July 2018 NEWSLETTER
TAMMUZ / AV 5778
MAZAL TOV TO...
Gary Krauss, who will celebrate his 100th birthday on July 22
The family of Annette Padlow who passed away on June 12 at the age of 102
May her memory be for a blessing
The Temple Sholom Choir is looking for new members. Under the able direction of Steve Broidy, the Choir sings during the four High Holy Days services. There will be an organizational meeting sometime mid-July and three or four rehearsals prior to the services so that everyone is familiar with the music. You are invited to be a part of these services in this meaningful way. Please contact the Temple office or Steve Broidy for more information.
PACK YOUR BAGS!
You could be one of ten people set to explore the ancient and contemporary land of Israel in November. Enjoy opportunities to meet and chat with Israelis throughout the tour. Aaron Leventhal is the Tour Organizer and Director of this 10-day package, which includes 2 days travel and a full 8 days in Israel. Package also includes a professional guide and min-bus, admissions to all paid venues, 8 nights lodging as well as 4 group lunches and 4 group dinners. Non-refundable deposits must be received by July 10 to confirm event planning and details. For more information, contact Aaron at (614) 506-9666.
~ ANNUAL FRED LEVENTHAL/TEMPLE SHOLOM SPORTS NIGHT ~
IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN - MONDAY, JULY 23, 6:00 PM.
Our guest speaker this year is Braxton Miller, former Ohio State quarterback/wide receiver, who currently plays for the Houston Texans in the N.F.L. Braxton was born and raised in Springfield and graduated from Wayne High School. He was a finalist for Ohio Mr. Football and also lettered in basketball and track. Drinks and fellowship start at 6:00 pm, followed by a buffet dinner. Braxton will speak at 7:30 and will follow with a question and answer session. Donation is $125.00 and tickets are available by contacting Diane at the Temple office or Eddie Leventhal at 605-0060 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We expect this to be a sold-out event, so purchase your tickets early. Bring some friends or co-workers, and let others know of this exciting event.
This year, the fast day of Tisha B'Av falls on Sunday, July 22. Tisha B'Av (the ninth day of Av) commemorates the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem (the First, in 586 BCE by the Babylonians and the Second in 70 CE by the Romans), as well as other tragic occurrences throughout Jewish history. Noteworthy among these is the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. It is said that in 1492, Tisha B'Av was the day that Columbus began his historical voyage; on that day, he saw ships with Jews leaving port.
Although the Temples are mere memories to us modern Jews, and their loss may not call forth the need to abstain from food, nevertheless there are important lessons to be learned -- especially in the times we live in. Although the destruction of both Temples were the results of wars being waged against the Jewish people, our Sages understand their destruction to be a consequence of our own behavior -- our collective failure to be faithful to our mission -- to be a holy nation, role-modeling ''ethical monotheism'' for the rest of the world:
''Why was the First Temple destroyed? Because of three evils in it: idolatry,
immorality, and bloodshed. Why was the Second Temple destroyed, seeing
that during the time it stood people occupied themselves with the Torah, with
observances of the precepts, and with the practice of charity?
Because during the time it stood, hatred without rightful cause prevailed.
is to teach you that hatred without rightful cause is deemed as grave as all three
sins of idolatry, immorality and bloodshed together.'' (Talmud, Yoma 9b)
Indeed, given today's political climate, folks may discuss/argue/(scream?) about what is ''rightful cause''; folks on all points of the political spectrum may insist their ''hatred'' IS justified. But the point is: we Jews already know what happens when hatred breaks down boundaries of civility: an entire society can be destroyed, with both physical AND spiritual exile being the result.
~ RABBI'S CORNER ~
Dr. Charles Krauthammer, z''l: Walking Tall
''Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; but they are the instruments of the wise.''
As I write this, the news of the death of Dr. Charles Krauthammer is only a few hours old. Although Dr. Krauthammer forewarned his friends and many admirers only a couple of weeks ago of his illness and impending death, the sadness and sense of loss they feel is palpable. Renowned for his intellect and erudition, he was a Washington Post-based syndicated columnist and a center-right political commentator for Fox News.
Dr. Krauthammer was always shown on TV from the waist up. Until news of his illness and impending death made recent headlines, many people didn't know that he was a quadriplegic in a wheelchair with limited use of his hands, the result of a diving accident that severed his spinal cord when he was 22. Nor did they know that, despite his accident and the challenges it presented, he still graduated with his Harvard Medical School class on time, and near the top of his class. As he later recalled, he knew his life was about to change the very second the accident happened. His decision to leave medicine (psychiatry) and pursue a career in political commentary would prove a momentous change not only for him, but for countless others as well.
