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Challah Bake helps raise dough for cancer fight

Challah Bake helps raise dough for cancer fight

Posted on 15 October 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Marcy Rhoads
Hundreds of men and women of all ages participated in the 2017 Great Pink Challah Bake, and registration is open at bit.ly/2IHdSLK for the 2018 edition on Oct. 24, part of the The International Shabbos Project. The event will also provide information and BRCA gene testing.

By Deb Silverthorn

The Great Pink Challah Bake has all the right ingredients to create an evening of memory, health education and deliciousness for Shabbos tables throughout the community. The doors will open at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Zale Auditorium at the Aaron Family JCC for a night of flour, fun, friends and family.
“We’re all so busy, and on Shabbos, we change from humans ‘doing’ to humans ‘being,’ disconnecting from everything but those around us,” said Marcy Rhoads, chair of the event. “We energize and let go. At the Pink Challah Bake, we’ll get into the mood, into the spirit and prepare something holy, delicious and filled with love to nourish our families and their souls.”
The Challah Bake is part of The Shabbos Project, which takes place Oct. 26 and 27.
“The Shabbos Project, which began in 2013 in South Africa as a global, grassroots movement that brings Jews from across the world together to celebrate and keep one complete Shabbat, brings together neighbors, families and strangers – who become strangers no longer,” Rhoads said. “The Challah Bake is a kick-off to something so very special.”
The evening, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is co-sponsored by Sharsheret, a national nonprofit supporting young Jewish women and their families facing breast cancer, and Myriad, a leader in genetic testing, molecular diagnostics and companion diagnostics. Myriad will offer educational resources and BRCA screening before the baking begins at 7 p.m.
Partners for the event are congregations Ohev Shalom, Ohr HaTorah and Shaare Tefilla, Jewish Family Services, Levine Academy, Nafshi Wellness and the Sephardic Torah Center of Dallas.
As part of this year’s Shabbos Project, community members may help determine personal benefits from genetic testing by taking Myriad’s Hereditary Cancer Quiz at hereditarycancerquiz.com before the Challah Bake.
In less than a minute, the questionnaire recommends or not, moving forward. Dallas-based obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Alejandro Singer will be conducting preview screenings at the event, and for those for whom recommendation is made, on-site 28-gene Myriad myRisk Hereditary Cancer test will be performed.
For those meeting medical society guidelines, most insurance companies cover genetic testing at 100 percent. Once testing is completed, participants will be notified with an opt-out if payment is denied meaning no unexpected costs.
As Ashkenazi Jews register in a higher risk category, they should be aware of family history. BRCA screenings and annual mammograms for women with a family history of breast cancer – and with the consultation of personal doctors — for women 35 and older are encouraged, Myriad literature states. Those interested in testing should bring their medical insurance information.
“Knowledge is power, and we hope through events such as these we can provide knowledge, testing and answers. For many, and for men it’s just as important as women, this testing is life-saving,” Myriad spokesman Ron Rogers said. “We recommend everyone speak to their physicians, that physicians bring the conversation and questions to their patients, and that family history be a conversation. The power of genetics and testing can make all the difference.”
The Challah Bake will open with a video message by Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, and a montage about the history of the Shabbos Project and Challah Bake.
Participating groups of friends and family are encouraged to RSVP together, and each table will have enough ingredients for each person to make their own challah dough. Rebbetzin Ruckie Sionit, of the Sephardic Torah Center will direct how to make the challah and explain the significance of making challah together and the power that it generates as Jewish women.
“I’m honored to participate in this inspiring evening, as making challah is a special mitzvah given to women and has been passed down over the generations, through the upheavals and migrations of Jews throughout the world,” Sionit said. “Separating challah while we are preparing it enforces our faith in the Almighty, ultimately opening the gates of blessings into our homes.”
While waiting for the challah to rise, Nikki Friedman, co-director of the Nafshi Wellness organization that integrates Jewish and holistic principles to enhance emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellness, will speak about the power of positivity and self-care. Also, Beth Broodo, Jewish Family Service program director and clinician for breast cancer support services, will share her personal experience and information about JFS’ related services.
Once the challah has risen, bakers will braid the dough, sing songs and dance in the spirit of Shabbos – the challahs to be taken home to bake.
“On a Kabalistic level, Shabbos is a time and space that was created by G-d for us,” Broodo said. “Lighting the candles, families enjoying challah and celebrating Shabbos together can move mountains spiritually.”
Online registration is available at bit.ly/2IHdSLK. Tickets are $5, and all supplies are included. For more information, or to register to participate in a Shabbos Project, visit dallasshabbatproject.com

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Unsung heroes take spotlight at DJCF meeting

Posted on 11 October 2018 by admin

By Amy Sorter

They are the backbone of nonprofit organizations throughout the Dallas area; they are, in fact, one of the reasons why many of those organizations operate efficiently. Each day, these employees’ behind-the-scenes skills, passion and dedication quietly benefit both the agencies for whom they work, as well as members of the community. Yet, because they are largely out of sight, they might not be recognized, thanked, complimented or honored.
To the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation (DJCF), these folks are “unsung heroes.” On Monday, Oct. 29, at its annual meeting, the DJCF will bring 13 of these nonprofit employees out of the shadows and honor them through the first Unsung Heroes Awards presentation.
The DJCF’s mission is to support the community by developing and maintaining resources from donors and community members. Through fund and individual directives, the DJCF distributes those resources to education, human services, arts and faith-based organizations of all sizes throughout Dallas. As such, acknowledging staff members working with nonprofit agencies was a natural fit. The awards were open to agencies with employed staff, and response to the inaugural program was overwhelmingly positive.
“For the nonprofits out there, we know there is someone in the background, who gets things done, but who never gets noticed,” said Mona Allen, the DJCF’s director of philanthropic advancement. “We wanted to acknowledge those unsung heroes, and felt it would be a great way to recognize a driving force in these organizations.”
Those “driving forces” work for large and small organizations, which run the gamut from synagogues, to educational institutions, to community agencies. The nominees’ duties also vary – they are maintenance and front-office workers, as well as leaders, educators and administrators. The one thing members of this group have in common are the accolades coming from those who nominated them. Words such as “tireless,” “dedicated,” “enthusiastic” and “compassionate” consistently pop up in the nominees’ descriptions.
The honorees will receive a special surprise at the event. Furthermore, the award will help bring these organizations into the open, and demonstrate how their actions and activities benefit not only the Jewish community of Dallas, but the Dallas metro, as a whole.
Presenting the unsung heroes to the community at the DJCF’s annual meeting made sense, Allen noted. The event’s goal is to demonstrate the good taking place throughout Dallas, and to provide a source of inspiration to attendees. The 2018 annual meeting will focus on presenting the Sylvan T. Baer Foundation’s 2018 grants, and will also officially launch DJCF’s scholarship opportunities for Jewish and non-Jewish college and university students during the 2019-2020 school year. Finally, DJCF new officers and board members will be installed during the event.
Allen explained that, at one time, the annual meetings were similar to regular meetings. The organization’s leadership would meet behind closed doors to install a new board and discuss further business. But somewhere along the way, the DJFC believed that opening board meetings to the public would “show constituencies and the rest of the community who we are and what we are doing,” Allen said. This thinking has resulted in an annual meeting that has become an important event, complete with socializing, lavish deserts and compelling and moving presentations.
The DJCF opened its annual meeting to the public in 2016 to a handful of attendees. In 2017, more than 200 attended. “These meetings are geared to become a source of inspiration for our community,” Allen said. “We try to do what we can to make you feel good about living in Dallas, and living in the Jewish community.”
This is where the Unsung Heroes program provides a good fit for the event. As these employees are honored for their dedication, loyalty and effort, “it provides recognition and a spotlight on the organizations they work for,” Allen said. “It also sends a powerful message to the community, about the good these agencies do.”
The Dallas Jewish Community Foundation’s annual meeting, which is sponsored by the Texas Jewish Post, will take place at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 29, at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas. The event, which will include pareve desserts catered by Taste of the World caterers, is free and open to the public. Please RSVP by logging on to www.djcf.org or calling 214-615-9351.

