the greatest genera-
I said: tor, I raise funds for orchestras, as I did the reasons I’m a happy person and have led tion.” Part of what made them great was
two years ago at the Disney Concert Hall, a full life. I’m thinking of a trivial example, the last thing they would ever ask was, “Is
WE HAVE A MEME UP AT PRAGERU: where I conducted a Haydn symphony but life is filled with trivial examples. Most it safe?”
“Until it’s safe” means “never.” with the Santa Monica Symphony Orches- of life is not major moments. If I am at a res- If you want to lead a good and full life,
The pursuit of “safe” over virtually all tra. I rarely get nervous. But the first time taurant and my fork or knife falls, I pick it you cannot keep asking, “Is it safe?” Those
other considerations is life-suppressing. I conducted, I was so nervous I was actu- up and use it. They rush over to give me a at colleges promoting “safe spaces” are
This is true for your individual life and for ally dripping sweat onto the score, and new one, like I am flirting with death if I take afraid of life, and they want to make you
the life of a society. I always give the follow- it was only a rehearsal. I did not play it the fork from the floor. My view is there’s afraid of life. We’re going crazy on the
ing example: I have been taking visitors to safe. Playing it safe no reason to come safety issue. It is making police states.
Israel for decades, and for all those decades, would have meant over. The fork fell on That’s my worry: In the name of safety,
people have called my radio show to say, I wouldn’t have ac- the floor. What did many Americans are dropping all other
“Dennis, I would so love to visit Israel, but cepted the invita- it pick up? Diphthe- considerations. “Is it safe?” shouldn’t be

You are not on Earth

I’m just going to wait until it’s safe.” And I’ve tion to conduct. ria? Am I going to get the overarching element in your life. Pick
always told these people, “Then you’ll never All of life con- pancreatic cancer the fork up. Wipe it off. And use it.

to be safe. You are

go.” And sure enough, I’ve gone there more fronts you with this from a fork that fell? Postscript: Some left-wing media cited
than 20 times, and they never went. question: Are you I’m not troubled by the remarks about picking up a fork in or-
I have never led my life on the basis
of “until it’s safe.” I do not take ridiculous
going to take risks
or play it safe? If on Earth to lead a these things.
“Safe” is going to
der to smear me and the message. The Dai-
ly Beast led with: “Dennis Prager Licks Dirty
risks. I wear a seatbelt because the chances
are overwhelming that in a bad accident, a
you play it safe, you
don’t get married. If full life. suppress your joy
of life. When I was
Forks To Show COVID Who’s Boss.” And the
Daily Mail: “Right-Wing Radio Host Dennis
seatbelt can save my life. But I get into the you play it safe, you 21, I was sent to the Prager Boasts About Using Dirty Forks From
car, which is not 100% safe. You are not on don’t have kids. There are real risks in get- Soviet Union to smuggle in religious items Restaurant Floors in His Latest Rambling
Earth to be safe. You are on Earth to lead a ting married; there are real risks in having for Soviet Jews and to smuggle out names Message Downplaying Dangers of Corona-
full life. I don’t want my epitaph to be, “He children. of Jews who wanted to escape. I was in a virus That Has Now Killed 88,000 Ameri-
led a safe life.” It’s like another epitaph I Take the issue of the word “safe” on totalitarian state, smuggling things in and cans.” As is obvious, my talk was about “be-
don’t want: “He experienced as little pain campuses. “Safe” is used to suppress free- out. But it was one of the most important ing safe,” not the coronavirus. n
as possible.” The nature of this world is dom of thought: “If we have a conserva- things I’ve done in my life, not to mention
such that if you aim for 100% safety and tive speaker on campus, we need a ‘safe a life-transforming experience. Copyright 2020 Dennis
no pain, you don’t live. I have visited 130 space’ where we can avoid feeling dis- Before I went, I told my father about Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk
countries, some of which were not par- comfort from exposure to ideas we don’t my plans. We both knew it wasn’t safe. I’ll show host; president of PragerU, which has 1
ticularly safe. Safe, as in “no risk,” doesn’t like.” Some students go to a “safe space” never forget what my father said: “Dennis, billion views a year, and author most recently
exist. Accepting there are degrees of safety where they’re given Play-Doh, hot choco- I spent 2 1/2 years on a Navy ship in World of volume two (“Genesis”) of the bestselling
and balancing risk with reward are part of late and stuffed animals. I’m not joking. War II, fighting in the Pacific. So, you can Torah and Bible commentary in America, “The
the reason I’ve led a rich life. That’s why Adam Carolla and I named our take risks for a month.” Rational Bible.” Reprinted with permission.

16 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020


AIPAC Cancels 2021 Jared Kushner: Slow Down the attention of the White House is taken the officials asked Netanyahu if and how
Policy Conference, Citing Annexation Process up by the current national protests over Israel would move forward with unilateral
COVID-19 Concerns Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanya- the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis annexation, but did not receive an answer.
The American Israel Public Affairs Com- hu held a conference call with Jared Kushner while in police custody, and the coronavi- Netanyahu said last week in a meeting
mittee (AIPAC) announced on May 31 it is can- and other top White House officials to discuss rus crisis. with government ministers that he has a tar-
celing its 2021 Policy Conference because of slowing down West Bank annexation plans, Netanyahu was on the call with White get date in July to extend Israeli sovereignty
the COVID-19 pandemic. an Israeli TV station reported. House adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s over about 30% of the West Bank, which is pro-
AIPAC President Betsy Korn said in a state- Channel 13 in its June 1 report cited an son-in-law; Avi Berkowitz, White House vided for in President Donald Trump’s Israeli-
ment posted to Twitter, “Given the continued unnamed senior Israeli source that the Middle East peace negotiator; David Fried- Palestinian peace plan.
uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pan- Trump administration wants to “downplay man, the U.S. ambassador to Israel; and Ron The coalition deal between Netanyahu
demic, and without a predictable avenue to the enthusiasm” for immediate annexa- Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and Gantz permits annexation from July 1.
safely bring together thousands of pro-Israel tion and to “greatly slow the process” since Unnamed U.S. sources told Channel 13 that — Marcy Oster, JTA
Americans, we have been forced to cancel the
2021 AIPAC Policy Conference.”
She added AIPAC is working on ways to
connect the pro-Israel community virtually

Calling all HigH SCHool

until the pandemic ends.
“COVID-19 is one of several areas where
the partnership between the United States
and Israel is critical, and our job is to ensure
that America continues to stand shoulder-to-
shoulder with the Jewish State,” Korn said.
Korn concluded the statement with a call
for the pro-Israel community to expand and
ensure that bipartisan support for Israel is
Senior 2020 graduateS
maintained in Congress.
“The impact of COVID-19 will make this a
different and challenging year,” she said. “But
we are confident that the AIPAC community
will continue to overcome any obstacle and
rise to the occasion.”
You are all JUNE AY
Several attendees at the AIPAC Policy Con-
ference in March, including a Los Angeles
County resident, tested positive for the virus
after the conference ended.
— Aaron Bandler

4 More Women, Including

a Minor, Accuse Weinstein
of Sexual Assault in Lawsuit this year and
we want to
A new lawsuit filed against Harvey Wein-
stein in New York City accuses the former
film producer of raping four women, includ-

feature your
ing one who was a minor at the time.
One of the women, now 43, said she was

stories in the
17 when she was attacked in her hotel room
in 1994 during what she thought was a meet-

ing to talk about helping her break into the
entertainment industry, The Associated Press

She is suing under the New York’s Child
Victims Act, which relaxes the statute of limi-
tations on lawsuits in the sexual abuse of mi-
The other three women, however, may be
barred by the statute of limitations, according
to the report.
One claims Weinstein attacked her at
the Cannes Film Festival in France in 1984. In 200 words or less tell us how you feel about graduating
Another, now 38 and living in New York, al-
leges Weinstein raped her during what she
“virtually,” what you’re missing most, what you’ve learned in
thought was a business meeting at a Manhat-
tan apartment in 2008. And another plaintiff,
lockdown and your plans, hopes and dreams
35, says Weinstein forced her to perform a sex for the future in these pandemic times.
act against her will in 2013.
They are suing Weinstein, his brother and
former business partner Bob Weinstein, the
Send your submissions in writing
Miramax movie studio Disney, which once
owned Miramax and others.
(or in a one minute or less video) together with a photo
Weinstein, 68, is serving a sentence of up to
to 23 years in New York after being convicted
in February of rape and sexual assault. with “Grads” in the subject line.
— Marcy Oster, JTA

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 17


The SAGE Woman Creating

20-Minute Online Classes
» by Deborah Danan, Contributing Writer
ESTHER HERSHCOVICH, HOLDS DOWN A wanted SAGE to be about in-person con- Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy and platforms, which often take a cut from all in-
full-time job at a Tel Aviv architectural firm nections,” she said. Israel have signed up to teach subjects rang- volved parties, Hershcovich isn’t interested in
while simultaneously focusing on her global The about-face came after reading an ing from challah making to the psychology earning from the sages. “The social impact is
startup — SAGE. article about how older people were suffer- behind doodling. much more important to me,” she said, adding
Originally, Hershcovich envisioned SAGE ing the most in isolation. During her second During the BETA stage, sages are volun- reaction to the initiative has been overwhelm-
as a community-based gig economy where week of quarantine, Hershcovich harnessed teering their time to teach free 20-minute ingly positive. “The feedback is so motivating;
older people could share their skills with the network she already had built and recast “coffee break” classes to enable the platform it’s what makes me get up at 6 a.m. every day
individuals in their vicinity. The idea came SĀGE as an online platform. Speaking English to collect reviews and bring a more robust for more work.”
about when she sought to create a meaning- and being older than 60 are the only prereq- product to market in a month or two. At that One email came from Sandi Einstein, a
ful way for her parents — a retired contrac- woman in Australia who expressed her en-
tor and midwife in their 70s and 80s — to thusiasm about joining SAGE but lamented
spend their retirement and maybe make a that she had no expertise. “I told her, ‘Every-
buck or two. “My parents have so much wis-
dom and I just thought, what if there’s a way Some 30 sages from all over the world one has something to teach. Let’s chat.” Ein-
stein ended up on SAGE offering peer support
to keep them engaged by allowing them to
impart that wisdom to others?”
including Canada, the U.S., Australia, New for people recently diagnosed with bipolar dis-
order or depression. She also became SAGE’s
But then the coronavirus hit. Physical Zealand, Ireland, Italy and Israel have signed unofficial representative in Australia, recruit-

up to teach subjects ranging from challah

meetings were not allowed. After returning ing more sages.
from a ski trip, Hershcovich found herself “People have reached out to help and it

making to the psychology behind doodling.

quarantined and directionless. “I was pret- feels like we’re all sort of building this to-
ty down about it,” she said. She had toyed gether,” Hershcovich said. “This isn’t where
with the idea of taking SAGE online at some I intended to go but I’m riding the wave
point in the future but it wasn’t in the spirit uisites for becoming a teacher — or as Her- stage, sages will apply fixed rates to their right now.” n
of what she had in mind. “We stick older shcovich calls them, sages. Since its launch classes. For now, Hershcovich is funding the
people in front of screens as much as we at the end of March, some 30 sages from all project herself but eventually SAGE will skim For more information, or to become a sage, visit
stick kids in front of screens and I really over the world including Canada, the U.S., commission from the user fees. Unlike other


Top Stories

The Day After Wonders on Water

Ehud Barak’s approval rating is still high San Francisco and Haifa have much in
following the withdrawal from Lebanon. common, including harbors and cable cars.

Choosing Israel Shanghai Seder

The Jewish Federation honors 40 people who U.S. Jews happily eat kosher food in the land
will make aliyah this year. known for Peking duck.

Sharing the Joy Promoting Denial

Eretz Cultural Center in the Valley reaches out to The Los Angeles Times is used again as a
its youngest members by opening its doors to all. propaganda instrument for Holocaust denial.

Forgotten Holiday Love Trips

The mystical meaning behind Shavuot makes Los Angeles Ulpan celebrates 36 years of Israel
up for its dearth of rituals. teen trips.

18 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020

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

Rosner online
Unrest, and A few days ago, I posted an update from Israel. During the first week of Netan-

Rabbi Hanina’s Advice

yahu’s trial, I wrote:
“A survey taken by pollster Menachem Lazar revealed that Prime Minister Benja-
min Netanyahu and his Likud party are still supported by about the same number of
people today as a month ago. Despite Netanyahu’s trial in which he’s facing multiple
corruption charges, voters didn’t change their minds during the first day of Netan-
» by Shmuel Rosner yahu’s trial on May 24. He’s still in a commanding position with 41 projected seats.
The second-largest party is 26 seats behind.”
reminded of a short lesson from the Mish- If you’re in the
nah in Pirkei Avot (“Ethics of the Fathers”): United States, it
“Rabbi Hanina, the vice-high priest said, means praying
“Pray for the welfare of the government, for the welfare of
for were it not for the fear it inspires, every President Donald
man would swallow his neighbor alive.” Trump, for Min-
Hanina lived when the House of the Has- nesotan Gov. Tim
moneans was nearing its bitter end. For Walz and Cali-
him, praying for the welfare of the govern- fornia Gov. Gavin
ment was praying for one of the last Has- Newsom. For the
monean kings or possibly for Rome. Hani- chiefs of police.
na knew that lawlessness was worse than For the command-
any king. Based on this tradition, almost ers in the National

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

all Jewish prayer books include a prayer for Guard. If you’re in
the welfare of the government. Israel, it means
Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, quoting this praying for Prime
Mishnah, explained that “the Torah has Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, for the
34 new ministers
(that’s a lot of pray-

Praying for the

ing), for the border
policeman who

welfare of the
shot and killed an
unarmed — and reportedly, autistic — Pal-
A week’s numbers
government isn’t
estinian man. Pray for these officials not
because you approve of what they do but Here are the averages for all Israeli parties based on polls since election day.

for the government.

because they are the ones who stand be-
tween our societies and the horrific pros-

It’s for us.

pect of a world in which “every man would
swallow his neighbor alive.”
Most Americans disprove of the way
profound respect for the dignity and indi- Trump is handling his job. Almost two
viduality of man … social reality, however, thirds of those polled believe that their
forces upon us the necessity of entrusting country is moving in the wrong direction.
leadership, for otherwise anarchy would A new Israeli survey revealed that two
ensue.” The dignity of man, and the ne- thirds of Israelis have little faith in Netan-
cessity of entrusting leadership. If there yahu. The numbers for his political part-
is a time to ponder these two contrast- ner, Benny Gantz of the Blue and White
ing values, using our Jewish sources, our Party, are worse. Trust in leaders is in short
sentiments and our experiences, our good supply when it’s needed most.
judgment and calm evaluation — it is now, Praying is habitually advocated. But it
when the horror in Minnesota is still fresh is not always effective. At least, not in the
in our memory. When the smell of smoke short term. Praying won’t turn our leaders Insight: The coalition is very strong, but split. The opposition is very weak, and
is still in the air. When our leaders rush to into something else. Praying won’t quiet split. There is no one who seems like a viable challenger to Netanyahu.
capitalize on tragedy. the streets, or mitigate the anger, or resus-
The time is now — when we must ad-
just to a government bigger than ever be-
citate the dead, or resolve long-standing
social problems. Praying for the welfare
A reader’s response:
fore amid an economic crisis, when we of the government isn’t for the govern- After my dispatch from the first day on Netanyahu’s trial, Jacob Amir wrote:
look into the shooting of an unarmed man ment. It’s for us. It’s to make us mindful of “The idea that there is a conspiracy against Netanyahu is absurd.”
in Jerusalem, when we question witnesses the government’s role in our world. It’s to My response: Well, yes and no. It is not absurd in the eyes of many of his support-
whom we suspect lied under oath to de- make us aware that a government — even ers, and that makes a difference. It is also not absurd to note that investigations into
fend the wife of the prime minister. Amer- in wicked ancient Rome, and its contem- prime ministers (not just him) have become a major disruption in Israel’s political
icans, Israelis and members of all other porary incarnations — is better than no life. Maybe it’s because prime ministers have become corrupt. There also is the no-
nations and tribes feel that the world is government. It’s to make us understand tion that the legal system is too eager to investigate every little misdeed, or perceived
descending into chaos: less humanity and that, sadly, government must come first, misdeed, by the person in charge.
less trust in leadership. and the dignity of man — in the best of
And what’s Rabbi Hanina’s advice? circumstances — comes second. Shmuel Rosner is senior political editor. For more analysis of Israeli and international
Pray. Now, let us pray. n politics, visit Rosner’s Domain at

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 19

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images


As protesters march for justice, »

violence threatens to hijack the message.