In his farewell letter published a couple of weeks ago, he wrote:
''I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life -- full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living.''
No regrets? How could that be? Probably because he took to heart the sentiments of the above-quoted words of the Irish novelist Samuel Lover. According to his friend Irwin Selzer, he gave the following advice to many others coping with irreparable spinal cord injuries: forget about hope of recovery -- this is how it's going to be, so learn to adapt. His response to dealing with unfortunate circumstances was simply this: we have a choice: we can struggle against them and weaken ourselves, or we can accept fully them and be strengthened by them. He chose the latter.
The unfortunate circumstances with which he coped every day for 46 years may have compromised his mobility, but certainly did not compromise his fierce sense of independence. With proper accommodations, he taught his son how to throw and hit a baseball. Thirty years ago, before current state-of-the-art technology, he pecked out his columns and essays one letter at a time with a pencil. He even was able to drive on his own in a specially-fitted van – and was known to be as aggressive in his van as he was in his motorized wheelchair.
But people who knew him -- intimately or casually -- all remember him as a mensch: a person whose heart, soul and spirit were as large as, if not larger than, his incredibly keen mind; a man who cared about relationships and who response to celebrity was a simple, disarming humility. Whether the person standing or sitting in front of him was a head of state or an intern, Charles Krauthammer always engaged that person with a kind word, a piece of helpful advice, a listening ear.
But perhaps above all, Charles Krauthammer was most admired for being a champion of civility and decency. Though much of what came out of his mouth or from his pen/computer was ideologically challenging and provocative to many, he always expressed his views calmly and without a trace of hysteria. In discussions with someone on the other side of his position, he rarely gave an inch, AND was never vicious. His focus was always on principles, not personalities; he seemed to truly believe the adage attributed to Socrates: when the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.
One only has to read a selection or two from his book Things That Matter to understand that Charles Krauthammer believed that all aspects of life -- whether politics or sports -- was serious business. Which probably accounts for the fact that although he was not a particularly observant Jew, he was very much a committed and knowledgeable Jew. A member of B'nai Israel synagogue in Rockville, Dr. Krauthammer was a longtime supporter of Jewish education and culture. He was a founding board member of Washington's Shoresh Hebrew High School and a co-founder of Pro Musica Hebraica, a project devoted to promoting Jewish classical music. Although a bit dated re the current political landscape, his lecture, ''At Last Zion'' (given in December 2015) offers important insights on the future of Israel and the American Jewish community (YouTube). Not surprisingly, his notions about G-d were somewhat unconventional: ''I don't believe in G-d, but I greatly fear Him.'' He believed that atheism was not only the least plausible response to the question of G-d's existence, but it was also the most dangerous: when people stop believing in God, they will believe in anything -- including totalitarianisms of all sorts.
Charles Krauthammer died during the week that the Torah portion Chukat was read. The beginning of Chukat deals with the strange ritual of the ''red heifer'' -- the young cow that is reduced to ashes, which are then mixed in water to purify those who have had contact with dead bodies. The ashes are a reminder that mortality is the fate of all that lives: ''Dust you are and to dust you shall return'' (Gen. 3:19). Dust and ashes are of no value.
Nevertheless, as Jewish Tradition teaches, though we are mortal and the vicissitudes of life may ''cripple in all sorts of ways -- and still our lives are not insignificant.'' Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges life may throw at us, human existence is not tragic. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has written: ''We are dust of the earth, but there is within us the breath of G-d...We die but the best part of us lives on...Defeat, despair and a sense of tragedy are always premature. Life is short, but when we lift our eyes to heaven, we walk tall.
Perhaps it was bashert (destined) that Rabbi Sacks wrote these words a couple of days before Dr. Krauthammer died.
Charles Krauthammer was confined to a wheelchair for most of his life. But fewer human beings in our time have ever walked taller.
With his passing, G-d is fortunate; we are poorer.
As we celebrate July 4, may we remember the noble ideals upon which this nation was founded, and how they were exemplified by this remarkable man.
May we honor his memory by emulating his qualities of civility, kindness and humility in our dealings with others...especially with those with whom we may disagree.
-- Rabbi Cary Kozberg
~ SPOTLIGHT ON JAN SPIER ~
Our Temple Sholom member spotlight this month shines on Jan Spier, who has been a member of Temple Sholom since 1980 when she and her husband Ron Spier moved to Springfield.
