Archive | April, 2019

There were 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, ADL finds

There were 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, ADL finds

Posted on 30 April 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

The Texoma Region of ADL covers Texas and Oklahoma. Cheryl Drazin is the regional director.

By Josefin Dolsten

(JTA) — Last year saw the third-highest number of anti-Semitic incidents since 1979, despite a decrease from the previous year, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League.

Though the 1,879 incidents in 2018 dropped from the 1,986 incidents in 2017, according to the ADL’s annual survey of incidents released Tuesday, the number of anti-Semitic assaults more than doubled, to 39 from 17.

In ADL’s Texoma Region, which covers North Texas and Oklahoma, anti-Semitic incidents increased from the previous year with incidents of harassment at seven up from five in 2017 and vandalism up to two from zero in 2017.

“While we welcome the national decline in overall anti-Semitic incidents, we are troubled by the increase of acts in our region. We know that harassment and vandalism can lead to violence and we must remain vigilant in working to counter that threat in all forms, whatever the source.” said Cheryl Drazin, Texoma regional director.

The report counts cases of assault, harassment and vandalism. The vast majority of the incidents last year were harassment or vandalism — 1,066 and 774, respectively.

According to the report, the last three months of 2018 were “unusually active” in terms of incidents. The shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue at the end of October “likely drew more attention to anti-Semitic activities,” the ADL said.

The highest number of anti-Semitic incidents occurred in 1994 and the second highest in 2017. Last year’s number matches the total for 1991, the third most recorded in one year. The organization has been measuring anti-Semitic crimes annually since 1979.

The report referenced the shooting at a Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, on Saturday, in which an assailant killed one and wounded three.

“We’ve worked hard to push back against anti-Semitism, and succeeded in improving hate crime laws, and yet we continue to experience an alarmingly high number of anti-Semitic acts,” ADL’s national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement Tuesday. “We unfortunately saw this trend continue into 2019 with the tragic shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway.”

Comments (0)

Remembering Lori Kaye, 60, who ‘thought of others before herself’

Remembering Lori Kaye, 60, who ‘thought of others before herself’

Posted on 29 April 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Lori Kaye with her daughter, Hannah, and her husband, Dr. Howard Kaye. Photo: Chabad.org/News.

By Dovid Margolin

(Chabad.org/News via JNS) Lori Kaye loved greeting cards; she had one for nearly any occasion. Whether a birthday, anniversary or condolence, someone leaving on a trip or returning from one, Kaye pulled one out from her vast collection, wrote a message and delivered it.

“She knew what everyone was up to, what was happening in their lives, and she cared to make them feel special,” shares her longtime friend, Teresa Lampert. “She was an incredible person.”

Kaye was killed on Shabbat morning, on the last of the eight days of Passover, during the anti-Semitic shooting attack at Chabad-Lubavitch of Poway that shocked the nation. She had just stepped out into the lobby to check on the children’s group in the playground when the attacker burst into the building and shot her. Kaye, a woman remembered for her kindness, sensitivity, enthusiasm and generosity, spent her last minutes on earth in the lobby of the synagogue and community center she had done so much to see into reality

She personified the meaning of a “true woman of valor,” says Chabad of Poway’s founding director, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein—who, together with two others, including an 8-year-old girl, was injured—and was “a great philanthropist, a kind-hearted person, always there for others.”

It was Kaye’s energy and attention to detail that made her truly unique, says Lampert, who was with her during her final moments.

“She had such little time to rest; she was always doing good, making people happy, that’s who she was,” says Lampert. “Nobody could keep up with her.”

Shabbat at the Kaye home was a thing to behold, with Lori’s table intricately set up for a large number of guests. Her challah was famous in Poway, as was her matzah-ball soup and chicken.

“It was always incredible,” says Lampert of those meals. “And somehow, even when she had all of these guests, if she heard that someone wasn’t feeling well or for any other reason, she found time to deliver challah or a bouquet of flowers to several homes each week.”

Kaye at a visit to the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem. Photo: Chabad.org/News.

The Lamperts and their two children have joined the Kayes and their daughter, Hannah, at their Passover seder for more than two decades, including this year’s seders less than two weeks ago.

