We Remember President Emeritus Leonard Drucker z"l (p. 4)
Volume III Tevet/Sh'vat 5780 / January 2020 No. 21
The Future is Here
Secular year 2020 is upon us.
It’s hard to believe that we are 20% of the way through this century. I remember when I was in high school, thinking about the year 2000 and how far away it was, and that I would turn 30 in that year, which seemed very old at the time. Now, already, it’s 20 years later than that.
This year I will turn 50; it will be the 21st anniversary of my conversion to Judaism; I will have been a rabbi for 9 years.
I know that some of you are snickering right now and saying that I’m still young, and I get it.
I imagine you remember when you felt like 30 would be old, and then that 50 would be old. And then, with every milestone we reach, we look back and marvel at how young we were when we thought we were old.
We have passed the imagined time in so many science fiction works about the future—the novel 1984; 2001: A Space Odyssey, and in November of 2019, Bladerunner. Some of them seem quaint in their imaginings, while in some ways, frighteningly prescient.
Most of the literature and movies about the future are dystopian, rather than utopian. I wonder if this is because most people can’t imagine an ideal future, but fundamentally believe that things will only get worse for humanity.
Or perhaps conflict and dystopia just make more interesting stories than societies that work, in which people have what they need and are basically content.
There is much to be concerned about in 2020.
The president has been impeached, making the political landscape somewhat uncertain. The effects of global climate change are increasingly impacting the world. Antisemitic vandalism and attacks on Jews have been rising.
There are bright spots too.
Kids have been mobilizing to demand action to deal with climate change. Technology to harness alternative energy sources rather than fossil fuels has been improving.
We can carry tiny computers in our pockets that connect us with people all over the world, and almost any knowledge in the world.
Non-Jewish friends of Jews rally to support us in huge numbers when there is an attack—the numbers of supporters are much larger than the number of attackers, even though the attackers do prodigious damage in their small numbers.
This year as every year, it is our mission to bring more justice and goodness into the world.
We do it on a personal level with our neighbors, we do it through the ways we choose to be politically active, we do it through the way we choose to allocate our tzedakah giving.
In most cases, we may not know immediately what impact we have. We may find out sometime, or we may never know.
It’s our responsibility to offer the best we can anyway, in the hope and belief that it will help.
Years from now, when 2020 seems like a long time ago, we will look back and say, “Wow, I thought I was old then, but really I was still so young!” Then we will be able to have a sense of whether we collectively made this a good year.
After all, you know what they say: Hindsight is 20/20.
I am in Israel until January 20. If you have a death in the family and need assistance, please call the temple office. If you get the voicemail, press the button to leave an emergency message, and someone will get back to you. Rabbi Pinsky will be available until January 12, and I have arranged emergency coverage from January 12-20. I look forward to seeing you when I return.
Rabbi Heidi Hoover
voice of truth
Our Temple family reunion at the Biennial
URJ Biennial Highlights
I hope that you and your families are having a wonderful Chanukah. While celebrating our Festival of Lights I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you about my experience and impressions of the URJ Biennial that Rabbi Pinsky, Yvette Pomeranz and I attended a couple of weeks ago.
My Biennial experience began before I ever arrived in Chicago as to my surprise one of the movie selections on my plane was the documentary “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles”.
The film is a must see as it is much more than the telling of how the Broadway show “Fiddler on the Roof” came to be. Also, our very own Jan Huttner appears in the film quite often offering commentary on many insights about Sholom Alechem and the show itself.
I highly recommend that you see this documentary of a show that has been performed every day somewhere in the world since its Broadway debut in 1964. So I already came to Chicago invigorated and excited.
This Biennial’s focus was on how we can “widen our tent” by, as the URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs said, “connecting more individuals to a more meaningful Jewish life and by helping bring about more justice and wholeness in the world”. We were reminded that the Jewish population is diverse. One out of eight Jews is a Jew of color.
