The Philadelphia Jewish Voice Pays Tribute to Elie Wiesel

Elie_Wiesel_2012_We at The Philadelphia Jewish Voice are profoundly saddened by the recent death of Elie Wiesel. Although Wiesel experienced the worst of mankind during the Holocaust, he transformed his experience into something extraordinary: He became, as President Obama said, “one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world.” [Read more…]

Flyers Founder Ed Snider: 1933-2016

Ed Snider

Ed Snider (AP Photo/George Widman)

Ed Snider, the Philadelphia Flyers founder whose Bullies became the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup, died Monday after a two-year battle with bladder cancer. He was 83.

Snider was weakened by cancer, the disease that kept him from his beloved Philadelphia Flyers. General manager Ron Hextall went to Snider’s home in California in December before a scouting trip, watching what would be their last Flyers game together on TV. The St. Louis Blues led 3-0 in the second period, souring the mood. [Read more…]

Rabbi Marshall Maltzman, z”l

Rabbi Marshall Maltzman

Rabbi Marshall Maltzman

Rabbi Maltzman was the founding Rabbi of Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El. He had been hired by Temple Beth El in West Philadelphia in the early 1960s. Realizing the very limited potential of that community, Rabbi Maltzman worked to bring his diminishing congregation into the small yet vibrant community of Temple Beth Hillel. Once the merge had been concluded, Rabbi Maltzman became the rabbi for Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El.

As the leader of this community, Rabbi Maltzman guided the cadre of young Beth Hillel families, urging them not to see themselves as a small suburban group. He pushed them to see themselves as a community with great potential for the future. He pushed them to build our sanctuary building, which included a sanctuary, social hall, kitchen and offices. And he filled the building with a range of activities, classes and programs. It was his vision which enabled our synagogue to believe in itself and to grow strong and vibrant.

Among the many accomplishments which he enjoyed was his early support for providing full participation to women in the context of religious services. Although this change encountered some stiff opposition, Rabbi Maltzman stood firm in his desire to create a traditional yet egalitarian congregation. By the time I arrived at TBH-BE, the egalitarian nature of this congregation had been accepted and embraced.

Rabbi Maltzman used his pulpit effectively to teach, to inspire and to build. He was a masterful speaker, drawing material from traditional Jewish sources while interspersing his presentations with poetry and quotable lines from great thinkers and writers. And one would be hard-pressed to find an example of a speech he gave that did not begin with, or included in the body of the speech, a humorous anecdote or joke. Whether one liked his humor or not (which depended on whether one liked hearing puns), all must agree that this practice was part of his ongoing attempt to present Jewish life in a way which evoked laughter, joy and spirit.

Rabbi Maltzman’s love of learning was also transmitted to his community. Under his direction, this synagogue gained a reputation for serious study and education. After retiring, he developed a “second career” serving as the “scholar-in-residence” on numerous cruise ships. He was known for his reviews of books, his passionate advocacy on behalf of issues which he championed and for his ability and skill as an educator.

It is difficult to speak of Marshall Maltzman without speaking, as well, of his beloved wife, Ruth, z”l. They worked as a model rabbinic couple. While Marshall oversaw matters of the larger congregation, Ruth became a great teacher and administrator for the religious school and for adult education. Together they would write and produce elaborate community plays, parodies and purim schpiels which left wonderful and indelible memories in those who were involved. These productions also created a legacy of creativity and humor which persists to this day.

The funeral for Rabbi Maltzman will be held on Sunday, November 1st at 11:00 am at Har Jehuda Cemetery in Upper Darby, PA. After the interment, family and friends will be returning to the Maltzman residence at 126 Foxhound Drive, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444. Evening services will be held on Sunday evening only, at the Maltzman’s home.

Following Rabbi Maltzman’s retirement twenty-five years ago, many in our community did not have the opportunity to meet him. Nevertheless, although a personal relationship may not have been formed, the impact and influence of his tenure as Senior Rabbi, for over three decades, continues to be felt throughout our synagogue community. I know that you join me in extending sincere condolences to his wife, Amy; to his three children and their spouses: Rabbi Jonathan and Julie Maltzman, Seth Maltzman and his wife, and Susan and Larry Gordon; to his grandchildren and his extended family. We hope that they will find comfort knowing that the thoughts and prayers of our entire congregation are with them at this most difficult time.

