Southeastern Pennsylvania ADA Honors Three Progressive Women

The Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) awarded three veteran progressive women activists at a ceremony held in the home of Bruce and Carol Caswell in West Mount Airy, Philadelphia, on Saturday, October 13, 2012.

The honorees were State Representative Babette Josephs, City Council member Marion Tasco, and Shelly Yanoff, Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth.

More after the jump.
Attending the event were such local political figures as State Representatives Cherelle Brown, Mark Cohen, and Vanessa Brown; City Controller Alan Butkovitz; City Commissioners Chair Stephanie Singer and Commissioner Al Schmidt; and City Council members Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Bill Greenlee.

Glenavieve Norton, Chair of Southeastern Pennsylvania ADA, opened the program, saying that the honorees “have had significant roles to play in relation to ADA over their storied careers.” ADA, said Norton, was “founded in 1947 by Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kenneth Galbraith, Walter Reuther, Arthur Schlesinger, and others. National ADA has played a prominent role in the advancement of Civil Rights, Labor Rights, education reform, anti-poverty efforts, and Wall Street deregulation, among other things.”

The Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter, added Norton, “has played an equally prominent role in the establishment of our City Charter, in the Rizzo Recall movement, the election of W. Wilson Goode as our city’s first Black mayor, the Casey Five campaign to elect reform judges to Commonwealth Court, and the successful campaign to prevent the takeover of public schools by a for-profit company, among other things.

“Today the values of ADA,” said Norton, “dedication to democratic principles and good government, and the advancement of social and economic justice, are under serious attack. We take this mater very seriously. We have participated, both as an organization and individually in the voter ID coalition and are championing ethics issues in education reform. We are continuing our work, and will continue our work, on redistricting (City Council districts). We are the only organization that specifically has as a goal addressing good government concerns; we do so as they arise, and as we observe them, in our work and in our lives.”

Capital Crime? Walking the Party Plank on Jerusalem

— Marsha B. Cohen, Ph.D.

It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,

declared Mitt Romney on September 4.

The deletion of a single sentence about Jerusalem in the Democratic platform, which reportedly had been vetted by officials from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), generated hysterical headlines that went viral and ricocheted throughout cyberspace, arousing panic among Democrats and glee among Republicans. (The Democrats reinserted the language on September 5 after President Obama “intervened directly.”)

Ironically, affirming Jerusalem’s status as the capital of Israel and the importance of relocating the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been a largely Democratic strategy for nearly four decades, particularly when there has been an incumbent Republican president in the White House. Republicans latch on to it whenever a Democratic president is running for re-election.

Some historical perspective after the jump.
The Democratic party’s 1976 platform was the first to stipulate:

We recognize and support the established status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with free access to all its holy places provided to all faiths. As a symbol of this stand, the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

This stance was reiterated in the 1980 and 1984 platforms. In 1983, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan called for relocating of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, in a bill co-sponsored by fifty senators. When State Department officials in the Reagan administration objected that moving the Embassy would strain diplomatic ties with Arab countries, Moynihan did not press for a vote. No mention of Jerusalem whatsoever was made in the Democratic platform in 1988, in the wake of Secretary of State George Shultz’s sharp criticism of Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis for suggesting that, if elected President, he would consider transferring the Embassy to Jerusalem. “It’s shocking that anybody would make such a proposal,” the Reagan administration’s chief spokesman on foreign policy told NBC’s Today show. Since Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights “are regarded as occupied territory” and are “subject to negotiations” according to Shultz, who deemed any notion of moving the Embassy a “mistake.”

But Jerusalem was back in the 1992 Democratic platform, a seeming non sequitur tacked on to the Middle East Peace plank, minus the call for moving the US Embassy:

The United States must act effectively as an honest broker in the peace process. It must not, as has been the case with this Administration, encourage one side to believe that it will deliver unilateral concessions from the other. Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Israel and should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.

Republicans were the latecomers to the Jerusalem capital-ism game. The GOP’s 1976 platform made no mention of Jerusalem. The 1980, 1984 and 1988 Republican platforms all declared that “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city with continued free and unimpeded access to all holy places by people of all faiths.” The same assertion appeared in the 1992 platform, followed by the coy sentence, “No genuine peace would deny Jews the right to live anywhere in the special city of Jerusalem.”