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Funding Goal Reached, The Legacy Midtown Park begins work

Funding Goal Reached, The Legacy Midtown Park begins work

Posted on 04 October 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy of The Legacy Senior Communities
The Legacy Midtown Park Site.

The Legacy Senior Communities reached its $15 million philanthropic campaign goal in the largest capital campaign in its history.
The donated funds will help build The Legacy Midtown Park rental continuing care retirement community in Dallas. The organization also closed on the financing for the community, and construction is underway.
The urban and contemporary retirement community will be part of the Midtown Park development in North Dallas between Meadow Road and Royal Lane near North Central Expressway. The community will have 184 independent living apartments and the highest quality of care in 51 assisted-living apartments, 36 memory-care residences and 54 suites for short-term rehabilitation or long-term care. Once completed, the community will create approximately 350 new jobs.
“I remember when we first started talking about creating this community and am so thrilled to witness this historic day in our organization’s history,” said Marc R. Stanley, chairman of The Legacy Senior Communities’ board of trustees. “We promised to build a rental retirement community with independent living and all levels of care on one campus, and we are ready to fulfill that commitment.
“I am so excited that The Legacy Midtown Park will meet the needs of our seniors and their families in a stunning campus that will provide a sense of connection, togetherness and engagement. Our seniors will have access to all the amenities they deserve and receive exemplary care. I am honored to be a part of this project, and I thank everyone, especially our generous donors, talented staff and loving volunteers who helped us reach this day.”
Carol Aaron, co-chair of the capital campaign committee and chair of the board of directors of The Legacy Midtown Park, also expressed her excitement.
“The Legacy Midtown Park is being built for the community by the community, and I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped us reach this milestone,” she said. “I feel a tremendous sense of pride as I watch our vision become a reality. We have an opportunity to provide a sense of comfort for families and meet the needs of our entire Jewish senior population now and in the future.”
Located on 10 acres in the Midtown Park development, The Legacy Midtown Park will be the only Jewish-sponsored rental retirement community in Dallas, though it is open to all faiths. With multiple dining options; a fully equipped fitness, aerobics and aquatic center; and cutting-edge amenities, The Legacy Midtown Park will create the lifestyle desired by seniors today and for years to come. The Legacy at Home, the organization’s not-for-profit home health care agency, will provide home health care, personal assistance and hospice services for both residents and seniors in the surrounding area.
“The Legacy Midtown Park will help us extend our mission, expand our services and broaden our reach by allowing us to serve more seniors and their families in the manner that best meets each family’s needs,” said Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities. “We are creating a dynamic environment where seniors will have meaningful relationships, innovative programming, outstanding care and a deep commitment from our entire team. We are tremendously excited for what the future holds, and I cannot wait to positively impact the lives of so many seniors and their families.”
“I would like to personally thank our capital campaign co-chairs Carol and Steve Aaron and Marion and Bennett Glazer, as well as our vice-chairs Sharon and Chuck Levin and our committee members. We would not be here today without their dedication and the generosity of our donors who share our deep commitment to Jewish seniors and their families,” said Andrea Statman, director of development for The Legacy Senior Communities.
Construction on the different levels of living will begin concurrently across The Legacy Midtown Park campus. The community expects to open its long-term care and short-term rehab in the first quarter of 2020, with independent living, assisted living and memory care preparing to open in late 2020.
The Legacy Senior Communities will extend its capital campaign to give everyone in the community the opportunity to be a part of building this campus for Dallas Jewish seniors. At this point, the organization will also focus on raising necessary dollars for The Financial Assistance Fund to potentially be a safety net for seniors who need help.
For information about The Legacy Midtown Park, contact Dana Hanks by calling 972-468-6208 or emailing dhanks@thelegacywb.org.
For information about donating, contact Statman at 972-468-6161 or astatman@thelegacysc.org.
Submitted by Amy Jones on behalf of the Legacy Senior Communities.

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2018-2019 JCC BookFest; A Real Page Turner

2018-2019 JCC BookFest; A Real Page Turner

Posted on 26 September 2018 by admin

Photo: Deb Silverthorn
The 2018/2019 Aaron Family JCC’s Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest are “Twenty-Six Seconds” (10/9), “The Fox Hunt” (10/17), “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven” (10/18), “Stakes is High” (11/1), “Irving Berlin – The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing” (11/4), “Husbands and Other Sharp Objects” (11/28), “Promised Land” (12/6), “God is in the Crowd (12/10), “In Broad Daylight” (2/6), “The Lost Family” and “The Lost Girls of Paris” (2/12), “Unconditional Love – A Guide to Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Being a Grandparent Today” (3/6), and “Memento Park” (4/3).