I was very proud in this regard during Rabbi Jacob’s address when he profiled Kelly Whitehead, daughter of our Board’s Secretary Emily Whitehead who is presently at HUC in Israel studying to become a Reform rabbi. Although, at B’ShERT we welcome all unconditionally we can do a better job.
I attended a session called “The Color of Love” which is an autobiography by Marra B. Gad, a mixed-race Jewish woman, who grew up in Chicago and in a Reform temple.
At the session moderated by Rabbi Jonah Pesner, the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), Ms. Gad discussed her difficulties in black spaces of not being “black enough” and in Jewish spaces where she was often mistaken for the help, asked to leave, or worse. Unfortunately this still happens to her today.
Another session I attended was about “Immigration Justice: History, Policy, and How to Take Action”. This was presented by speakers from Allanza Americas, a network of Latin American and Caribbean organizations in the United States; PASO-West Suburban Action Project, a community based social justice organization in the suburbs of Chicago; and the RAC. This provided valuable on-the-ground experience of the present situation migrants face and how we can act. I will be passing this information over our Social Action so that we can be a more effective advocate for this important issue.
Our relationship with Israel was another issue stressed at this Biennial.
Among those honored were Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and his wife Julie Fisher, Founder and Director at Consortium for Israel and the Asylum Seekers. They are products of the Reform movement having gone to URJ camps and being members of NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth). They received the Alexander M. Schindler Award for Service to World Jewry. They gave very powerful and inspiring speeches about the importance of our voice to assure that Israel remains a democratic and socially just nation. We were reminded that this year are the elections for the World Zionist Congress. Our goal at B’ShERT is for all our members to vote Reform. We will be reaching out to you during the next few months as the voting is from January 21st to March 11th.
The most moving part of the Biennial are the prayer services and the music. There’s nothing quite like praying with 5,000 fellow Reform Jews and hearing all the voices chanting and singing familiar prayers and songs. Also, what’s amazing is how much new Jewish music is being created every year. Many of the songwriters and musicians live right here in Brooklyn and it would be great if we could invite them to B’ShERT to perform for us.
There is so much more that I would like to share with you about the Biennial and I hope to do that in the coming months. The URJ Biennial is a refreshing and inspiring experience and I encourage you to try to attend at least once in you’re the lifetime. The next Biennial is in 2021 in Washington D.C. I hope that we can have a large B’ShERT delegation attend. B’Shalom,
So far this year, we've have had a successful ice cream social, brunches, a luncheon and musical program at Kingsborough College.
In December, we enjoyed a talk by author Lauren Belfer, who discussed the process of researching her book And After the Fire. Thank you to Lauren, her musicologist husband Michael Marissen and all of our Temple members who made this brunch and event a success. (Pictured with Lauren and Marissen are B’ShERT members Susanna Stein, Melodie Winawer, Charlotte Russell and Candida Friedman.)
We're on hiatus until March 7 when we start our Saturday morning brunches again. April brings our Passover dessert brunch and, on May 8, the Women of B’SHERT will do our annual Sisterhood service. On May 9, we will enjoy a return visit by one of our most popular speakers, congregant Alan Zarrow. His topic: A Civilian’s Guide to West Point by a Career Civilian.
Sara Meyer West, Charlotte Russell and Mona Goldberg
Women of B’ShERT
(Photo by Ellyn Rothstein)
Report from Women of B'ShERT
Hail and Farewell, President Emeritus Leonard Drucker (1933-2019)
Lenny at the TBE Centennial Gala
When Lenny and Elaine Drucker walked into what was then Temple Beth Emeth for the first time 50-plus years ago, nothing at Temple was ever quite the same again. And how fortunate we were for that.
Everybody knew Lenny, and if there was an odd person who somehow didn't know Lenny, he made sure to correct their oversight. In addition to serving as TBE's longtime President, Lenny was a legendary youth group wrangler, great friend, tireless jokester, reliable devil's advocate and advisor to all.
Lenny was a stubborn warrior whose perseverance served him as well in illness as it did in keeping Temple afloat during decades of financial fragility. He left us in mid-December, but his legacy, of course, lives on. Our condolences to B'ShERT members Elaine Drucker, daughters Nadine Antopol and Leslie Drucker and their entire family. There are countless people who loved, learned from and had the privilege of knowing Lenny Drucker. Here are remembrances from some of them.