“We said, as we do every year, ‘We need to keep the tradition going,’ ” says Lampert.

The Kaye’s post-Yom Kippur break-fast was another regular event hosted by the couple—a communitywide event that drew everyone.

“You didn’t need an invitation to come,” says Lampert. “It was a given.”

Roots in San Diego

Lori (Leah) Gilbert-Kaye was born in San Diego Aug. 10, 1958—she would have turned 61 this year—and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Aside from college and a short time spent living in Long Beach, California, with her husband, Dr. Howard Kaye, she spent most of her life in the San Diego area, to which she returned to be closer to her parents and family.

Kaye was a devoted member of the broader Jewish community and, together with her husband, a pillar of the Chabad of Poway community, which she joined in the early 1990s. Some time after Goldstein and his wife, Devorie, arrived in Poway in 1986, they purchased an empty lot where they hoped to one day build their Chabad House, synagogue and Jewish center.

“When we bought our property in the 1990s, she secured us our very first construction loan so we could build a shul,” recalls the rabbi. “And she has been with us since.”

Chabad of Poway, Calif. Photo: Google Maps.

Today, Chabad of Poway’s sizable campus includes a synagogue, preschool, senior center, mikvah, kosher kitchen and Friendship Circle, serving children with special needs.

“Everyone knew her, and she knew everyone,” says Lampert. “She was a huge part of this community; she participated in all events and was loved by everyone.”

It was through the Chabad community that Lampert met her friend Lori in the first place. Two decades ago, a friend suggested that Lampert, a native of Peru living in California for the last 26 years, check out Chabad. She and her husband did, and they loved it. The rabbi was warm, the community welcoming. That was when Lampert met Kaye.

“Lori and I hit it off,” she says. “It was just one of those friendships that flourished.”

She notes that Kaye’s generosity extended well beyond her own community. Kaye was active with the Hadassah Foundation, Chai Lifeline and other organizations. And, like the little details she always remembered, she was always on the lookout to give more. Lampert is a tour group manager and travels for business. Whenever she would go to a foreign location, Kaye would make sure to send along a check with Lampert to be donated locally.

“She had such little time to rest; she was always doing good, making people happy, that’s who she was.”

“I would go to South America, Spain, Portugal, Alaska, and she would always send a check along with me for the Chabad House there.”

There was always a personal touch to her generosity as well. Lampert’s son serves as a volunteer lone soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. On a recent trip to Israel, Kaye met up with Lampert’s son in Jerusalem, spending time with him and taking him shopping. Kaye reported back to Lampert that her son was doing well, and that they had gone out to a restaurant before parting.

“She told me, ‘I didn’t send him back hungry, I sent him back really full!’ ” recalls the thankful mother. “Lori took care of all the details.”

The last ‘Yizkor’

The eighth and last day of Passover, Acharon Shel Pesach, is one of joy traditionally associated with the Jewish people’s hopes for the coming of Moshiach. It’s when Jews in synagogues around the world hear the words of the prophet, read in the haftarah, regarding the future era of peace when “the wolf will dwell with the lamb; the leopard will lie down with a young goat.” This was precisely the haftarah that Goldstein was preparing to read in his synagogue when he stepped out of the sanctuary to review it one last time. There, in the lobby, he bumped into Lori, who had gone out to check on the children’s program.

The eighth day of Passover is also one of the four times a year when the Yizkor memorial prayer in memory of departed parents is recited in synagogues. Kaye, who lost her mother recently, asked the rabbi what time the prayer would begin. It was to be an emotional first time reciting the sacred words in her mother’s memory, and Lori’s daughter had specially come down from Los Angeles to be with her mother.

“I told her Yizkor was at 11:30,” recalls Goldstein. “I turn around to the banquet hall to wash my hands in preparation [for the haftarah], then I heard the very first shot. I … turned around to try to see what’s going on, and I locked eyes with this terrorist … standing there, he was in position with a rifle [and] turned [it] on me … ”

Things happened quickly after that. Goldstein lifted his hands to protect his face from the gunman’s bullets, losing one finger and badly injuring another one. A second man, Almog Peretz, a guest from Israel, was injured as he and the rabbi ushered children in the area to safety, including Peretz’s 8-year-old niece, Noya Dahan, who was also wounded. Two congregants, one a Marine corps veteran and the second an off-duty Border Patrol agent, charged at the gunman, who fled.