By Deb Silverthorn

The next chapter of the Aaron Family JCC’s Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest opens Oct. 9 with events featuring some of 2018’s best new releases and their authors. Unless otherwise noted, all events begin at 7 p.m. and are hosted at the Aaron Family JCC.
“Our visiting authors will educate and entertain audiences with events you won’t find anywhere else,” said BookFest chairperson Liz Liener, in her sixth year as lay leader. “We’re blessed to provide these programs and are honored to once again think of Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer, of blessed memory, to whom BookFest is dedicated, as we devote our efforts.”
This year’s BookFest, which opened on July 23 to a sold-out audience for “The Other Woman” author Daniel Silva, interviewed by Michael Granberry, is partnered by the JCC with the AJC Dallas, Dallas Jewish Historical Society, Congregation Anshai Torah, Shearith Israel, Congregation Shearith Israel’s SISterhood, Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, Israel Bonds, JCC Dallas’ Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Center for Jewish Education, Jewish Community Relations Council and Tycher Library, and the Jewish Book Council.
Leiner; Rachelle Weiss Crane, the JCC’s director of Israel engagement and Jewish living; and a team of volunteers read many titles and participate in a week of introductions to more than 250 authors presenting their books through the Jewish Book Council in New York.
“In addition to our venturing out, Dallas has earned a reputation as a strong festival with great crowds and we now have authors asking to come to us and we are thrilled. Mitch Albom, Nancy Churnin, Martin Fletcher, and Daniel Silva are all returning and we’re happy to welcome them ‘home,’” said Weiss Crane.
Alexandra Zapruder visits Oct. 9 with her “Twenty-Six Seconds.” Fifty-six years after her grandfather Abraham Zapruder captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – on what he thought would be a home movie — the author tells the story of the film and its journey, demonstrating how one man’s unwitting moment in the spotlight shifted the way politics, culture, and media intersect, bringing about the larger social questions that define our age.
On Oct. 17, Mohammed Al Samawi brings “The Fox Hunt” to Congregation Anshai Torah, describing his escape from Yemen’s brutal civil war with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media. To protect himself and his family from death threats, Al Samawi fled to what became the heart of a civil war, his online contacts responding to his appeal, working across technology platforms and time zones, to save him from deadly forces.
Mitch Albom and “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven” arrive on Oct. 18. Of this sequel to “Five People You Meet in Heaven,” Albom says it is the “natural story about Eddie going from meeting five people to being one of five for somebody else.” Albom explores the accident that took Eddie’s life, what Annie lost, and how, in the wake of her trauma, she has no memory of the accident.
Pastor, activist, and community leader Rev. Michael Waters, with Congregation Shearith Israel’s Rabbi Adam Roffman, comes to BookFest on Nov. 1 bringing his “Stakes is High,” blending his hip-hop lyricism and social justice leadership. Weaving stories from centuries of persecution against the backdrop of today’s urban prophets on the radio and in the streets, Waters speaks on behalf of an awakened generation raging against racism and fueled by the promise of a just future.
At 2 p.m. Nov. 4, Dallas Morning News writer Nancy Churnin visits with Mark Kreditor to discuss her book, “Irving Berlin – The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing.” The two will provide visual images and live music of the musician, a refugee from Russia forever remembered as the master behind 1200-plus songs including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “A Pretty Girl is Like A Melody,” “God Bless America,” “Puttin’ On The Ritz” and “White Christmas.”
On Nov. 28, at Shearith Israel, Marilyn Rothstein talks about her “Husbands and Other Sharp Objects,” the story of Marcy Hammer readying to get herself unhitched – while everyone else is looking for a commitment. Her boyfriend wants to get serious and her soon-to-be ex-husband wants to reunite. When her daughter announces her engagement, Marcy finds planning the wedding while seeing her divorce through a trial – and trying to make everyone happy, proving seemingly impossible.
The Tycher Library Community Read, Martin Fletcher’s “Promised Land,” presents Dec. 6. The story is the saga of two brothers and the woman they love, a triangle set against the tumultuous founding of Israel.
Tal Keinan and “God is in the Crowd” come to BookFest on Dec. 10. Keinan’s book analyzes the threat to Jewish continuity. He writes of the Jewish people concentrated in America and Israel, having lost the subtle code of governance that endowed Judaism with dynamism and relevance in the age of Diaspora.
On Feb. 6, Father Patrick Desbois introduces “In Broad Daylight – The Untold Story of How the Murder of More Than Two Million Jews Was Carried Out.” Debois’s book documents the murder of 1.5 million Jews in Ukraine during World War II and how nearly a decade of his team’s efforts, drawing on interviews of 5,700 neighbors to the murdered Jews, and visits to more than 2,700 extermination sites, wartime records and the application of modern forensic practices to long-hidden grave sites.
On Feb. 12, Dallas’ Andrea Peskind Katz, of the Great Thoughts Great Readers website, will interview both Jenna Blum about “The Lost Family” and Pam Jenoff about “The Lost Girls of Paris.” Blum’s novel creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family and the haunting grief of World War II. Jenoff’s book shines the light on the heroics of the brave women of the war and their courage, sisterhood and the strength in surviving its hardest circumstances.
On March 6, Jane Isay brings “Unconditional Love – A Guide to Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Being a Grandparent Today.” Drawing on personal experience, dozens of interviews and the latest findings in psychology, Isay shows how grandparents can use perspective and experience to create lasting bonds that echo throughout a grandchild’s life.
The Tycher Library Spring Read closes out April 3 with Mark Sarvas and his “Memento Park,” a book of family and identity, art and history, and the unanswerable question of ‘how to move forward when the past looms?’ Sarvas’ Matt Santos becomes aware of a painting he believes was stolen from his family in Hungary, during WWII. To recover it he must repair his strained relationship with his father, uncover family history, and restore his own connection to Judaism with a narrative as much about family history and father-son dynamics as about the nature of the art.
Liener, who has loved to read since childhood, says chairing the BookFest is a gift to her – the chance to read books and meet authors she might not otherwise as well as giving her the the opportunity to bring them to the Dallas audience.
“BookFest introduces the best of the best to our community and introduces attendees to a diverse group of authors and styles,” she said. “We remain the only festival in the area focusing on Jewish authors and books with Jewish content, and every year our schedule is filled with especially wonderful events – this year, we raise the bar again.”
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door except for the Dec. 6 “Promised Land,” Feb. 6 “In Broad Daylight,” March 6 “Unconditional Love” and April 3 “Memento Park,” which are free; and the Oct. 18 “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven,” which is $30 in advance and $40 at the door, including a signed copy of the book. For more details or to order tickets, call 214-739-2737 or visit jccdallas.org/special-events/bookfest/.