— Adrienne Knoll
Lori Pandolfo, former TBE President:
Although Lenny tried to seem like a tough guy, Lenny was a kind person who was always looking out for all of us. He took us under his wing for inclusion in a club. We were not entirely sure what the club was, but it felt good to be a part of it.
Alan Zarrow, congregant:
I actually cannot remember when or how I met Lenny in the early '70s when I returned to Temple Beth Emeth and became part of the temple Youth Group (the “tee-why-gee,” we called it). All I probably knew was that he was a very important person in the congregation but, most importantly, he was one of only two people who took enough interest in us (the other being the Chair of Youth Activities, Bob Badain) to make sure that we had a place to be in the building and the funds and materials to run our program. He was gruff and, more than once, a little colorful with his language, but we knew where he stood with us. He was front and center with us as we marched on Fifth Avenue in the Salute to Israel Parade as well as front and center for us before the Board of Trustees. Unfortunately, beginning in the late '70s, many of my fellow TYG’ers left the neighborhood as well as the temple itself. I stayed (freeloaded) at the temple and over the years had, and still have, a great relationship with the Drucker family. But even though most of my comrades were gone, he must have done something right in all of their collective memories. What makes me think this? Nearly 40 years later, almost THIRTY former members of the TYGTBE — most of us well into our 50’s — came back for a Youth Group reunion as part of the Beth Emeth Centennial celebration. The smile on his face was priceless because, even if was just for that one day, “his kids” had come back home.
Carol Lawrence, former youth group member:
I just remember him as being a big, sometimes gruff teddy bear at heart who acted as everybody’s patriarch. He was caring and kind and would defend you to the death if he believed you were in the right.
Michael Tornick, congregant:
I remember what a great and imposing character he was. And how happy I was that we were on the same side of things—on the same team. I was shocked and amazed that he not only knew of the klezmer band with whom I played, but he had actually heard our recordings and told me how much he enjoyed them. I remember how nice he was to me and my parents. He was a most important and lively character both in our personal histories and in the history of the synagogue. A big, warm, loving, nice guy who was always willing to help.
Ron Schweiger, former TBE President:
Lenny was gruff on the outside at times, but a pussycat on the inside. At board meetings, when a vote was being taken, if everyone voted "Yes," Lenny would vote "No," or would abstain. But we all knew he agreed with the yes vote. If something in the Temple needed fixing, if we couldn't fix it ourselves, Lenny always knew who to call to get it fixed.
We all loved him—the adults and the religious school children.
Scott Smith, member and longtime benefactor of Jacqueline Smith Memorial Youth & Outreach Coordinator (formerly Rabbinic Internship):
Lenny was a giant of a man in every way, his presence never failing to fill the room. He adored his family, displayed intense loyalty to his friends, and worked unselfishly for his Temple. He was always the first to volunteer and the last to go home. Since our families lived next door on East 18th Street, as well as in Manhattan Beach, I was fortunate to know Lenny for my entire life. He leaves behind a legacy of love and laughter that will last forever.
Harvey Sackowitz, nephew:
One year, on our first night at Kutscher’s Hotel, a little boy tripped Lenny. Lenny fell and broke his arm. The next day, the mother found Lenny and made her son apologize. The little boy was crying. Lenny looked at him and said, “Don’t worry about it, you were doing what kids do. Now go have fun and enjoy the day!”
Dr. Elizabeth Kloner, member and wife of longtime TBE Rabbi William Kloner z"l:
From the day we arrived at temple in 1974, Lenny Drucker, with his wife Elaine, was a larger than life guiding force working always with my husband Rabbi Kloner to promote, sustain and attempt to grow a viable congregation on Marlborough Road. His dedication was unwavering; he strategized and collaborated to find ways for Temple to stay afloat through some very lean years. Lenny and the whole Drucker family contributed so much to helping Temple survive, to go forward and to be there to experience such a dynamic new beginning. It was indeed bashert. The dedication, loyalty and hard work over decades that Lenny always brought to Temple is the stuff that helps temples survive and grow.
