Maccabiah Basketball Coach Teaches the Importance of Relationships


Barry Kleiman with wife and team manager Marcie

— by Amir Shoam

When Barry Kleiman, coach of the Under-16 basketball team for the Maccabiah, was 19, he worked as a counselor at a sleepover camp in the Philadelphia area. One day after lunch, when he and the other counselors were playing basketball, a 12-year-old girl named Donna asked them to teach her how to play. She kept playing with them every day during the camp, and in the next two summers, in which she also attended the camp. The two had not seen each other for the next 30 years. When a camp reunion meeting, which Kleiman could not attend as he was living in California, was approaching, he asked his close friend, who also worked in the camp as a counselor, to look for Donna.

It turned out that since the camp Donna had represented Queens College in the All-America women’s basketball team, was selected to the all-star game of the Women’s Pro Basketball League, represented the U.S. in the 1985 Maccabiah Games, and became the PGA Tour’s senior vice president of strategic development. Later, Donna Orender became the president of the WNBA.

More after the jump.
The two have become friends again, and afterwards met again on the basketball court in the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games in Springfield, MA, as Orender’s twin sons participated in the basketball tournament. One year later, Orender, also one of Maccabi USA’s vice presidents, recommended Kleiman for his current position. “I feel honored about that,” said Kleiman, “I know there were other people who were qualified for this job, but I got it because Donna knew me as a coach and as a person and was sure about me. This story shows the importance of creating and maintaining relationships.”

This principal has also led Kleiman in selecting the squad for the coming tournament: “I wanted to pick not only good basketball players, but also people that I wanted to spend four weeks in Israel with,” he said.

Before the trials, I asked each player to write a letter about their motivation and expectations regarding the tournament. I wanted people who would listen, play strong, and know how to work with people they had not known before. I enjoy improving those aspects in players during a season, but it is not something that you can do in one week of training before a tournament.

Among the chosen players are four from the Lower Merion High School: Corey Sherman of the school’s first team, and Michael Berg, Jeremy Horn and Eli Needle of the freshmen team. An interesting coincidence considering that unlike other coaches, Kleiman did not pick players who had already known each other on purpose.

“I was awed to hear that four kids from one high school made it to a national team,” said Berg.

It is not very often that I can experience something as big as that with people I literally see every day in classes. I have always wanted to visit Israel, and the fact that I get to do something that I really like while I am there makes it a great honor. The players who made it from the tryouts were all very good, and I expected them to make it. I also remember a couple of twins from Florida [Orender’s sons, Jacob and Zach], as well as a tall guard from Illinois [Jordan Baum].

“I was quite nervous about the trials,” admits the 15-year-old forward.

I do not consider myself a good tryout player because I am not a “flashy.” Additionally, I am a perfectionist, so whenever I did something wrong, I would think about it for a long period of time during the tryout. I respect Coach Kleiman very much for seeing my value as a player.

“Winning the gold is the goal for me, and I am sure that most of my teammates feel the same,” continues Berg. “The whole experience is special, but we go there to win and represent the U.S. the way we should.”

Based on the east coast tryout sessions and Coach Kleiman’s words, we don’t have too much size. I expect us to be a quick-running and sharp-shooting team. We should not expect anything less than winning.

“I try to ignore any expectations,” concludes Kleiman. “In the last tournament the U.S. won the gold, but due to the age restriction those are not the same players this time. I try not to manage aspirations, but reality: to be as good as this team can. I expect the players not just to try to score, but to do everything yachad — together, so that this tournament will become a great memory.”

U.S. Under-16 basketball team for the Maccabiah:

Players

  • Jordan Baum, Deerfield, IL;
  • Ofek Belkin, El Paso, TX;
  • Michael Berg, Merion Station, PA;
  • Sam Fieldman, Roslyn Heights, NY;
  • Spencer Freedman, Pacific Palisades, CA;
  • Michael Hayon, Calabasas, CA;
  • Jeremy Horn, Wynnewood, PA;
  • Eli Needle, Merion Station, PA;
  • Jacob Orender, Jacksonville Beach, FL;
  • Zach Orender, Jacksonville Beach, FL;
  • Corey Sherman, Penn Valley, PA; and
  • Isaac Siegel, Amherst, MA.
Coaching staff

  • Head Coach: Barry Kleiman;
  • Assistant Coach: Dave Goldman;
  • Assistant Coach: Jake Shechtman; and
  • Manager: Marcie Kleiman.