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SMU student president DeVera has packed senior year

SMU student president DeVera has packed senior year

Posted on 20 September 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Nathan DeVera
“It is an honor to lead and serve my school community and to amplify the student voice,” says SMU student body president Nathan DeVera.

By Deb Silverthorn

Nathan DeVera is in the midst of a very busy senior year.
When he is not managing parliamentary procedure as Southern Methodist University student body president, he is the captain of SMU’s rugby team, president of the university’s Southern Gentlemen a cappella group and a Hillel Board member.
Not to mention completing requirements for the math and mechanical engineering bachelor’s degrees and the mechanical engineering master’s degree he will receive next May – yes, a double major and a master’s degree in four years.
A student senator in his freshman year and student body vice president last year, DeVera has made himself present in student government throughout his college career.
Now, whether he is speaking at new-student orientations, encouraging extracurricular activities or just giving directions on campus, DeVera’s bright smile and great demeanor are one of the bright lights on the University Park college campus.
“It is an honor to lead and serve my school community and to amplify the student voice,” said DeVera, who regularly meets with students, faculty and the university’s leadership. “The renovation of our Hughes-Trigg Student Center, enhancing the on-campus housing experience and student body unification have all been priorities, and to be at the forefront of these changes is very rewarding.”
A Southern California native who was raised nearly his entire life in Las Vegas, DeVera is the son of Lorenzo, born in the Philippines, and Esther, born and raised in Israel.
“We couldn’t ask for more from Nathan and how he has taken his incredible work ethic and spread it across all he does, everything he gets involved with, while always being respectful and loyal,” his mother said. “Nathan has always been an over-achiever, cranking it up a notch, always consistent in his commitment to all he does. I admire him for all he does, and how well he does it all.”
DeVera’s first trip to Israel came in the summer of 2016 as a Birthright participant, during which he also visited with many members of his mother’s family. After a lifetime of family coming to the U.S. to be together, he now has his own memories of Masada, of the Kotel, of going to the markets in Tel Aviv and speaking Hebrew in the streets.
The former Milton I. Schwartz Hebrew Academy (now The Adelson School) and The Meadow School student celebrated his bar mitzvah at Chabad of Las Vegas. His family also attended Temple Beth Sholom. DeVera, who came to SMU with a deep connection to his Jewish roots, quickly sought out the campus’ Hillel. He met director Rabbi Heidi Coretz and found programs and services that throughout his college career have allowed him to hold on to his heritage.
“I definitely appreciate the opportunities and programs that Rabbi Coretz and Hillel provides to our community, the Jewish community and the SMU community-at-large, because in addition to the social experience, there are many educational opportunities, whether they are teaching programs or the teaching of our community that comes because of its presence,” said DeVera. “Our community within the university community, which is diverse and has so many organizations, is proud and strong.”
“Nathan represents himself, his family and his People most honorably in how he respectfully handles himself and his role as a leader on campus” said Coretz, noting in her 15 years leading SMU’s Hillel, DeVera is only the second Jewish student body president – Taylor Russ was the first more than a decade ago. “Nathan brings talent, leadership, academic and now professional success to the table. He is an awesome example and a great friend to us all.”
With eight months until graduation, DeVera’s recent summer internship at Lockheed Martin resulted in an already signed contract to begin work next summer at Lockheed Martin Space as a project engineer with the navy’s fleet ballistic missile program.
“I really will be a rocket scientist,” DeVera said. “I had an incredible experience at Lockheed this summer, and I look forward to beginning my career.”

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SMU Hillel planning wide range of programming

SMU Hillel planning wide range of programming

Posted on 20 September 2018 by admin

hoto: Courtesy SMU Hillel
From left, SMU Hillel Co-Presidents Marlo Weisberg and Jackie Malish join Hillel Director Rabbi Heidi Coretz in introducing students to the organization during the first week of school.

By Deb Silverthorn

In this season for celebrating, Southern Methodist University’s Hillel has its proverbial, albeit invisible, doors wide open, with its constant programming and its mission to enrich the lives of Jewish students.
Rabbi Heidi Coretz, beginning her 15th year as SMU’s Hillel director, brings her smile, spirit and student bonding to the holiday season, and year-round, providing community and connections.
Sushi in the Sukkah, taking place at 7 p.m. –Sept. 26; an Oct. 19 Shabbat dinner hosted by Shira Lander, SMU’s director of Jewish studies; and an Oct. 28 “Challaween” baking event are only the beginning of this year’s programming.
“We are here, we are available, we are excited and we are thrilled to have an incredible student board, wonderful activities, and really great opportunities for our Jewish community to come together,” said Coretz, who also serves as rabbi of Shir Tikvah in Frisco. “We are a small community, rumored to be 350 or so, but we are strong and we are one.”
Jewish life has flourished through the years at SMU. Hillel, an Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter and the university’s Jewish studies program provide academic, social and spiritual opportunities. Whether participants want to learn about Jewish life, faith and culture – or to make and keep friends, Hillel provides inspiration and support.
With more than 200 guests to more than 40 programs last year, Coretz is excited about the future. In addition to Sushi in the Sukkah and other October events, the Hillel calendar includes congregational invitations to students throughout the community; Interfaith programming, including a Passover Seder for nearly 100, a Bring Friends to Shabbat evening, and Yom Hashoah events; and leading the campus’ Good Deeds Day.
“Our campus is unique because, at least in my time here, there’ve been no anti-Israel, BDS or anti-Semitic rallies – perhaps one debate years ago is all I can recall. We are blessed that SMU is a great and respectful community,” Coretz said. “We work hand in hand quite often with the Office of the Chaplin, Multi-Cultural Affairs, the Perkins School of Theology and The Women & LGBT Center. SMU really is a family – widespread and diverse – but we are a family.”
Coretz and Hillel have become a home away from home.
“Heidi spends lots of time and has so much care helping us plan to make everything we do special, and for all of us it really is our ‘home,’” Hillel co-president Marlo Weisberg said. “She absolutely has our best interest at hand. I have so much love for this organization and am excited to be sharing it.”
Weisberg, from Charleston, West Virginia, is following in the footsteps of her sister, Trish, both as SMU Hillel leader and as a SMU Hunt Leadership Scholar.
Weisberg is co-president with Jackie Malish, the two joined in board service by Eliana Abraham, Sarah Crespo, Nathan DeVera, Adam Feldman, Solomon Guefen, Lauren Miller, Bibiana Schindler, Margo Schoenberg, Jake Waldman, Sam Waldman and Jordan Williams.
For more about SMU Hillel programming, visit smuhillel.com

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Crafting Sukkot memories – literally

Crafting Sukkot memories – literally

Posted on 20 September 2018 by admin

Some families mark their children’s physical growth with a mark on the pantry door, for the Silverthorn family, it is the by the span of their palms on the family’s fingerprints sukkah walls. From left are Barbara Schulman, Deb, Marie, Eric, Blake, Whitney and Jonah Silverthorn, Sidney Loftin, Emilie Silverthorn and Kyle Vannguyen.