There is a verse from the Bible which reads as follows:

Ki mot namut u’kha-mayim ha nigarim artza asher lo yaiasfu

We must all die. We are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up.

These words were spoken to King David in the midst of a conversation with a very wise woman from Tekoa. At first these words seem to suggest not only the relative brevity of life, but the futility of life. I believe, however, the wise woman’s words contain a message of comfort as well.

Even if our lives are absorbed like water in parched earth, that water is necessary to provide sustenance and hope for that which is yet to grow. The death of a rabbi is similar in many ways to every other death. But when a rabbi dies, the sweet waters of Torah which flowed from his lips help to awaken the seeds of idealism for the future, thoughts of goodness and of devotion to God and Israel in the hearts of children and adults alike.

Water spilled on the ground cannot be gathered again. But for those beneficiaries of that sweet water, the growth that it fostered continues, remains an ongoing tribute and legacy to a life well lived.

May the memory of Rabbi Marshall Maltzman, z”l, remain always as a treasured blessing.

Tehay nishmato tzirura b’tz’ror ha-chayyim.

Visit Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El’s memorial page in tribute of Rabbi Maltzman. We will continue to add material to this section. Remembering Rabbi Maltzman

A Musical Legacy: Nelly Berman, 1938-2015

Nelly Berman

Nelly Berman

Nelly Berman, the Russian-Jewish pianist from Odessa, Soviet Union, who created a premier classical music school in Haverford on the Main Line, which has trained some of Philadelphia’s top young musicians and provided scholarships for their serious studies, died Monday night. She was 77 years old.

During the 35 years her school existed she touched the lives of many generations of young people through music, inspired them to reach beyond and above their comfort level and to seek beauty, depth of emotions and perfection in music performance.

Despite suffering a stroke in 2011, she continued teaching and molding young talented students, passing to them her immeasurable technical performance skills and profound love of classical music. Four days before her death, she applauded her students at a concert at the Nelly Berman School of Music and taught her last student the day before her death following serious heart surgery. She said to her daughter “If I get better after this surgery, I am planning to start teaching more talented children who are serious about music.” As she was driving to the hospital for the surgery, she was discussing the pieces her students will learn during the interim of her recuperation.

The story of her emigration from the former Soviet Union and subsequent integration into the American society reads almost like a fairy tale. Being an immigrant, her life was full of hardship. It was extraordinary that she was able to overcome the staggering pitfalls in her path, as well as to become a trailblazer for many who came to her for help. She became a great mentor, friend and supporter to the students and the teachers at the school. Their lives were forever enriched by this talented, intuitive, fiery, optimistic, generous, and inspiring woman.

The values she had sought in all of the Nelly Berman School students were great beauty of sound, tenderness, passion, and in her ability to touch all hearts through music. She sought and persevered with all of her being to realize her vision for the creation of a non profit corporation, the NBS Classical Music Institute, which awards talented students scholarships to realize their potential in music performance.

Nelly teaches her two-year -old daughter Elena.

Nelly teaches her two-year -old daughter Elena.

Nelly Berman has been a passionately devoted mother, wife and a friend. She is survived by her husband, David Lefkovitz, children, her daughter Elena Berman-Gantard, and her son Dmitry Berman. She is beloved and mourned by her grandchildren Emma, Armand and Jacob, her niece Faina Lushtak, her cousins Emma and Mara and their spouses, her Russian childhood friends Rachel, Bella, Vladik, Luda, Mila, and her American friends Andrea, Elaine and Marina, and many more dear relatives, friends, students and colleagues. The family thanks all their friends and relatives for their support and love.

Alumna Anna Claire Lynn-Palevsky, shared the sentiments of many of her fellow students:

I can’t imagine my life without the Nelly Berman School of Music, and I can’t imagine a world without Nelly in it. She had the most incredible gift for turning children into musicians through her passion for teaching, the joy she found and shared in music, and most of all, her constant faith in every single student who walked through her doors. The things I learned in her music school have shaped every aspect of my life. Thank you for all the love and trust you always showed me, Nelly. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given.

Her funeral will take place at Goldsteins, Rosenberg, Raphael Sacks, 6410 N. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19126 on Friday, September 4 at 10:30 AM. Family viewing at 9:30 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Nelly’s foundation, her legacy to past and future generations of young musicians. For more information please contact Nelly’s daughter, Elena.