Romney Batting 0 out of 2 In His Senate Endorsements

Romney caught a lot of flak for his first commercial endorsing a Republican Senate candidate. The recipient of Romney’s largess Richard Mourdock made controversial comments the following day about rape, conception and God’s will.

Now, Romney has repeated his performance by cutting a commercial for North Dakota Senate candidate Rick Berg. Rick Berg is famous for supporting “a bill that would have made getting an abortion a class AA felony” in North Dakota, with no exceptions. In other words, rape and incest victims getting an abortion would be liable to life in prison!

Romney has not recorded an advertisement for Todd Akin who claimed that women cannot get pregnant during a “legitimate rape”. However, the National Republican Senate Campaign Committee apparently has. While the NRSC earlier disavowed Akin, an anonymous group is financing Akin’s latest ad campaign, and the NRSC is refusing to comment on its involvement. Meanwhile, the conservative National Journal reported this weekend that:

Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin was arrested at least eight times in the 1980s at anti-abortion protests, according to newly obtained records….

Akin was arrested on October 26, 1985, April 19, 1986 and February 28, 1987 for trespassing. A December, 27 1986 arrest was for “trespassing and peace disturbance.” The arrests reported by the Post-Dispatch came in the same period, between March 1985 and May 1987, but occurred at other clinics. Three were in St. Louis and one in Granite City, Illinois. The paper said protesters tried to block access to the clinics and refused to leave. In one case, Akin was carried out by police. The last known arrest came shortly before Akin’s 1988 election to the Missouri State House, where he served for 12 years before he joined the House.

Food Chat: Just a Pinch

— by Hannah Lee

When you might think of Jewish cooking in America, you might conjure the iconic Ashkenazic staples of gefilte fish and noodle kugel, but the earliest Jewish cooking in the Americas was Sephardic, said Emily August, Public Programs Manager, in her role as moderator for a program, “Just a Pinch: A Brief and Unofficial History of Jewish Cooking in America,” held on Wednesday at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Jews immigrating from Brazil brought their taste for almond pudding and fish fried in oil, which became a favorite food of our third president Thomas Jefferson, citing Ronit Treatman’s article in The Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

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Drawing upon the food-themed artifacts from its museum collections, she proceeded to delight and enlighten the audience with the assistance of the dramatic reading talents of four people: Francine Berk, currently playing the role of Bubbie in The Stoop on Orchard Street; B.D. Boudreaux, director of and playing Old Man in The Stoop on Orchard Street; Siobhan Reardon, the President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia; and restauranteur Audrey Claire Taichman, owner of Audrey Claire and Twenty Manning Grill. Multilingual volunteers from the audience also participated in descriptive narration.

In 1889, Bloch Publishing Company, the oldest Jewish publishing firm in the United States, issued Aunt Babette’s Cook Book: Foreign and Domestic Receipts for the Household. It encouraged accommodation to American life with recipes for Easter, oysters, and treyfe (sic).

In 1901, The Settlement Cook Book: The Way to a Man’s Heart was published by the Milwaukee Settlement House and it became an important staple of the American kitchen for more than 50 years. In an interview before his death in 1985, the noted gourmet and author, James Beard, known as “The Father of American Gastronomy,” called this cookbook his personal favorite.  This cookbook was to serve as a guidebook for the new immigrants, to help them learn about middle-class American culture.

In 1914, the Hebrew Publishing Company issued the first Yiddish cookbook and it encouraged readers to adopt modern ways of cooking, moving from gefilte fish to American cuisine. It was printed with recipe instruction in both English and Yiddish, to avoid the language gap, so that the immigrant and first-generation members could cook together.

World War I brought the Lever Food and Fuel Control Act, to ensure an adequate supply of essential supplies to our soldiers and allies in Europe. The U.S. government printed and distributed pamphlets in diverse languages — such as Italian, Polish, Russian, and Yiddish — to guide homemakers on healthy and delicious substitutions for wheat, meat, fats, and sugar. Among the tips were: one meatless meal a week and no second helpings. Herbert Hoover, then head of the Food Administration, set the moral tone with his slogan, “Food will win the war.  Don’t waste it.”

