Israel’s Entrepreneurial Wonderkind

— by Ronit Treatman

Tomer Hen, One of Israel’s youngest millionaires, started his first business at the age of thirteen. “I wanted to be financially independent,” he told me. “I started buying and selling Israeli products on ebay.”  

From this modest beginning, Tomer became a supplier of Israeli products to businesses all over the world. He sourced Dead Sea products and Israeli army surplus goods among other types of merchandise.

More after the jump.

Photo: Or Kaplan

Tomer became very interested in the Chinese market. Initially, the Chinese were not that familiar with the worldwide Internet. They used Chinese sites, such as Alibaba, rather than ebay. Tomer familiarized himself with these sites, and started buying products from the Chinese and selling to the Americans in profit.  

By the age of sixteen, Tomer could see that ebay’s potential was diminishing and looked for a new growth market. This was when the first iPhone came to Israel, and many businesses wanted to appear on the iPhone when the customer searched the Internet. Tomer helped them design their mobile application strategy, to ensure their optimal presence.  

Tomer’s current business is teaching enterprise owners how to promote their business via cellular phones. Tomer helps them craft their message, design their ads for mobile phones, and select the media platforms for their advertising campaigns. His Mobile College is offered both online and in Tel Aviv.  

How did Tomer figure all this out at such a young age? “I am self taught,” he tells me. “My parents are accountants, and I got my entrepreneurial spirit from my father. It all started with my desire for independence.”

Summer With The School of Rock

— by Ronit Treatman

As the daughter of a classically trained pianist, I was extremely skeptical when my children told me they wanted to learn to play musical instruments at the Philadelphia School of Rock. I could just hear my grandmother snorting, “Feh, what kind of teaching is that?”

Much to my surprise, the system is outstanding. At the School of Rock, the students immediately begin to learn to play whatever they want. The instructors break down the songs, and the kids learn how to play them. No time is spent on tedious tasks like practicing scales.

More after the jump.
My son has been learning at the School of Rock for the past three years. He has learned how to play both electric and acoustic guitars. He has written and performed his own songs, and started a band. He  loves the way he connects with his teachers: “They have become my friends,” he told me. Many young people are enrolled at the School of Rock. Those who join the School of Rock’s bands have the opportunity to make meaningful new friendships.  

A great way to get a taste of the School of Rock is by enrolling in a summer camp session. It lasts long enough to understand what the School of Rock is all about. One of the coolest things about the School of Rock is that the professional bands on tour in Philadelphia drop in. When they do, they jam with the School of Rock’s students.  

Put Haman In Jail, And Eat Him Too!

— by Ronit Treatman

Have you ever wanted to arrest Haman and put him in jail? There is a Purim specialty from the Iberian Peninsula whose preparation acts out imprisoning Haman. This Purim treat is called a folar. According to the Rhodes Jewish Museum, folares arrived with Jewish refugees who settled in Greece and Turkey, following their expulsion from Spain in 1492. The descendants of these families have preserved some of their historic foods to the present day.

The traditional recipe calls for a yeast dough, which is constructed in the shape of a cage around a huevo haminado (slowly roasted egg). The egg represents Haman, and the cage of dough symbolizes prison.  

The full recipe after the jump.
Over the years, the recipe for the dough had some Balkan influences. Some families started encasing the egg with flaky borekas dough instead of yeast dough. Either way, folares are served for breakfast during Purim. With their heavenly smell, they would not last long after being pulled out of the oven! Here is a recipe for the traditional yeast dough folar.


Adapted from Gil Mark’s Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.

For the Huevos Haminados:

(Huevos haminados are eggs that are cooked in a warm oven overnight. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to wait this long, you can just make boiled eggs. When they are ready, drain the pot and leave them in their shells. If you wish to make huevos haminados, here is the method.)

  • Eggs
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Place the eggs in a casserole. Cover them with water, and drizzle some olive oil over them. Bring the water to a boil. Cover tightly, and place in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven overnight.  

For the dough:

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 1/4 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mix the warm water with the sugar and yeast. Incorporate the flour. Add all the other ingredients. Knead the dough, then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place somewhere warm. Allow the dough to rise for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Place some parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  4. Rip out a piece of dough and sculpt the floor of your “jail.”
  5. Place one egg, with the larger end down, in the center of this floor.
  6. Roll out strips of dough, and attach them over the egg like the bars of a cell.
  7. When all your folares are ready, mix some egg wash (one egg beaten with little water).
  8. Paint the folares with the egg wash.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Serve immediately!

Folares are always appreciated in a mishloach manot as well. Add some fresh fruit and candy, and your gift basket is ready to be delivered.

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Happy New Year From The Philadelphia Jewish Voice

Philadelphia Jewish Voice’s board members celebrate being recognized with Second Place for Online Presence in the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s 2011 Newspaper of the Year Competition.

Dear Readers,

All of us at The Philadelphia Jewish Voice wish you a happy and prosperous new year.  It has been our pleasure to share our original content and creativity with you over the course of this past year.  We are unpaid volunteers, who do this work because we love it.  