Jeff Levinson, former TBE/B'ShERT President:
I had been coming to the temple for a few years, and didn’t understand how everything worked. At High Holiday services, mysterious people were walking around; at religious school, everybody just seemed to know what they were doing. I was invited to get a peek behind the ark when Lawrence Frost, of blessed memory, asked me to “up my involvement” and join the Board of Trustees.
That’s when I first met Lenny. When he raised a point, one message was always implicit: we’ve done this before, we’ll get through it, we’ll do it again. Lenny's love of the temple was based on the relationships that he formed, whether that was just a hello, or a lifelong bond of true friendship.
As a relatively young past president, I’ve been thinking about my relationship to the synagogue. I don’t know if I’ll serve as an officer again, or run a committee, or just spout off every now and then. But whatever I do, I’ll be guided by the example of Lenny: the love of people, the generosity, and service.
Rabbi Heidi Hoover, Senior Rabbi, B'ShERT:
I first met Lenny Drucker in the summer of 2006. I had interviewed with a committee for the rabbinic internship at Temple Beth Emeth, and the last step was to meet the rabbi, Rabbi Bill Kloner z”l. I showed up at the temple at the appointed time and was sent into his office. When I came in, there were two older men. They looked at me and said hello, and I said hello. I had no idea which of them was Rabbi Kloner. They knew it, and spent a couple of minutes playing with me before revealing which of them was Rabbi Kloner and which was his long-time friend and partner in mischief, Lenny Drucker.
At the Drucker family's request, donations in Lenny's memory may be made to Jewish War Veterans, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and to B'ShERT.
Thank you to Leslie and Nadine Drucker for the photos.
Reunion of Lenny's Youth Group "kids" in 2011
At the Israel Day Parade in the '70s.
B'ShERT Hosts Shabbaton Exploring Arab-Israeli Conflict
Photo by Ellyn Rothstein
Elaine & Lenny Drucker
News From B'ShERT Brotherhood
The B'ShERT community had a unique opportunity to gain insight into the Arab-Israeli conflict at our first Shabbaton teach-in on Dec. 13 - 14.
Leading the weekend exploration were two renowned guest speakers: congregant Sophia Salguero-McGee, Director of the Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding at Queens College, and Dr. Shahar Sadeh, a visiting scholar at NYU and adjunct at Columbia University, where she teaches environmental politics.
Thanks to congregant Candida Friedman for helping to bring this event to fruition.
(Pictured l. to r.): Sophia Salguero-McGee, Dr. Shahar Sadeh, and Candida Friedman
Report from the Adult Education Committee
News from the B'ShERT Brotherhood
The Adult Education Committee of B’ShERT has a number of ongoing activities:
Israeli Dancing takes place every Monday evening from 7:30 to 9:30 pm in the Banquet Hall. The cost is $10 per session.
Torah Study is held on Tuesdays at 1 pm with Sam Silverman and on Friday evenings/Saturday mornings before services with Rabbi Hoover. Please see the weekly What’s Happening email for the schedule.
The B’ShERT Evening Book Club meets monthly. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 8 at 7 pm. We will be discussing Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. Please call the Temple office for the meeting location.
The next Saturday Book Club and light lunch will take place on January 25 right after services. We will be discussing Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom by Ariel Burger.
Starting in January, we will host a series of seven movies.(Stay tuned for dates and times.) The Golem will kick off the series. The cost per movie is $10 and will include hot dog and soda.
Congregant and film buff Joel Edelstein will give a brief overview.
Ruth Bilé, Adult Education Committee
Exploring the People of Jerusalem (Part 4 of 4)
Photo by Bob Newhouser
It was a wonderful Brotherhood Shabbat on Friday, Dec. 6.
A special thanks to Sam Silverman for putting together the service and his remarkable d'var Torah, and to all our Brotherhood members who participated in the service.