By Deb Silverthorn

Impressions – they last, and last, and for our family that means many things, including the impressions made by hundreds of family and friends since we built our first sukkah 27 years ago. It is the impressions of palmprints and fingerprints on our hearts, of all of the colors of the rainbow, emblazoned on the three walls that make our fall holiday home.

Every year, in addition to “Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David,” we are blessed to share dinner with our many friends and family who have come once or for whom a lulav and etrog shake is a perennial favorite. No longer here in person, but of our blessed memories, we’re still able to share meals with Poppie J. Brin and Dayani, with PawPaw Moses, Buzzy, Poppa Don and Gail, with Irwin, Barbara, Scott and with Mr. Levitz, with Lola and Richard.

 

Hundreds of handprints provide a special touch for the Silverthorn family sukkah – created of a paper plate with whatever color(s) acrylic paint, palms down, then spread on the sukkah wall, autographed and dated.

 

At our children’s simchas, bnai mitzvot and now a wedding, we added the touch – literally – of many who aren’t able to travel for the holiday, but who are always with us despite any distance. A paper plate with whatever color(s) acrylic paint, palms down, then spread against the wood or tarp, prints then autographed and dated, the children in our lives have added their prints year in and year out – their hands, and hearts, getting larger – spreading wider.

Indelible ink – indelible memories. Sukkot, the holiday of the harvest that always harvests our spirit.

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9 things you didn’t know about Yom Kippur

9 things you didn’t know about Yom Kippur

Posted on 13 September 2018 by admin

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – OCTOBER 10: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish girls perform the Kaparot ceremony on October 10, 2016 in Jerusalem, Israel. It is believed that the Jewish ritual, which involves swinging a live chicken above one’s head, transfers the sins of the past year to the chicken, which is then slaughtered and traditionally given to the poor. It is performed before the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, the most important day in the Jewish calendar, which this year will start at sunset on October 11. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

By MJL Staff

(My Jewish Learning via JTA) – Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, starts at sundown on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Traditionally one of the most somber days on the Jewish calendar, it’s known for fasting and repentance – not to mention killer caffeine withdrawal headaches.
However, the holiday has some lesser-known associations as well.
1. The word “scapegoat” originates in an ancient Yom Kippur ritual.
Jews historically have been popular scapegoats — blamed for an array of ills not of their creation. But, and we’re not kid-ding, they really do deserve blame (or credit) for the term scapegoat. In Leviticus 16:8 (in the Torah portion Achrei Mot), the High Priest is instructed on Yom Kippur to lay his hands upon a goat while confessing the sins of the entire community — and then to throw the animal off a cliff.
2. Another animal ritual, swinging a chicken around one’s head, has sparked considerable controversy, and not just from animal-rights activists.
In 2015, the kapparot ritual, in which a chicken is symbolically invested with a person’s sins and then slaughtered, spurred two lawsuits in the United States: one by traditional Jews claiming their right to perform it was being abridged by the government and another by animal-rights activists. Centuries earlier, the ritual drew criticism from notable sages like the Ramban (13th century) and Rabbi Joseph Caro (16th century), whose objections had less to do with animal welfare than with religious integrity.
3. Yom Kippur once was a big matchmaking day.
The Talmud states that both Yom Kippur and Tu b’Av (often described as the Jewish Valentine’s Day) were the most joyous days of the year, when women would wear white gowns and dance in the vineyards chanting “Young man, lift up your eyes and see what you choose for yourself. Do not set your eyes on beauty, but set your eyes on a good family.” Given the aforementioned caffeine headaches and the difficulty of making a decision on an empty stomach, we’re glad this particular tradition is no more.
4. Food and drink are not the only things Jews abstain from on Yom Kippur.
Other traditional no-nos on Yom Kippur include bathing, wearing perfume or lotions, having sexual relations and wearing leather shoes. The less-than-attractive aroma resulting from the first two restrictions (not to mention the romantic restrictions imposed by the third) may explain why the day ceased to be an occasion for finding true love.
5. In Israel, Yom Kippur is the most bike-friendly day of the year.
Although many Israelis are secular, and there is no law on the books forbidding driving on Yom Kippur, virtually all the country’s Jews avoid their cars on this day. With only the occasional emergency vehicle on the road, bikers of all ages can be seen pedaling, even on major highways.
6. Eating a big meal before the holiday begins will make your fast harder rather than easier.
Traditionally, the meal eaten before beginning the fast is supposed to be large and festive, following the Talmudic dictum that it is a mitzvah (commandment) to eat on the eve of Yom Kippur, just as it is a mitzvah to fast on Yom Kippur itself. However, eating extra food — particularly in one last-minute feast — does not help to keep you going for 24 hours, says Dr. Tzvi Dwolatzky of Israel’s Rambam Health Care Campus. He suggests eating small amounts of carbohydrates (bread, potato, rice, pasta), some protein (fish, chicken) and fruit.
7. On Yom Kippur in 1940, London’s Jews kept calm and carried on.
In the midst of the Battle of Britain, the relentless Nazi bombardment of London that began in September 1940, the city’s synagogues went on with their Yom Kippur services. According to JTA, while air raid warnings “twice disturbed” the morning services Oct. 12, 1940, “most synagogues carried on regardless” and a “large proportion of the men attending services wore uniforms of the various forces.”
8. Yom Kippur’s Kol Nidre services are the only night of the entire Jewish calendar when a prayer shawl is worn for evening prayers.
According to the late Rabbi Louis Jacobs, the tallit (prayer shawl) is worn during Kol Nidre as “a token of special reverence for the holy day.” It is traditional to wear a tallit or a white garment for the entire holiday, with the color white symbolizing both our spiritual purity and our removing ourselves from the vanities of the material world. Many people actually wear a white robe called a kittel.
9. A Virginia rabbi’s pro-civil rights movement sermon on Yom Kippur in 1958 riled up local segregationists and sparked fears of an anti-Semitic backlash.
JTA reported that Virginia’s Defenders of State Sovereignty group demanded that local Jews “move quickly to refute and condemn” Rabbi Emmet Frank of Alexandria’s Temple Beth El for his sermon criticizing the state’s “massive resistance” to school desegregation and said that if he had intended to destroy Christian-Jewish relations, “he could not have been more effective.” While a “leading member” of the Reform temple reportedly said a “considerable” number of congregants worried Frank’s stand “might result in increased anti-Semitism,” others “sided with the rabbi, holding that he held a spiritual and moral duty to speak out for social justice.” The congregation stood by Frank, and The Washington Post published an editorial calling him a “courageous clergyman.”