With a popular Democratic president in the White House, it was the Republicans’ turn to play the Jerusalem capital card. On October 24, 1995, the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Implementation Act, introduced by Republican Sen. Bob Dole (who just happened to be running for president), passed the Senate (S. 1323) in a 93-5 and the House (H.R. 1595) 374-37. President Clinton signed the bill two weeks later. The overwhelming bi-partisan support for the measure did not prevent Republicans from taking full credit, gloating in the 1996 GOP platform:

We applaud the Republican Congress for enacting legislation to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. A Republican administration will ensure that the U.S. Embassy is moved to Jerusalem by May 1999.

Clinton won the 1996 election. The US Embassy stayed in Tel Aviv. Then the 2000 Republican platform became even more strident:

The United States has a moral and legal obligation to maintain its Embassy and Ambassador in Jerusalem. Immediately upon taking office, the next Republican president will begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.

Nevertheless the Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, who had publicly pledged to thousands of attendees at AIPAC’s 2000 Annual Policy Conference that on his first day in office he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, did not do so after winning the election. Not on his first day, not on his last day, and at no point in between. The Republican platform in 2004 stayed low key, noting, “Republicans continue to support moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.”

Democrats stuck with their tried-and-true 1992 formulation in 1996, in 2000, in 2004, and in 2008, reiterating the city’s status as Israel’s capital and the right of people of all faiths to access it. Ironically, Republicans framed their mega-affirmation of Jerusalem being Israel’s capital in 2008 with an endorsement of the creation of a Palestinian state, which went largely unnoticed by the media:

We support the vision of two democratic states living in peace and security: Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital, and Palestine…We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.

Two democratic states living side by side! Uri Friedman points out that such language “provoked a raft of amendments arguing that, in endorsing the two-state solution, the Republicans were dictating the terms of a peace agreement to the Israeli government.”

Israelis have for the most part been amused by, even cynical about, the overblown rhetoric about Jerusalem in US elections. As Douglas Bloomfield explained four years ago, when GOP presidential candidate John McCain told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that if elected president he would move the US Embassy “right away,” not only wasn’t it going to happen — regardless of who was elected — but Israelis wouldn’t care either way:

Moving the embassy has never been a high priority for any Israeli leader in meetings with American presidents. They see it as a political football in an American game they prefer staying out of. All recent prime ministers have understood that an agreement on Jerusalem is critical to any peace settlement with the Palestinians — and that symbolic action like American politicians trying to force the embassy move can only make an agreement more elusive. But the game continues even though seasoned political observers understand it’s a sham. This year is no exception. Any politician who tells you he’s going to move the embassy before the Israelis and Palestinians come to an agreement on the city’s final status and borders thinks you’re wearing a name tag that says ‘chump.’

No prominent Democrat seems to know why the reference to Jerusalem was deleted in 2012. What is certain, however, is the fact that for the past 35 years the role of Jerusalem in both party platforms has had no practical effect in Israel, except perhaps to distract from – and thus implicitly condone – the unilateral Israeli tripling in size of the area within the municipal boundaries of “united Jerusalem” between 1967 and today. Politicizing the holy city has been one way that both American parties have tried to score points against the opposition, a distraction from more complex and urgent issues in US domestic and foreign policy. This year is no exception.

Meanwhile, Republicans seem to have soured on their “Embassy Sweets” commitment to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. That the 2012 GOP platform has dropped the call for the Embassy’s relocation has gone almost totally unnoticed by the ever-distracted media, except, oddly, by the Wall Street Journal.

Apparently Romney didn’t get the memo.

Crossposted from lobelog Foreign Policy blog.

Golden Slipper Provides Children With School Supplies

(Left to right in back row) Nanci Gilberg, GSC Needs coordinator, GSC members Jay and Robin Cohen and Patti Isakov, and GSC president Stephen Frishberg are thanked by students from the Paley Center who received their bags of school supplies.

— by Scott D. Bluebond and Ann Hilferty

The Golden Slipper Clubs & Charities (GSC) is celebrating its 90th birthday in 2012, as it continues to find new and creative ways to help people in need of their services. Recently, one of the arms of the GSC, its Human Needs and Services (HUNAS) division, launched a school supply drive for children in the Philadelphia area.