“I went back into the lobby, and I saw Lori laying on the floor,” says an emotional Goldstein, who had grabbed a tallit and wrapped it around his badly injured hand to stem the flow of blood. “Her dear husband, Dr. Howard, who is a Kohen and came to shul to do our birkat kohanim [priestly blessing] fainted and was laying next to … Lori. It was a horrific sight … ”

Kaye, second from left, at the wedding of Baila Goldstein, daughter of Rabbi Yisroel and Devorie Goldstein. Photo: Chabad.org/News.

Lampert was inside the sanctuary during the shooting and ran out to be at her injured friend’s side. She held Kaye’s hand as someone performed CPR, talking to her throughout and hoping that she would respond.

“Lori was always there for everyone, crying with them or celebrating with them, in good times and bad. I take comfort knowing I was with my friend until the end,” whispers a choked-up Lampert.

God should comfort and console Howard, Hershel Nochum ben Yitzchak HaKohen, and their daughter Chana Yehudis [Hannah] … ,” says Goldstein. “Her [soul] should rest in peace in [heaven], and they should be reunited with the coming of speedily in our days.”

Reflecting on the state of his shaken community, Goldstein acknowledges that while they are shaken and scared, they take stock in knowing that, united with the entirety of the Jewish community, they are not alone.

“We all need to stand together, hold hands together, love each other just like the Rebbe [Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson] taught us, with unconditional love,” says Goldstein. “… We’re all in this together and we’re going to survive this and we’re going to grow from greater strength to greater strength.”

It’s a theme, says Lampert, that Kaye echoed throughout her life, always stressing the importance of doing acts of kindness for others, even—or especially—for strangers, and teaching the next generation to be proud of their Jewish heritage.

“She believed in teaching our children how proud we need to be and continue our legacy,” she says. “Lori was a proud woman, and she showed that to the entire world.”

This article originally appeared on Chabad.org/News. Original article link

 

 

Comments (0)

After Poway synagogue shooting, ADL director calls for government to take action against white supremacists

After Poway synagogue shooting, ADL director calls for government to take action against white supremacists

Posted on 29 April 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and national director

By Ben Sales

(JTA) — The head of the Anti-Defamation League said Saturday’s synagogue shooting should serve as a “wake-up call” for politicians and business executives to more seriously address anti-Semitism.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and national director of the ADL, spoke with reporters on a call from Poway, California, where a gunman entered the Chabad of Poway synagogue Saturday and killed one person, injuring three. Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed while shielding the rabbi from bullets. The rabbi, an eight-year-old girl and another adult were wounded.
The shooting took place exactly six months after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, apparently by design, Greenblatt said. He told reporters on a conference call Sunday that President Donald Trump, other politicians and tech executives need to be more proactive in fighting anti-Semitism on social media and in public discourse.
“They need to stand united against hate and address it not only after it happens but by enforcing norms before there is a crisis and by elevating our shared values long before we have to deal with a tragedy,” he said. “And we desperately need our leaders to stop politicizing the issue. Those who dismiss anti-Semitism when it comes from their side of the aisle are only minimizing the issue and perpetuating the problem.”
Greenblatt noted, however, that according to ADL statistics, the vast majority of extremist murders in the United States are committed by right-wing extremists like the Poway gunman, who appeared to have written a white supremacist manifesto. The ADL found that in 2018, 49 out of 50 extremist murders were committed by extreme rightists (including the Pittsburgh massacre of 11 victims), as well as 73 percent of all extremist murders over the past decade.
“Anti-Semitism is not some abstraction,” he said. “Anti-Semitism is not some idea. Anti-Semitism is a clear and present danger right now in this country. This needs to serve a a wake-up call in this country to deal with this kind of hate… We need the president and the White House to direct [the Department of Homeland Security] to take deliberate action to devote resources to analyzing domestic terror threats. These homegrown threats are equal if not more dangerous than Islamist” threats.
Oren Segal, the director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said the Poway gunman, a 19-year-old college student, participated in an online white supremacist ecosystem where social media activity fuels real-world violence, and vice-versa.
“It’s this vicious cycle,” he said on the conference call. “This propaganda serves as a round-the-clock white supremacist rally by amplifying and fulfilling these white supremacist fantasies.”