New York Magazine, Fox News Libel Israel in PM Sharon Obituaries

(CAMERA) the passing of the former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has unearthed many old falsehoods.

Fox News

Conor Powell erroneously reported that Sharon entered the Al Aqsa Mosque in September 2000:

“His actions helped spark the second Palestinian uprising in 2000 when he pushed past security and entered the Al Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s most sacred places.”

Sharon never entered the Al Aqsa Mosque. He visited the Temple Mount — the most sacred site in Judaism, the third most sacred site in Islam, and the plaza upon which the Al Aqsa Mosque sits.

Nor did he “push past” security; the Israeli security was in place to protect him as he visited Judaism’s most holy site.

New York Magazine

Caroline Bankoff wrote that Israeli soldiers, not the Phalange militia, killed hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatilla.  

Kerry: Sharon “Risked It All” to Live the Dream of Israel

— by Secretary of State John Kerry

Ariel Sharon’s journey was Israel’s journey. The dream of Israel was the cause of his life, and he risked it all to live that dream.

I remember reading about Arik in the papers when I was a young lawyer in Boston and marveling at his commitment to cause and country.

I will never forget meeting with this big bear of a man when he became prime minister, as he sought to bend the course of history toward peace, even as it meant testing the patience of his own longtime supporters and the limits of his own, lifelong convictions in the process.

He was prepared to make tough decisions because he knew that his responsibility to his people was both to ensure their security and to give every chance to the hope that they could live in peace.  

During his years in politics, it is no secret that there were times the U.S. had differences with him. But whether you agreed or disagreed with his positions — and Arik was always crystal clear about where he stood — you admired the man who was determined to ensure the security and survival of the Jewish State.  

In his final years as prime minister, he surprised many in his pursuit of peace, and today, we all recognize, as he did, that Israel must be strong to make peace, and that peace will also make Israel stronger. We honor Arik’s legacy and those of Israel’s founding generation by working to achieve that goal.

Arik is finally at rest, and all of us in the U.S. pray along with his sons, Gilad and Omri, the Sharon family, and all the people of Israel. Our nation shares your loss and honors Ariel Sharon’s memory.

B’nai B’rith Mourns The Loss Of Margaret Thatcher

B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith mourns the loss of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died April 8 at the age of 87.

Thatcher was a leading and reliable voice supporting free emigration for Soviet Jews. She spoke forcefully on behalf of Jews prevented from leaving the Soviet Union and demanded that restrictions be lifted.

Thatcher served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990 — the only woman to ever hold the post.

B’nai B’rith joins the British people in mourning her loss.

Friend Of Israel Senator Daniel Inouye To Be Laid To Rest Tomorrow

Today, Senator Daniel Inouye will be honored at a memorial service in Washington DC before his final trip home to Hawaii where he will be buried. According to Fox News:

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were to be among those offering tributes during the ceremony Friday at Washington National Cathedral, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Biden also spoke at a ceremony Thursday at the Capitol, where Inouye was given an honored resting place: beneath the dome.

Inouye was only the 31st person to lie in state in the rotunda, the most recent being former President Gerald R. Ford nearly six years ago.

During the day, congressional staff, tourists and other Capitol Hill visitors filed past to pay their respects at Inouye’s casket, draped with an American flag.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the statement below in response to the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI).

On behalf of the people of Israel, I wish to express my deepest condolences on the passing of Senator Daniel Inouye.

I was proud to call Senator Inouye a friend.  He was a humble man with a towering spirit, whose exemplary bravery on the battlefield during World War II was followed by an exemplary life dedicated to serving his country and defending its most cherished values.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, our country has been blessed to have had the unwavering support of outstanding American leaders who were dedicated to strengthening the security of Israel and to deepening the unique and powerful alliance between Israel and the United States.

But even among these leaders, the contributions of Senator Inouye stand out.  His friendship to the Jewish people knew no bounds, and he worked tirelessly throughout his public life to safeguard the one and only Jewish state.

The people of Israel will forever owe him a profound debt of gratitude.

My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Inouye’s family at this difficult time.