Photo by Apu Gomes / Stringer/Getty Images








20 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020 Ju

Photo by Kelsey Goldberg

Jews March, Speak Out

on Police Brutality
» by Erin Ben-Moche, Staff Writer

THE TORAH AND TALMUD TEACH THE insecure the cops are, and how that insecurity fuels their Naomi Ackerman, executive director of the Advot Proj-
importance of justice, repairing the world, to not stand violence,” said 33-year-old Benjamin-Shalom Rodriguez, ect, took her daughters to Fairfax Avenue on the morning
idly by and the value of a human life. who attended the protest at Pan Pacific Park. “As a white- of May 31 to clean up before attending a protest in Santa
It’s why Jews across the country said they gathered, passing queer Latinx Jew, anyone who passes as white — Monica, which also turned violent.
marched, donated and spoke out against police brutality Jewish or Gentile — has inherent privilege in the U.S.A. “Cleaning up Fairfax was a very bipolar experience. I
in honor of all black people who died at the hands of po- And we must first accept that privilege, not shame it, and think we need to take responsibility for a lot of things and
lice, including George Floyd, who died after a police officer definitely not excuse it away before we can be a true, com- what we can do is help cleanup,” Ackerman, 56, said. “Peo-
knelt on the back of his neck for nearly nine minutes. mitted ally for Jews of color and all people of color.” ple are mad and they are hurt and there are reasons these
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, people in almost “We need and deserve to be heard,” 18-year-old Erykah things are happening. I work with people every day where
every major city left the comfort of their homes to stand Gaston said. “We deserve to fight for a change. There’s no this is their reality. Police brutality has to stop.”
up for what they felt was right. L.A. resident Marnina reason that after 400 years, we are still fighting for the In response to the violence, L.A. Jews for Black Lives
Schon Wirtschafter, 26, felt it was her duty to show up for same life that we were fighting for when we were taken released a petition demanding a “People’s Budget,” oppos-
others because it’s the Jewish thing to do. from our native lands .… Our own protest is being taken ing the proposed city budget allocating half of its general
“Pikuach nefesh (saving a life). Tikkun olam (repairing from us and is being used to silence us, as it always has funds for a police force that “terrorizes Black communi-
the world). Tzedek, tezdek tirdof (justice, justice, shall you been.” ties as well as the unhoused, undocumented, and other
pursue). If these are the things I’m teaching to my b’nai Of the many local business damaged by the looting, a marginalized communities,” the letter stated. “We call on
mitzvah students, how could I not show up in some ca- few Los Angeles synagogues were vandalized with anti- our Jewish community and allies to honor our common
pacity this weekend?” Schon Wirtschafter, who attended
a march near Griffith Park, said. “We need to continue to
read and uplift black voices and black Jews. We need to let

“There is a painful, difficult process by which we are making

them know and let your own community know that you
are no longer willing to be complacent in racism.”

ourselves something new and that to me is the American

Kelsey Goldberg, 31, participated in the May 30 march
at Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles. Goldberg has been in-

promise that we have been working toward for hundreds of

volved with social justice activism for several years, at-
tending many marches including the Black Lives Matter

years.” — Ginna Green

march for Michael Brown in 2014. This time around, she
was surprised to see the diverse turnout including the
number of white allies.
“The sheer size of the crowd and how interracial it was, Semitic graffiti. (see separate stories). California Rapper humanity — B’Tzelem Elohim (in the image of God), and
I had never seen that before in those numbers,” she said. Westside Gravy said this news hurt him as a black Jew affirm that Black Lives Matter,” the letter written to Mayor
“This one seemed to have a lot more white allies out .… because hate groups tied to the graffiti and other looting Eric Garcetti said.
I know a lot of my friends showed up to this one. I’m not during the protests were moving the conversation away Political strategist and co-author of JOCsCount Cam-
sure why this one struck a chord but I’m glad we’re finally from the main point of the movement and attacking his paign Ginna Green noted that the country is going
here.” identity in multiple ways. through a painful time right now but it’s necessary to
She added volunteers were handing out face masks, “I think a lot of people felt like ‘I don’t have a place in make change.
visors, hand sanitizer, food and water. Local stores and standing up for this movement because there is this active “I think about how lobsters molt, like they basically
restaurants including Canter’s Deli (see separate story) vandalism taking place against a place of worship.’ There lose their exoskeleton and it’s a really painful process of
also were offering water from the sidelines at a march in are so many different white supremacist and far-left an- basically getting a new body,” Green said. “That’s what it
West Hollywood. For the most part, protestors said it was archists who are trying to co-opt the black struggle right feels like America is going through right now. There is a
organized, peaceful and powerful. now that we can’t point fingers and say this entire move- painful, difficult process by which we are making our-
Unfortunately, those peaceful protests later turned ment to fight for justice for black Americans is tainted by selves something new and that to me is the American
violent. Police and military enforcement were called in anti-Semitism,” the rapper said. “I think it’s important to promise that we have been working toward for hundreds
to quell looting. Protesters reportedly were attacked, tear recognize that and not flush a whole movement down the of years.” n
gassed and arrested. toilet because of the actions of people who are harming
“It was also horrifying to see firsthand how violent and not only the Jewish community but the black community.” — Additional reporting by Ariel Sobel.

20 June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 21

Jewish Pharmacist on Looters C
Who Destroyed His Store » by Kylie Ora Lobell, Contributing Writer M
ON MAY 30, AS PROTESTORS MARCHED DOWN “I watched them from across the street,” Friedman said
Beverly Boulevard, Jonathan Friedman stood with cops in a phone interview with the Journal. “I’ve been broken

“I’ve been broken into

and watched as they looted his store, Syd’s Pharmacy, at into before, but to watch people viciously destroy your
7111 Beverly Blvd. store for no reason is a whole different ballgame. I was po

before, but to watch people

standing here with the cops and there was nothing any- Je
one could do.” ra

viciously destroy your store

The looters smashed the pharmacy’s windows,
knocked down the shelves and took all the “street drugs” Ca

for no reason is a whole

including painkillers. Friedman said the protest started at cr
Pan Pacific Park and then police pushed the crowd down re

different ballgame.”
Beverly. po
It was then that they “looted every single store. They m
went from store to store. They took hammers out and Th
smashed windows. What’s more upsetting than the theft — Jonathan Friedman th
is that they destroyed everyone’s place of work. People m
take pride in where they work. They want to come in people out of my store,” he said. “At 9 o’clock last night, to
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Friedman

Monday morning and have their papers in order. They de- there were cops driving up and down the block. There was
stroyed people’s place of work, which is like their home.” not an ounce of fear in these [looters’] eyes.” ca
While witnessing the damage to his business, as well Friedman stayed up until 2 a.m. cleaning the store and al
the kosher Mensch Bakery and Kitchen and the Jewish- boarding up the windows. “It looked like the aftermath of
owned clothing store Go Couture across the street, Fried- a hurricane,” he said. Ca
man returned home for a few minutes to tell his wife and Still, he said he will be ready to open his doors this w
children what was happening. He walked to and from his week to serve his customers. th
store because he was observing Shabbat and Shavuot si- “We’re cleaning up. We’re a pharmacy. We have to serve si
multaneously. our patients tomorrow. We don’t have a choice. What hap-
“The 15 minutes I was gone, someone chased three pened was terrible.” n bu

16-Year-Old Creates ‘Tikkun Olam Means D

Black Lives Matter’ Line for Charity B
» by Ariel Sobel
SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD ADAM GARVEY WASN’T ABLE “wanted to show solidarity as a Jewish person. Black and Jew- He added that tikkun olam also means “being anti-racist tu
to participate in the demonstrations decrying the death of ish solidarity is super important and I wanted to spread that.” and anti-bigotry. Repairing the world or healing the world to M
George Floyd and police brutality. In his hometown of Or- He said that “standing up against injustice is a huge part of me means fighting against broken systems and against sys- ri
angetown, N.Y., there weren’t any protests he could easily Jewish values.” tems designed to suppress people based on the color of their th
attend. skin, or their gender/sexual-
“If I couldn’t go to a protest in person, I wanted a way ity, or their religion.” st
to help instead of just retweeting and whatnot,” Adam Some Jewish leaders di
have been at odds with Black in
Lives Matter as an organiza- al
tion because of its support of m
the boycott, divestment and to

““Black Lives Matter means sanction (BDS) movement,

describing Israel’s actions

just that — that black lives against the Palestinians as

“genocide” and “apartheid”

matter.” — Adam Garvey in its political platform.

However, Adam urged

Jews to look beyond the rift. “I ta

told the Journal. “I wanted to feel like I was making a tan- think that Black Lives Matter di
gible effort to help change things.” needs to go beyond the orga- in
So the teenager did what he does best: create art. He re- nization in terms of what it sh
leased a line of T-shirts, sweatshirts and stickers with the means to individual people,” w
phrase “Tikkun Olam means Black Lives Matter” emblazoned he said. “Black Lives Matter pe
on a Jewish star. All proceeds from the clothing, which is means just that — that black
available on TeeSpring, will go to the NAACP Legal Defense lives matter. Using the orga- ba
Fund, a nonprofit legal organization that fights for racial jus- nization’s BDS stance to say ge
tice. The fund, according to its website, “defends the gains one doesn’t like the en- ne
and protections won over the past 75 years of civil rights tire movement is frankly M
struggle.” a cop-out way to justify
Along with raising money for the fund, Adam said he one’s silence.” n ar

22 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020 Ju

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Canter’s Deli Declares Black Lives

Matter, Gives Water to Protesters
» by Ariel Sobel

ON MAY 30, LOS ANGELES PROTESTS AGAINST LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) and Sheriff’s Depart- have prepared it for the uprisings. During the Rodney King ri-
police brutality centered on the Fairfax District, a historic ment. The police were here to protect and keep the peace dur- ots in 1992, Canter’s remained open, feeding Angelenos when
Jewish neighborhood and home to an iconic Jewish restau- ing a demonstration.” supermarkets closed.
rant: Canter’s Deli.
After his dining room was closed for two months, Marc
Canter opened the delicatessen’s doors during protests de-
crying the May 25 death of George Floyd as a result of his ar-

Photo from Canter’s Deli Facebook page

rest by Minneapolis police officers. Canter and his employees
posted a sign in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter move- “We actually learned from
ment in the windows of the nearly 90-year-old restaurant.
They also took to social media, tweeting, “Canter’s believes the ’92 riots to not leave
that black lives matter. In support of the Black Lives Matter
movement, we are putting out free bottles of water for protes- your property alone without
tors. Please stay safe.”
By the end of the day May 30, Canter’s had distributed 25 security while you are closed.”
cases of water bottles to protesters and police. The restaurant
nd allowed both parties to use their restrooms and order food. — Marc Canter
of “We support free speech and anything that’s peaceful,” “We actually learned from the ’92 riots to not leave your
Canter told the Journal. “There are people coming out of the However, he added, he understood why the marches esca- property alone without security while you are closed,” Canter
is woodwork that are trying to blend in with the real protesters lated. “Tensions have been very high since COVID-19 and a lot said. He advised other small businesses to follow suit. “Busi-
that are just troublemakers looking to take advantage of the of people are out of work, so it’s hard to do a peaceful demon- nesses that have security have a better chance of not getting
ve situation and not very interested in what is being protested.” stration with so much going on at the same time.” vandalized,” he said.
p- Supporting police and protesters may seem like a tricky While many of the neighboring businesses were heavily And with the recent lift of COVID-19 restrictions for res-
business for some, but Canter said playing peacekeeper wasn’t vandalized and looted, Canter’s remained untouched except taurants, Canter’s Deli, Canter said, will remain open, unrest
difficult. “We have always had a great relationship with the for some minor graffiti. However, the deli’s long history may or no unrest. n

s Downtown L.A. Jewish Owned

Bike Store Looted » by Kylie Ora Lobell, Contributing Writer

YEHUDA MASJEDI, WHO LIVES IN PICO-ROBERTSON, the Earth. How dare you break into my business?’ I wasn’t sells his own line of bikes with Jewish names like the DTLA
st turned off his phone in the run-up to the Shavuot holiday on thinking about anything, obviously. Luckily they bolted.” Rambam Commuter, the DTLA Sephira 7 and the DTLA 1
to May 28. When Shabbat ended, he heard about the protests, When the police finally arrived, Masjedi went inside to Love 2020. He said that during the coronavirus pandemic,
s- riots and looting in downtown Los Angeles, and feared for assess the damage. All of the bikes were still there. “From he’s been slammed with orders now that gyms are closed
eir the safety of his bike shop, DTLA Bikes. the security footage I saw, they broke in, shattered the glass, and parents want to get outside and ride with their kids. He
al- Masjedi frantically phoned his employees, who said his
store had been spared. However, at 5:29 a.m. May 31, Masje-
rs di received a phone call. “I knew exactly what was happen-

“Out of nowhere, I start yelling

ck ing,” he told the Journal. “The alarm company told me the
a- alarm had been set off. I jolted out of bed in my PJs, got into

at these people, ‘What are you

of my car and drove straight to downtown. I felt like I needed
nd to see my shop. This is my livelihood and my employees’

doing? This is my livelihood!”

nt, livelihood. I needed to make sure everything was OK.”
ns Upon arrival, he saw that his security gate was still
as down but it had been cut and there was broken glass on

Photo courtesy of Yehuda Masjedi

d” the ground. He called the police and waited for them in — Yehuda Masjedi
his car.
ed “The store next to me is an AT&T store and it was to- noticed all my bikes were locked up, heard the alarm and
“I tally ransacked,” Masjedi recalled. “I’m seeing random in- bolted,” he said.
er dividuals go in there and grab stuff and leave around 6 Masjedi spent May 31 cleaning up his store and serv-
a- in the morning. I notice three people walking toward my ing customers. After receiving alerts from the city for a 6
it shop. I usually can recognize bike thieves by the way they p.m. curfew, he heard more protests and told customers
e,” walk. When you’re in business 10 years, you know what to leave and come back the next day.
er people look like when they’re going to steal something.” Masjedi said his customers have been checking in on
ck Then, Masjedi said he saw bolt cutters in one of their him and volunteers were helping to clean up the neigh-
a- backpacks. He watched them pull out the bolt cutters and borhood. He said he was “totally one of the lucky ones. said he has faith that everything will work out.
ay get ready to cut the door. There were police on both cor- We were on the main looting street. That’s where all the “I truly believe all this is coming from HaShem,” he
n- ners of the street and the National Guard driving by but big-box stores are. The majority of them were ransacked. I said. “It’s more proof that humanity’s getting to a better
ly Masjedi said they were distracted. felt very lucky nothing was taken.” place eventually. We just have to sort out who will do good
fy “Out of nowhere, I start yelling at these people, ‘What The bike store was Masjedi’s dream. He left an unful- and who won’t. We’re praying that overnight, nothing will
are you doing? This is my livelihood! You are the scum of filling job in real estate to open the store 10 years ago. He happen to the shop.” n