Comments (0)

In today’s world, is the word ‘goy’ a slur?

In today’s world, is the word ‘goy’ a slur?

Posted on 25 April 2019 by admin

Photo: Pixabay
Is the Hebrew word “goy” a slur when used today?

By Andrew Silow-Carroll

(JTA) — My seders, like most, drew to a close with the annual cringe-fest known as “Sh’foch Hamatcha,” in which everyone stands up and urges the Almighty to “Pour out Your fury on the nations [goyim] that do not know You.” The section is a justifiable reflection of historic Jewish anger and wishful thinking, especially during the Middle Ages when the biblical verse was added to the Haggadah. But PC it is not.
The word “goyim” sits there like a stray bone in the homemade gefilte fish, inevitable and undigestible. In this case the word means nothing other than “nation,” counting the Jews as one among many “goyim” out there. But the verse plants the seeds for how we’ve come to think of “goy” and “goyim”: as designations for any individual or collective who simply are Not Us.
But is goy necessarily disparaging? I saw the point being debated on Twitter last week. The writer Ariel Sobel insisted in a tweet, “Goy isn’t a slur. If you think it is, you are a goy.”
She fleshed that out in a separate tweet: “Being called not Jewish is not a slur. The absence of Judaism does not make someone vulnerable. Having a term to describe it is not a slur, it just discomforts people because it subverts them as the labeless norm.”
A lot of the Jews who responded begged to differ, saying that while some Jews use the word as a fairly neutral or even affectionate term for a “non-Jew,” the word has taken on disparaging connotations. Others pointed out that it creates a binary that is particularly hurtful to interfaith families and converts.
“As a Jew married to a Jew by choice, I definitely see goy as a slur — seldom used as a compliment, and never used in the presence of a non-Jew,” wrote Nahma Nadich, the deputy director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. “That’s a good litmus test: if you wouldn’t use a word in the presence of someone you’re describing, good chance it’s offensive.”
Sobel explained that she was reacting to white supremacists who have embraced the word “goyim,” partly to accuse Jews of promoting their own brand of ethnic chauvinism and partly as a badge of twisted honor. But she also thanked those who responded for changing her thinking about the term.
“Goy can be weaponized to hurt interfaith families, converts and patrilineal Jews,” she wrote. “We all have unique relationships to the term shaped by our experience. So grateful to have had so many people jump in on the conversation and tell me about theirs.”
I have a hard time seeing “goy” as anything but offensive. In my day job I often find it necessary to distinguish between Jews and non-Jews, as in “What it’s like to be a non-Jewish counselor at a Jewish summer camp” or “In Moscow, a non-Jewish physicist recalls helping build the Soviet Union’s only yeshiva.”
But the word “goy” has too much historical and linguistic baggage to be used as casually as “non-Jew” or “gentile.” It starts with the obvious slurs – like “goyishe kopf,” or gentile brains, which suggests (generously) a dullard, or “shikker iz a goy,” a gentile is a drunkard. “Goyishe naches” describes the kinds of things that a Jew mockingly presumes only a gentile would enjoy, like hunting, sailing and eating white bread.
But even in its plain sense the word is a weapon in what the Yiddishist Michael Wex calls the “vocabulary of exclusion.” “Differences between yidish and goyish, sacred and profane, proper and improper, are built into the structure of the language,” he writes, using “yidish” to mean Jewish.
How that came to be is the subject of a fascinating discussion in the current online edition of the scholarly journal Ancient Jew Review (the best name of any Jewish publication ever). The occasion is the publication of a new book by the Israeli scholars Adi Ophir and Ishay Rosen-Zvi titled “Goy: Israel’s Multiple Others and the Birth of the Gentile” (Oxford University Press). In it they argue that while the word “goy” is common in the Torah, it was only in the later rabbinic literature (starting say, in the first and second centuries CE) that “goy” acquired the status of the absolute Other. From then until today, the word not only distinguishes what makes a gentile different from a Jew, but — and this is crucial — what defines a Jew as being different from a gentile.
The authors suggest that it was the lapsed Jew and Christian apostle Paul who got the ball rolling in his letters by emphasizing the distinctions between the Jews and the followers of Jesus.
Ophir and Rozen-Zvi note that the rabbis don’t just distinguish between ways of religious thinking, but divide the world into a binary Us and Not Us.
“In contrast to earlier attempts to grapple with threatening foreign groups, the generalized and abstract rabbinic Goy has no other quality besides his being a non-Jew,” writes Yair Furstenberg, of the Talmud Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in a response to their book.
Is that necessarily a bad thing? We make distinctions all the time. Many of our identities are based as much upon what we are not as what we are. The challenge is what you do with those distinctions.
In another response to the Israelis’ book, Cynthia Baker, a professor of religious studies at Bates College, aligns with those who believe that Jew-goy divisions “distort, deform and diminish the full personhood of most of this world’s human inhabitants.”
Ophir and Rozen-Zvi also suggest that the Us and Them thinking of the rabbis tends to reinforce a sense of superiority among the Jews, and assigns to goyim qualities that, as Baker writes, “mark their lack of worthiness – and … none that are genuinely positive.”
At the very least, the idea of undifferentiated goyim shows an incredible lack of curiosity of the ways that non-Jews might differ among themselves, let alone how they differ from Jews.
Jews are hardly alone in this exclusionary thinking. The Jew-goy distinction was born at a time when Jews were themselves excluded from the “nations,” and could barely imagine a society where people of various faiths and religions could live side-by-side on equal terms.
That doesn’t argue for getting rid of the “Pour out Your fury on the goyim” section of the Haggadah. I’m a big believer in wrestling with the more difficult parts of the tradition rather than censoring them. But perhaps we should read such language with empathy for the Jewish condition at the time it was written — and acknowledge the ways our own conditions have changed.
Today we have the luxury and ability to think about the Other in ways that honor the Jews for their differences without disparaging others for theirs. We can do better than “goy.”
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the TJP, JTA or JTA’s parent company, 70 Faces Media.