Jan was born and raised in South Orange, New Jersey, along with her brother and sister. Jan mentioned that as a child she was very active in her Temple, which was located at the end of her street. Her father, who was a doctor, passed away when she was 10, and the Rabbi became very supportive of the family during this difficult time. He was a strong influence in getting Jan involved in Jewish youth activities and programs. She graduated from Columbia High School, which, among other things, is famous for inventing Ultimate Frisbee. After high school graduation, Jan enrolled at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. During her sophomore year, two brothers who were friends of hers took her for a visit to their home on Long Island. There she met their other brother Ron, who was in the basement working on repairing a motorcycle. Six months later and after weekly visits to Amherst, they became engaged; and two years later, on Christmas Eve and the day after she completed her student teaching assignment in 1972, they were married.
Jan graduated magna cum laude a semester early with a major in physical education but never taught. She spent her college summers as a lifeguard for the Red Cross in her hometown. After getting married, Jan and Ron moved to Washington D.C. where Ron was in his second year of medical school at George Washington. As part of her college education, Jan took many pre-med classes/courses, which she has put to good use throughout her career. She took a job at a women's hospital and then in a local doctor's office when she lived in Washington.
After Ron completed his medical studies at George Washington, they moved to Chicago where he started his residency in general surgery at the University of Chicago. Jan took a job working for a reconstructive hand surgeon. In 1977, they moved to Morgantown, West Virginia, so Ron could complete his residency. After three years, they decided to relocate to Springfield so Ron could go into private surgical practice. Jan had two conditions on deciding where to move: it must have a Montessori School and a Temple with a bricks and mortar physical location. They also wanted to raise their family in a city smaller than they were used to living in. Fortunately, Springfield checked all of their boxes.
This was also the first year of Rabbi Lloyd Goldman being our Rabbi. Jan remembers the first people she met from the Temple were Laurie Leventhal and Judy Kossoff, who like Jan also belonged to the Junior Service League. She remembers those first few years as being very active and involved in and with the Temple, serving on Ways and Means as well as the Temple Board. At the request of Rabbi Gevirtz, Jan joined the board of Project Woman, where she served on the board for nine years. She was also treasurer for the local Medical Alliance group. Most importantly, though, she was office manager of Ron's surgical practice from its start in 1982 until Ron retired in 2013. Jan said it was the best job she has ever had and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jan and Ron are the proud parents of four children, all graduates of Shawnee High School. Bret, who was born in 1977, is a doctor in Bloomington, IN; Jesse was born in 1981 and lives in North Olmstead where he is active in owning and operating the Sports/Social Club in Toledo; and twins Candace and Brianna, who were born in 1982. Candace is a PhD who lives in Martinez, CA, and works for the USDA; and Brianna lives in Avon and works for the Cleveland Clinic in the orthopedic department. They are the proud grandparents of eight.
Jan helped start two book clubs that have been meeting since 1999 as well as a local women's investment club. She very much enjoys Rabbi Kozberg's Tuesday Lunch and Learn seminar and is a regular attendee and participant.
We are very appreciative of having Jan as a long-time Temple Sholom member and being involved in a number of our activities and events.
''Few of us write great novels; all of us live them.''
~ CONTRIBUTIONS ~
In memory of Marilyn Schneider from Steve and Robyn Schumaker
Best wishes to Gary Krauss on his 100th birthday from the Nedelman and Fish families, the Leventhal Family
In honor of the yahrzeit of my mother, Ida Friedman, from Jay and Kitty Friedman
In memory of Annette Padlow from Jack and Paulette Grodner
~ YAHRZEIT LIST ~
JULY 6: Sophie Friedland, Ida Friedman (mother of Jay), Morris M. Levinson, Sidney William Rich, William Rich, Ben Rubinoff, William B. Zitsman, Arthur Marcus (father of Faye Flack)
JULY 13: Hyman Adler, Ethel S. Freed, Henry Kempler, Rose Edith Lapinsky, Helen Weiser, Willis Rider, Dorothy Banks Steed, Robert A. Wile
JULY 20: Frank Friedsam, Anna Margolis (mother of Maxine Leventhal), Jack Watts (stepfather of Bill Dixon), Richard Melnick Wolf
JULY 27: EthelArnovitz, Manya Haas Klein (mother of Sandy Silverstein), Lt. Robert L. Levine, Reda Singer, Harry M. Stadler, Mollie Flack (mother of Sanford), Dorothy Spier (mother of Ronald)
AUG 3: Anne Arnovitz, Ben Broock, Pearle Romanoff, Maisie Demmel, Ruth (Ricky) Kepnes (mother of Ellen Levine), Ben Mazur, Betty Anne Zoldan