I invite you to contribute your tax deductible donation to The Philadelphia Jewish Voice before this year ends.  Every dollar helps!  All monies will be used to improve our publishing platform and to enhance your reading experience.  

Sincerely yours,
Ronit Treatman

Unification: Saligman Middle School of the Barrack Hebrew Academy

Standing to the right: Cecily Carel, Ira Schwartz, and Elliot Norry

The Greater Philadelphia community is witnessing the unification of two of its Jewish middle schools: the Perelman Jewish Day School’s Robert M. Saligman Middle School with the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy’s (JBHA) middle school.  

This morning, Cecily Carel and Elliot Norry, the presidents of the Barrack and Perelman Boards of Directors, notified the community of the unification:

Pleased to share the news that Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy and Perelman Jewish Day School Boards of Directors voted, during their respective meetings, to unify their two middle schools.

In September 2013, The Schwartz Campus in Bryn Mawr will welcome students and parents to the new Robert M. Saligman Middle School of the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy.

Working in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, both Boards agreed that a unified middle school would not only maximize community resources, but also provide exciting and expanded opportunities for students — educationally, socially and financially.”

The terms of the unification follow the jump.
According to a letter released by PJDS, “a unified middle school will allow for greater class sizes, more effective use of community resources, and will expand educational opportunities for our students.

Here are some important details about the upcoming unification, based on commitments made by JBHA:

Location and Timetable

  • Robert M. Saligman Middle School of the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy will open its doors to students at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
  • The school will be located on the Schwartz campus in Radnor, home of the JBHA, in a newly renovated Athletic building, maintaining our philosophy to keep our middle school in a separate facility. A Bet Knesset will be added by August 2014.

Staffing and Curriculum

  • Susan Friedman will remain Principal of the unified middle school, with the majority of her faculty also remaining at Saligman.
  • The middle school will continue to adhere to a student-centered curriculum focused on the educational and social needs of early adolescents.
  • The school will be pluralistic, offering students the opportunity for a Conservative-based religious practice track which includes daily prayer, along with the religious tracks currently followed at JBHA. The 8th grade Israel trip will be offered for at least the next two years.
  • The middle school will continue to offer programs for a wide spectrum of learning abilities, including special needs programs (such as the OROT program).

Financial Information and Transportation

  • Tuition and fees will be set at the same amount currently charged by Saligman, with increases limited to 2% or CPI until the end of the 2017-18 school year.
  • JBHA will provide equivalent financial aid packages, unless a family has experienced a material financial improvement.
  • The middle school will offer free transportation to those affected by the move for the next five years.

Governance and Collaboration

  • While the middle school will operate under the sole ownership of JBHA, Perelman representatives will sit on the JBHA Board, numbering 20% of the voting members. JBHA representatives will likewise sit on Perelman’s Board, numbering 15% of the voting members.
  • A Middle School Management Committee (MSC) will provide board level oversight of the middle school. The MSC will consist of two members of from among the PJDS-designated JBHA Board members, and two members from among existing JBHA Board members.  The fifth member of the MSC will be chosen by the PJDS-designated members and will act as Chair of the MSC.
  • Perelman will be paid $2.5 million over five years to enhance K-5 enrollment.
  • Perelman and JBHA will work together to advance a K-12 system that helps bolster the Jewish identity of our students and ensure our community’s future”.

The official public announcement was made this afternoon at 4:00 PM, in front of the future home of the unified middle school, the Barrack Mitchell Building (Athletic Building).   Working in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, both Boards agreed that a unified middle school would not only maximize community resources, but also provide exciting and expanded opportunities for students — educationally, socially and financially.

Human Rights Campaign First-Ever Index of LGBT Religious Inclusion

Jeremy Burton

Statistics show that most of us have some family members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning where they fit in terms of gender. Loving and including our loved ones for all of who they are is what healthy families and communities do, IMHO. So it is good to learn that The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released today its first-ever index of inclusion within a faith-based community. “The Jewish Organization Equality Index (JOEI) provides benchmarks for gauging, and resources for improving, LGBT inclusivity policies and practices of North American Jewish communal organizations. The entire report is available at online.”

Rabbi David Saperstein

Joy Ladin

Initiated by the ever-progressive Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, together with The Morningstar Foundation, Stuart Kurlander and an anonymous donor, the report aims “to push the Jewish community to prioritize inclusion of LGBT employees, members and volunteers into communal organizations. Here are some excerpts from their press release:

Findings from the index include:

  1. 98% of participating membership-based organizations offer same-sex couples family memberships;
  2. 90% of participating organizations include inclusive terms in their publicity materials;
  3. 75% of participating organizations have not specifically recruited LGBT individuals to their lay leadership board in the past three years (often cited as a significant contributor to increased awareness about inclusive policies);
  4. 73% of responding organizations have a written non-discrimination policy;
  5. 66% of participating organizations actively reach out to the LGBT community to attract members or clients; and
  6. 33% of participating organizations with youth programming have a written anti-bullying policy.