Comments (0)

‘One Day’ exhibit celebrates ‘final’ anniversary

‘One Day’ exhibit celebrates ‘final’ anniversary

Posted on 25 April 2019 by admin

Photo: DHM/CET
Holocaust survivor Max Glauben shared his testimony with Dallas Holocaust Museum visitors April 19, the 76th anniversary of the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The museum’s permanent exhibit, “One Day in the Holocaust: April 19, 1943,” will be retired July 31 in advance of the opening of the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum Sept. 18.

By Frank Risch

Friday, April 19, was a bittersweet day for the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance. We celebrated this “final” anniversary of the museum’s permanent exhibition “One Day in the Holocaust: April 19, 1943” by providing free admission to all visitors. Visitors also had the opportunity to hear testimony from Max Glauben, a local Holocaust survivor.
The Museum will close permanently on July 31. In its place, the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will open to the public on Sept. 18.
Since this small, yet powerful, exhibition opened in the West End 15 years ago, it has been viewed by more than 1 million visitors, and has changed the lives of tens of thousands of Texas students, by showing them the difference between Upstander and bystander behavior.
The exhibit provides a unique view of the Holocaust by focusing on three pivotal events that took place on one day April 19, 1943.
The 20th Deportation Train from Belgium, carrying some 1,630 Jews to a concentration camp, was stopped by three young men. Two hundred thirty-three Jews managed to escape.
Residents of the Warsaw Ghetto began an uprising that held off the Nazis for almost 30 days.
The Bermuda Conference met with diplomats tasked to resolve the situation involving Jewish refugees desperate to escape Nazi occupied Europe. Nothing was done to raise quotas for Jews in the United States, nor was the British prohibition on Jews seeking refuge in the British Mandate of Palestine lifted.
The first two events illustrate upstander behavior — wartime resistance and heroism against all odds. The final event exhibits bystander behavior — a government and diplomatic unwillingness to take the strong steps necessary to find ways to move Jewish people to safe places outside Europe.
The exhibition shows that the decision to stand up against the forces of brutality, hatred and evil can be made under the worst conditions. It also demonstrates that the decision to stand by and do nothing can perpetuate human suffering and cost lives.
We need only consider the headlines from today’s news to recognize the enduring legacy of April 19, 1943, and more importantly, the consequences of bystander behavior.
Anti-Semitism is on a sharp rise at home and abroad. Anti-Semitic rhetoric has reared its ugly head in public discourse. The Anti-Defamation League 2017 annual report documented a 60 percent increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents, which it called “the largest single-year increase on record, and the second highest number reported since ADL started tracking incident data in the 1970s.”
Hate crimes and hate speech are damaging and dividing our communities.
The mission of the Dallas Holocaust Museum has never been more critical, nor more relevant. And this, along with our goal of creating a city of Upstanders, is why we will be opening the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum on Sept. 18 in the West End.
Until then, be sure to visit the current Museum before it retires its permanent exhibition, “One Day in the Holocaust: April 19, 1943” and its Anne Frank special exhibition on July 31.
Frank Risch is chair of the board of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance. Email info@dallasholocaustmuseum.org