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1979 Teen Tourists planning April reunion

1979 Teen Tourists planning April reunion

Posted on 13 September 2018 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Audrey Essenfeld Pincu
At the Dead Sea with the 1979 Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Teen Tour, from left, Audrey (Essenfeld) Pincu, Anne (Leventhal) Wechsler and Jana (Pink) Kusin floated without a care.

By Deb Silverthorn

The Jews crossed the desert for 40 years, and it’s been nearly 40 since the 1979 Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Teen Tour participants made their own crossings of Israel’s deserts, swam in her seas, climbed her mountains and lived amongst her people.
A reunion is set for the evening of April 13 at the Clubs of Prestonwood, The Creeks, for the 65 young adults and eight staff members for who the memories remain.
“As a 16-year-old, the Teen Tour was a lot of fun and an incredible summer,” said Sally Waxler Oscherwitz who, with Audrey Essenfeld Pincu, is organizing the gathering. “As an adult, I realize it was one of the Federation’s greatest gifts to each of us.”
While Pincu and Oscherwitz look forward to seeing those with whom they can connect, memories live on of their friends Nathan Levy and Daniel Vaiser, who have since died.
“We were a very close group, and to lose friends so early in life is hard. To remember and celebrate together is a gift,” said Pincu, who still calls Dallas her home. “There are many within our group who remain in touch; a group of girls who go to dinner, occasional get-togethers when people come to town, and of course, within our synagogues and in the community, people see each other and the memories come to life in a blink.”
For six who were there, it was a summer of love: three marriages stemming from the spirit of the Sinai, the heart of the homeland. Ruth Solomon and Mark Schor met as counselors, he a Dallas representative, she a Sabra. Vicki Small knew she was going to marry Paul Friedman after spending the summer together, he telling her she had the “most beautiful brown eyes” at the tour’s orientation. Marcia Prager and her future husband, Larry Levine, met on Teen Tour, and began dating when they met again as students at the University of Texas.
“I’ve been to Israel 10 times and the summer of ’79 definitely stands out. I’ve stayed in touch with a number of the participants and there are lots of wonderful memories, and crazy stories,” said Gary Grove, then a Federation employee who led that summer’s Teen Tour, now a psychiatrist in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Reflecting on water shortages and medical maladies, a confluence of issues while at Gadna (an IDF program that prepares young people for service), friendships that were built, praying at the Kotel and snorkeling at Sharm El Sheikh, his own 25-pound weight loss and few hours of sleep each night, Grove’s memory bank is filled.
“I’m so excited about this reunion and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I really look forward to being there,” he said. “From hostels to hotels, to staying at kibbutzim and sleeping under the stars in the Sinai, it was a summer of impression, I think, for everyone who took part.”
The teens were on the road from June 25-Aug. 4, 1979, arriving in Jerusalem and never skipping a beat to Tiberias, Safed and Herzliya, to Nahariya, Haifa, the Druze village, Tel Aviv and the Sinai. From fishing villages to Eilat, from Masada and Ein Gedi, to the Knesset, Yad Vashem and much more, the travelers’ feet hit the ground running, stopping (maybe) to rest.
“We got together 10 years ago, and it was like no time had passed. Staying in touch, reaching out to one another is easier with social media but there’s nothing like reconnecting in person, with hugs and toasting one another,” said Oscherwitz, a Scottsdale resident for 26 years.
While many of the group has remained in touch, most participants having made DFW-area their home over the years, organizers are still trying to contact tour members Susan Aaron, Melanie Aarons, Miki Ablon, Rebecca Aronowitz, Lisa Brender, Jay Brenner, David Brothman, Roger Katz, Sarah Levin, Libbi Schwartz, Jim Shorter, Barry Sklaver, Victoria Solomon and adult tour advisors Susan Bell and Bev Cohn.
For more information or to share contact information, or for participants who wish to share photos for a slideshow, contact teacher624@hotmail.com or visit the group’s Facebook page at

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Anti-Israel forces and the battle for the Jewish future

Anti-Israel forces and the battle for the Jewish future

Posted on 13 September 2018 by admin

A mock Israeli checkpoint set up during “Israeli Apartheid Week” on the campus of University of California, Los Angeles. Credit: AMCHA Initiative.

