Barrack Students Win Theatre Honors at 2013 Cappie Awards


Left to right: Leksey Maltzman, Lev Ziskind, Leah Schatz, David Feinberg, Jesse Bernstein, Maya Kassutto, Anna Lieberman, Ilana Goldstein, and Josh Horowitz

— by Beverly C. Rosen

David Feinberg, a Barrack Hebrew Academy junior, won a Cappie award at the Philadelphia Cappie Award Ceremonies held last Sunday for the best performance by a comic actor in a play, for his performance in the Barrack student production of “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” Fellow classmate Maya Kassutto won the Spirit Award.

Cappies, the Critics and Awards Program for high school theatre and journalism students, awarded each year, honor student directors, actors, technicians, musicians, and theater critics in the greater Philadelphia region. Thirty-seven public and private schools in the city and surrounding suburbs participated in this year’s program and received nominations and awards from student critics. The critics, themselves, are also nominated for awards.

More after the jump.
Barrack Hebrew Academy’s student production of Neil Simon’s classic play, directed by Barrack senior Joshua Horowitz, received a total of eight Cappie nominations, including: Best Play, Best Direction, Featured Actor in a Play, Comic Actor in a Play, Comic Actress in a Play, Supporting Actress in a Play, Supporting Actor in a Play, and Lead Actress in a Play.

Prior to the awards ceremonies, held at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center at Upper Darby High School, the nominees walked the red carpet in formal wear. “We are very proud of all our Cappie nominees and nominations,” shares Dewey Oriente, Barrack’s Drama Director, “and, given the size of our school, that our plays, directors, actors and everyone involved in our student productions receive Cappie nominations each year.”

DHS Secretary Napolitano Visits Israel for Strategic Talks

— by David Streeter

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited Israel this week for a number of strategic talks with high-level Israeli officials.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a press release recapping the first day of her trip:

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano … traveled to Jerusalem where she met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and other Israeli officials to discuss security-related issues, and signed a Joint Statement on the implementation of the Global Entry trusted traveler program for Israeli citizens with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

‘This agreement is part of the United States’ strong and enduring partnership with Israel, dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of both our countries,’ said Secretary Napolitano. ‘Global Entry will expedite the customs and security process for trusted Israeli air travelers arriving in the United States, while maintaining the highest standards of security.’

Recap of the second day of the trip after the jump.
DHS said in a press release summarizing her second day in Israel:

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano … concluded her visit to Israel, delivering remarks on the Department’s collaboration with international partners to combat terrorism and facilitate trade and travel at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, and meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials to discuss security-related issues.

‘The United States remains steadfastly committed to Israel’s security.  The bonds between our two nations are unshakeable, lasting and critical to both our peoples,’ said Secretary Napolitano.

During her remarks, Secretary Napolitano underscored the importance of partnering with Israel to address shared challenges – from preventing terrorism to securing the global supply chain to preparing for and recovering from natural disasters….

Secretary Napolitano also met with Minister of Defense Ehud Barak and Minister of Home Front Defense Matan Vilani to discuss cooperation and recent progress on issues related to information sharing, global supply chain security, aviation security and emergency management.

The Final Day At AIPAC

Today is the final day of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. Defense Sec. Leon Panetta and three of the four top GOP candidates addressed the conference’s 13,000 supporters. Presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) (right) appeared in person while Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) appeared via satellite.

Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American’s Ambassador to the United Nations made remarks to the group and addressed the current state of the Israel and Iran.

On Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres and US President Barack Obama addressed the conference hall. Obama said his policy toward Iran is not one of containment but of preventing the nation from developing a nuclear weapon.  He also defended his policies toward Israel and stated the U.S. commitment to preserve Israel’s security.

In a side conversation, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu met Monday morning to discuss the status of the U.S.-Israel alliance.  The president reiterated that the U.S. did not want the possibility of nuclear weapons “falling into terrorist’s hands” and said there is a still a window that allows some negotiation. Pres. Obama also said he continues to reserve all options in dealing with Iran.

Other speakers included:

The policy conference is the largest gathering for America’s leading pro-Israel lobby, which works with both major parties to secure public policy that strengthens the U.S.-Israel relationship.

AIPAC has announced that up to 14,000 people are attending this year’s three-day conference, a crowd nearly twice the usual size.

Creating Community, Part 3: The Chabad Connection

By Hannah Lee

This series explores some of the ways that Jews have created a sense of kehillah (community), both traditional and modern.  Previous articles have focused on a contemporary approach on the Internet and the traditional method of hospitality.