Comments (0)

Baytown synagogue celebrates 90 years, restoration

Baytown synagogue celebrates 90 years, restoration

Posted on 25 April 2019 by admin

Photo: Bob John Cromeans
Congregation K’Nesseth Israel in Baytown recently celebrated its 90th anniversary.

By Christopher James/Baytown Sun

Baytown — Under a blue and white chuppah, accompanied by jubilant violin music, Torah scrolls were returned to the Congregation K’Nesseth Israel Synagogue Sunday, April 7, marking its 90th anniversary in Baytown and the first day of worship in the sanctuary in nearly two years.
After the Parade of Torahs, Mayor Brandon Capetillo issued a proclamation designating April 7 Congregation K’Nesseth Israel Day in Baytown and congratulated the members on the 90th anniversary.
Rabbi Jimmy Kessler — the founder of the Texas Jewish Historical Society and the first native Texan to serve as rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Galveston — who grew up in Baytown and the Congregation K’Nesseth Israel Synagogue gave a celebratory blessing.
“In modern-day Jewish communities when we use the ram’s horn for festivals and observances like Yom Kippur, it not only is a symbol of bringing us together, it’s also meant to be a reminder that God is present in this place,” Kessler said. “And we are in a building that represents that. But this ram’s horn is also a thank you to those of you that worked so hard to maintain the congregation.” Moments later, Leah Abbate blew the shofar in celebration of its anniversary and a newly renovated sanctuary. Sunday was the first time since before Hurricane Harvey the Baytown Jewish community was able to worship inside.
“It felt wonderful,” CKI President Joan Teter Linares said of worshiping inside the synagogue. “It really meant a lot to us to be back in there again.”
Water damage to the synagogue, its Torah Scrolls and parts of the community center forced the congregation to worship elsewhere. Due to tremendous flooding throughout Baytown, contractors were scarce and congregation leaders felt it more important that individuals who lost their homes to flooding should have priority in getting the much-needed help.
Because Congregation K’Nesseth Israel has a small membership, the restoration needs for the synagogue and neighboring community building were more than the membership could take on, so they launched a “Save Our Synagogue” fundraising campaign.
Spearheading the campaign was Shana Bauman, CKI Treasurer, and Denise Havenar, project manager for the restoration project.
“Both of these ladies spent the better part of [almost] two years volunteering their time and energy to the restoration project. Their families may get them back now,” Linares said. “Denise handled every aspect of the project and Shana was instrumental in fundraising and accounting for all money spent to the penny.
“If I went into detail of everything they did we would be here another 90 years,” Linares jokingly added. “Suffice it to say, we are forever grateful to Denise and Shana for their dedication to CKI.”
After a long road of fundraising, restoration began in the early part of October and was recently completed in time for the 90th anniversary on Sunday. The Torah scrolls were also restored in Florida and were returned Sunday with the ceremonial Parade of Torahs.
The history of the Congregation K’Nesseth Israel began at the start of the Goose Creek oil field boom in 1917. The population in the area, now known as Baytown, was about 2,000 people who had come from all parts of the country seeking work in the oil fields. Of these, only two families were of the Jewish faith.
By 1920, there had been considerable growth in the area, Goose Creek and Pelly had been incorporated, and the Humble Oil and Refining Co. had begun operation of the Baytown refinery.
The Jewish population had expanded to 12 families. Realizing the necessity for a place of worship, they rented a building and began holding services on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. On Nov. 3, 1928, the congregation was incorporated, with 20 incorporating members. Property was purchased for erection of a synagogue. The synagogue was completed in 1930 and was designated a Texas State Historical Landmark in 1992.
Reprinted with permission from the Baytown Sun.