By Deborah Fineblum

(JNS) — You send your kids off to college, and they come back telling you that Israel is an occupying force with no rights to the land. This Jewish state you taught them to love? Their professors and friends have convinced them that it’s nothing more than a Zionist hoax.
“These parents are thinking, ‘I’ve just had my child colonized by the enemy of our people,’” said Richard Landes, a retired history professor at Boston University. “Under the illusion of fighting for the underdog, they’re buying the whole victim narrative put forward by the same people who run all 17 nations that surround little Israel.”
These days, campuses are increasingly battlefields where chief among the spoils are the hearts, minds and loyalties of the next generation of the Jewish people.
Countless Jewish students were captive audiences last year for Israel-baiting professors, and many witnessed (and even participated in) anti-Israel demonstrations and divestment campaigns. And on many campuses this spring during “Israeli Apartheid Week,” student unions featured “walls” festooned with a list of Israel’s “crimes.”
Not surprising is a recent Anti-Defamation League study that found that incidents of anti-Semitism on campus have nearly doubled over the past year. And a recent study by Brand Israel found that support by American Jewish college students (62 percent who had witnessed anti-Israel activity on their campuses) for Israel plummeted from 84 percent to 57 percent between 2010 and 2016.
“I knew I was walking into a den,” said Adah Forer, who graduated this spring with a degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley. “When I asked what it was like for Jews there, I was told an Israeli flag was burned on campus in 2008.”
Graffiti was also found recently in a campus bathroom stating that “Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber.”
But despite years spent in front of “left-leaning professors,” Forer emerged with her love of Israel forged in the fire of anti-Israel pressures. As the campus’ StandWithUs Emerson fellow and president of the pro-Israel group Tikvah, leading pro-Israel counter-demonstrations became a defining piece of Forer’s college experience.
But hers isn’t necessarily typical.
A flurry of anti-Israel events
Unfortunately, watchdogs like CAMERA, Canary Mission and AMCHA Initiative have had little trouble finding anti-Israel events on campuses across North America to report on this past year. A sampling includes:
• The UCLA student government debated whether representatives who went on trips to Israel sponsored by Jewish groups should face sanctions. This following on the heels of student government leaders raising doubts about whether a student can sit on a campus judicial panel because he or she is Jewish.
• On the eve of the Passover holiday, when most Jewish representatives had left campus and were unable to vote, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at Tufts, working with the campus Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), put up a surprise BDS resolution calling on the university to divest from companies that do business with Israel.
• SJP at Swarthmore College collected hundreds of student signatures petitioning the school to stop serving Sabra-brand hummus, a product of Israel-based Strauss Group. Their claim: Using Sabra in the cafeteria makes the school an “accessory to the occupation of Palestine.” (Upshot: the administration added another brand of hummus.)
• More than a dozen protestors burst in on an event held by Armenian, Kurd and Israeli students at UCLA: One member tore down the flags and ripped up the panelists’ notes. The protestors made sure their anti-Israel shouts and chants shut down the program while several policemen looked on but did nothing. Equally disturbing, said Ilan Sinelnikov, president of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), is the muzzling of the other side. “At the UCLA panel event, the message was so strong — a shared history of three indigenous peoples,” he says. “The anti-Israel side just couldn’t handle that display of unity and understanding. They had to shut it down and argue that we have no rights to our own homeland.”
• At San Francisco State University, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s speech was drowned out by the catcalls of protesters, who made it impossible for him to finish his speech. This at a school where Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, a professor of “ethnic studies and race and resistance studies,” has stated that “Zionists are not welcome on our campus.”
• At New York University, SJP and JVP convinced 53 student groups, including the Slam! Poetry Club, to sign on to support BDS, and refuse to co-sponsor events with any Israel advocacy and Jewish groups.
This coalition is an example of “intersectionality,” where seemingly unconnected groups — often Hispanics, blacks and gays and lesbians — are being solicited as allies of campus anti-Israel groups.
Forer, the UC Berkeley grad, said such “intersectionality” is a fact of campus life today. “Anti-Israel forces are becoming more strategic by hijacking other minority groups and convincing them that they’re all victims,” she says.
It’s a pattern CAMERA executive director Andrea Levin called “a cause for real concern when 53 groups band together at [New York University] to denounce Israel, and half the student government votes for it.”
Anti-Israel student groups
Behind much of these on-campus attacks on Israel are student groups that have increased their numbers in chapters across North America.
• Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which began at UC Berkeley a quarter-century ago, has exploded from 80 campuses to more than 200 in just eight years, and is typically led by Arab students with Christian and Jewish followers. The national organization’s website says SJP is “centered on freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people, who have been living without basic rights under Israeli military occupation and colonialism since 1948.” AMCHA Initiative has found that having an SJP chapter increases a school’s rate of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents, as well as BDS campaigns. Among the online comments by attendees at last year’s national SJP conference: “Israel really needs to die, and I pray it happens in my lifetime” and “When I stomp, I imagine Zionists’ faces under my feet.”
• Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which also began in Berkeley in the 1990s, is arguably the largest Jewish campus anti-Israel group, with members known for heckling and shutting down speakers they disagree with and pushing BDS through school governments. Their website invites students to: “Come learn about best practices for documenting actions, messaging to get the attention of the cameras and how to turn out the press on short notice.”
• Calling itself “pro-Israel and pro-peace,” J Street operates on campus as J Street U. From that website: “We recognize that the ongoing occupation and settlement of the Palestinian territories is politically unsustainable and morally untenable.”
• But if JVP is the largest Jewish campus-based anti-Israel group, the four-year-old IfNotNow is hard on its heels. Its website says it’s “a movement led by young Jews to reclaim the mantle of Jewish leadership from the out-of-touch establishment…we will be the generation to end our community’s support for the occupation and create a Judaism that stands for the dignity of all people.”
Not only have INN chapters organized “anti-occupation Passover Seders,” but they have been targeting younger Jews this summer, holding training sessions for camp counselors working at eight Jewish camps to teach “anti-occupation” propaganda to their campers. One suggestion: leading the Kaddish mourning prayer for Palestinian terrorists killed in Gaza.
“It’s bad enough what’s happening on campuses,” said SSI’s Sinelnikov. “But training counselors to brainwash young campers about the ‘occupation’ is crossing the line. They’re using Hamas’s own tactics to brainwash kids.”
This summer, IfNotNow also set up a table marked “Birthright” at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to pull over travelers to Israel on Birthright Israel to warn them of “the truth” about the country they were about to visit, most of them for the first time.
In addition, five members of IfNotNow made a highly publicized walk-off from the last day of their own Birthright trip to join with the anti-Israel group Breaking the Silence, so they could “learn about the occupation,” they said.
“Like J Street, IfNotNow is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and dangerous,” said Andrew Pessin, professor of philosophy and Jewish studies at Connecticut College and co-editor of “Anti-Zionism on Campus: The University, Free Speech and BDS” (Indiana University, 2018). “IfNotNow and J Street U pose as sincere progressive students questioning the morality of Israel.”
That positioning “masquerades as pro-Israel and pro-peace so it can pull students in, often funneling them onto the more violent JVP,” said CAMERA’s Levin.
The boost in BDS campaigns