Thanks as well to Rabbi Hoover and Cantorial Soloist Nonie Schuster whose participation added much to our service, to Ruth Bile who helped arrange the kosher chicken and sides for us, and to everyone who brought so much food to be shared with their temple family.
A special thanks to the family, some from as far away as France, who came for the bar mitzvah service on Saturday and brought food to be shared at the Friday night service.
Their attendance was really appreciated and the Bar Mitzvah service on Saturday was fabulous.
I still am floored by all the people who attended our Friday night potluck supper and the Brotherhood Shabbat service.Thank you so much.
Please save the following dates:
On Sunday Jan. 5 at 3 pm, everyone is invited to our Brotherhood Indoor Picnic and Game Day in the Banquet Hall.
Much like at our outdoor picnic in June, Brotherhood will supply hot dogs, knishes, drinks and some surprises.
We are asking you to bring any kosher-style food you wish to share and any games you might like to play with fellow congregants. Doreen Aronow is preparing a fun game to play with us and you don't want to miss it.
The cost is $5 in advance and $8 at the door to help us determine how much food to supply.
We really need your support to show you care about your temple's Brotherhood Affiliate. Please make every effort to attend.
On Sunday, Mar. 22 at 3 pm, come listen to our Temple member and historian Alan Zarrow speak about the plans for the assassination of President Truman as well as other interesting information. Snacks will be provided.
A hearty welcome to new Brotherhood member Rob Friedman, who jumped right in to participate in the Brotherhood Shabbat.
Brotherhood wishes everyone a happy, prosperous and especially healthy 2020.
Brotherhood of B'ShERT
Photos by Adrienne Knoll, Alan Zarrow, Ron Schweiger and Emma Tattenbaum-Fine
B'ShERT Latke Potluck & Hanukkah Service 2019
IN THE BEGINNING: I was born at Saint Vincent’s Hospital and lived with my two moms and a cat and a beautiful Doberman named Pandora on 15th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue in Chelsea until I was six years old.
AND THEN: We moved to West Hartford, Connecticut. We became congregants at Congregation Beth Israel, which would later bring on an amazing cantor named Pamela Siskin, who instilled in me a love of Jewish music and chaotic Temple musical productions.
MAKING A LIVING: I am a freelance performer and writer. I work for a few clients doing social media and advising on marketing strategy. Favorite clients have included agency work for the Brené Brown special on Netflix and Amy Poehler’s directorial debut on Netflix (Wine Country) as well as Rosalind Productions, which co-produced The Prom on Broadway. As an actor, I recently appeared in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (directed by Michelle Tattenbaum, congregant Jennifer Tattenbaum’s twin sister) at an Equity Theater in CT where I’ll be returning this winter to do a new version of Godspell. Artistic Director Dan Levine has revised the script for this 2020 production with Stephen Schwartz’s supervision. Stephen will be present in the rehearsal process. I’m seriously honored to be taking a place as an improviser, singer and comedian in this moment of musical theatre history, as we create a new version of this enduring musical about community and spirituality.
WEDDING LOGISTICS: My fiancé, Luke, and my parents and I are all deeply involved in wedding planning right now. The wedding is in Avon, CT on October 11 of this year. I’m very excited to marry Luke (a concert cellist, recording artist, and entrepreneur) and my parents are proving to be excellent co-workers on this other part-time freelance job of mine that is planning and executing a wedding, which none of us have ever done before.
MY JEWISH IDENTITY: My grandfather, Morris Fine, was editor of the American Jewish Yearbook and, later, Foreign Affairs Director for the American Jewish Committee. My parents speak about that with admiration and I know he derived purpose and fulfillment from his work. When I was bat mitzvah-ed, my grandpa printed and distributed my Torah portion speech all over his office. He was so proud. Some of my closest friends are Jewish leaders and professionals and I’m always inspired by them. My love of music and storytelling and our extraordinary history have kept me connected to the Jewish community wherever I find myself.