20 June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 23

Graffiti at Baba Sale synagogue.
Photos courtesy of Baba Sale congregation
Extremist L
Groups U
Infiltrating J
Protests »

» by Aaron Bandler, Staff Writer Bo


Synagogue Reopenings
Extremism Associate Director Joanna Mendelson said ex- da
tremist groups are participating in the protests over the
death of George Floyd.

on Hold After Protests

Mendelson told the Journal that although most of the
protests around the country have been peaceful, there are
some extremists attempting to take advantage of the situ-
ation to further their agenda. “We are seeing a host of ex- “
» by Ryan Torok, Staff Writer
tremists rhetorically try to insert their violent agenda into
this national crisis,” she said. in
Mendelson cited the neo-Nazi group Nationalist Social
Club, whose members were handing out stickers during a
months because of the coronavirus, Baba Sale Congrega-
“Synagogue Congregation Beth El (sic) on Beverly Blvd
in Los Angeles vandalized… Tell me this ugly hatred is still
demonstrations in Boston over the weekend. An individ-
tion on Fairfax Avenue was looking forward to welcoming
worshippers this past Shabbat, after houses of worship re-
about #BLM or #GeorgeFloyd?!” she tweeted.
American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Regional Direc- t
ceived permission to reopen. tor Richard S. Hirschhaut said in a statement to the Journal,
“These protests emerged out
However, the French-Moroccan congregation’s plans “It is deplorable that certain protestors in Los Angeles today
were derailed on May 30, when protests decrying the death resorted to violence and vandalism. Sadly, their destructive
of George Floyd in police custody turned violent. Along with opportunism included the defacing of Congregation Beth
of an expression of despair
many other synagogues and Jewish shops, Baba Sale was
spray-painted with graffiti that included “f--- pigs,” “help mi-
Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in Los Angeles and the
spiritual home to many Holocaust survivors over the years.
and anger about the perceived o
norities” and “BLM,” an abbreviation for Black Lives Matter. The epithets scrawled on the synagogue wall do nothing to
Baba Sale had had reopened on the evening of May 28 advance the cause of peace or justice, here or abroad.”
systemic racism and El

inequality, and unfortunately

for Shavuot but now it has closed again. President Igal Az- Dr. Irving Lebovics, a dentist and member of Congrega- to
ran released a statement noting the “tragic death of George tion Kehilas Yaakov, an Orthodox congregation on Beverly m

the violence that is devolving

Floyd in Minnesota” and telling congregants Baba Sale Boulevard, said all the synagogues and Jewish schools in the
would be closed “until further notice.” Fairfax area were defaced during the May 30 protests. up
On May 31, Rabbi Moshe Pinto arrived at the shul to find
hundreds of people, including those unaffiliated with the
As chairman of Agudath Israel of California, an umbrella
organization that advocates for the Orthodox Jewish com- in protests around the nation le
community, removing the spray paint and cleaning the ex-
terior’s stained-glass windows.
munity, Lebovics has been involved in the effort to reopen
synagogues. He said he was disappointed that the dem- are distracting from the Gr
Also vandalized in the Fairfax District was Congregation
Beth Israel, with graffiti stating “free Palestine” and “f— Is-
onstrations have delayed the synagogues’ long-awaited
reopenings. “It seems pretty obvious,” he said, “a group of
clarion call for change.” pa

rael.” Lisa Daftari, founder and editor of the foreign policy instigators are causing a lot of this unrest.” n — Joanna Mendelson ke
news outlet The Foreign Desk, first reported on the graffiti Sy
on social media. — Additional reporting by Aaron Bandler an
ual also allegedly shouted “Heil Hitler!” during a peaceful ko
protest on May 29 in Denver. ra
According to a June 1 ADL report, right-wing anti-govern-
ment groups, militias and antifa (anti-fascist) groups also “B
have participated in protests. However, Mendelson said the w
ADL hasn’t seen antifa behind any of the recent violence.

“It seems pretty She noted the ADL has documented some instances of
anarchists perpetuating the violence. “[Anarchists] view

obvious a group it as a chance to destroy what they perceive as this cor-

rupt system,” Mendelson said. “So, they’re not motivated

of instigators are by the cause [of police brutality] … and much more inter-
ested in wanton destruction of society.”

causing a lot of this Other instances of violence during the protests have
not been ideological, Mendelson said. “There are some

unrest.” who are interested in the thrills of the confrontation.

They’re not necessarily ideologically oriented.”

She added, “We’re closely monitoring the rhetoric and dr

— Irving Lebovics are concerned for extremist groups to also fully embrace co
and engage [in the protests]. th
These protests emerged out of an expression of de-
spair and anger about the perceived systemic racism and kn
inequality, and unfortunately the violence that is devolv- pr
ing in protests around the nation are distracting from the of
clarion call for change.” n th

24 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020 Ju

Local Organization Sets L.A. City
Up Fund for Looted, Councilmember
g Jewish-Owned Stores Condemns
» by Kylie Ora Lobell, Contributing Writer Targeting
Boulevard during the George Floyd protests on May 30,
pretty good week [when I reopened], but this was a lot. It
was very bad timing.” of Jewish
they broke into Jewish businesses, sprayed graffiti on syn- The business owner said he feels the need to protect
N agogues and schools and caused thousands of dollars in his businesses and others because of the slow response

During Protests
x- damages. time and lack of help from the police. On the night of May
he On May 31, Malkiel Gradon, who runs the Chasdei 31, he was driving around the neighborhood with other
volunteers and looking for looters when police stopped
he him.
re “Me and my friend got pulled out of the car by gun- » by Ariel Sobel
“I want to see the businesses
u- point,” he said. “We explained to the cops that we got
x- looted and we were trying to prevent people from coming AFTER THE MAY 30 UNREST IN THE FAIRFAX

in our community back up

to around. They let us off but told us we couldn’t go out, even District, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz of
though we were doing a good thing. They said the first the Fifth District condemned the targeting of Jewish in-

and running and not forget

al night was so busy and overwhelming that they weren’t stitutions.
ng able to respond, but on Sunday night, they said they were “The attack on our community last night was vicious
about what happened, but let and criminal. Fairfax is the center of
the oldest Jewish community in Los

the world know we won’t be Angeles,” Koretz said in a statement.

“As we watched the fires and looting,

deterred because of a group what didn’t get covered were the anti-
Semitic hate crimes and incidents.”

of people rummaging through Congregation Beth El was vandal-

ized with graffiti stating “free Pales-

d our neighborhood.” — Malkiel Gradon tine” and “f*** Israel.” The Baba Sale
Congregation, in the same area, was
spray painted during the protests.
Elimelech organization, set up a GoFundMe campaign Local Jewish businesses also were
Photos courtesy of Malkiel Gradon

to help business owners. In just 24 hours, he brought in looted. Syd’s Pharmacy, which is Jew-
more than $23,000 of his $175,000 goal. ish-owned and had a sign advertising
“I want to see the businesses in our community back “Kosher Vitamins” in its front window,
up and running and not forget about what happened, but was robbed. The vandals broke win-
let the world know we won’t be deterred because of a dows, knocked down the pharmacy
group of people rummaging through our neighborhood,” shelves and stole drugs, including
Gradon told the Journal. “Everyone is hurt to see that this painkillers.
happened in our neighborhood and we are trying to look Across the street, the kosher
past it and move on.” Mensch Bakery and Kitchen and the
The businesses looted included Ariel Glatt Kosher Mar- Jewish-owned clothing store Go Cou-
ket, The Hat Box, Family Fashion, Fish Grill, Go Couture, ture were destroyed.
Syd’s Pharmacy and Mensch Bakery and Kitchen. Schools “Under the guise of protest, some advanced their
and synagogues that were vandalized included Bais Yaa- anti-Semitic agenda,” Koretz said. “Synagogues and Jew-
ul kov School for Girls, Bnos Devorah High School, Young Is- ish institutions were graffitied with anti-Semitic slogans
rael of Hancock Park and Ohr Eliyahu Academy. and vandalized.”
n- “They will have to go through insurance,” Gradon said. He also took issue with how the statue of Raoul Wal-
so “But there are still deductibles and things that insurance lenberg, who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazi
he will not cover.” death camps, was graffitied.
Ariel Market was one of the hardest hit, incurring tens “I condemn these acts, as they are an affront to all
of of thousands of dollars in damages. According to Gradon, people of the Jewish faith,” Koretz said “We must never
w people smashed and stole the market’s entire computer allow anyone, for any reason, to get away with acts of
r- system and liquor bottles, and trampled products. available and we don’t have to be scared anymore.” hate against our community and neighbors.” n
ed Aryeh Rosenfeld, who owns Family Fashion and The Gradon is aiming to raise at least $3,000 for every
r- Hat Box, said that looters smashed his windows and glass business owner. He has lived on Detroit Street in the La
cubbies, damaged the air-conditioning system and stole Brea-Beverly Jewish community for more than 30 years,
ve the cash drawers, the iPad checkout stand, suits and hats. and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s

“As we watched the fires

me They threw yarmulkes onto the street and merchandise raised more than $80,000 to help his neighbors with their
n. around the store. bills during the crisis.

and looting, what didn’t get

When Rosenfeld heard about what had happened, he He started his organization, Chasdei Elimelech, in hon-
nd drove to his store and caught looters taking one of his or of his 11-year-old son Eli who died from cancer in 2016.

covered were the anti-Semitic

ce computers. “I chased them across the street and yelled at Now, he wants to use his organization and this money to
them to drop it,” he said. “They did, and then ran away.” make sure everyone can recover from the damage.

hate crimes and incidents.”

e- Rosenfeld still is operating his stores, but he doesn’t “I’ve been involved in the community for many years,”
nd know when he’ll be able to take down the boards that he said. “Whatever I can do to help, I will continue doing it.”
v- protect them. “I was closed for almost 10 weeks [because
he of COVID-19],” he said. “I lost all my income already from To donate to the fundraiser, visit — Paul Koretz
that. It hit me really hard. It was nice to be open. It was a vuosriots/fund. n

20 June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 25


Breakfast of Kings
» by Sharon Gomperts and Rachel Emquies Sheff
Photos by Alexandra Gomperts

THE BRIGHT AZURE AND GENTLE the Jerusalem stone-and-mosaic tiles in tor Shakshuka opened in the early pepper flakes, s’chug or Cholula hot sauce.
waves of the Mediterranean beckon from the Spanish courtyard of the Sephardic 1990s, near the Jaffa Clock Tower and the Although Israel has shut her borders till
beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows but Educational Center in the Old City or taking Shuk Ha’Pishpashim (Jaffa flea market), late July, you can still indulge in an Israeli
there is a more tempting challenge from in the Jerusalem hills from the veranda of shakshuka became ultra-popular in Israel breakfast with our super-easy shakshuka.
where a visitor stands: to navigate the Cafe Rimon at the Mamilla Mall. Whether and catapulted its Libyan chef/owner, Bino Just make sure you have fresh bread to sop
breakfast buffet of the Sheraton Tel Aviv. you’re people watching from Aroma on Ben Gabso, to international fame. It has be- up all that delicious sauce. n
The gastronomic extravaganza is end- Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv or at the Bagh- come ubiquitous on menus in Israel and
less. Freshly baked loaves of bread with dad Cafe overlooking
butter and preserves, flaky sweet pastries the green hills of Sefad
and sesame seed coated bourekas. Smoked or at a little cafe on the YELLOW SHAKSHUKA
whitefish, lox and cured herring. Exqui- shores of the Kinneret, 3 tablespoons olive oil
sitely salty and creamy white T’zfatit and your morning repast is 1 large onion, thinly sliced
Bulgarit (feta-type) cheeses, thinly sliced sure to be delicious. 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
yellow cheeses and pungent blue-veined Born in the commu- 4 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
cheeses. Yogurts and labneh and those nal dining halls of the 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
little Dani chocolate and vanilla pudding kibbutzim in the early 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
years of the last cen- 1 teaspoon turmeric
tury, the Israeli break- 1 teaspoon paprika
fast has been described 1/2 teaspoon cumin

One of the most

as Israel’s culinary gift 1/2 teaspoon allspice
to the world. While the 1 teaspoon salt

pleasurable and
huge hotel breakfasts 1 13 1/2-ounce can coconut milk
are an occasional treat, 1/2 cup water
the more typical serv- 8 large eggs
memorable ing of salad, cheese and
eggs is a great nutri- In large frying pan, heat oil and sauté

experiences of any tional start to the day.

They are a far cry from
onions till golden.
Add garlic, tomatoes and peppers and

Israeli vacation is the sugary cereals, ba-

gels and doughnuts
sauté until peppers are soft.
Add spices, coconut milk and water, stir

that rushed Americans well until sauce is thick.
grab on their way to For each egg, create a well in sauce,
work. crack egg into glass, then gently slip into
cups that make you feel like a kid again. The undisputed star pan.
There are mounds of oranges and ap- of the Israeli breakfast Cover pan and cook on low heat until
ples, bowls of aromatic dewy green melon, is shakshuka. In the Berber languages, has achieved iconic status worldwide. egg whites are set but yolks are still runny.
cantaloupe and sweet, juicy watermelon, shakshuka means “mixture,” which is re- Besides, the original red shakshuka, Is-
as well as dried fruits, nuts and seeds. flected in this dish of eggs poached in a raeli chefs serve it green (with spinach and Rachel Emquies Sheff’s family roots are
There are grilled eggplants, fried potatoes bright red pepper and tomato sauce with other fresh herbs), with mushrooms, with Spanish Moroccan. Sharon Gomperts’ family hails
and stewed tomatoes and an immense ar- lots of onion, garlic and spices thrown in Yemenite spice blend hawaiij and even from Baghdad and El Azair in Iraq. Known as the
ray of cucumbers, peppers, radishes, cher- for good measure. A simple, rustic dish with hummus, called humshuka. Sephardic Spice Girls, they have celebrated joys,
ry tomatoes and greens, as well as eggs, served in a little iron skillet, the humble We cooked a yellow shakshuka fea- raised their children and collaborated on the Sep-
any way you please. shakshuka was brought to Israel by immi- turing bright orange and yellow peppers, hardic Educational Center’s projects, SEC Food
One of the most pleasurable and memo- grants from the North African countries of tomatoes, onions, garlic and a blend of Group and community cooking classes. Join them
rable experiences of any Israeli vacation is Tunisia and Libya. turmeric, cumin, allspice and sweet pa- on Instagram at SephardicSpiceGirls or the Face-
breakfast. Whether you’re eating among When the sprawling restaurant Doc- prika. If you feel like extra heat, add hot book group Sephardic Spice SEC FOOD.