Back on campus, insisting that schools “boycott, divest and sanction” Israel remains the No. 1 method of fomenting an anti-Israel student body. Since the time of the Second Intifada in Israel in the early 2000s, anti-Israel forces have been pressuring local governments, unions and churches to divest of any financial connection to Israel and its businesses, hospitals and universities. On campuses, this means getting the school government to pass these resolutions, which, in turn, pressure their administrations to adopt them.
The purpose of BDS, according to the ADL, is nothing short of the “demonization and delegitimization of Israel.”
The Jewish Virtual Library has tallied 119 BDS votes in the past five years. Though 64 percent were defeated, BDS has passed at many institutions of higher education, including the universities of Michigan and Minnesota, George Washington University, Oberlin and Barnard colleges, and several University of California system branches.
An AMCHA study shows that schools that even consider BDS resolutions witness an uptick in anti-Semitic events. At UC Santa Barbara, for example, Jewish students were threatened, and a student wearing a Star of David necklace spit on. The vote there on BDS was by secret ballot. “That means representatives aren’t accountable to the students who elect them,” Pessin said.
And, though none of the student governments that have voted for their universities to divest succeeded in convincing their administrations to actually cut ties with the Jewish state, these anti-Israel votes have what the ADL terms “a negative impact on public perceptions of Israel” on campus, where everyone is pulled into “a highly politicized and publicized debate.”
‘Teaching them what to think’
The student anti-Israel groups, however, are not operating without help from their elders.
For the last 20 of the 37 years he’s spent as a history professor at Hamilton College, the climate has become “more uniformly liberal,” says Robert Paquette, who also directs the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization. “The line between activism and scholarship is increasingly blurred, with Angela Davis, who was suspected of conspiring to murder a judge, paid five figures to speak here,” he says. “Our universities, which used to be in the business of teaching students how to think, are now teaching them what to think. And their top cause today is the demonization of Israel.”
In fact, nearly 2,000 faculty members across North America have endorsed a BDS agreement to boycott Israeli institutions and refuse to write recommendations for students wishing to study there. This is according to Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, who taught Hebrew and Middle East studies at UC Santa Cruz for two decades and is executive director of AMCHA Initiative, which monitors the situation.
Brandeis University professor, author and leading expert on American Jewish history Jonathan Sarna put it this way: “The real problem is when a faculty’s diversity is only defined in terms of gender and race, but never in terms of ideology. We lose our balance when students can’t understand the people who voted for Donald Trump because there aren’t any there.”
And “with faculty increasingly moving left,” he said, “students hear consistent criticism of Israel. Sadly, most don’t know enough to judge for themselves.”
Moreover, any professors not on the anti-Israel bandwagon may find themselves “pariahs,” according to Landes. “Tenured or not, in this age of political correctness, openly defend Israel and suddenly you’re not invited to speak at conferences anymore, and you’re shunned in the faculty lounge.”
Pushing the dial even further to the left are the many schools where the salaries of professors of Middle Eastern studies are being paid by endowed chairs that bring millions into universities’ coffers. Many of these endowments are by wealthy Arabs and Arab-sympathizers.
Among these is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud, the fifth wealthiest person in the world. Although the Saudi’s $10 million for the Twin Towers Fund was refused by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani after the 9/11 attacks, no such rebuff greeted the prince’s $20 million endowments to both Harvard and Georgetown universities. Another example: Both NYU and Columbia now have Hagop Kevorkian chairs paid for by that Armenian’s millions. And, as they use their lecterns as anti-Israel bully pulpits, professors can punish any student who speaks in Israel’s defense.
“Grade-shaving is real,” says Paquette. “If your professor doesn’t like what you represent, prepare to pay for it when the grades come out. So, parents say to their kids: ‘We’re spending $50,000 a year. Keep your mouth shut and graduate.’”
Follow the money …
and the studies
None of these anti-Israel programs comes cheap. And, observers say, American laws governing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other nonprofits often protect the groups from transparency in their funding streams.
In the United States, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund supports everything from BDS campaigns and anti-Israel lobbying to NGOs funding anti-Israel activities. Among its campus grantees are JVP ($280,000), Palestine Legal ($150,000) and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights ($90,000).
“There’s an alarming drop in federal prosecutions of terror finance activity in the charitable sector,” says Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who testified before Congress.
Umbrella groups that help fund the anti-Israel forces in North America include the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (previously known as the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation), which is a major enabler supporting BDS campaigns on a multitude of campuses. Also known as Education for Just Peace in the Middle East, it has a hand in more than 300 BDS organizations.
In addition, those involved in charities that were connected with or found guilty in American courts of terrorist activities have now regrouped as the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Schanzer said. The AMP specifically helps SJP run BDS campaigns and has supplied chapters with such resources as “Apartheid Walls” for Israeli Apartheid Weeks. As a not-for-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, Schanzer told JNS that “AMP would not have to file an IRS 990 form that would make its finances more transparent” and can receive tax-exempt donations.
Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs also documented European Union funding of anti-Israel organizations, with data showing the E.U. “directly financed organizations which promote anti-Israel delegitimization and boycotts to the approximate sum of more than 5 million euros in 2016.”
One study out of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs found that SJP “is not as they claim, a ‘grassroots’ student organization … but that it “maintains affiliations with Arab and Islamic terror groups, is overtly anti-Semitic, incites hatred and violence against Jewish students, and rejects the existence of the state of Israel in any borders.”
“If you’re anti-Israel, there are 150 NGOs happy to fund you,” says Landes. “But if you’re launching a pro-Israel campaign on your campus, the pickings are slimmer.”
Of course, not all universities are equally embroiled in anti-Israel activities. Lists of those with the greatest number of incidents and overtly anti-Israel professors tend to include such schools as Columbia, Portland State, San Francisco State, UCLA and Vassar.
San Francisco State is among the worst for Jewish students, according to Brooke Goldstein, founder of the Lawfare Project, which provides legal help for Jews facing anti-Semitism. “Discrimination, harassment and intimidation — it’s all there, with the mayor of Jerusalem heckled so viciously he couldn’t deliver his speech,” she said. “You can be attacked there simply because you are a Jew who believes that after 2,000 years of persecution, the Jewish people deserve to be safe.”
Jewish students at UC Berkeley, Forer said, “usually hurry by during our counter-demonstrations, but some of them would stop and want to take action.”
Soon, the ones who walk by may decide that “it’s not OK to wear a Jewish-star necklace, much less an IDF sweatshirt,” says Rossman-Benjamin. “This milieu is driving a wedge between Jew and Jew. Jewish students who say, ‘I only criticize Israel because I care about her,’ and insist on ‘safe space’ for anti-Israel hate, get co-opted by bigger forces determined to wipe out the Jewish homeland and the Jewish people.”
She added that “students who don’t feel part of Jewish destiny and are willing to turn against their own people are easy pickings for Jewish Voice for Peace and others.”
School is now back in session, and many observers expect anti-Israel forces will keep cranking up the heat.
Said Pessin: “Now, it’s no longer the two-state solution they’re demanding, but the wholesale destruction of Israel — ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!’ It’s chilling to hear so many Jewish students and professors echoing this call for the destruction of Israel.”
“The student council president at Berkeley has already announced that part of his agenda for fall is BDS,” sighed new graduate Forer. “Now they’ll have to figure out how to do battle with that.”

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