Eulogy by Former Israeli Ambassador Sallai Meridor follows the jump.
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Sallai Meridor remembered the late Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) in an op-ed for Israel’s Ynet. Meridor wrote:

Senator Inouye played a leading role in all major aspects of the strategic relations between America and Israel. He initiated transforming from loans to grants the American military aid to Israel, amounting to tens of billions of dollars over the years. He led the American support for the development of multi-layered Israeli initiated missile defense system, from David’s Sling, to Iron Dome. He assured that Israel would not only be allowed to purchase most advanced American weapons systems for its defense, but also be able to develop its own cutting edge systems to assure Israel’s qualitative military advantage over its enemies.

Inouye’s support for Israel has never been conditional, nor has he ever expected anything in return….

Being himself an American of Japanese origin, serving his country while his relatives were kept by his own country in detention camps, he embarked on a life long journey of standing with and for the Jewish people. He bound his soul with the Jewish people and vowed to do all he could to help Israel. From selling Israel’s bonds as a young student to appropriating billions for Israel’s defense as the chairman of the Senate committee, he has always stood with Israel. The room of this American hero and most powerful leader was decorated with Jewish menorahs. Every year, he made the effort to attend Israel’s Independence Day celebration in DC to show his solidarity and support. His door and heart have always been open to Israel’s representatives.

When I served as Israel’s ambassador to the US, I had the privilege of meeting with him in this office. Whenever I was seeking a wise caring advice, help vis-à-vis the administration on critical issues, or achieving for Israel the almost impossible, I would ask to visit Senator Inouye. He has always been proud of Israel and concerned about its future. He profoundly understood the difficulties facing a tiny nation, the dangers emanating from the prevalent hatred towards the Jews and their state, and the existential challenges facing a Jewish democratic state in the Middle East. He unequivocally believed that a secure Israel is in the best interest of the United   States and an important part of the American story. He was more than deeply concerned about the threat of a nuclear Iran. Concern for Inouye has been a call for action. ‘What can I do for Israel’s defense?’ He would ask….

Israel has many great friends on Capitol Hill, but there has only been one Daniel Inouye. A noble human being, an American hero, a lover of Zion.

Jerusalem will not forget a true friend, Senator Dan Inouye

אִם אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלָיִם, תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי
If I forget you, O Jerusalem​​, let my right hand wither – Psalms 137:5

— by David Bedein

As a journalist in Israel for the past 26 years, I have met hundreds of politicians from around the world who visit Israel and laud the Jewish state with superlatives of support.

There is only one visiting politician whom I ever met who had tears in his eyes as he discussed his connection to Israel.

That was Senator Daniel Inouye, the Democrat from Hawaii who just passed away.

When I first interviewed Inouye in 1987, I held out my right hand to shake his hand, not realizing that he did not have an right arm.

Although I felt embarrassed, he went on to reassure me, with a genuine good spirit, that his loss of a right arm in the war against Germany in World War II was nothing like the losses suffered  by  the Jewish people to the Nazis.

The Senator went on to relate that in the 20 months that Inouye spent in US Army hospitals recovering from the loss of his right arm and other wounds, he learned about the Jewish death camps from a fellow officer in the hospital and that he spent his convalescence reading up on Jewish history, and, when Israel was formed in 1948, he became a registered Israeli bond salesman  — without commission.

Looking at my kippah, I will never forget how the Senator smiled and told me that he spent a few years considering conversion to Judaism, but that he did not want to make his Methodist mother uncomfortable.

This was a man whose support for Israel and the Jewish people was not deep and geunine.

Daniel Inouye will be mourned in Jerusalem.
David Bedein is the director of the Israel Resource News Agency and the Center for Near East Policy Research.

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority

Senator Daniel Inouye (1924-2012)

  • President pro tempore of the United States Senate.
  • Represented the State of Hawaii in Congress since statehood.
  • First Japanese-American in Congress and in the Senate.
  • Served during World War II earning a Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star Medal, 2 Purple Hearts.

— by Marc R. Stanley and David A. Harris

On behalf of NJDC, we extend our condolences to Senator Inouye’s family and the people of Hawaii. The Senator leaves behind a distinguished record of heroism and service to our country that has inspired members of younger generations to enter public service. Senator Inouye was one of the strongest pro-Israel voices on Capitol Hill, and his leadership within the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittees resulted in significant increases in aid for Israel. He was a true mensch in every sense of the word, and we are deeply saddened that he is no longer with us.