26 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020

Edited by Salvador Litvak, Accidental Talmudist

Judy Gruen Kylie Ora Lobell

Author, “The Skeptic and the Rabbi: Falling in Love With Faith” Contributing writer, Jewish Journal
Well, now, here are some pasukim you’ll want to hide from your secular friends and Erasing the name of God is forbidden in Judaism. And yet, during the sotah ritual
relatives! To modern sensibilities, this scene appears barbaric. In this moment, a woman — in which a woman is tested to see whether she has been unfaithful to her husband
appears on the verge of a gruesome death for possibly committing — the name of God is blotted out in the water.
adultery. Where is her partner in crime? Not mentioned! In Judaism, getting married is one of the holiest things
Delving deeper, however, a woman who arrives at this juncture you can do. When a husband is jealous and suspects his wife
already has A) secluded herself with a man who was not her of adultery, or a wife commits adultery, God is removed from
husband; B) was warned by her husband not to do so; and C) had the marriage, just like His name is removed in the water. The
two witnesses to the event. If she committed adultery and admits to husband and wife aren’t honoring the contract they made with
it, she doesn’t have to endure this trial. Although adultery is a capital each other and with God when they stood under the chuppah.
crime, she can pay for the sin through her husband divorcing her. Things have gotten so toxic between them that they are airing
A woman categorically can prove her innocence of the adultery their grievances in public.
allegation through drinking the waters, which not only won’t harm In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, divorce is on the rise.
her but in fact will result in her having children. An adulterous It can be easy to start fighting or turn on your partner in this
woman who won’t confess drinks the waters and dies — as her challenging time. But to keep HaShem present in our marriage,
partner simultaneously suffers the same fate. even now, we have to be willing to do the work. Marriage isn’t
This is the only instance in the Torah where HaShem allowed His holy name to be meant to taste like the bitter waters of the sotah — it’s meant to be sweet. As we say
erased, instructing the Kohen to write it on paper and let it dissolve in these bitter waters, under the chuppah, “Let these loving friends taste of the bliss you gave to the first
demonstrating the paramount value of peace in a marriage. As I discovered on my man and woman in the Garden of Eden in our earliest memory.” With this blessing,
journey to greater Torah knowledge, surface readings of Torah are almost meaningless. we can get through this tough moment and ensure our marriages not only stay intact,
The treasure of discovering the true meaning, context, backstory and lessons requires a but come out on the other side sweeter than ever.
deeper look inside.

Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz

NASSO Adat Shalom
Rabbi Avraham Greenstein It is easy to condemn the sotah
Academy for Jewish Religion, California, ritual in the Torah through our modern
professor of Hebrew [The Kohen] shall make her drink lens and our awakened sensibility.
The waters of the sotah are, at first glance, the water, and it shall be that, if she When I read this passage, I find
somewhat paradoxical. The very same my learning drifting away from the
waters either will prove a curse or a blessing
had been defiled and was unfaithful traditional Torah commentators and
depending on the honesty of the one to her husband, the curse-bearing toward a more contemporary Jewish
drinking them. A similar idea is expressed in waters shall enter her to become voice in Arthur Miller and his classic
Ta’anit 7a concerning the Torah. The Torah play “The Crucible,” which first was
either can be an “all-healing medicine” to bitter, and her belly will swell, and performed on Broadway in 1953.
the one who studies it with pure intentions, her thigh will rupture. The woman The New Yorker published an
or it can be a “deadly poison” to the one interview with Miller on Oct. 14, 1996,
will be a curse among her people.
who studies it with improper intentions. in which he explained that it was the
This commonality between the Torah and But if the woman had not become politics of McCarthyism, the troubles
the sotah waters is defiled and she is clean, she shall be of his own marriage, and the history
heightened by the fact of the Salem witch trials that over
that the Torah often is
exempted and bear seed. time accumulated to inspire him to
compared with water, pen the play. Like “The Crucible,” the

Numbers 5:27-28
and that the waters sotah ritual holds up
of the sotah, like the a mirror to the issues
Torah, contain God’s in our lives. It reminds
name (once the sotah us to examine the level
scroll has been erased in Rabbi Nicole Guzik of trust in our most
them). Sinai Temple intimate relationships,
This comparison between the sotah It doesn’t really seem to matter if the sotah woman is exempt or not. She is called and reflect on the
waters and the Torah yields an additional out as an adulteress, unfaithful, needing to prove her innocence among glaring eyes and power dynamic we
insight. Just as the Torah is a divine gift so gossiping lips. Whether she is telling the truth, the question becomes: What is the state share with those we
powerful that it is hazardous to misuse, so, of one’s reputation after such a horrendous ordeal? Even if this poor woman has done hold most dear.
too, any instance wherein we are forced to nothing but live an honest life, will the curse of this staining occasion The passage demands that we
come to terms with a truth about ourselves is follow her all the days of her life? should rationally judge cases, politics
an advantageous yet perilous time. Like the In studying the premises of existential therapy, when the psyche aside, and that all claims about abuse
sotah, we sometimes are forced to question experiences a world in which one feels out of control, the mind can of power by women and men must
ourselves and to be honest with ourselves. choose to take charge. Meaning, when it feels as if the universe is be heard in a just society. Those who
To ignore such an opportunity, to have presenting an indigestible menu of options, we hold the power to dismiss the sotah ritual miss out on
insight into ourselves and to ignore it, would reframe our reality. If it seems as if the neighbors are continuing to its lessons for today because if that
be corrosive to our psyche and could stunt chatter or something in our past keeps us down, the most important woman in the Torah is found to be
our personal development. The potential person in the equation of moving forward is you. We cannot control defiled through the ritual, then we are
benefits of this opportunity, however, what others say but we can control how we let our mind react. all defiled. Like John Proctor in “The
are great. By accepting our mistakes and God imbued each of us with wisdom and understanding. Let us Crucible,” the Torah demands that we
aspiring to a finer mode of behavior, we can use that sagacity to hold confidence in our purpose and place in this find “our goodness.” Jealousy must give
repair our relationships with others and world. The Holy One encourages us to listen within; so why are we letting any other way for justice. Litigation must give
properly orient our personal growth. voices hold us back? way for love.

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 27

A Prayer for America
on May 30, 2020

May Our Tears Remind us of Our Collective Humanity;

May Our Call for Justice be Reflected through Our Actions;
May We Pray not only Through our Feet
but Through Our Hearts;
May We See Ourselves Reflected
in the Eyes of The Other;
May We Recognize that
We are All Children Held by a Numinous Presence:
One that is known through cycles -
of death and birth,
destruction and renewal,
transgression and forgiveness -
and May America Rebuild Upon a New Covenant:
One cultivated in the soils of Freedom and Justice
That take root and rise, Blowing in Winds
not of Fires, but Fiery and Furious Love.
We Shall Overcome.
Someday is Now.

George Floyd:
You did not die in vain.
The 100,000:
You are not forgotten.
Our First Responders:
Our Children:
Forgive us.

With love, blessings of safety and prayers for justice for all,
Rabbi Lori Shapiro and Open Temple
28 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020

Steven Lowenstein, Historian and National

Book Award Winner, 75
» by Michael Berenbaum
STEVEN LOWENSTEIN, A for Jewish Research and Leo Baeck Institute with students and teacher’s assistants was to ensure his readers did not drown
distinguished Jewish historian and in New York, Lowenstein came to Los Angles younger than his own children and in the comprehensive, encyclopedic,
accomplished social worker, died on May 31. in 1978 to begin a 30-plus year career at continued to learn, fascinated by what he overwhelming information. He absorbed
He was 75. American Jewish University, where he was learning, even more by what he could the details and gleaned from those details
Born in 1945, weeks before the end of served as Isadore Levine Professor of Jewish do with what he was learning. the story of German Jewry from 1815 to
the war, his parents, Max and Yetta, had History. He was the author of a large number One would have imagined that given 1939, including German Jewry during
immigrated to the United States from Nazi of scholarly works, including “The Jewish his lifelong immersion in the Jewish industrialization, urbanization, migration
Germany just in the nick of time. His father Cultural Tapestry: International Jewish Folk community and his dedication to the Jewish (migration and outmigration primarily to
was a chaver, the title given to learned Traditions,” “The Berlin Jewish Community: people, he would have chosen to work in the the United States), revolution, emancipation,
scholarly Jews in Germany. He grew up Enlightenment, Family and Crisis, 1770-1830,” Jewish community, but no. Lowenstein spent democratization, escape, exile, persecution
in what was euphemistically called the and, ultimately, deportation and annihilation.
“Fourth Reich” or “Frankfurt on the Hudson,” He illuminated whatever he touched. He
Washington Heights, N.Y., in an Orthodox made the demographics come to life. It was
community comprising Jews who had the not about statistics but about real people,
wisdom and good fortune to leave Nazi real communities.
Germany and sought to preserve in this New When illness struck, Lowenstein had no
World elements of the world they were forced illusions as to the trajectory of his disease.
to leave behind. German was the language of He knew his life would end but accepted
the street and the synagogue. The synagogue that fate with serenity, a believing Jew to
of his childhood was Shaare Tikvah, the Gates the end. He wanted, however, to live to see
of Hope. His parents and neighbors were three goals completed.
displaced men and women, living freely in an A celebration of his final work by
American exile. They were joined within the colleagues and friends at his beloved
next five years by Holocaust survivors. congregation B’nai David, his spiritual
The melodies of his youth were from home throughout his life in Los Angeles,
Frankfurt, the pronunciation, the sense of where he was the gabbai and where he
dignity and decorum identical, top hats and could be found daily. His revered rabbi, Yosef
morning suits were seen in the synagogue. Kanefsky, introduced the event; the bar
One could hear the echo of their voice in mitzvah of Kenneth’s oldest son Nahum
Lowenstein’s prayers, even as he adopted the Moshe in February moved from Cleveland
Sephardic pronunciation of contemporary to Los Angeles so he could attend, and the
Hebrew. He sounded alte/neu — Old/New publication of his final book. He was informed
Worldly, authentic to his very being, combing that it would be published by Academic
the world of his childhood with the world in Studies Press just days before his death.
which he lived. Not a man easily given to praise, David
A Yekke by birth, Lowenstein saw the and “Frankfurt on the Hudson: The German- the next decade working with drug addicts Myers, fellow historian and friend, summed
community from within. He studied that Jewish Community of Washington Heights, on Skid Row and the homeless — people up the quality of Lowenstein’s scholarship:
world and transmitted its ethos and history 1933-1983, Its Structure and Culture.” far removed from his former world. He was “Steven Lowenstein was one of the most
into English, explaining it brilliantly to an Winner of the National Book Award, “The constantly amazed not only by what he had important Jewish social historians of our time.
American audience. The scion of a shattered Jewish Cultural Tapestry” revealed a mastery to offer but what how much he had to learn. He has also had a remarkable second career,
world, he sought to make it whole. As a child, of Jewish tradition and narrative on five And learn he did. His conversations had a as a social worker, on Skid Row. In both cases,
he heard fascinating stories, painful stories, continents. It vividly captured the diversity of new intensity, his life a new vitality. he was a collector of human stories, which
moving stories. He was to collect stories to the Jewish life in the many lands in which Jews On a personal level, over the last years, he reconstructed with extraordinary skill and
end of his life. have lived and how woven together unity Lowenstein found solace and joy in his sensitivity.”
Lowenstein was a graduate of Bronx High was maintained within diversity. relationship with his “sweetheart,” Rabbi His daughter, Ruth, recalled him as father
School of Science, then, as now, considered His career at AJU included his service Patricia Fenton, who was a source of strength, and grandfather, never happier than playing
the best high school in New York City. He as the dean of the college. He stepped in care and love. on the floor with his grandchildren, teaching
entered City College, a natural progression to provide badly needed continuity and Lowenstein never abandoned his by example the values of tradition, telling
for him and many of his classmates from leadership after the short-lived tenure of scholarship. He continued to write and story after story and illustrating with each
Manhattan, where he received his bachelor’s recent predecessors. A popular teacher and research German Jewry. In November, a group story the sacred value of each individual.
degree and went on to Princeton, where he a scholar at the prime of his creativity, his of scholars from Hebrew Union College, Too few in years, still he lived a life that
earned a master’s and doctorate. beloved wife had died and he was living American Jewish University, UCLA and USC was complete with family and friends,
He married Marilyn Grollman in 1974 and alone when he took a bold step of retiring, gathered to honor Steven Lowenstein on the scholarship and accomplishments, love and
had two children: Ruth Lowenstein Glasser not retiring from, but retiring to and forthcoming publication of his major work, tradition. He taught others, cared for others
(Yaakov) and Kenneth (Penina) Lowenstein, reinventing himself, reimagining himself. “The Population History of German Jewry: and gave to others. He knew how to live and
who gave them nine grandchildren. Marilyn He returned to school pursuing a master’s Based on the Collections and Preliminary why to live so he could die with his work
died in 2007 from pancreatic cancer, the very degree in social work. The oldest student in Research of Professor Osiel Oscar Schmetz.” complete, his life an organic whole, in his
disease that was to take Lowenstein more his class, probably with more publications Naturally, he insisted on giving credit in the own words, a tapestry. n
than a dozen years later. and a more distinguished scholarly record title to the work of a predecessor but he built
After teaching at Columbia University that even the most accomplished of his upon Schmetz’s foundation, enlarging the Michael Berenbaum is director of the Sigi
and Monmouth College, and working as a teachers, professor Lowenstein — now Mr. scope. Ziering Institute and a professor of Jewish Studies
researcher at the nonprofit YIVO Institute Lowenstein — sat in the classroom, worked Lowenstein’s significant contribution at American Jewish University.

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 29

Waiting in line
outside Western Kosher.

Michael Naim’s looted jewelry stall

vice for all our in downtown Los Angeles
ng time!

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Saturday, June 6th at 9:30am
Lev Eisha LIVE via Zoom!
Join Lev Eisha for an interactive, virtual Shabbat
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My Shabbat of
Shattered Glass
» by Michelle Naim
THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD, On Shabbat morning May 30, my father,
an African American man who was a proud Jew, woke up to see six missed calls
suffocated while being apprehended from his colleague in the booth directly
by a Minneapolis police officer, sparked adjacent to his. Shortly thereafter, he got
protests all over the country. I outrightly a text message from the same colleague
condemn Floyd’s heinous death and I clarifying the purpose of her multiple
hope that the police officer(s) responsible calls: “It’s an emergency,” she said. After
will be brought to justice. seeing the urgent message, my father
What my father, Michael Naim, had called her, only to have her tell him their
to experience on the morning of May jewelry plaza had been looted. “Hurry and
30, however, was not protest. It was rush downtown,” she cried. “They have
destruction. My dad has worked in the broken your showcase windows and I see
same jewelry booth at 700 S. Hill St. in some silver bracelets on the floor.”
downtown Los Angeles for as long as I can “I was surprised I was invaded,” my father
remember — 1999, to be exact. told me. “Although I knew there was going to
Since I was a little girl, excitement filled be a demonstration, I didn’t think that this
me when I got to spend the day at “Dad’s was going to come out of it,” he said.
office.” Shiny rings and earrings sit in the We found out about this exchange only
glass showcase I have grown to appreciate after my dad returned home much later
with all its smudges and scratch marks. My that day. Not long after he had gotten in
father’s cheerful and caring voice always his car to drive to his downtown booth,
makes me feel at home when he asks a new I woke up and sat on the couch with a
customer, “How can I be of any help today?” book in hand. I heard the phone ringing
I don’t tell him this, but I often tear up just repeatedly from a distance, but because of
watching him these days. I don’t know why, Shabbat observance, I ignored the calls. but I suppose the secret is out now. Suddenly, my youngest brother, Ariel,

30 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020


Photo courtesy of Michael Naim

There was nothing that could have

prepared us for that day but I did know that
a hardworking man did not deserve to have
his business destroyed by people carrying
bats, wanting only to cause mayhem that
night. In one night, everything that my dad
built had been broken.
yelled, “Dad is on the phone. He says it’s prepared us for that day but I did know that
an emergency.” a hardworking man did not deserve to have
I knew something was very wrong, his business destroyed by people carrying
watching my mom’s worried face as she bats, wanting only to cause mayhem that
spoke to my dad. She nodded, put one night. As I wrote in my Facebook post:
hand on her cheek and hung up. “[My father] came to the United States of
What happened next was a blur: I America so that he could create a future.
woke up my brother, Ethan, from his deep And, in one night, it was broken by people
slumber on a day he probably would have who did not use their hands as gestures to
slept into early afternoon. He hurriedly speak up, but as weapons — to carry axes
brushed his teeth and put on shorts and and shatter glass.”
a T-shirt. Before I knew it, Ethan and my In one night, everything that my dad
mom were pulling out of the driveway. built had been broken. n
As the oldest daughter, I was told to stay
home with Ariel. I asked him how he felt. He Michelle Naim has a bachelor’s degree in
said he was scared and he hoped that they English-Journalism from Yeshiva University is
would be safe. “Me too,” I said. and a former Journal intern. She’s on Twitter
There was nothing that could have at @michnaim.