Donations by GSC members were collected to buy the supplies. Pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, glue sticks, safety scissors, rulers, etc. were placed in the 50 new school bags that were donated by GSC members Jay and Robin Cohen. Committee members, led by GSC needs coordinator Nanci Gilberg, delivered the bags on Thursday, August 16 to the Samuel Paley Early Learning Center, 2199 Strahle Street in Northeast Philadelphia. The children receiving those bags are graduates of the Center and attended the Paley school.

More after the jump.

(Left to right) Paley Center students listen attentively to former Golden Slipper camper Ashley Barlow as GSC member Jay Cohen, GSC needs coordinator, Nanci Gilberg, GSC members Robin Cohen and Patti Isakov, and GSC president Stephen Frishberg (seated) look on.

(Left to right) Nanci Gilberg, GSC needs coordinator, GSC members Robin and Jay Cohen and Patti Isakov, GSC president Stephen Frishberg, Samuel Paley Early Learning Center director, Sandy Chernow, and FELS President & CEO, Maddy Malis.

The Paley Center is just one location of the Federation Early Learning Service (FELS). Regarded as a leader in the field for nearly a century, FELS, a non-profit agency, has provided quality programs to the Jewish and secular communities since 1911. They enroll infants, toddlers, preschool and school age children from diverse economic, religious and racial backgrounds on a year-round basis in their eight centers and three public school sites. They have been providing classroom support for children with special needs and helping their families identify and obtain resources that are vital to their child’s optimum development.

The GSC executive director is Paul Geller and the president is Stephen H. Frishberg. States Geller:

GSC is best known in the community for its wonderful summer camp for children, a college scholarship fund for deserving students, a center for senior citizens now in two locations, and other initiatives. But our umbrella is wide, and we help children in others ways in addition to the camp.

Adds Frishberg:

HUNAS (Human Needs and Services) provides emergency assistance to families and individuals who are in need in the Philadelphia region. It has helped families provide loved ones with medical devices, air conditioners, furniture, clothing, and even vital medication. GSC has funded requests for special shoes and leg braces for the physically challenged and eye care for individuals of all ages. We’ve provided assistance in many heartbreaking situations, preventing devastating circumstances. This initiative to help school children is a perfect way for our organization to march into the fall season.”

Learn more at goldenslipperclub.org.


Golden Slipper Club & Charities, celebrating 90 years in 2012, has taken a hands-on approach to support programs and services for the Greater Philadelphia area’s youth, needy and elderly, with some 600 active men and women who volunteer their time to serve people in need. Golden Slipper’s motto is charity, good fellowship and loyalty, first and foremost, in all its endeavors. It provides charitable services to those in need in the community. Golden Slipper Camp sends approximately 600 children to overnight camp in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. Golden Slipper Center for Seniors provides a daytime activities facility which offers social and recreational activities and meals for over 300 senior citizens. Other programs offered to help the community include HUNAS (Human Needs and Services) which gives emergency grants to those in need and the Slipper Scholarship Program, which provides college scholarships to deserving and promising young students.

8 New Members Inducted Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame


(L-R) Richard Cohen, inductee; Buzz Bissinger, inductee; Glenn Fine, inductee; Lisa Hoffstein, inductee; Stephen H. Frishberg, board chair; Phil Kendall, accepting on behalf of George Katz; Rich Yankowitz, inductee; (front) Al Schrier, board member; (behind Al), Lewis Katz, Pillar of Achievement recipient; Fred Shabel, inductee; and Michael Barkann, master of ceremonies and Hall of Fame member.

— by Scott D. Bluebond and Debbie Weiss

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) celebrated its 15th anniversary by honoring eight new individuals in a reception held on May 21, 2012 at the Gershman Y at Broad and Pine Streets in Philadelphia. The 2012 inductees include Buzz Bissinger, Richard Cohen, Glenn Fine, Lisa Hoffstein, George Katz, Fred Shabel, Rich Yankowitz, and Pillar of Achievement honoree, Lewis Katz. In addition, the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games® Team Philadelphia Graduating Athletes received special recognition.