The Catskills grew in prominence as a vacation spot for middle class Jews, after the Grossinger family purchased its 100-acre estate in Ferndale, New York. Several postcards from these resorts and summer camp were read aloud by audience members: they all highlighted the food, whether delicious, as from the former, and terrible, as from the latter.

Another major culinary milestone was the introduction of Crisco in 1911. Proctor & Gamble made a special effort to target the Jewish homemaker, touting its product as pareve, light, sweet-tasting, and shelf-stable. In 1933, they distributed the 77-page pamphlet, Crisco Recipes for the Jewish Housewife, printed in Yiddish and English.  The product, ranging from a 1-lb to 9-lb cans, displayed a blue-and-white label.

As an antidote to the growing secularism of American Jews, the The Jewish Home Beautiful, published in 1941, was an attempt to preserve Jewish ritual with Jewish tableaux (pictures of set tables). As an example of its attention to minute detail, the book recommends for Shavuot: serve two blintzes dusted with 10 lines of cinnamon, to represent the Ten Commandments.

In 1955, Gertrude Berg published The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook, written in the voice of her television persona. Its marketing success was a testament of the purchasing power of the Jewish viewer.

The next major culinary milestone was the formation of Hebrew National and its campaign to promote its frankfurters with the pamphlet 31 Ways to Make Hot Meals Out of Hot Dogs issued in 1955. Soon, its success lead other manufacturers to also appeal to the Jewish market. Planters issued Manna About Town in 1965 to promote its peanut oil. In it, “heirloom recipes…[are] lovingly laced with legend and lore.” Manischewitz introduced a Passover menu planner cookbook in 1963 (and its Passover Hagadah has become a fixture on the Jewish table). The editors knew their stuff and listed as the first ingredient for breakfast, prune juice.

Credit: Hannah WhitakerFinally, Bon Appetit magazine featured the resurgence of the Jewish deli in its recent September issue. Its Editor-in-Chief, Adam Rapoport, in an interview in Haaretz, gave a fitting conclusion to this program: “If you find a good recipe, hold onto it, but share it with a friend.”

Author Chat: Inside the Jewish Bakery


— by Hannah Lee

On Tuesday night, I attended a fascinating lecture by Stanley Ginsberg, co-author of Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking. Ginsberg has a diverse background, including a Ph.D. in Chinese literature and a career in marketing and financial writing, but he hungered for the Jewish foods of his childhood. An amateur baker, he found his co-author, Norman Berg (who died in May), on a baker’s forum on the Internet and asked for the one item he savored most, onion rolls. Berg, a Bronx native and a retired baker, provided a recipe and it came out great. Next was the Russian coffee cake, with its New World extravagance of butter, cinnamon sugar, nuts, and apricot syrup. The two of them, living on opposite coasts, embarked on a journey of nostalgia and research and culminated in a thick volume packed with tangible sweet and savory memories of our Jewish communities.

More after the jump.  
What is a Jewish bakery?  Well, you may simply think of it as a bakery using Jewish recipes, serving Jewish customers.  But, it is also a living document of the Jews who lived under the Holy Roman Empire as they moved up the Rhine Valley, then eastward towards the Pale of Settlement, established in 1791 by Empress Catherine (the Great), consisting of western Russia and Poland.  We have linguistic souvenirs of their odyssey, such as bentching which derives from the Latin for benediction, and we have culinary artifacts. Challah, which American Jews think of as our unique Sabbath bread, was also eaten by 14th century German Christians.  (The Sephardim had no special bread for Shabbat, maybe because of the Inquisition and the remaining hidden Jews’ need to hide their ritual observance.) The decorated challah comes from Czechoslavkia, Bohemia, and the Balkans, where they had the custom of decorating their holiday breads with symbols.

Many of the items featured in the book are no longer found in our bakeries, such as kornbroyt (corn rye), poppy horns, and bialys, for which no machine has been devised.  Other recipes are for authentic, labor-intensive methods that commercial bakeries now eschew or substitute with time-saving or cheaper replacements. A poignant example is the sad decline of the mass-produced bagel. In the early 20th century, the International Beigel Bakers Union of Greater New York and New Jersey had a tight monopoly; you couldn’t break into the business unless your father or father-in-law were themselves bagel bakers. Ginsberg writes: “In the 40’s and 50’s, it was said, a Jewish boy could more easily get into medical school than become an apprentice bagel baker.”  And we all know about the exclusion of Jews from medical schools.