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 31

Waiting in line
outside Western Kosher.

Jewish Contributions to Humanity

#48 in a series

The Federal
Reserve’s Three
Jewish Chairs.

Alan Greenspan Ben Bernanke Janet Yellen


b. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Federal Reserve Chair, 1987-2006. A Randian in Washington. Protesters march through downtown Los Angeles
The former five-term chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve

Jewish Organizations
System, Alan Greenspan has been one of America’s most influential economic
policymakers in the 20th and early 21st centuries. He’s credited with helping the nation
navigate the Oct. 1987 stock market crash, two recessions, the 1997 Asian financial

React to Protests
crisis, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Greenspan was close with the late libertarian author
Ayn Rand, and is a major advocate of minimal government intervention in the economy.
Unlike many Federal Reserve heads, Greenspan was more focused on controlling price
inflation and promoting the value of the dollar than with promoting “full employment.”
Before being appointed to the Federal Reserve by President Ronald Reagan, Greenspan » by Aaron Bandler, Staff Writer
studied economics at New York University and Columbia University, worked at the
National Industrial Conference Board and chaired President Gerald Ford’s Council of
MULTIPLE JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS the fire are not the ways to go. We need
Economic Advisers.
have released statements following the to unite and, yes, honestly confront our
BEN BERNANKE (1953-). demonstrations throughout the country shortcomings.”
b. Augusta, Georgia. and in the Los Angeles area after the death The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted
Federal Reserve Chair, 2006-2014. From Dillon, SC to Washington, D.C. of 46-year-old George Floyd. on May 30 that nobody “has the right
The former two-term Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Shalom Bernanke is one Floyd, an African American, was to use this tragedy to commit acts of
of the 21st century’s most influential economists, and played a key role in leading the declared dead at a hospital otn May 25 violence, looting and theft. This desecrates
federal government’s response to the economic crisis that began in 2008. Bernanke was after a white Minneapolis police officer the memory of #GeorgeFloyd. Looting and
raised in small Dillon, South Carolina, where his family attended Ohav Shalom synagogue. pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly burning private property is not a legitimate
Bernanke’s grandfather, Harold Friedman, was a chazzan, shochet and Hebrew teacher, nine minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, form of protest,” adding, “Icons of civil
and he taught a young Ben Hebrew. Bernanke studied economics at Harvard and MIT, was arrested on May 29 and charged with rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King
and went on to teach at Stanford and Princeton before being appointed as a member of third-degree murder. + other leaders [such] as Caesar Chavez
the Fed’s Board of Governors. Bernanke believes that the continued growth of developed Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Los + Americans who gave their lives to the
nations has helped to moderate the volatility of the economic business cycle (upward and Angeles tweeted on May 30, “ADL is fight for equality, must be crying tonight.
downward GDP movements), and his “Bernanke doctrine” has become a key theory as to heartbroken at the ongoing horror of We support our elected officials + police in
how to prevent deflation. During the Great Recession, Bernanke was a key architect of the racism in our country and among elements bringing back law + order to the streets of
government’s bailouts and takeovers of failing banking institutions. of police forces. We acknowledge the right American cities.”
to protest peacefully. But destruction is not Rabbi Yonah Bookstein similarly
JANET YELLEN (1946-). the answer; community empowerment is.” denounced the violence and looting.
b. New York, New York. American Jewish Committee Los “Praying for peace and safety for all our
Federal Reserve Chair, 2014-present. The Fed’s first female head. Angeles (AJCLA) said in a May 30 Facebook community,” he tweeted on May 30.
The third consecutive Jewish head of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen is also the post, “As some protesters in Los Angeles “Injustice and racism is worth protesting.
Fed’s first female chair. Born in Brooklyn, and educated at Brown and Yale, Yellen taught today have resorted to violence, vandalism, Violence and looting is wrong and immoral.
at Harvard before being tapped for a brief stint with the Federal Reserve before returning and destruction of property, we join with Those who are looting and burning are
to academia at the London School of Economics and UC Berkeley. Yellen went on to serve Mayor Eric Garcetti in appealing for calm terrorizing all of us.”
as an economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, and led the Federal Reserve Bank of San across our city. However justifiable their He added in a subsequent tweet that
Francisco before being appointed as the Fed’s Vice Chair in 2010, a position she held until outrage over the murder of George Floyd while Shavuot was peaceful, those who
President Barack Obama appointed her as Ben Bernanke’s replacement in 2014. Yellen’s earlier this week, there is no justification observed the holiday in Los Angeles could
term, thus far, has been characterized by the maintenance of low interest rates, a nod to for lawlessness in LA or anywhere.” see the helicopters swirling above the city
her Keynesian preference to favor decreasing unemployment over preventing inflation. In a subsequent May 31 post, AJCLA and knew “all was not OK with Los Angeles.”
condemned President Donald Trump’s The Jewish Federation of Greater Los
rhetoric, stating, “We need our leaders to Angeles issued a statement after Shabbat
Original Research by Walter L. Field Sponsored by Irwin S. Field Written by Jared Sichel summon the best in us. President Trump, and Shavuot on May 30 stating, “Our
dividing a country and pouring fuel on tradition teaches us that all humans are

32 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020


Rebbe’s Teachings

Lifting Up

I n the second section of the Book of Numbers, the narrative begins as God
instructs Moses to complete his count (Naso, in Hebrew) of the Levite clans. The
Torah then records the purification process that the Jews needed to undergo
before setting out from Mount Sinai toward the Land of Israel. Finally, the Torah
records the offerings that the tribal princes donated on the day the Tabernacle began
to function. Their offerings emphasized how the Jewish people’s upcoming journey
through the desert – as well as each individual’s journey through life, to fulfill his or
her Divine mission – must be both an individual and collective experience.
The preceding section, parashat Bemidbar, concluded with the conscription of
the Levite clan of Kehat into the Temple service, and parashat Naso begins with the
conscription of the other two Levite clans, Gershon and Merari. This already seems
strange: why do we break between the parashiot in the middle of the story of the Levites’

Photo by MammothCat
conscription? But this is only the beginning. Gershon was the oldest son of Levi, fol-
lowed by Kehat and Merari. Why was the clan of Kehat plucked out of its natural place,
following Gershon, and artificially grafted on to the end of the preceding parashah?
According to the Midrash (Bemidbar Rabbah 6:1), the Torah gives precedence
to the clan of Kehat because they carried the Ark of the Covenant, which housed
the tablets. Since they carried the Torah, the means through which the Jew binds
himself to God, they are described first.
Now, the idiom used for “taking a census” throughout these two parashiot is
“lifting up the head.” As the commentaries explain, counting the people summoned
“In recent months we have seen, yet forth their otherwise latent capacities necessary for conscription into God’s “army”
on the eve of their journey into the desert. It is this idiom of elevation that both
again, too many devastating examples of begins parashat Naso and gives it its name – the word Naso means to “lift up.” Thus,

persistent systemic racism, leading to the

parashat Naso describes the uplift that preceded the journey into the wilderness.
But parashat Naso begins: “Take a census of the clan of Gershon, too.” The fact

ed deaths not only of Mr. Floyd but of other that the clan of Gershon’s tally is presented as secondary to that of the clan of Kehat,
almost as an afterthought, indicates that the real tallying, the real “raising the head,”
precious souls, including Breonna Taylor and is that done to the clan of Kehat. This is because, as we said, the clan of Kehat car-
ried the Ark of the Covenant, which housed the Torah. The Torah is the real means
Ahmaud Arbery. The list feels endless, and by which we “raise our heads,” that is, ascend to higher levels of Divine conscious-
ness. It is for this reason that the clan of Kehat is counted first.
so, too, is our despair. But as we recite the When our mind is elevated, our whole life is elevated together with it, so, once

mourner’s Kaddish for them all, we say now,

es the clan of Kehat have been “lifted up,” we can raise the clan of Gershon, too. In
nd fact, the Torah’s power to raise us higher than the material world is manifest most

again: We will not sit idly by.” — Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner fully not when it raises our consciousness but when it elevates our mundane, daily
vil lives. This is why the parashiot of Bemidbar and Naso are split between the censuses
ng of the clans of Kehat and Gershon: in this way, parashat Naso begins with the
ez created in the image of G-d. We mourn towards a more just society that will heal census of the clan of Gershon, teaching us that we achieve the real “lifting up the
he the senseless death of George Floyd. those wounds.” heads” when this affects our mundane lives, as well.
ht. Our tradition calls upon all of us to work Union for Reform Judaism Senior Vice Furthermore, placing the census of the clan of Gershon at the beginning of
in alongside our neighbors to create a President Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner also said parashat Naso highlights the advantage of action over study. Torah study and the
of more just world. We stand with the black in a May 30 statement, “The national rage concrete performance of God’s commandments are superior to one another in dif-
community and all communities of color.” expressed about the murder of Mr. Floyd ferent ways: Torah study unites us consciously with God, but only affects our intel-
ly StandWithUs issued a May 31 statement reflects the depth of pain over the injustice lect. In contrast, performing the commandments unites us with God only sublimi-
g. condemning the killing of Floyd. that people of color — and particularly black nally, but this union pervades the physical body. Recording the census of the clan
ur “The video showing a (now former) men — have been subjected to throughout of Kehat first emphasizes the superiority of Torah study; arranging the parashiot so
0. police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s the generations. In recent months we have the clan of Gershon’s census introduces parashat Naso emphasizes the superiority
g. neck while three others stood by and let seen, yet again, too many devastating of performing the commandments.
al. it happen is disturbing beyond words,” the examples of persistent systemic racism, Finally, the fact that all this preparation – this elevation through Torah study
re statement read. “It illustrates the urgent leading to the deaths not only of Mr. Floyd – occurs in the desert emphasizes that the purpose and truest fulfillment of Torah
need for accountability and justice in this but of other precious souls, including study is that it transform even the barren wasteland of the spiritual void into God’s
at and other similar cases.” Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.” home on earth. u
ho The pro-Israel education group added, Pesner went on to honor other unarmed
ld “It is clear that the killing of George Floyd, black men who have died at the hands of From the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. The
ty following the shootings of Ahmaud Arbery law enforcement, including Eric Garner, Rebbe’s inspirational teachings on the Torah portion can be found in the Kehot Chu-
s.” and Breonna Taylor, has once again ripped Walter Scott and Michael Brown. mash, produced by Chabad House Publications.
os open deep wounds in America, particularly “The list feels endless, and so, too, is
at for the black community. We hope this our despair,” Pesner said. “But as we recite Sp on so 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
ur will become a catalyst for people of all the mourner’s Kaddish for them all, we say 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.
re backgrounds to come together and work now, again: We will not sit idly by.” n

20 June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 33


LAPD Chief Apologizes for Saying George Floyd’s

Death Was on Looters’ Hands
» by Ariel Sobel
LOS ANGELES POLICE CHIEF MICHEL Moore apologized for his remarks a few
Moore came under fire for saying that the hours later, tweeting, “I misspoke when mak-
death of George Floyd was on the hands ing a statement about those engaging in
of those “capitalizing” on the situation “as violent acts following the murder of George
much as it is those officers,” during a June 1 Floyd. While I did immediately correct myself,
Livestream address with Mayor Eric Garcetti I recognize that my initial words were terribly
about curfews and protests.
“We did not have protests last night, we
had criminal acts,” Moore said, adding that
700 people were arrested on May 31, 70 of

“We did not have

them for looting businesses.
“We had people mourning the death of

protests last night,

this man, George Floyd,” Moore continued.
“We had people capitalizing. His death is on

we had criminal
their hands as much as it is those officers. And
that is a strong statement, but I must say that

acts.” — Michel Moore

this civil unrest that we are in the midst of, we
must turn a corner from people who are in-
volved in violence.”
Moore’s statement drew outrage on social offensive. Looting is wrong, but it is not the
Source: Screenshot, Youtube

media, with people calling on him to resign. equivalent of murder and I did not mean to
The similar spelling of the police chief’s name equate the two. I deeply regret and humbly
to documentary filmmaker Michael Moore apologize for my characterization.
prompted the latter to trend on Twitter. In “Let me be clear: the police officers in-
response, Michael Moore tweeted out “I’ve al- volved were responsible for the death of
ways wanted to say this: F-CK YOU, MICHAEL George Floyd,” he added.
MOORE!” (sic) Garcetti also responded to the controversy,
Garcetti also drew backlash for nodding tweeting, “The responsibility for George Floyd’s
behind the police chief during the remarks. ers,” adding, “looting sets us back for years .… erything we have on promoting justice. And death rests solely with the police officers in-
During his address, Garcetti said, “The peace- We’re throwing everything we have at main- nobody out there needs to pick between those volved. Chief Moore regrets the words he chose
ful protesters should be the story, not the loot- taining peace, and we’re going to throw ev- two.” this evening and has clarified them.” n

JFLA Offering Loans to Looted L.A. Businesses

» by Ryan Torok, Staff Writer
SINCE THE OUTBREAK OF THE were just going to start opening up, espe- of up to $18,000 are available to all resi- fees, JFLA requires two guarantors who can
coronavirus pandemic, the Jewish Free cially restaurants and clothing stores. To dents of L.A. or Ventura counties, provided repay the borrower’s debt if he or she is unable
Loan Association (JFLA) has been working have people already experiencing such they are U.S. citizens. The loans can be to pay it back themselves.
remotely to ensure people receive their This is not the first time JFLA has offered
interest-free loans. loans to businesses impacted by civil unrest in
“It’s extremely gratifying to be able to the city. After the Watts riots in 1965, the or-
help people when they are in such times ganization assisted businesses in rebuilding,

“It’s difficult to see so many people

of crisis,” JFLA Executive Director Rachel Grose said.
Grose told the Journal. “It’s difficult to “Jewish Free Loan has been around since

facing such difficult times, and I think it

see so many people facing such difficult 1904 providing loans in good times and bad to
times, and I think it is important for the people of all faiths who reside in L.A. or Ven-

is important for the public to know how

public to know how devastated a lot of the tura counties,” she said. “On the one hand,
city is.” we aren’t doing anything new —we’re offer-

devastated a lot of the city is.” — Rachel Grose

And in the wake of the looting that ing the same loan. On the other hand, we are
occurred after weekend protests against responding in very direct ways to new needs.”
police brutality over the death of George With the coronavirus pandemic, followed
Floyd, JFLA announced on June 1 it will of- by these latest protests, Grose said, “I think
fer loans to small businesses affected by economic devastation, to be almost ready used toward debris cleanup, graffiti re- the majority of society is living close to the
the looting. to try and recover and to be on the receiv- moval, construction needs, inventory re- edge. We’re seeing that every day.” n
“The idea is to be here for all the small ing end of looting and destruction, it’s dev- placement and more.
businesses in L.A. and Ventura counties,” astating.” While the loans don’t require the bor- For more information on obtaining a loan,
Grose said. “It is a time when businesses Under the program, interest-free loans rower to put up any collateral or pay any visit