WHY I LOVE B'ShERT: I’m new here. I started on December 2 as the Jacqueline Smith Memorial Youth and Outreach Coordinator. I’m blown away by the warmth of the congregants I’ve met and by the creativity of the programming that goes on here. This is such an intellectually curious and open group of people. My cousin, Jennifer Tattenbaum, is a congregant here (a very beloved one, as gossip has it!), and she told me that the Temple was seeking someone for this position. As I read the job description, which involved leading the youth group and doing outreach on social media, I thought it was b’shert, indeed, in terms of what was missing from my life and in how I could be most useful toward a community. I thought it was kind of incredible that the Temple itself was called B’ShERT. I figured that, if it was a sign from G-d, it was a rather unsubtle one. : )
(Photo by Ali Levin Photography)
Liz Fisher, Jeremy Brown and their family.
Photo by Robin Bass
B'ShERT Evening Book Group
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
We will discuss Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Call the Temple Office for location
The Jewish Cultural Committee invites you to participant in Jews Across the Pond, a very special event taking place at Temple on Saturday, January 4, at 1:30 pm immediately following Shabbat services and a light lunch.
Using technology, we will engage in a dialogue, moderated by Rabbi Alexis Pinsky, with a community of Jews living in Ireland. This is a wonderful opportunity for learning and connection!
If you cannot attend in person, you can participate from your computer at meet.google.com/zjs-igam-otu or http://bit.ly/bshert-across-the-pond. You can also participate through audio by using your telephone. Just dial 1-419-969-2167 and use the PIN 621090504#.
Our meeting software works best if you use headphones for your tablet, phone or computer. If you have questions about the technology or need help on the day of the event, please email email@example.com. Please let Yvette Pomeranz or Helene Smith know if you plan to join us, either at the Temple or from home.
Also, join the Jewish Cultural Committee on Sunday, January 19 at 2 pm for the annual Soul to Soul concert, featuring African American and American Jewish music, taking place at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at Battery Park, located at 36 Battery Place in Manhattan. Tickets start at $35. The performances are always outstanding.
Jewish Cultural Committee
News from the Jewish Cultural Committee
#GivingTuesday Nets $$ for B'ShERT
We’re happy to report that B’ShERT’s #GivingTuesday campaign on December 3 raised a total of $1,237 from 25 donors. We thank everyone who participated. The money raised is earmarked for the Accessibility Fund.
You can still support B’ShERT using one-click fundraising via our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BShERTBrooklyn/?ref=bookmarks). If you want to set up your own fundraiser for Temple, just visit http://bit.ly/fb-bshert and get started.
You can also send a few cents to Temple every time you buy something from Amazon. Amazon Smile provides a bit of cash based on purchases, but you have to be at the smile.amazon.com site and choose B'ShERT as your benefit target. It's easy to do: Just head over to smile.amazon.com and select Beth Shalom v'Emeth Reform Temple as your charity of choice. (You can jump directly to our page via this link: http://bit.ly/support-bshert).
Pam Glantzman, Fundraising Committee
Frema Schneier at Women Cook
Report from the Social Action Committee
Thanks to all who donated toys for our annual Hanukkah Toy Drive. You brought smiles to so many children at the Maimonides Pediatrics Cancer Center.
Mark your calendars: On Friday, January 17, at 8 pm, please join us for a Social Justice Shabbat service for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend presented by the Social Action Committee. The service will be coordinated by Mady Kaye with a special musical presentation organized by Cantorial Soloist Nonie Schuster Donato.
Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 28 at 7 pm in the Community Room. Join us as we discuss various projects and opportunities for the coming months.
Happy, healthy and peaceful 2020.
Susan Sysler and Laurie Bassi
Co-Chairs, Social Action Committee
Sat., 2/1: Parent Workshop, 9:45 am
Wed., 2/5: Evening Book Group, 7 pm
Sat., 2/8: Tu BiShvat Seder, 9:45 am
Sun., 2/9: Brotherhood Meeting, 9 am
Wed., 2/12: Executive Board Meeting, 7 pm
Fri., 2/14: Potluck Dinner, 7 pm
Wed., 1/22: Board of Trustees Meeting, 7 pm
REMINDER: No Religious School on Saturday, 2/15 & Saturday, 2/22
Members of the B’ShERT Youth Group gathered in Rabbi Hoover’s kitchen to make latkes together and hold a giant brainstorm about the coming year and what we plan to do.
