The Philadelphia Jewish Voice Celebrates 10 Years

Many thanks to everyone who came to our 10th anniversary celebration. Philadelphia Jewish Voice President Bonnie Squires welcomed the sell-out crowd, served as M.C., thanked our gracious hosts Mark and Judi Aronchick for opening up their beautiful home to us, and praised David and Debra Magerman of Six Points Kosher Events for their generous donation of the lavish buffet. They even sent along Jim, their wonderful staff person, to arrange all the platters.

The event raised $12,000 to support our paper. Founder and publisher Dan Loeb spoke about his inspiration ten years ago in creating our community all-volunteer newspaper. (His remarks are below the photo.) Dan then made a presentation on behalf of our board of directors to our immediate past president Ronit Treatman for her devotion and leadership.

Ronit gave a gracious acceptance, loved the silver Menorah which Dan had presented, and her parents and many family members among the crowd were beaming.

Dan Rottenberg, the legendary editor, author and publisher, read from one of his opinion pieces, published years before the founding of the Philadelphia Jewish Voice, calling for a Jewish community publication which would be diverse in nature and opinion. He proved to have been clairvoyant.

State Senator Daylin Leach then gave the keynote address, analyzing various legislative issues in the state capital, including medical marijuana and marriage equality, while commenting on gerrymandering and urging reform. He peppered his comments with his usual wit.

Montgomery County Coroner Walter Hofman, M.D., and Lower Merion Township Commissioners President Liz Rogan were among the luminaries who enjoyed the evening.

PJVoice board

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice board of directors. Left to right: Lisa Grunberger, Dan Loeb (secretary), Bonnie Squires (president), Ronit Treatman, Jessica Weingarten, Daylin Leach, Charlie Smolover (former board member), Perry Dane, Ken Myers (vice-president). Not shown but present: Eric Smolen (treasurer), Debbie Rosan. Photo by Helen Loeb.

Remarks by the Publisher

Ten years ago, we were simply members of the Philadelphia Jewish community who sought a paper which would give voice to all parts of our community, and address its critical issues in a spirit of intellectual honesty and diversity. We called ourselves The Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

In 2010, we moved from a monthly webzine format to “blog” format that could be updated daily. All of our writing is done by our team of exceptional “citizen journalists.” Our volunteers allow us to stay on top of the day’s news with analysis from a wide range of viewpoints, from writers like Rabbi Arthur Waskow to Lori Lowenthal Marcus.

We highlight various groups in order to advance worthy endeavors in our community and encourage networking. We interview prominent politicians, candidates and leaders, letting them speak directly to our readers on issues of concern to the Jewish community while keeping a permanent record of their promises to our community. Other regular columns focus on our community, food, Israel, Jewish thought, parenting, teen issues and arts & culture.

Our readership base is in the Philadelphia area, but we are read each month by thousands of subscribers around the world. Our interview of Elie Wiesel was even translated into Portuguese.

Indeed, we have so much material that we strive to bring to you, our readers while the news is still relevant. This is where your support is so helpful. We only have one paid staffer: our webmaster Amir Shoam. He works from Israel and does a great job keeping up with The Philadelphia Jewish Voice during what is for us in Philadelphia the wee hours of the morning.

Dan R Ronit Bonnie Daylin Dan Loeb

Left to right: Dan Rottenberg, author and guest speaker; Ronit Treatman, honoree; Bonnie Squires, president of The Philadelphia Jewish Voice; Senator Daylin Leach, keynote address; and Dan Loeb, founder and publisher of The Philadelphia Jewish Voice. Photo by Helen Loeb.

Tonight we have raised about $12,000 in our 10th anniversary reception. This support will allow the Philadelphia Jewish Voice to continue to provide the level of journalism which we strive for.

Meanwhile, remember that while this reception is a once-in-a-decade celebration, our expenses are an ongoing engagement. Comparable publications get significant ad revenue and ask for $36 per year or more from their readers. We have almost no advertising and provide our content for free. So your continuing generosity is greatly appreciated.

Your feedback and support will fuel us to continue to improve our work as we adventure into a second decade of citizen journalism.

Liz Rogan Mark Aronchick Daylin Leach Ronit Treatman

Left to right: Liz Rogan, president of Lower Merion Board of Commissioners; host Mark Aronchick, Esq.; Senator Daylin Leach, keynote speaker; and honoree Ronit Treatman. Photo by Bonnie Squires.