The inductees into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame represent the best of the best, those individuals and teams who, through perseverance, dedication, superior talent and skills, have risen to the top of their respective sports. Their names and achievements are celebrated within the walls of the museum. Each PJSHOF inductee has been involved in sports as an athlete, coach, manager, administrator, team owner, or as a member of the media. They must have at least one Jewish parent and have lived within, or competed within the five county Greater Philadelphia area. They have joined a special group of approximately 120 past honorees. This includes the Philadelphia SPHAs, a championship basketball team that was dominant between the two World Wars and later became the NBA Warriors; Philadelphia Phillies senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., NFL Films founders Ed and Steve Sabol; Philadelphia Flyers founder Ed Snider; NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, and many others.

More after the jump.
This year’s special class includes coaches, charity founders, sports managers and a prize-winning writer:

  • Buzz Bissinger is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author, and now talk show host, best known for his
    non-fiction book, Friday Night Lights.
  • Richard Cohen is a world class tennis and squash player known also for his tennis coaching prowess.
  • Glenn Fine is a former inspector general of the United States Department of Justice and Rhodes Scholar, who was a 10th-round draft pick by the San Antonio Spurs.
  • Lisa Hoffstein, University of Pennsylvania tennis star, is president and founder of “The Katie At The Bat Team,” dedicated to empowering inner-city children to achieve their full potential through participation in athletics.
  • Posthumous awardee George Katz was a boxing manager famous for handling his boxers with extreme caution. He guided many good Philly contenders including Gil Turner and Kitten Hayward.
  • Fred A. Shabel has been vice-chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, the high profile sports and entertainment organization, for the past 32 years.
  • Rich Yankowitz, longtime head basketball coach at Dobbins Tech, is the winningest coach in Philadelphia Public League history.
  • Pillar of Achievement honoree Lewis Katz is a Camden-raised entrepreneur, former owner of the New
    Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils, and philanthropist. He is director of the Katz Foundation, which supports a variety of charitable, educational and medical causes. He joins a distinguished group that includes Irv Kosloff and Ike Richman, Sam Rabinowitz, and 2011 inductee, Steve Cozen.

Al Shrier served as ceremony chairman; Jay Goldberg, nominating committee chair; Harriet Beloff Goodwin; décor chair; and Louis Schmidt, publication chair. Deborah P. Weiss is the director and Stephen H. Frishberg is chair of the board.

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and its sports museum honor local Jewish teams and athletes, many of whom actually played their sports in the Broad Street PJSHOF location. Founded in 1997 to celebrate the contributions of local Jewish pioneers and heroes in the sports world, the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame soon expanded to a full-fledged museum with an endowment from the Levis family. It is located in the old YM-YWHA, where many of the basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, track and swimming stars practiced and played. There are lockers filled with uniforms, equipment and other memorabilia representing Jewish athletes associated with local teams like the Flyers and 76ers. There is also a gripping memorial remembering the Israeli athletes who were killed during the 1972 Munich Summer Olympic Games.

The mission of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame is to provide the community with tangible and lasting evidence of the past, present and future of Jewish sportsmen and sportswomen in the Greater Philadelphia area and to instill community pride in Jewish accomplishments in the field of sports and the role sports has played in preserving Jewish culture. The hall and museum reflect the obstacles Jews had to overcome in order to excel in sporting endeavors locally, nationally and internationally; portray the instrumental role sports has played in Jewish life; and provide continuity to future generations of Jewish athletes. Celebrating 15 years in 2012, the PJSHOF is open Sunday through Friday and provides tours by request. Please call 215-900-7999, write [email protected] to learn more.

Jewish American Heritage Month Reception at White House

President Barack Obama hosted the annual Jewish American Heritage Month celebration at the White House to honor and celebrate the Jewish community’s contributions to America. Obama welcomed everyone to the celebration by remarking upon the Jewish community’s long and important history of civic involvement. 400 Jewish leaders from across the nation attended. A partial guest list follows the jump below.

Remarks by President Barack Obama
White House, East Room, May 30, 2012

This year, we celebrate Jewish Heritage Month — Jewish American Heritage Month, and we’re also commemorating an important anniversary.  One hundred-fifty years ago, General Ulysses Grant issued an order — known as General Orders Number 11 — that would have expelled Jews, “as a class,” from what was then known as the military department of the Tennessee.  It was wrong.  Even if it was 1862, even if official acts of anti-Semitism were all too common around the world, it was wrong and indicative of an ugly strain of thought.