34 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020


s Mayor Garcetti on
How L.A. Has Handled
COVID-19 Pandemic
w » by Aaron Bandler, Staff Writer
in IN A MAY 27 AMERICAN JEWISH stadiums full of people anytime soon. But we
ge Committee (AJC) Zoom webinar, Los Angeles might have to look at layoffs.”
lf, Mayor Eric Garcetti discussed how Los He also warned that a lot of small
ly Angeles County has handled the COVID-19 businesses are in danger of closing
pandemic. permanently.
Garcetti touted Los Angeles’ diversity and “In this next month or two, the American
how the county was able to unite and follow entrepreneurialism will either survive or
social distancing measures in the midst of be significantly cut,” Garcetti said, and
the pandemic. “We’ve seen probably about a stated that it’s crucial to have the federal
20th [of] the impact that we saw in New York government provide cash assistance to state

City,” he said. “We went very early into taking and local governments.
strong actions.” He added that the federal government is
The mayor acknowledged that L.A.
county accounts for about half of California’s
concerned that state and local governments
won’t properly allocate federal money to Am I Alive?
In this virtual programming world, there’s a new question many of us ask

“We’ve seen probably about a 20th [of] the

he without realizing it: Am I live?

impact that we saw in New York City. We

ly We say this phrase in the context of whether or not the entire world can see
us online. These words transition us from authentic beings to whomever we

went very early into taking strong actions.”

n- want the camera to see; whichever piece of our lives we’re ready to reveal.
of Hair brushed, makeup on, smiles big — going live doesn’t necessarily mean
the online world sees the reality of our living world. We present what we want
sy, — Mayor Eric Garcetti to present; not always showing what’s really taking place beyond the camera.
n- COVID-19 cases, with nearly 49,000 confirmed businesses in need but said to combat that, And yet one of the silver linings of offering so much virtual programming
se cases and more than 2,000 deaths. He praised federal money should come with restrictions is that the two worlds are blending. Quickly. There isn’t much time to think
the county’s widespread testing and said the to ensure that the money isn’t wasted. about the right outfit or how the kids are behaving or which perfect segment
city of Los Angeles was the first major city to “If we don’t, these places are going to be of life everyone should see. Going live is starting to mean: Here we are, raw
provide universal COVID-19 testing. shuttered for a long time, and this is not and vulnerable, ready to teach and ready to learn. Going live is now a path of
“We’ve had a state of emergency here; going to be a momentary depression but connection, a chance to invite others into our hearts when we can’t invite them
certainly used those powers to be able a longer term one,” he said. into our homes. Going live is less about pretending who we are and more about
expand testing, help expand capacities in Garcetti later lamented the fact displaying the deep, sacred imperfections of our soul.
our hospitals, but all of our numbers have that the federal government has
stabilized,” he said. excluded undocumented immigrants Going live shows we’re living. Breathing, failing, trying, grasping, hoping,
The county allowed houses of worship from receiving federal cash assistance, praying, loving, yearning. Living.
to resume in-person services as well as in- pointing out that children whose parents
person shopping at retail stores on May 26. are undocumented and a spouse of an Modeh Ani Lifanecha. Dear God, thank you for my life. My messy, beautiful
an Garcetti suggested that restaurants could undocumented worker are ineligible for life.
le start offering dine-in services again. However, federal cash assistance. In response, the
And for all of us watching one another’s lives splashed across the screen, how
he expressed concern about a potential surge city privately raised $53 million to provide
blessed we are to share these unscripted moments together.
ed in new cases. debit cards ranging from $700, $1,100 or
in “We’ve got very vulnerable populations $1,500 to city residents regardless of their
Shabbat shalom.
or- that this nation needs to continue to immigration status.
ng, protect, especially our seniors and people “They feed a lot of people, they have
in congregant living settings, and those bills, they’re critical parts of the economy,”
ce who have preexisting conditions,” he said, he argued.
to pointing out that 92% of the county deaths On the issue of bigotry during
n- have occurred among those groups. the pandemic, Garcetti said that he
d, He added that while the county hasn’t had condemned prejudice against Asians
er- its bond rating downgraded and currently early on and encouraged people to go to
re has the largest reserve funds in county Asian-owned businesses and restaurants
s.” history, the county is facing massive cuts to before the shelter-in-place order. “We’ve
Rabbi Nicole Guzik is a rabbi at Sinai Temple.
ed basic services including a 10% across-the- seen [anti-Asian bigotry] really fall off
nk board furlough for non-essential workers. here in Los Angeles,” he said.
he “That’s a big hit on city services,” Garcetti He concluded the webinar saying, “This
said, “and if [the pandemic gets] worse — better be a wake-up call for the second
and it could get worse — we’re not going wave, if there is one … or the next time [a
n, to see tourism back anytime soon or hotels pandemic] happens, because this will be an
full anytime soon [or] sports events with ongoing threat for the rest of our lives.” n

20 June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 35


Israel Film Center Festival Goes Virtual

» by Gerri Miller, Contributing Writer ju

WITH THEATERS CLOSED BECAUSE from consultant David Zucker (“Airplane!” their two children. “In Israel, you’re re- illustrations to tell the origin story of the la
of the COVID-19 pandemic, movie releases “The Naked Gun”), the film broke box of- quired to do three things: go to the army, Tel Aviv Zoo. Its founder, Max Schornstein, VO
largely have gone virtual, allowing fans to fice records to become Israel’s number-one get married and have kids. And if you have emigrated to Israel from Copenhagen in Ju
screen the latest films at home. This year’s comedy last summer. It stars Tsahi Halevi a problem having kids, you feel like there’s 1935 and became known as Rabbi Doolittle
Israel Film Center Festival also has moved as the Mossad agent and Efrat Dor as his something wrong with you, like you’ve for introducing his fellow pioneers to the
online, with a diverse lineup of seven Is- CIA rival. The Q&A will take place at 2 p.m. done something wrong,” he told wonders of the animal kingdom. Opening
raeli films screening from June 7 — 14, PDT June 8. “There are definitely feelings of shame. in 1938, the zoo was a popular attraction
each with a Q&A discussion via Zoom, fea- You keep it all inside, and you don’t really until 1980, when growth led to protests
turing filmmakers and casts. Also in the comedy category, Boaz Ar- deal with it.” The film, which contains nu- and eventually, its closure (the animals
Presented by the Marlene Meyerson moni’s “The Electrifiers” is a charmingly dity and sexual activity, will have its Q&A were moved to a new zoo in Ramat Gan).
JCC Manhattan, the lineup kicks off with funny film about middle-aged former rock at 2 p.m. PDT June 10. Log on for the Q&A at 1 p.m. PDT June 12.

Gur Bentwich
and Maya
Kenig in
“Peaches Zvika Nathan in Nelly Tagar, Roy Assar in
and Cream” “The Electrifiers” “The Art of Waiting”
the comedy “Peaches and Cream,” about a stars who are still chasing the dream three From director Yaron Shani, double The story of the founding family known St
neurotic film director freaking out at the decades after their one-hit wonder. Now, Ophir Award winner “Chained” is a dark, as the Israeli Kennedys is told in four epi- so
realization that his latest film is a flop. Star- they’re playing two-bit hotels and nursing disturbing drama about an abrasive, ag- sodes in Anat Goren’s miniseries “Dayan: H
ring and directed by Gur Bentwich, the film homes while working dead-end jobs, ex- gressive cop who goes too far. A hardliner The First Family,” which examines five tio
takes place in a single night as the unrav- cept for lead singer Mickey, who lives in a at home and on the job, Rashi (Eran Naim) generations in the dynasty that made an be
eling auteur deals with frustration, failure, van but clings to hope that the big break is sees his life spiral out of control after he indelible mark on Israeli history. Personal hi
flaky friends and a life-threatening heart right around the corner. Zvika Nathan, who strip searches some teenagers congregat- insights and revelations abound, such as O
attack. The film received 10 Ophir Award wrote the screenplay, is terrific in the role. ing in a park. One of them has a father this surprising comment: “Moshe Dayan
nominations and won three last year. It’s The Q&A will begin at 2 p.m. PDT June 9. in the intelligence service, leading to his was radioactive,” says his grandson Sa’ar as bi
available to screen beginning at 5:30 p.m. suspension and both his professional and he tries to explain how throughout Dayan’s na
PDT June 6 for 24 hours, and the live Q&A “The Art of Waiting” is a dramedy about personal downfall. Shani and Naim won life and decades after his death, his family si
will take place at 1 p.m. PDT June 7. a young couple’s struggle with infertil- Ophir Awards for the 2019 film, which is still struggles with the large shadow cast by Ja
ity and the toll it takes on their marriage. difficult to watch — but is eerily relevant in the war hero and defense minister. The Q&A th
“Mossad!” is a more raucous comedy, Nominated for four Ophir Awards, includ- light of recent events involving police. The will take place at 1:30 p.m. PDT June 14. n an
a spy movie spoof that pits the titular Is- ing one for director Erez Tadmor, it tackles Q&A will take place at 2 p.m. PDT June 11. “I
raeli agency against the CIA on a mission a topic people don’t talk about in Israel. The Israel Film Center Festival takes place m
to rescue a kidnaped American tech bil- Tadmor’s inspiration for the film was his In “There Are No Lions in Tel Aviv,” online June 7-14. Tickets for each title and Q&A in
lionaire and save the world from terror- own family’s journey: His wife underwent documentary filmmaker Duki Dror uses are $8. Visit to sa
ists. Directed by Alon Gur Arye, with input in vitro fertilization for six years to have archival photos, footage and whimsical purchase and for additional information. th

36 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020 Ju


SINCE HIS BREAKOUT ROLE IN “A learn as much about them as I could so I experience brings with it new challenges,” ed the audiobook version for André Aci-
Serious Man” in 2009, Michael Stuhlbarg could apply that to what I was given.” he said. “Some change your life, but all of man’s novel, which takes place a decade
has played a movie mogul in “Hitchcock,” While he felt the responsibility that them live within you, and that’s part of the later. The movie bio “Gore,” in which he
a mobster in “Boardwalk Empire,” a news- always comes with playing a real person, fun of what we get to do.” plays Gore Vidal’s longtime partner How-
paper editor in “The Post” and a loving fa- the fictional story provided more leeway. His first theatrical experience came at ard Austin, is finished, but there’s no word
ther in “Call Me by Your Name,” to mention “It was up to me to decide how closely I age 11, when his mother signed him and on its release.
just a few of his acclaimed performances wanted to look like Stanley Hyman and his sister up for a community theater pro- Beyond these projects, “I’m wide open,”
— and memorable Jewish characters. His at what age, and should I have the beard, duction of “Bye Bye, Birdie.” He initially just he said. “Part of the delight in doing what I
latest film, “Shirley,” premiering on Hulu, wear glasses and which kind. He changed wanted to build the sets, but acting in the do is being surprised about the things that
VOD and at select drive-in theaters on his appearance quite significantly over the show “sparked something in me. I think it come along. I look forward to any oppor-
June 5, checks both boxes. years,” Stuhlbarg said. had everything to do with making people tunity to collaborate on pieces in the the-
It stars Elisabeth Moss in an electrifying Stuhlbarg acknowledged the prepon- laugh,” Stuhlbarg said. “It took me out of ater and hope to do that more regularly.
I’m fascinated by the idea of being part of
something from the ground up, and per-
Michael Stuhlbarg haps applying different elements of who
and Elisabeth Moss
in “Shirley” I am in the upcoming years to writing and
directing and producing, as well as acting.
I long to be a part of bringing things to life
every aspect of what they are, and to en-
gage myself as thoroughly as possible.”
Meanwhile, he’s “trying to stay safe and

“Each [acting]
experience brings
with it new
challenges. Some
change your life,
but all of them live
within you, and
that’s part of the
Another Jewish Character for fun of what we get
Michael Stuhlbarg in ‘Shirley’ Photo courtesy of Neon
to do.” — Michael Stuhlbarg
smart, be patient, and keep my head clear”
» by Gerri Miller, Contributing Writer while spending his days writing, get-
ting exercise and staying in contact with
friends and family via phone, FaceTime
performance as the increasingly unhinged derance of Jewish characters on his re- myself and let me focus on other things. It and Zoom.
writer Shirley Jackson (“The Lottery”), with sume, dating back to an unnamed Chasid was great fun.” “Shirley” won critical raves at its de-
Stuhlbarg as her unfaithful college profes- in his film debut, “A Price Above Rubies,” Raised in Long Beach by parents with but earlier this year at the Sundance Film
sor and literary critic husband, Stanley and including Grandpa Chaim in “Trans- Russian, Hungarian, German, Austrian and Festival, and Stuhlbarg hopes the gen-
Hyman. Their toxic, manipulative rela- parent” and Edward G. Robinson in “Trum- English roots, Stuhlbarg was bar mitzvah eral public will be equally receptive. “It’s
tionship, a constant battle of caustic wits, bo,” but noted they’re all very different and confirmed at a Reform synagogue. “My a very particular kind of piece, where
becomes more complicated when Hyman from one another. “If it’s new ground, parents were culturally and charitably ac- people might be served best not to know
hires a newlywed couple (Logan Lerman, that’s great for me,” he said. tive. They wanted us to know our heritage much about it, just throw themselves into
Odessa Young) as live-in help. “My life has been peppered with won- and grounded us in that world so that it it and enjoy it for what it is and for its
Enamored of Moss’ talent, Sarah Gub- derful opportunities that I did my best to would inform the decisions we made as particularly unusual perspective and
bins’ screenplay, and the bantering dy- take advantage of,” he added, starting with adults,” he said. Today, Judaism “is a social artistry,” he said. He’d love for people to
namic between the characters, Stuhlbarg early stage roles in “Hamlet,” “Richard III” and communal aspect of my life in terms learn about Jackson and her work as a
signed on and delved into researching and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” that of observance, much more than a devout result of the film. “She was a remarkable
Jackson and Hyman, speaking to several of he calls “pivotal experiences.” Joel and religious experience.” artist who is having a kind of renaissance
their acquaintances and reading articles Ethan Coen’s “A Serious Man” was “life Stuhlbarg was midway through filming in the last few years, and that’s kind of
and the book on which the film is based. changing,” providing a step up to a higher the Showtime series “Your Honor” oppo- .0thrilling,” he said. “Maybe it will open
“It was a progressive learning curve for caliber of roles on screen. But Stuhlbarg site Bryan Cranston when the COVID-19 people’s minds up to an artist they weren’t
me, starting with what was true and mov- also relishes the challenging roles he’s had pandemic hit, suspending production, and aware of.” n
ing to the novel and our screenplay,” he in the theater, including Tom Stoppard’s although he hopes to be on board for the
said. “There’s a lot of dramatic license, but “Travesties” in 2003 and more recently, Tim “Call Me by Your Name” sequel “Find Me,” “Shirley” premieres June 5 on Hulu, VOD
these are real people, so it behooved me to Blake Nelson’s “Socrates” last spring. “Each plans are in limbo for now. He has record- and at select drive-in theaters.