Philadelphia Bar Association Honors Mark Aronchick

The Philadelphia Bar Association honored Mark Aronchick, Esq., with the PNC Achievement Award at the Association’s annual luncheon on December 9 at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Philadelphia.

DANDRIDGE Mark Aronchick honored

PNC Wealth Management, John Conaway (left), and Abe Reich, Esq., who chaired the PNC Achievement Award committee (right), present the award to Mark Aronchick. Photo: Bonnie Squires.

The Award honors “significant accomplishments in improving the administration of justice.” Aronchick was cited for his work defending same-sex marriage with the successful Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case in Pennsylvania, as well as for his service to the city of Philadelphia years ago as the city solicitor.

In 1996, Aronchick became the first attorney to simultaneously serve as president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation and vice chancellor the Philadelphia Bar Association. In 1998, he became the youngest city solicitor in Philadelphia’s history.

A partner at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, Aronchick was instrumental in this year’s Whitewood lawsuit, which successfully overturned Pennsylvania’s exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Aronchick’s law partner, Daniel Segal, praised his commitment to equality when nominating him:

Mark has an unstinting commitment to provide all citizens, poor and rich, black and white, gay and straight with a fair, equal and honest system of justice. Whether in litigating Whitewood, promoting the Bar Foundation, teaching Penn law students, or serving on the Judicial Conduct Board, this commitment has been and remains the focus of his intense devotion.

Pennyslvania DOMA Hero Honored: Mark Aronchick’s Journey

Mark Aronchick and Congressman Chaka Fattah.

— by Kenneth R. Myers, Esq.

The local attorney and advocate for equality, Mark A. Aronchick, received the Jewish Social Policy Action Network (JSPAN) Social Justice Award, at a reception last month.

Aronchick is the lead counsel, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in the challenge to the Pennsylvania version of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), being brought by a number of same sex couples seeking the right to marry in Pennsylvania.

This challenge is the most important civil rights case in Pennsylvania in years. As the case progresses through the lower courts and perhaps up to the Supreme Court, it could be a very suitable capstone to Aronchick’s long and illustrious public career.

More after the jump.
Through its Church-State Committee, JSPAN takes an active, lively interest in freedom of religion, and other First Amendment cases. This non-profit agency intervenes in key cases, petitions the federal and state executive branches, and educates its members and the public regarding religious and civil rights issues.

DOMA is a statute that the federal government, Pennsylvania and a handful of other states adopted, defining marriage as exclusively a union between a man and a woman.

The United States Supreme Court ruled a key provision of the federal statute unconstitutional earlier this year, reasoning that the law addresses no apparent federal interest, except to express animus against the gay community.

Mark Aronchick and Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach.

The LGBT movement exulted: The federal ruling points the way to attack the Pennsylvania DOMA, but getting a state law overturned is never an easy case.

The DOMA case will turn on constitutional issues, with which Aronchick has extensive experience: Prior important constitutional level cases he handled include litigation concerning voting rights, electronic voting machines, and policies and practices of the Philadelphia Police Department.

As the new DOMA case develops, a growing public recognition of its importance and of Aronchick’s key role is expected.

After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1974 with high honors, Aronchick became active in local democratic politics. After Bill Green was elected mayor of Philadelphia, Aronchick became the youngest person to serve as Philadelphia city solicitor.

He has also filled key positions in the organized bar, including president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation and treasurer and chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Aronchick served as a member of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and Chair of the City of Philadelphia Board of Ethics. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board, a key advisory board to the state supreme court, for four years.

Regarding this virtually continuous stream of often difficult, very public volunteer positions, Aronchick states that he is not special, and that a number of other lawyers could have filled his roles, but his argument in this instance is not convincing.

Dan and Sheila Segal, and Mark and Judith Aronchick.

Aronchick views the fight to allow same-sex marriage in the DOMA case as incredibly important, and a natural next battle following in the larger Jewish tradition, of supporting greater equality for all people.

He is optimistic about the future of the Jewish community, observing that young people today approach public service differently than earlier generations, but continue to offer strong leadership skills.

Aronchick is married to Dr. Judith Aronchick, a professor of radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Their daughter, Sara Aronchick Solow, graduated from Yale Law School, and currently is clerking for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Mark and Judith’s son Jonathan is a student at Georgetown Law School, having previously served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The Aronchicks’s five month old grandson, Ethan Solow, is reported to constitute a serious distraction from law, but one that Mark is up to handling.