Organizations that participated in the survey were from 26 states across the U.S, the District of Columbia and Canada, and represented a range of denominations, though no survey submissions were received from any Orthodox institutions. Jewish Community Centers, Jewish Federations and Hillels were among those with the highest rates of participation.

The report contains a number of resources, including a checklist of 14 steps organizations can take to be more welcoming and inclusive of LGBT families, couples and individuals, and an assessment of organizations’ cultural competency in delivering services to the LGBT community.

Timed to coincide with the release of the report, the survey’s supporters have joined with Keshet-the national grassroots organization that works for the full inclusion and equality of LGBT Jews in Jewish life-to raise awareness of the importance of inclusion and spread these and other tools for action. Visit the Tumblr site.

Led and supported by LGBT Jews and straight allies, Keshet offers resources and trainings to create inclusive Jewish communities nationwide as well as community programs for LGBT Jews.

“This report marks a milestone in the Jewish community,” said Idit Klein, Executive Director of Keshet. “We hope it will galvanize our leaders to make LGBT inclusion a key priority, and we invite organizations at any stage of inclusion to reach out to us for training, resources and assistance to make our community a home for all.”

Full Disclosure: Rabbi Milgram authored the first inclusive guide to Jewish rites of Passage titled Living Jewish Life Cycle: How to Create Meaningful Jewish Rites of Passage at Every Stage of Life.

Judith’s Hanukkah Cheese Pastries

— by Ronit Treatman

There is a tradition of eating dairy meals to celebrate Hanukkah.  How did this custom come about?  During Hanukkah, we honor Judith, a brave heroine whose name means, “Praised” or “Jewess” in Hebrew.  During the Assyrian siege of Judah, 500 years before the time of the Maccabbees, she used beauty, wit, cheese, and wine to fight for her right to be a free Jewish woman in Jerusalem.  Judith inspired the Maccabees to fight the Seleucids until they achieved victory.  We honor her by preparing seductive dairy delicacies for our Hanukkah feasts.

Judith was a beautiful, young widow who lived in the fictional village of Bethulia (thought to symbolize Jerusalem).  The Assyrian general Holofernes besieged her town.  He succeeded in cutting off the water supply to Bethulia’s inhabitants.  Judith went to visit Holofernes in the Assyrian camp, bearing gifts of wine and cheese.  Holofernes overindulged to the point of inebriation.  Judith took advantage of his weakness, and decapitated him with his own sword.  In a shrewd bit of psychological warfare, she carried his head around the Assyrian camp.  His soldiers, terrified and bereft of their leader, fled.  

More after the jump.
We honor Judith’s bravery with the tradition of eating dairy meals during Hanukkah.  The type of milk available to her in Ancient Israel came from sheep and goats.  This Hanukkah, we can celebrate with a traditional Mediterranean shepherd’s dish: pastries filled with goat’s or sheep’s milk cheese, fried in golden olive oil, and sweetened with wildflower honey.  

Seadas di Vito.Hanukkah Seadas: Sardinian Cheese Fritters
Adapted from Academia Barilla

  1. Knead together the flour, water, eggs, butter, and salt to form a dough.
  2. Roll the dough into a ball, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. After half an hour, roll the dough out with a rolling pin.
  4. Use a glass to cut out circles of dough.
  5. Fill each circle with cheese.
  6. Fold the circle in half.
  7. Pinch the edges together to close it.
  8. Heat some olive oil in a pan.
  9. Place the pastries in the oil over medium heat.
  10. Turn the pastries over when they are golden brown.
  11. Drain on paper towels.
  12. Serve hot, with a drizzle of wildflower honey.

Hanukkah Happening: Israeli Singer Mika Karni & Band in Cnocert

Light the second Hanukkah candle on December 9, 2012 with Mika Karni and her band at Rodeph Shalom. This special performance called Kol Dodi (a name reminiscent of Karni’s use of biblical poetry from Song of Songs) brings together a unique musical ensemble of Israeli, Moroccan, Yemenite and Ethiopian musicians. Together they create a musical landscape reflecting Israel, a place where cultures from around the globe combine as one.

Co-Sponsored by: PhillyIsrael, Rodeph Shalom, Consulate of Israel in Philadelphia, The Israeli House, Temple Students for Israel. Collaborative, Renaissance, Moishe House Philadelphia and Reform Jewish Community (RJC).

More after the jump.
Location: 615 N. Broad st. Philadelphia Pa 19123

Post-Concert – Israel music andi Dancing with Rak-Dan

Community Wide Event: “Sharing Our Light Together”

5:30 – 7:15 PM Hanukkah Shuk (vendors – food, beverages, gifts etc..)

Pre paid VIP reception @ 6:30 – 7:15 PM

– 7:30 – Hanukkah candle lighting followed by “Kol Dodi” concert with Israeli singer Mika Karni and her band.
– General admission $18 in advance, $25 at the door.
Purchase your tickets online