We generated amazing ideas that covered a vast range from really fun one-off events like laser tag or ice skating, to more involved efforts, like producing an open mic and donating proceeds to a cause we care about.
Civil rights emerged as a theme to focus on in terms of social action. There was extra enthusiasm around the idea of an epic game night at the Temple as well as a shul-in.
Watch this space to see what we do next!
Jacqueline Smith Memorial Youth and Outreach Coordinator
Lotsa Latkes & Ideas at Youth Group Brainstorming Session
Photo by Alan Zarrow
Photo by Rabbi Heidi Hoover
Looking Ahead to February 2020
Exploring the People of Jerusalem (Part 4 of 4)
In May 2019 , the ARZA committee participated in Erev Shabbat Services in honor of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). Some committee members presented short bios on ancient and modern people of Jerusalem. The following bio of Helena Kagan was presented by Susan Sysler.
I would like to introduce you to Helena Kagan, not to be confused with Elena Kagan of the Supreme Court.
Helena Kagan was born in 1889 in Uzbekistan to Moshe and Miriam Kagan, a Jewish couple from Riga. She had a brother, Noach. Her father was an engineer who refused to convert to Christianity and lost his job. Somehow her parents managed to pay school tuition for Helena and Noach, enabling her to study piano at a conservatory in Bern Switzerland and Medicine at the University of Bern, graduating in 1910 and specializing as a pediatrician.
In 1936, she married Emil Hauser, a violinist in the Budapest String Quartet who founded the Palestine Conservatory of Music in Jerusalem. She died in Jerusalem in 1978.
Why is Helena Kagan so important to Jerusalem?
In 1914, when she moved to Jerusalem, she could not get a license to practice medicine and opened a clinic at her home teaching young Arab and Jewish women to become nurses and midwives. In 1916, after the last two male physicians were expelled from Jerusalem by the Ottoman authorities and after playing a major role in containing a cholera epidemic, she was granted an honorary license and worked at a small children’s hospital and became the first pediatrician in the country and the only female physician in the Ottoman Empire. She ran this hospital as the head of pediatrics for 10 years.
She then worked at the Infants Home for Arab children in the Old City of Jerusalem, serving as medical director until 1948 and was also one of the founders of the Histadrut Nashim Ivriot (Hebrew Women’s Organization), which became the local chapter of WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization). In 1927, she established the Israel Pediatrics Association and opened a shelter for homeless children and a health center in the Old City of Jerusalem for working mothers, the precursor to Tipat Chalav (family health centers). In 1936 she established the pediatric department of the Bikur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem, which she headed for the next 40 years. She was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees of Hebrew University and became its vice chairwoman in 1965.
Helena Kagan received the Israel Prize in 1975 for her special contribution to society and the state of Israel in community service. The pediatric department of Bikur Cholim Hospital and a community center in Jerusalem bear her name. In her later years, she also worked as an advisor to the Ministry of health while still doing pediatric consulting work at home.
She was indeed a pioneer of pediatric medicine in pre-State Palestine and is known to this day as the children’s doctor of Jerusalem. She tended to generations of children — Jews, Muslims and Christians — and devoted her life to improving welfare services and living conditions. Thank you, Helena Kagan!
Photos by Alan Zarrow
The B'ShERT community recently celebrated the bar mitzvahs of Aidan Miller and Tobias Dicker (left). Kol haKavod to Aidan and Tobias and mazel tov to their proud families!
(photos by Ellyn Rothstein)
More Glad Tidings from the B'ShERT Community...
...and Happy Anniversary to Karine Cohen-Dicker & Ron Dicker,
and Fran & Sam Silverman!