But what happened next could have only taken place in America. Groups of American Jews protested General Grant’s decision.  A Jewish merchant from Kentucky traveled here, to the White House, and met with President Lincoln in person.  After their meeting, President Lincoln revoked the order — one more reason why we like President Lincoln.  (Laughter and applause.)

And to General Grant’s credit, he recognized that he had made a serious mistake.  So later in his life, he apologized for this order, and as President, he went out of his way to appoint Jews to public office and to condemn the persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe.

Today, we have a few documents on display — maybe some of you saw them when you walked in.  There are two letters of protest from Jewish organizations to President Lincoln.  There is President Lincoln’s handwritten reply, saying that he had taken action.  And there is a receipt for the donation that President Grant made to the Adas Israel Synagogue here in Washington, when he attended a service there in 1876.

So together, these papers tell a story, a fundamentally American story.  Like so many groups, Jews have had to fight for their piece of the American dream.  But this country holds a special promise:  that if we stand up for the traditions we believe in and in the values we share, then our wrongs can be made right; our union can be made more perfect and our world can be repaired.

Today, it’s our turn, our generation’s turn.  And you guys, your generation’s turn.  You’re younger than us.  (Laughter.)  We got some later generations here in the front.  We’re the ones who have to stand up for our shared values.   Here at home, we have to rebuild an America where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.

Beyond our borders, we have to stand alongside our friends who share our commitment to freedom and democracy and universal rights; and that includes, of course, our unwavering commitment to the State of Israel and its security and the pursuit of a just and lasting peace.  (Applause.)

It’s no secret that we’ve got a lot of work to do.  But as your traditions teach us, while we are not obligated to finish the work, neither are we free to desist from that work.

So today, we don’t just celebrate all that American Jews have done for our country; we also look toward the future.  And as we do, I know that those of you in this room, but folks all across this country will continue to help perfect our union; and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful.

God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

Guest list follows the jump.
More after the jump.
Partial Guest List

  • Rabbi Andrea Merow of Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park
  • Rabbi Eric Yanoff of Adath Israel in Merion Station
  • Rabbi David Ackerman of Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley
  • Representative Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)
  • NJDC Chair Marc R. Stanley
  • NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris
  • Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren
  • Democratic National Committee Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
  • Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  • Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
  • Representative Howard Berman (D-CA)
  • Representative David Cicilline (D-RI)
  • Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN)
  • Representative Susan Davis (D-CA)
  • Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL)
  • Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY)
  • Representative Sander Levin (D-MI)
  • Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY)
  • Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
  • Representative Jarrod Polis (D-CO)
  • Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
  • Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA)
  • Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA)

Israel Recognizes Conservative, Reform Rabbis


Rabbi Miri Gold

Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein office announced yesterday that 15 Reform and Conservative rabbis will be recognized as rabbis of non-Orthodox communities and put on the state payroll for the first time — on a par with Orthodox community leaders. This out-of-court settlement brings to a close the 2005 petition before Israel’s Supreme Court by the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism and Reform Rabbi Miri Cohen of Kibbutz Gezer. The decision allows for equal financing of non-Orthodox rabbis in regional councils and farming communities throughout the country, but so far does not extend to the larger cities.

Rabbi Gold, who first heard the news on the radio said, “This is a big step for religious pluralism and democracy in Israel.  Israeli Jews want religious alternatives and with this decision the State is starting to recognize this reality. There is more than one way to be Jewish, even in Israel.”

The ruling in this case follows other successes by the Israel Religious Action Center including the placement of a Reform Rabbi in Mevasseret on the Religious Council there, the finding that forced gender segregation on public transportation is discrimination and prohibited, and the allocation of pre-fab units to non-Orthodox congregations for synagogue buildings.

According to DEBKA, “they have a long way to go before their authority is accepted for performing marriages, conversions and other religious matters along with Orthodox and Haredi rabbis.” However, this decision has hailed as an important milestone by the Conservative and Reform movements.

Reaction after the jump.  
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Vice-President of the Rabbincal Assembly
The Rabbinical Assembly is the international body of Conservative rabbis

This is a historic day for Israelis and Jews around the world. In order for Judaism to grow and thrive in Israel, it is necessary that the government recognize its obligation to provide equal funding to various Jewish religious streams and expressions that flower in the Jewish state.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik, President of the Rabbinical Assembly

The announcement of Israel’s Attorney General Weinstein represents a dramatic step forward in the struggle for religious pluralism in Israel. The historic inequities in the funding of local community rabbis in Israel has long hampered efforts to bring a greater variety of spiritual options to Israelis.  Hopefully, this decision will open the door to new and exciting Jewish spiritual opportunities that will strengthen Israel, and bring Israelis to a new appreciation of Jewish tradition.