June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 37


ALTHOUGH PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY HAS when it makes legislation harder to pass. She States-Israel relationship, which resulted in she represents the strong tradition of Jewish

become notorious for her role in impeding is unwavering in her support of Shirley Ch- the founding of the Israel Women’s Network. activism within legal and political systems,
the Equal Rights Amendment from becoming isholm (played by Uzo Aduba), the first black However, in the series, Friedan is a strug- making hard compromises and strategic pol-
ratified, the FX series “Mrs. America,” which woman elected to the United States Congress gling single Jewish mother to both her daugh- icies. However, historically, Abzug’s feminism
chronicles her life in the 1960s, highlights her as she runs for president, even when that ter and the feminist movement. She feels un- is intrinsically tied to her Judaism.

greater effect on U.S. politics: awakening the alienates more established politicians from appreciated and ostracized, partially because The only child of Russian Jewish immi-
religious right. the feminism movement. Steinem resembles of her regressive views on LGBTQ equality. grants, Abzug ideologies were cemented
The series depicts how although Schlafly, many Jewish women today who believe their Yet, she wrestles with a stereotype by which after her father died when she was 13. Her
portrayed by Cate Blanchett, was the symbol liberation is bound to the freedom of all tar- many Jewish women still are plagued: being Orthodox synagogue refused to allow her to
of a satisfied American homemaker, she had geted minorities. too difficult. She grapples with being painted say the mourner’s Kaddish for him because
political ambitions. She was on the frontlines In real life, Steinem used Jewish tradi- as a Jewish bulldog against Schlafly’s man- she was a woman. Since there were no men »
when it came to rallying Christian women, tion to promote sisterhood. For 20 years, the nerly mischief and not fitting the more white, in the family who could pay that spiritual
who were particularly incensed by the recent feminist icon has held “sister seders,” where Anglo-Saxon Protestant depiction of a lady tribute to her father, Abzug began her life
legalization of abortion. Schlafly enlisted she invites women over for Passover. In 1976, — as well as the more mainstream, glamor- of feminist activism by going to synagogue G
thousands to her direct mailing list. In the she attended what likely was the first seder ous depiction of feminism Steinem portrays. every morning to recite the prayer anyway. ra
show, Schlafly is intent on becoming the Sec- in history to be held by women only, re-envi- However, the show sits in that reality and Despite the sexism she experienced within in
retary of Defense, and handing over her vast sioning the holiday through a feminist lens. gives us an empathic depiction of Friedan, Judaism, Abzug never abandoned that iden- fo
tity, and even attended the Jewish Theologi- hi
cal Seminary. le
“Mrs. America” honors Abzug’s strong and Be
Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem
in “Mrs. America” complicated Jewish identity. On the show, on
she experiences anti-Semitism and is acute- m
ly aware of it. “Mrs. Carter thought you were

Who could stand


up to a figure

as formidable,

organized and

savvy as Phyllis so

Schlafly? Jewish

‘Mrs. America’ Is a Love



Letter to Jewish Women


Photo by Sabrina Lantos/FX

pushy and loud,” the assistant to the presi- “e
dent tells her in Episode 7. “You know that’s th
code for Jewish,” Abzug fires back. w
Unlike Friedan, Abzug embraces her co
pushiness. She’s proud to be overbear- an
» by Ariel Sobel ing, despite understanding that people al
will weaponize it against her. The series H
allows Abzug moments to interact with m
grassroots contacts was integral in helping The story of the four sons was changed to her loneliness and her desire to be acknowl- her religious identity in a more joyful way.
Ronald Reagan becoming president. four daughters, the four questions revised edged in her personal, professional and po- “I couldn’t get elected president of the w
Who could stand up to a figure as for- to reflect women’s questions, and 10 extra litical lives. brunch chapter of Hadassah,” she jokes in Th
midable, organized and savvy as Phyllis plagues that drain modern women were “Mrs. America” highlights how Friedan one scene. ha
Schlafly? added, such as self-loathing, envy and sexist becomes more accepting of queer women. Although “Mrs. America” bills itself as ar
Jewish women. discrimination. In a moving scene, she seconds a lesbian- a series about Phyllis Schlafly, it’s truly a th
“Mrs. America” explicitly celebrates the Steinem is at odds with another Jewish rights resolution “which everyone thought love letter to the Jewish women who stood be
Jewish pioneers of second-wave feminism, feminist icon, Betty Friedan (played by Tracey I would oppose” at the National Women’s against her and for other women. At the fu
dedicating episodes to Gloria Steinem, Bella Ullman). Historically, Friedan was arguably Conference in 1977. Historically, Friedan end of the series, Schlafly’s closest allies and w
Abzug and Betty Friedan. As it frames the the founder of second-wave feminism. Her went on to advocate for lesbians at the personal friends splinter from her and her “o
fight over the Equal Rights Amendment book “The Feminine Mystique” coined “the United Nations during the AIDS crisis in movement. But when Abzug is unfairly fired N
around a bigger culture war between “family problem that has no name,” describing how the 1980s. as head of President Jimmy Carter’s Nation-
values” — often a pseudonym for Christian American women had a “strange stirring, a One of the most heartfelt and undeniably al Advisory Commission for Women, every N
dogma — it highlights how a group of out- sense of dissatisfaction” from being confined Jewish moments in “Mrs. America” is when member resigns. The heroes in “Mrs. Amer- le
spoken Jews was the perfect foil. to home life and deprived of greater ambition Friedan offers to make homemade chicken ica” and its creators remain loyal to “pushy pl
First, there was Steinem. Born to a Jew- and opportunity in the world. She founded soup for stressed-out Bella Abzug (played by and loud” — aka Jewish — women, despite “W
ish father, she is portrayed as glamorous but the National Organization for Women, and Margot Martindale), who is unapologetically everything. n ite
representative of the Jews in the 1960s com- many feminists at the time credited her work Jewish on- and off-screen. gr
mitted to racial justice and inclusion. In the for calling them to action. She also led a life Congresswoman Abzug, known as “Bat- “Mrs. America” currently is streaming on ni
series, Steinem (played by Rose Byrne) re- of intrinsically Jewish activism, leading a del- tling Bella,” was not only one of the first Hulu. is
fuses to compromise when it comes to mak- egation of “Women as Jews, Jews as Women” women in Congress, but a founder of the Na- th
ing space for queer and black women, even to engage in a dialogue about the United tional Women’s Political Caucus. In the show, Ariel Sobel is the Journal’s social media editor. ro

38 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020 Jun


Author Says Hitler Is Not the

Only One to Blame for Atrocities
» by Jonathan Kirsch
EVERY RADICAL MOVEMENT BE- have been mildly attracted to Nazism and
GINS with a core of activists, but only Germans who had actively opposed it re-
rarely does it succeed in taking and hold- alized no other choice was available. Ulti-
ing power in a great nation. Adolf Hitler, mately, even the Germans who were not
for example, “squeaked into power,” as Nazis “willingly sublimated themselves in
historian Robert Gellately writes in “Hit- the name of a greater cause,” as Gellately
ler’s True Believers: How Ordinary People describes a Nazified May Day celebration
Became Nazis” (Oxford University Press); in 1933.
only later did the Nazi Party turn into a Hitler did not rely on terror and propa-
mass movement. ganda alone to transform Germany from a
“Needless to say, there remained mil- great power into a Nazi Party project. He
lions of people for whom everything about appealed to material cravings of the Ger-
Nazism was unattractive, and as though man people when he conceived the Volk-
he were admitting precisely that, Hitler swagen – the “people’s car” – and the auto-
said that it would take generations to cre- bahns on which they were to be operated.
ate the kind of social world he desired,” Even Germans who were not under Hitler’s
Gellately explains, and Hitler himself may thrall were won over. “A marvelous vision
have been surprised by how fast it actually of the future” wrote one such diarist, and a
happened. “With remarkable suddenness, member of the leftist underground found
National Socialism came to influence so- himself compelled to concede that “the
cial, cultural and political life in Germany politician who promises every person an
from top to bottom.” auto, if the masses believe the promise, is
Gellately is the Earl Ray Beck Profes- a man of the masses.”
sor of History at Florida State University. With the invasion of Poland in 1939,
He often has written on both Nazi Germa- Hitler put his popularity with the German
ny and Stalinist Russia, and his previous people to the litmus test — and he passed.
books include “Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: Even when bombs were falling on Berlin
The Age of Social Catastrophe.” What he and defeat by the Allies seemed inevitable,
seeks to explain in his new book is how an the German people continued to manu-
“educated and cultured” country of more facture armaments, fight their enemies on
than 65 million people, many of whom the field of battle and murder the Jews in
were committed to liberal, socialist and the death camps — all of which required
communist parties, was transformed in a massive war effort. The German people
an “entire nation of true believers.” Above were rewarded for their sacrifice with a

“With the invasion of Poland in 1939, Hitler

all, he denies the answer is to be found in country that had been “reduced, divided,
Hitler’s charismatic hold on the hearts and and humiliated.” Yet a poll taken in West

put his popularity with the German people

minds of the German people. Germany in 1948 showed that 57 percent
Indeed, Gellately argues Hitler has been of the respondents still regarded Nazism

to the litmus test — and he passed.”

wrongly credited as a political Svengali. as “a good idea that was poorly imple-
The truth, he insists, is that Hitler may mented.”
have commanded the absolute loyalty of “Hitler’s True Believers” joins a grow-
ardent Nazis, but he was nothing more haters in Germany were less bloodthirsty, with euphoria, with many looking forward ing body of scholarship that focuses not
than “the necessary leader” who came to yet willing to put themselves in service to to a re-Christianization of the country.” only on Hitler and the Nazi elite but also
be seen as the man who was capable of Hitler’s genocidal program because they, Nazi emphasis on racial purity “might on the “willing executioners” and “will-
fulfilling the ambitions of Germans who too, sought to solve “the Jewish question” have played a psychological role” in win- ing collaborators” who served them in the
were not early or earnest Nazis, but were one way or another. ning over Germans who have wanted armed forces and the police, bureaucracy,
“on the same wavelength” and joined the “No single factor can account for why to exclude Jews from Germany without the legal and medical professions, the
Nazis only to “get on the bandwagon.” ordinary people began opting for the Na- wanting to exterminate Jewish men, wom- media and the arts, and the countless
To do so, however, the late-comers to tionalist Socialist Party,” Gellately pro- en and children all over the world. other elements of German society All
Nazism were forced to embrace — or at poses. High unemployment in Weimar Once Hitler was duly appointed chan- these books, and Gellately’s prominently
least to overlook — the extremism dis- Germany turned the workers to the Com- cellor of Germany under the laws of the among them, seek to broaden the defini-
played in Hitler’s speeches and writings. munist party, whose growth prompted Weimar Republic, the Nazi-controlled tion of “perpetrator” and by doing so, put
“We don’t want to be emotional anti-Sem- middle-class voters to turn to the Nazi Reichstag voted to put an end to parlia- the ample blame for the crimes of the
ites, who want to create a mood for po- party. Farm owners and farm laborers saw mentary democracy to put all the pow- Second World War and the Holocaust
groms,” Hitler declared in a speech at Mu- the Nazis as a party that “would stand up ers of government in service to the Nazi where it belongs. n
nich beerhall in 1920. “What animates us for the rural folk and in favor of self-suf- party. Hitler wanted a “legal dictatorship,”
is the unrelenting determination to attack ficiency in food.” The Protestant churches, and now he had one. Concentration camps Jonathan Kirsch, author and publishing
the evil at its source, and to eradicate it, which represented two-thirds of the Ger- were established to confine and punish his attorney, is the book editor of the Jewish Jour-
root and branch.” Many of his fellow Jew- man population, “greeted the new regime political adversaries. Germans who may nal and a contributor to The Washington Post.

June 5-11 , 2020 Jewish Journal | 39


Pandemic Poetry, Philip Roth, Dr. Ruth

» by Ryan Torok, Staff Writer
FRI JUNE 5 Shabbat service on Zoom. The VIRTUAL TIKKUN OLAM FAIR
FAREWELL TO RABBI Portland native and self-described Angela Milstein of Kehillat Israel’s
Beth Chayim Chadashim Interim “contemporary spiritual designer,” Tikkun Olam group is honored at the
Rabbi Alyson Solomon bids farewell to who has led communities and congregation’s Virtual Tikkun Olam
the community during this Kabbalat congregations in Santa Barbara; Venice Fair. Different organizations will
share videos about what they do and
how they helped the KI community.
Participants include KI Associate Rabbi
Micah Hyman. 5-6 p.m.


Shomrei Torah Synagogue college,
high school, middle school and
religious school students will celebrate
their graduations during an online
event. During the Shabbat service,
a video presentation will salute
the graduates. 6-7:15 p.m. Online
Rabbi Alyson Solomon at and

Beach; San Diego; and Cape Town, SAT JUNE 6

South Africa, has been serving as BCC’s VIRTUAL PRIDE/SHAVUOTPALOOZA
interim rabbi since July 2019. 7-8:30 Beth Chayim Chadashim holds
p.m. its Virtual Pride/ShavuotPalooza. Its
usual “Palooza Stations” will take
place in Zoom breakout rooms. RSVP
PREPARING FOR SHABBAT required. Access link will be emailed
DISCUSSION to registrants. 10:30 a.m.-noon, with
Temple Israel of Hollywood Rabbi opening songs and a brief Shavuot-
Michelle Missaghieh leads a half-hour Pride-Shabbat family service followed
teaching on Friday morning from 10- by breakout sessions.
10:30 a.m.
Connect with Congregation Kol
Ami for its next Open Yad Project,
a virtual brunch-and-learn and
celebration of pandemic poetry on
Zoom. Men and women in their 20s
and 30s are invited to participate as the
class takes a deeper dive into Psalms.
No experience required. 11 a.m.-noon.

Theologian Arthur Green and
Stanford University Rabbi-in-
Rabbi Sharon Brous Adam Schiff
Residence Ariel Evan Mayse, co-
editors of a two-volume anthology
TUE JUN 9 Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh exploring the Chasidic movement
“BUILDING BACK BETTER” in North America and Israel, in an
As America works toward coronavirus recovery, IKAR and other communities are
envisioning what the world would look like if we don’t return to the way things were. This
multifaith town hall, a conversation on justice, equity and coronavirus recovery, features Have an event coming up?
IKAR Rabbi Sharon Brous, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Rev. Mike Kinman of All Saints Send your information two weeks prior to the event to
Church in Pasadena and Salam Al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Rev. for consideration. For groups
Najuma Smith-Pollard of the Cecil Murray Center at USC moderates the online discussion, staging an event that requires an RSVP, please submit details
held from 5-6 p.m. Register at about the event the week before the RSVP deadline.