Comments (0)

Fort Worth celebrates Karen Kaplan years of service

Fort Worth celebrates Karen Kaplan years of service

Posted on 25 April 2019 by admin

Photos: Kim Goldberg
Karen Kaplan’s three children were in attendance when the Federationhonored her with the Manny and Roz Rosenthal Spirit of Federation Award. Pictured from left, Federation Executive Director Bob Goldberg, Michael Kaplan, Karen Kaplan, Meryl K. Evans and Elisa Kaplan Miller.

 

The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County honored Karen Kaplan March 17 with the Manny and Roz Rosenthal Spirit of Federation Award for her years of service and commitment. The Champagne brunch was held at Congreation Ahavath Sholom. Kaplan has served as vice president and member of the Federation board multiple times, as well as president of Hadassah, program director for the Jewish Community Center and United Way volunteer, among others. Kaplan learned her commitment to community from her late parents Lilian and Sidney Raimey. Along with her husband, the late Al Kaplan, she instilled this same sense of community service to their three children, Elisa, Michael and Meryl.

Comments (0)

American hero Maurice Rose modest about his success

Posted on 25 April 2019 by admin

Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado is considered one of the best maternity hospitals and a leader in women’s medical services. However, many might be unaware that it is named in honor of hometown hero, Maurice Rose. Rose, a highly-ranked officer who fought in both World Wars (as well as being a member of Colorado’s National Guard), wasn’t a publicity seeker. His accomplishments are mostly unknown. However, in my opinion, he was one of our best military leaders, and a Jewish guy, to boot.
Rose was born in 1899 in Middletown, Connecticut, and his family relocated to Colorado in 1902. Though raised in a family of rabbis, Rose was drawn to the military, rather than religion.
Falsifying his age, he joined the Colorado National Guard shortly after his high school graduation, joining the U.S. Calvary in its quest for Pancho Villa on the Mexican border.
However, when Rose’s parents notified the National Guard that he was underage, he was released, and went to work for a year in a meatpacking plant.
When the United States officially entered WWI, Rose joined the U.S. Army, and his parents relented, allowing him to rejoin the Army, whereupon he falsified his age once more in order to apply for Officers Candidate School.
Anxious to move up in the ranks, Rose trained both in the United States and France, where he commanded an infantry unit as a first lieutenant. . Early in combat, he was wounded by shrapnel and had to be forcibly removed.
He later returned to the battlefield against doctors’ orders.
During his service, Rose gained a reputation as a strong leader and fighter, continuing to serve in Germany after the war. He was discharged in 1919.
After working less than a year as a traveling salesman, Rose rejoined the Army with his previous rank of first lieutenant. However, after a review of his war record, Rose was promoted to the rank of captain the next day.
After a series of challenging, yet successful, training and leadership assignments, Rose saw greater opportunities for leadership advancement in the growing armored divisions. He finally ended up as leader of the Third Armored Division, after a promotion to the rank of major general.
One of the many accomplishments of the Third Armored was its longest single-day advance through enemy territory, in the history of mechanized warfare — 101 miles through Central Germany. He was, in fact, the first to cross into Germany.
Other accomplishments credited to Rose’s name included negotiation of the German army’s surrender in Tunisia and aiding the 101st Airborne at Carentan. His division also halted the German advance to the Meuse River.
On March 30, 1945, Rose was riding with his staff in a jeep near the front of a Third Armored column, when the troops came upon a German armored column. The American Jeep became wedged between the Nazi tank and a tree trunk as the driver attempted to escape, and the occupants were dumped out.
As Rose’s crew scattered, the German tank commander popped out of his tank, waving his machine pistol. The Nazi soldier fired at Rose, as the latter reached for his holster, either to shoot back or surrender his gun. Rose was instantly killed. .
What set Rose apart from the other military commanders was his aggressive style, commanding from the front, rather than from the rear. He was the highest-ranking American officer killed in Europe during the Second World War.
He is the recipient of many high awards and honors, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest award after the Medal of Honor. Rose is buried in the American Military Cemetery, in the Netherlands.
Throughout his Army career, Rose was more interested in service than in accolades. More than 70 years after his death, we can honor his life.