Rabbi Daniel Allen, Executive Director of ARZA; The Reform Israel Fund
ARZA is the major American Reform Movement funder of the Israel Religious Action Center, an arm of the Israel Reform Movement, that brought the case to court six years ago.

Miri’s success is success for all of us. With patience and perseverance, we will build an inclusive democratic Israeli society. Israel’s Declaration of Independence guaranteed religious freedom, it has to be that this freedom is for all Israeli’s, Jewish as well as Christian and Muslim. This decision brings us closer to the day where this will be the reality in Israel rather than the ideal.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism

This is a watershed moment for the Reform Movement and for religious pluralism in Israel. Mazel tov to Rabbi Gold and the many activists who work so diligently to ensure the eventual and thorough embrace of liberal Judaism in Israel.

Kenneth Bob, President, Ameinu

This historical decision is an important first step toward the recognition of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism by the State of Israel. There is still much work to be done, but it’s a big victory for pluralism and religious freedom in Israel. We salute the efforts of the Conservative and Reform movements and will continue to stand with you.

LimmudPhilly: Strong Participation, Maccabeats Ovation

“Outside the box and over the top interesting”, is how participant Ron Siegel, described his 2012 LimmudPhilly this past weekend. “National leaders and the best of local teachers came out and gave their best. We were like drinking it up.” Exclaimed 20 and 30-something Anna and Beth Silver. Sophie Mellon added: “Just today, I learned how to encounter a homeless person in one session, Jewish traditions about creating social change in another, and then I attended a Jewish theater event, a very hot Maccabeat concert, and the discussion at lunch about Jewish values and health insurance, I learned a ton.”

More after the jump.

Some 80 teachers and waves of participants made LimmudPhilly 2012 a profound success. Saturday night was described by many as when the Maccabeats brought everyone to their feet in the rare ecstasy of high quality concert passion that becomes great woven with soulful prayer.

Co-chairs Brian Cohen and Sara Levy and the rest of the winning leadership team ensured quality control from facilities to the incredible diversity of sessions and perspectives. From the presence of Ami Eden, head of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, to the Shabbat prayer lab given by Syd Schwartz, a senior fellow at CLAL, to Gail Twersky Riemer, founder of the Jewish Women’s Archive, into the innovations of 24/6 a Jewish Theater Company and art forms and scholarship of every form, we all saw PhillyLimmud continuing to evolve in healthy and holy ways. Plus, Helen Plotkin ran a beit midrash par excellence. Focused volunteers, a good many teens were helping everywhere one would look.

LimmudPhilly also drew participants who love Limmud from New York, Washington, DC and beyond. Chairs from other Limmud Conferences were present, as well, taking notes. Young Limmud for the youngsters is what we all wished Hebrew school could have been.

At the Philadelphia Jewish Voice table Ronit Treatment had brought the famously kosher insect locusts for viewing, and a poster with recipes and their history in our Biblical tradition. It was wonderful meeting so many creative, engaging, spiritual and intellectually active Philadelphians.

Something to be proud of: Limmud Philly. See you next year!  

Meetup with Philadelphia Jewish Voice Writers At LimmudPhilly

If you are planning on attending Limmud Philly this weekend, be sure to stop by the Philadelphia Jewish Voice’s table this Sunday, April 29 any time between 11am and 3pm. You’ll get a chance to meet our Living Judaism editor Rabbi Goldie Milgram, our Kosher Table editor Ronit Treatman, myself and other members of the Philadelphia Jewish Voice community. There will be free bumper stickers, books and mitzvah cards available for purchase, and you’ll be able to see what herbs Ronit has growing in her garden.

If you weren’t thinking of attending Limmud Philly 2012, please do. Click here for details about this year’s Limmud, and see our coverage of

Please come. We would love to meet you.

  • Location: Friends Select School, 17th & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA
  • Time: Sunday, April 29, 2012, 11am-3pm.

Seder Held For 400 Seniors In The Greater Philadelphia Area


Over 400 guests enjoyed this year’s Golden Slipper Club Seder.