The stranglehold was broken by three men: Mickey Thompson and his son Daniel who devised a bagel-making machine in 1962 and Murray Lender who expanded his market by distributing bagels through local grocery stores, thus introducing the bagel to “consumers of all ethnicities.”  The new machine could produce a mind-numbing 300 dozen bagels an hour with one unskilled operator. Lender bought the first six machines manufactured by the Thompsons. However, mass production necessitated changes in the recipe. The original stiff dough clogged the machines, so they increased the water content up to 65%. The resultant dough was now soft and stuck to the machines, so they added oil to soften the crumb.

In contrast to the traditional method of chilling the dough for 24-48 hours for a slow fermentation to develop the flavor nowadays prized by artisanal bakers, Lender sped up the process by adding sugar and dough conditioners. Then, he eliminated the initial step of boiling in malt, which created a shiny, chewy brown crust, favoring steam-injected ovens. The resultant bland bagel necessitated the addition of unorthodox flavoring– such as blueberry, cheddar cheese, jalapeño pepper, sun-dried tomato, and pesto — and it became “a doughnut with the sin removed.”

The Montreal bagel, in contrast, is made in under an hour, and uses oil, sugar, eggs, more yeast, and no salt.  It’s boiled in honeyed water, not malt, and it’s baked in wood-burning ovens, which has areas that heat up to 650 °F and thus blacken parts of the bagel. Partisan as a native would be, Ginsberg touts the New York bagel, which is baked in a gas-fired  or electric oven maintained at an even 460 °F for a “more pronounced oven spring and a harder, darker crust.”

“If challah was the queen of the Shabbes table,” writes Ginsberg, “rye was the poor but honest yeoman who served during the other six days of the week.” This is another example of the decline of quality: rye flour is more costly than wheat flour, so rye bread is now often made with only 10% rye with the addition of caraway seeds.  Pumpernickel is a generic term for dark rye bread, but nowadays it’s colored with coffee or caramel coloring.

Inside the Jewish Bakery offers step-by-step instruction, including the sequential timing of recipes, such as the implementation of the same sweet Vienna dough for the first rising, making onion pockets, then another hour’s proofing, shaping sandwich bread, and, with the final hour’s rising and with the gluten fully developed, making kaiser rolls.

Ginsberg now calls San Diego home, but he was a lay leader of Har Zion while Rabbi Gerald Wolpe was alive. His wife, Sylvia, is a Philadelphia native and they still have family ties here. Ginsberg is a ready story-teller and a walking encyclopedia of food facts. What is the difference between rugelach and schnecken? The former is made from triangles rolled up like croissants while the latter is made from long rolls that are sliced before baking. While mandelbroyt is baked only once and contains almond paste, kamishbroyt is baked twice, like the Italian biscotti.

Inside the Jewish Bakery includes complicated charts listing ratios of ingredients, and not simply volumes (as lay people use) or weights (as professional bakers use).  The book won the 2012 Jane Grigson Award given by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for distinguished scholarship in the quality of its research and presentation.

My copy is from the first printing in May 2011 and it’s full of errors, but the website, www.insidethejewishbakery.com/, has a downloadable list of errata as well as nifty videos on how to shape a four-braid and six-braid loaf of challah. Ginsberg also runs a baker’s supply website, www.nybakers.com, where you can find ingredients not available from your local supermarket, such as medium and dark rye flour, malt syrup, dehydrated chopped onion, and nigella seed.

This lecture, held at the Gershman Y, is part of the “What is Your Food Worth?” series coordinated by Temple University’s Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. Upcoming programs include: “Just a Pinch: An Unofficial History of Jewish Cooking in America” at the National Museum of American Jewish History on the 24th at 6:30 pm and “They Were What They Ate: Immigrant Jews and the Encounter with America,” at Gladfelter Hall, Temple University on the 30th at 3:30 pm.  For a complete calendar and on-going conversations about Jewish foodways, log onto www.whatisyourfoodworth.com or www.temple.edu/feinsteinctr.