Comments (0)

The Omer: Counting the days to Sinai

Posted on 25 April 2019 by admin

Dear Families,
These days, many of us are obsessed with counting, whether it is calories, or steps or something else. We have always counted days to different events, counted how old we are, or other “counts” we may be interested in. This brings us to the ritual of today – Counting the Omer.
Here is the scoop on Omer counting, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it. There is a special period between Passover and Shavuot called sefirah, meaning counting. The practice is observed from the night of the second seder until the eve of Shavuot, and is counted every evening after nightfall. When we count the Omer, we are counting the days on which the Omer offering of the new barley crop was brought to the Temple. This connects the Exodus from Egypt to the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
Tradition has it that the Israelites were told that the Torah would be given to them 50 days after the exodus. According to Leviticus 23:15-16, they were so eager for it, that they began to count the days, saying, “Now we have one day less to wait for the giving of the Torah.”
During this time period, we observe by refraining from joyous events and other customs; for much of our history, it seems as though massacres have taken place during Omer. The one day off from mourning is Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day between Pesach and Shavout.
A good book that discusses the Omer is “Omer: A Counting,” by Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar, and published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. In her introduction, Kedar said that, “time, in the Jewish consciousness, is purposeful and directed, ripe with potential and filled with meaning. Yet even as we look toward the future, counting each day forces us to acknowledge and appreciate the significance of the moment. Every day presents us with the choice to stay where we are, to revert to where we have been, or to progress toward fulfilling our destiny.” Her book provides the right blessings and words to say during the Omer, plus something to think about each day.
There are also several apps, available for laptop and tablets, and Android and iPhones, to help you count the Omer. These apps remind you each day to say the correct blessing; they also provide some thoughts and insights about Omer.
Whether you count the Omer using the pages of a book or apps on your phone, here is hoping that trying this ritual provides meaning for you and your family.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

Comments (0)

Cleansing the soul during Pesach

Posted on 25 April 2019 by admin

By Rabbi Michael Kushnick

Preparing for Pesach requires an incredible amount of time and energy. Shopping, cleaning, kashering and cooking are just a few of the tasks that must be completed before the holiday begins. There is a significant concern for ridding every part of our home of chametz (leavening) during the preparation. The different methods of removing chametz from our homes might be tedious, but the work needed to accomplish this makes a lot of sense. We become obsessed with removing physical chametz. In fact we rid ourselves of chametz in three ways: By selling it by searching for and burning it; and finally, by declaring that anything left is no longer ours. By following this process, we not only remove chametz from our homes, we also gain a spiritual insight into our lives.
The rabbis suggest that chametz transcends the physical world. Chametz also symbolizes the puffiness of the self; an inflated personality and an enlarged ego. To some degree, everyone has these traits. It is human nature to experience these feelings, but it is not good; it harms others as well as ourselves. What if, during the preparation, we were as obsessed with ridding our own bodies of chametz as we are with removing it from our homes? Just like in the home, when we find one crumb of chametz and quickly search for the next, so too in your soul, when you find one instance of chametz — of inflated ego — quickly search for the next instance. Try to dig deep inside your soul by focusing on your conduct since the previous Passover. Isolate the occasions during which you might have acted with an inflated ego, and make a list of those occasions. The list should help you understand a pattern, know if you’ve wronged someone else, and how to repair that wrongdoing. It is hard work, but it is necessary work.
Let’s not lose sight of what Pesach is truly about: Ridding all chametz — both spiritual and physical — from the world. When we do this, we can be the holy people that God brought out of Egypt.
Next year, may we be free from all forms of an inflated self and ego, and truly live as free people.
Rabbi Michael Kushnick has served at Congregation Anshai Torah in Plano since 2013.

Comments (0)

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here