Jews who travel know to contact the local Chabad rabbi in whatever city they find themselves to seek help about kosher food and Shabbat accommodations.  The local Chabad website would have that week’s Shabbat candle lighting time and parshah (Bible portion), even when the traveller’s  own congregation’s website may not be as current.  This free service is extended to all Jews, regardless of religious background, but sometimes, the Chabad connection goes beyond the normal call of duty.

In Senator Joe Lieberman‘s new book, The Gift of Rest, he wrote about one memorable visit to Munich with Senator John McCain in February 2004, a time of massive anti-Iraq war demonstrations that targeted the international security conference attended by “almost all defense ministers and many foreign ministers of NATO countries.”  Lieberman was greeted by the American military attaché who reported thus:

As you have seen, Senator, the streets around the hotel are sealed off with riot control vehicles and police cars.  A few hours ago, I was called to come out and meet someone.  I went out, watched the police vehicles separate, and through them walked a young rabbi with a beard, a black suit, and black hat, carrying a large shopping bag.  When we met, he said he had brought the bag for Senator Lieberman for the Sabbath, and here it is.  

And there it was, thanks to Rabbi Yisroel Diskin, the Chabad rabbi in Munich- a bag full of all I needed to make and enjoy Shabbat in Munich.  How did the rabbi know I was there?  My mother, in Stamford, CT, told her Chabad rabbi, Yisroel Deren, that I was going to be in Munich that Shabbat, and Rabbi Deren immediately e-mailed Rabbi Diskin who took it from there.

My daughter got through her college years with the help of her Chabad rabbi, another venue where Jewish connection is maintained  by these dedicated rabbis and their wives.  When she graduated at the end of the winter quarter, it was the day before Purim, so we celebrated Shabbat and Purim with Chabad and we had a fabulous time.   I was Cleopatra, complete with headdress, gladiator sandals, blingy garb, and the fatal asp too!  My daughter channeled her inner geek, by re-purposing her graduation gown as the English school uniform for Hermione.

When my family was in Aspen for its annual music festival one year, we celebrated Shabbat with Chabad there.  Rabbi Mendel Mintz has created a lively Jewish community center in the Colorado mountains, which he, Brooklyn-born and bred, has learned to ski.  His beautiful wife, Lieba, is director of their Hebrew school — as is usual in the Chabad outposts —  and they’re assisted by a rotation of young women who come out from Brooklyn to help the family care for their children as well as serve as teachers in the Hebrew school.  They give their all, with zeal and passion, because their mission is to bring all Jews closer to their tradition.


So, why can Jews travel all over the world and get consistent aid from the local Chabad websites?  It’s because it’s all centrally maintained at 770 Eastern Parkway in Boro Park, New York.  The staff at the headquarters helps new shluchim (emissaries) with websites, data bases, and tax forms.  It’s maybe as old as the shluchim program.  And for the Reader, if you feel inadequate about your knowledge of Jewish heritage, their newest educational project is Fascinating Facts: Exploring the Myths and Mysteries of Judaism and it’s available at your local Chabad center.

Joe Lieberman Will Retire From Senate Next Year


Sen. Joe Lieberman with his 2004 running mate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)


Sen. Joe Lieberman endorsing 2008 Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

The National Jewish Democratic Council, and the Republican Jewish Committee both issued statements saluting the Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) who recently announced that he would not be seeking relection next year.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Sen. Kent Concrad (D-ND) have also announced that they will be retiring. According to the betting site InTrade, the Republicans have a 70% chance of taking control of the Senate in 2012.

David A. Harris, National Jewish Democratic Council

“The National Jewish Democratic Council thanks Senator Joe Lieberman for his years of dedicated and loyal service to our country. He has stood out as a leader who always did what he believed was right, regardless of whether or not it was politically popular. We will always remember the important steps he took to break the glass ceiling for the Jewish community in public service, from his appearance in Washington as the first Orthodox Jewish Senator to his acceptance of our party’s Vice Presidential nomination in 2000. Lieberman has also been a vocal advocate for issues of importance to American Jews, including support for Israel and — especially in recent months — the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We have appreciated his friendship and partnership on these and other key issues over the years. NJDC wishes Lieberman the best of luck in his future endeavors – his presence and voice in the Senate will be missed.”

Matthew Brooks, Republican Jewish Committee

“Senator Lieberman is a true mensch and a great American.  He showed that it’s possible to have a successful political career while doing what you feel is right – even when what’s right is not what’s in your political best interests.  Time and again, Senator Lieberman put principle over politics.  He was a role model and a shining example of all that’s good and decent about public service.”

“He’s been called the last of the Scoop Jackson Democrats, but he is one of a kind and irreplaceable.  We’ll dearly miss his friendship  – and the leadership he showed through more than two decades in the Senate.”