Danny Landberg, son of B’ShERT members Rita and George Landberg, guided the Erasmus Hall High School Dutchmen football team to its second consecutive PSAL Championship Division title with a convincing 27-0 victory over top-seeded Tottenville H.S. Congratulations to Danny and we are sure that all of the Erasmus alumni here at B’ShERT are proud of The Old Gray School.
(Photo by Alan Zarrow)
Happy Birthday, January Babies!
ARZA Report: Reform Judaism in Israel
The World Zionist Congress Elections are coming soon, and our congregation’s votes are critical to maintaining a large Reform presence! The election is our chance to have the Reform Movement’s voice and priorities heard in Israel. It’s a powerful way to combat the discrimination the Reform Movement faces from the Israeli government.
Voting will take place from January 21 – March 11, 2020, and we will need to engage every single Reform Jew to vote for the Reform slate!
Interested in getting involved? Here are a few ways you can help our cause before the voting period begins:
1. Set a reminder to vote on January 21st here. This is your chance to have your voice heard in Israel!
2. Volunteer for our congregation’s election initiatives. Please contact Tamara Kerner, via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 718-714-4405, to get involved.
3. Post on social media about the election using the campaign hashtag #VoteReformWZC.
4. Donate to the Union for Reform Judaism.
5. Spread the word! Encourage your family and friends to vote for the Reform Movement.
Only by growing the strength of the Reform Movement's voice in the World Zionist Election can we ultimately make progress on the issues we care about: religious freedom, equality, pluralism and more. By working together, we can achieve amazing things!
The ARZA committee sends you its best wishes for a happy and healthy 2020.
ARZA Committee Chair
January 3 - 4 4: 23 pm Vayigash Genesis 44:18— 47:27
January 10 - 11 4:29 pm Vayechi Genesis 47:28 —50:26
January 17 - 18 4:37 pm Shemot Exodus 1:1– 6:1
January 24 - 25 4:45 pm Va'eira Exodus 6:2− 9:35
January 31 - Feb. 1 4:54 pm Bo Exodus 10:1 — 13:16
Candle Lightings & Torah Portion Calendar — January 2020
Our own Alan Zarrow — congregant, historian and Voice of Truth Deputy Editor — recently announced a Brooklyn College basketball game at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn College beat Fairleigh Dickinson University/Florham, adding to the fun. ‘
‘'Twas a good day,” Alan said.
You Are Invited to Join
THE HANNAH SENESH SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA, INC.
The Hannah Senesh Society honors the memory of one of the greatest heroines in modern Jewish history during World War II.
Contact: Harry Bialor, President (718) 375-8669
JESSICA SCHULMAN • TECHNOLOGY RESOURCE SPECIALIST
COMPUTER SERVICES & GRAPHICS ARTS SERVICES
718 338-2043 • fax 718 377-7919
B'ShERT's Caring Chesed Committee: We're Here to Help
Volunteers are needed to make phone calls and/or visits to those who are ill or have suffered a loss. It is especially important to keep in touch with those who are grieving after the initial mourning period. If you know that someone is in need of a visit or a call, please contact one of our co-chairs.
We are always looking for new members and would appreciate any ideas to make the committee more effective.
"It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it…" Pirke Avot
Gene Guskin (917) 533-6231
Ruth Bile (646) 732-2650
Frema Schneier (917) 459-0904
Debbie Belsky (718) 252-8030
B'ShERT Caring Chesed Committee
Wolf's Appliance Repair
Prompt, Friendly Service in Brooklyn
Fridges, Stoves, Ovens, Gas Ranges, Washers, Dryers and So Much More
Call us! 718 998 3238
Ken Brown Photography
The best for Your Mitzvah! (or any other event, personal or professional)
Longtime established pro; temple member; references available. email@example.com • 718-670-3256.
Maxine Feldman Teaches…
Piano, Voice, Guitar, Sight-Singing
Ms. Feldman has 35 years of experience teaching all ages. She has served on the music faculties of NYU, Brooklyn College, The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and Hebrew Union College. She has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, the United Nations, at PTBAS and now at the new consolidated congregation!
For further information please call Maxine at 718-490-7556