The Golden Slipper Club of Philadelphia‘s tradition of holding a Passover Seder for the senior Jewish community continued in 2012. This year’s Seder took place at Har Zion Temple in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania on Monday, March 19, a short time before this year’s actual Passover holiday on April 6-12, 2012. Passover is a holiday in which Jews celebrate their liberation from slavery to freedom.

This year’s Seder committee members, along with events coordinator, Ann Hilferty and executive director, Paul Geller, worked hard coordinating the various entities to make the Seder run smoothly. The 2012 committee includes co-chair Jackie Gilberg and Michael Simon, as well as members Chuck Barsh, David Biloon, Jeffrey Brenner, Robin Cohen, Bob Gilberg, Jessica Gomel, Charlie Hoffmann, Roy Kardon, Howard Levin, Linda Ostach, Barry Sacks, Dan Singer, Shelby Simmons, Lee Tabas, and Scott Wechsler. Stephen H. Frishberg is Club president.

More after the jump.


Golden Slipper Club President Stephen H. Frishberg addresses the Seder guests. (L-R) Golden Slipper Club member Cantor Sherman Leis, Frishberg, Club member Rabbi Fred Kazan, and guest Cantor Lisa Litman.

The Golden Slipper Seder may be the only one that these appreciative guests attend each year. The seniors look forward to seeing friends from other centers, dancing to the music of Hal Martin, singing with Lisa Litman and Sherman Leis, hearing prayers, enjoying stories by Rabbi Kazan’s and, of course, a delicious meal provided by Betty the Caterer. Over 400 seniors enjoyed the Seder, as thousands of others have over Golden Slipper’s 90 year history.

Each year, approximately 40 Golden Slipper members volunteer and/or attend the Seder. They organize
transportation of the seniors from various centers including the Golden Slipper Center for Seniors, Klein JCC, Tabas House, and Ner Zedek-Ezreth in Northeast Philadelphia and as far away as Saltzman-Dubin House in New Jersey. They ride buses with the guests, escort them from their buses to the tables, set up, clean up, and generously sponsor tables and donate goods and services. Golden Slipper Club extends is thanks to all those who volunteered or donated services.



Golden Slipper Club & Charities, celebrating 90 years in 2012, has taken a hands-on approach to support programs and services for the Greater Philadelphia area’s youth, needy and elderly, with some 600 active men and women who volunteer their time to serve people in need. Golden Slipper’s motto is charity, good fellowship and loyalty, first and foremost, in all its endeavors. It provides charitable services to those in need in the community. Golden Slipper Camp sends approximately 600 children to overnight camp in the beautiful Pocono Mountains. Golden Slipper Center for Seniors provides a daytime activities facility which offers social and recreational activities and meals for over 300 senior citizens. Other programs offered to help the community include HUNAS (Human Needs and Services) which gives emergency grants to those in need and the Slipper Scholarship Program, which provides college scholarships to deserving and promising young students.

Gov. Rendell & Mayor Goode Leadoff Black Jewish Leadership Series


(left to right) Former Mayor Wilson Goode and former Governor Ed Rendell talk privately before making a presentation and taking questions.

— by Bonnie Squires

The Black Jewish Leadership Series began today with a lunch and discussion on Black-Jewish relations with:

  • Edward G. Rendell, Former Governor of Pennsylvania and
  • W. Wilson Goode, Sr., Former Mayor of Philadelphia

 
More after the jump.                    


(left to right) Gregory Davis, Rep. Mark Cohen, Derek Green, Esq., Kory Grushka, Esq., Hon. Wilson Goode, Hon. Ed Rendell, and Michael Bronstein.

The Black Jewish Leadership Series is a speaker series where leaders from the Jewish and Black (and other) communities are invited to meet and greet some of today’s leading civic, business and political figures. Featured speakers include elected officials or candidates for federal or
state‐wide offices, civic leaders and prominent business persons.

The event was a collaboration between the Idea Coalition and the Blank Rome Diversity
Committee.

Photos: Bonnie Squires


(left to right) Timothy Roseboro, Steven Bradley, and David Hyman all talked about the AJCommittee’s Black-Jewish program, Operation Understanding, which brings together Jewish and African American high school students to socialize and learn about each others’ experiences with prejudice.