40 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020

online discussion with American
’s Jewish University scholar Michael
he Berenbaum. The event is titled
m “Spiritual Journeys and Religious
ill Pursuits: A Conversation about
nd Hassidism.” 9 a.m.
A Jewish Federations of North
America webinar titled “What the
- Integration of Arab-Israelis Looks
Like During the Pandemic.” 1-2 p.m.
e, Join librarian Lisa Silverman of
te American Jewish University to discuss
Philip Roth


ol The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Bet Tzedek in an online conversation about “The Recovery and Reopening
ct, of Los Angeles.” Speakers include Bet Tzedek CEO Diego Cartegna and Bet Tzedek council member David Lash. The conversation
nd Philip Roth’s “Defender of the Faith,” will center on L.A.’s economic future and how Bet Tzedek is working to shape what’s next as the city reopens. Part of the
n a short story from his award-winning Federation’s “Coffee and Conversation” series. 9 a.m. To register and receive a Zoom link to this event, email
0s debut book, “Goodbye, Columbus.” The
he event is part of AJU’s “Keep Calm and
s. Read On” series. Access to the short TIME FOR BALANCE CLASS Classes held virtually from 1-3 p.m.
n. story is included in registration email The Sinai Temple Sisterhood holds
confirmation. Noon. “The Balance Class,” a Zoom class
. offering simple movements designed THU JUNE 11
WED JUNE 10 to grow your brain, improve your DR. RUTH
“ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE TIME OF balance and strengthen your immune One week after turning 92, Ruth
nd CORONAVIRUS” system. 9-10 a.m. Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor
n- Michael Berenbaum of American and the world’s most celebrated sex
o- Jewish University and Steven GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK therapist, sits down for an interview
gy Wasserstrom of Reed College in Learn about some of the best with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker
nt Portland, Ore., discuss “Anti-Semitism musical performers in history — and reporter Jerry Levine. Westheimer
n in the Time of Coronavirus.” Now that from Sammy Davis Jr. to Dean Martin will talk about life in the barracks of
America is facing high unemployment during “The Great American Song- the pre-state Haganah. 1 p.m.
and widespread uncertainty, will book, Vol. 3,” presented online by covid19/engage.
Jews be blamed? Will anti-Semitism the Skirball Cultural Center. Steve
spike? The online conversation is Barri, composer, lyricist and music MEDITATION AND CHANTING
organized by the Los Angeles Museum industry executive, leads the class. Cantor Marcelo Gindlin of the
of the Holocaust and other museums. Held every Wednesday through July Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue
Noon. Free. $10 suggested donation. 15. $60 for Skirball members, $90 for Dr. Ruth Westheimer leads 30 minutes of meditation and general. Registration ends June 8. chanting.. 11 a.m. n

20 June 5-11, 2020 Jewish Journal | 41

David N.

Rabbi Norman Lamm, Longtime Head

of Yeshiva University, 92
» by Uriel Heilman, JTA

NORMAN LAMM, THE PROLIFIC Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He also adherents. Even Lamm’s own synagogue “If Rabbi Lookstein was the master
author and Modern Orthodox rabbi who worked on a munitions research project had congregants who would work on the teacher, then Rabbi Lamm was the master
headed Yeshiva University (YU) for nearly during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence Sabbath after going to services. student; he set the standard for his
three decades, died May 31. He was 92. under the direction of Ernst David While in Springfield, Lamm founded an generation of Orthodox preachers,” Touro
As president and chancellor of YU, Bergmann. Orthodox scholarly journal, Tradition, that College history professor Zev Eleff wrote
Lamm helped rescue the institution Ultimately, Lamm was destined for a dealt with contemporary matters of Jewish in a 2013 essay in Jewish Action magazine.
from the financial brink in the late different kind of scholarship. According law and reflected his position between the Lamm’s messages weren’t just
1970s and rebuild it in the decades that to Lamm’s son-in-law, Rabbi Mark Dratch, Orthodox and secular worlds. Tradition particularistic — about how Orthodox Jews
followed into the flagship institution of one of Lamm’s points of pride was that mourned his passing on the RCA Facebook should relate to God or one another — but
Modern Orthodoxy. As a pulpit rabbi at he was the only student to obtain both page as “a man of wisdom, scholarship, also outward-facing. He talked about how
Manhattan’s Jewish Center, in his writings rabbinic ordination (1951) and a doctorate and leadership.” Jews should relate to the world, whether
on philosophy and Jewish law, and as in Jewish philosophy (1966) under the It was also in Springfield Lamm honed a famine in Bangladesh or moral codes
leader of YU’s rabbinical school, Lamm tutelage of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, his talents as a master orator, following governing other societies.
also helped articulate an unabashed the 20th-century luminary of Modern in the tradition of Rabbi Joseph Lookstein “The purpose of Torah is neither some
ideological basis for a movement that Orthodoxy.
often has struggled to define itself. “The greatest asset of his leadership
“He was both an architect of and was leadership through ideas — through
a spokesman for Modern Orthodoxy, speaking and through writing. He wasn’t
and using his position at YU as a perch, afraid to take a stand,” said Dratch, the
he helped buttress that ideology in a executive vice president of the Rabbinical
substantial way,” said Rabbi J.J. Schacter, Council of America (RCA).

“The purpose of Torah is neither some

kind of arbitrary spiritual exercise, nor
the beating of man into submission
in order to aggrandize the divine ego.
Rather, Torah is the divine instrument for
man’s spiritual welfare and fulfillment.”
— Norman Lamm
a professor of Jewish history and Jewish One of four children, Lamm was born
thought at YU. “He was uncomfortable in 1927 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His
with the word ‘modern,’ so he invented father, Samuel, had an odd assortment
the word ‘centrist’ to describe his brand of jobs, including umbrella salesman
of Orthodoxy — between the extremes and kosher inspector for New York state.
of totally favoring contemporary culture His mother, Pearl Baumol, hailed from
on the one hand and totally rejecting an illustrious rabbinic family. Lamm’s
contemporary culture on the other.” maternal grandfather, Yehoshua Baumol,
Lamm had a commanding wit and was the scion of a long line of rabbis in
a poet’s ear for the spoken word. His Poland and was, himself, ordained at the
sermons were widely admired, and he age of 13. It was Baumol who encouraged
was as quick with a pun as he was with a his precocious grandson to leave Mesivta
religious homily. Torah Vodaath, the Brooklyn institution
In addition to being steeped in Jewish Lamm attended for elementary and of Manhattan’s Kehilath Jeshurun, where kind of arbitrary spiritual exercise, nor
law and literature, Lamm was well-versed high school, and go to Yeshiva College in Lamm had been an assistant rabbi. By the the beating of man into submission in
in history, philosophy and science. He Manhattan, where Soloveitchik would time Lamm landed a rabbinic position at order to aggrandize the divine ego. Rather,
earned his undergraduate degree from become his mentor. The Jewish Center, a high-profile Orthodox Torah is the divine instrument for man’s
Yeshiva College in chemistry — he was Lamm’s first pulpit job was in synagogue on the Upper West Side, his spiritual welfare and fulfillment,” Lamm
valedictorian of the Class of ’49 — and did Springfield, Massachusetts, at a time sermonizing had begun earning him wide said in a 1971 sermon. “The Torah is God’s
some graduate work in chemistry at the when Orthodoxy was struggling for acclaim. formula for man’s moral development. The

42 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020

prescriptions may be difficult, they may the institution for 33 years. At the time, such a candidate to succeed Lamm. then, I now recognize that I was wrong.”
entail discipline and renunciation, but the Yeshiva was teetering financially, and In the end, the presidency went to At the time, a $680 million lawsuit
purpose of Torah and commandments is Lamm proved adept at appealing to donors Richard Joel, formerly Hillel’s international against YU by 34 former students of
the good of mankind.” and bolstering the school’s academics. YU director and the first non-rabbi to occupy the boys’ high school was in the works.
A history of The Jewish Center credits gradually rose to become a top-100 school YU’s top job, while Lamm stayed on as The lawsuit ultimately was dismissed
Lamm with showing that “traditional in university rankings. head of the rabbinical school, known by because of the expiration of the statute of
Judaism had something relevant, Lamm wrote 10 books and edited or its acronym RIETS. Lamm remained head limitations. Dratch said his father-in-law
thoughtful and inspiring to say about the co-edited more than 20 volumes. His 1999 of RIETS and YU chancellor for another was plagued by guilt over his role in failing
issues of the day.” book “The Religious Thought of Hasidism” decade. to halt the abuse. “That people suffered
In 1959, Lamm became the senior rabbi won the National Jewish Book Award in When he finally announced his was tremendously bothersome to him,
at The Jewish Center and a professor in Jewish Thought. Lamm also launched the retirement in 2013 at age 85, Lamm and he regretted that,” Dratch said.
er Jewish philosophy at Yeshiva University, Torah U-Madda Journal. surprised many by penning a resignation In his later years, Lamm faded from
er where he helped make the case for Modern Beyond his well-known public letter that included an apology for public life as he suffered from an illness
is Orthodoxy at a time when it wasn’t at all positions, family members said Lamm mishandling allegations of sexual abuse that affected memory, a family member
ro clear that the embrace of both Orthodox often played a key role in Jewish communal against faculty members at YU’s affiliated said.
te observance and the modern world was affairs behind the scenes. When ArtScroll high school for boys in the 1970s and ’80s. His wife, Mindella, died April 16 at age
e. possible. Lamm was the rare Orthodox publisher Mesorah Publications was Lamm said he was aware of concerns about 88 of complications from COVID-19.
st rabbi who was well-versed in both secular going through a financial rough patch, two staffers, one an administrator and the Lamm is survived by two sons: Shalom,
ws and Jewish scholarship — and inordinately Lamm helped introduce the publisher to other a teacher. But Lamm handled them a real estate developer involved in a
ut articulate when it came to both. philanthropist Jerome Schottenstein, who the way many such incidents were treated controversial Hasidic development in the
w “He was a real model of a sophisticated ended up bankrolling ArtScroll’s yearslong at the time: quietly and internally. upstate New York village of Bloomingburg,
er Orthodoxy at a time when Orthodoxy was work translating the Talmud into English. “At the time that inappropriate actions and Joshua Lamm, a psychiatrist. Lamm
es sorely lacking sophistication,” Schacter After Lamm stepped down from by individuals at Yeshiva were brought also is survived by a daughter, Chaye
said. “He set the bar for what an elegant Yeshiva’s presidency in 2003, he proved to my attention, I acted in a way that I Warburg, an occupational therapist in
me sermon should be. He was a master darshan irreplaceable. YU had always been led thought was correct, but which now seems Teaneck, N.J. His daughter Sara Lamm
[preacher], and of course, he carried that by someone who held both the post ill-conceived. I understand better today Dratch died in 2013.
over as president of YU in all the speeches of university president and head of its than I did then that sometimes, when you Lamm also is survived by 17 grandchildren
he gave.” rabbinical program – an arrangement that think you are doing good, your actions do and numerous great-grandchildren. n
Lamm became YU’s third president — embodied the university’s dual mission not measure up,” Lamm wrote in his letter.
and its first American-born one — in 1976, of Torah U-madda, or Torah and secular “True character requires of me the courage A version of this story appears on jpost.
succeeding Samuel Belkin, who had led learning. But the university could not find to admit that, despite my best intentions com.


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HUC-JIR President Andrew Rehfeld

on His First (Pandemic) Year
» by Jessica Donath
Religion’s (HUC-JIR) Rabbi Aaron Panken died in a plane crash in 2018, the AR: Mainly in two ways: 1) It helped us develop a deep appreciation
search committee to replace Panken suggested Andrew Rehfeld throw for the work that we are training our students for, because we see how
his hat into the ring. our alumni are responding in such innovative and daring ways to
Rehfeld, 54, didn’t take the request seriously. He’s not a rabbi, and at the needs of their communities. 2) We needed to address some long-
the time he was the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. standing issues but knew it would take a long time, for example, how
Louis. Before that, he was a political science professor at Washington to do distance learning that’s at the same level of excellence as the
University. education in-house. We are now going to spend 90 days developing a
The Journal caught up with Rehfeld to talk about his first year on program in case we have to go online for the rest of the academic year.
the job and the challenges facing the Jewish community as a whole,
especially during these pandemic times. JJ: How do you think the Reform movement in general has handled

I think all JJ: Have you learned anything in the first year that changed your
the pandemic?
AR: I think all arms of the movement, and not just the Reform

arms of the view of what it means to be a Jewish clergy person?

AR: I don’t know if it changed my view so much as it deepened and
movement, are managing a situation none of us has a playbook for. We
are, in that sense, all making it up as we go, and we are relying on those

movement, focused it. Reform rabbis have had a transformative effect on my own life.
I came here with the full knowledge that each is expected to do multiple
values that inform and guide our work every single day. Values of equity,
openness and justice.

and not just things — be a pastor, be spiritually inspiring, be knowledgeable, show

up and be present. What has changed is only the level of detail I have JJ: What do you think the long-term effects of all of this might be?

the Reform about each of those qualities. The one thing that is no longer clear to me
is that we should be thinking about training rabbis simply as generalists.
AR: Here are three thoughts: 1) It’s reinforcing all of our need for
community. For deep, meaningful, physically proximate relationships

movement, We need to be attracting the best pastors who want to have a rabbinical
career [as] pastors; the best scholars who want a rabbinical career that’s
with other human beings. 2) It is also showing us that technology can

are managing really going be about transformative ideas, and rabbis who want to use
their rabbinate to lead and transform great organizations.

a situation JJ: Do you ever notice when you talk to colleagues that you are not a

none of us has rabbi and most of your faculty probably is?

AR: The president of the university of Chicago, one of my alma

a playbook maters, is a mathematician. He oversees one of the largest medical

complexes in the state of Illinois, arguably the best business school

for. We are, in in the world, arguably the best law school in the world, social science
divisions, humanities divisions, biology, chemistry — things he has no

that sense, all knowledge or expertise in whatsoever. Nobody ever asked the president
of the university “Why aren’t you a [fill in the blank]?” The reason is that

making it up as they have a great understanding that the strength of universities comes
from the ability of their president to recognize the things that he or she

we go, and we or they do not know and getting the right people to lead them.
The reason that I felt confident taking this job is that I believe the

are relying on board finally recognized that HUC moved over 40 years ago to become
a comprehensive leadership university for the Jewish people. Forty-six

those values percent of our students are rabbis but it’s not even half of our students.
So yes, every day I think, “Boy, I’m not a rabbi, I’ve got a lot to learn,” but
be used for spiritual and educational purposes. And I think that’s going
to pose a challenge to business as usual. 3) During any crisis, the sense

that inform and I’m also not a cantor. in which things will be different in the future feels a lot more significant
than it turns out to be. If you think about what happened after 9/11, there

guide our work JJ: What are some of the challenges the Jewish community as a
whole is facing?
were certainly some changes that were made. But day-to-day life in the
United States has not changed demonstrably since then.

every single day. AR: The challenges of the 20th century that we are familiar with, are
what I call urgent and existential. Immigration at the beginning of the JJ: Will it have an impact on the relationship between the Reform

Values of equity, century, the Shoah, the birth of Israel, the sustaining of Israel, gathering
of the exiles from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia. Those shifted from
and Conservative movements?
AR: This crisis is going to put stress on nonprofits and all Jewish

openness and urgent and existential to slow and existential. And those challenges are
defined, in my view, by three key pieces: 1) the level of Jewish education,
organizations, and anything we can do to work closer together, to
collaborate, is important. All of the heads of the seminaries have just

justice. 2) the rate of Jewish engagement, and 3) the sense of the depth of Jewish
identity. Knowing, doing and being Jewish are a challenge, they are
met for a conference call a few weeks ago. And we are going to do that
on a regular basis. I don’t view denominations as barriers. I view them as
existential. clarifiers of different approaches to Jewish life. I am stunned at the way
We are facing those existential threats for really good reasons. Jews are we haven’t been doing things together and I’m glad that this is causing
much more accepted today than we were a 100 years ago. Israel is now people to understand that we have to. We’re not going to be doing better
one of the strongest nations, even as it is facing some real challenges. by putting up denominational walls. That is 20th-century thinking of the
That acceptance and that place of strength, even in the face of renewed worst kind.
anti-Semitism, means that we have to work doubly hard, because every
Jew, particularly in North America, is a Jew by choice. Jessica Donath is a freelance journalist in Los Angeles.

46 | Jewish Journal June 5-11, 2020

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