A look back at some of the notable activities of Tidewater’s Jewish community in 2014
Saturday, January 18
The Simon Family JCC’s Virginia Festival of Jewish Film, presented by Howard and Alma* Laderberg, held its Opening Night at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. More than 350 people attended to see The Zigzag Kid. The festival ran through Jan. 26.
Sunday, January 19
More than 175 people filled Broudy Hall at Temple Israel for the annual Seaboard Region Federation of Jewish Men’s Club’s Blue Yarmulke Man of the Year breakfast. Local honorees were Ron Gladstone of Congregation Beth El; Stan Glasofer of Rodef Sholom Temple in Hampton and Andrew Rabiner of Temple Israel.
Sunday, January 26
An outpouring of community support made the 2014 Super Sunday phone-a-thon one of the most successful in recent years. The annual event raised more than $100,000 from more than 320 donors, many of whom were making gifts to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater for the first time.
Tuesday, January 28
Virginia Beach was the fourth stop on Gil Troy’s six city speaking tour. The McGill University History professor, prolific author and Zionist activist arrived for an appearance the next evening in UJFT’s Community Relations Council’s Israel Today Forum. The Forum was cancelled due to a snowstorm that dumped about 10 inches of snow in some area neighborhoods on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Also cancelled were Troy’s visits to area high schools, universities, television stations and community meetings. Quick thinking on the part of Robin Mancoll, CRC director, led to a hastily organized telephone call-in session with Troy at the same the time he would have appeared in the Forum.
Tidewater’s Community Relations Council’s delegation to the statewide Jewish Advocacy Day in Richmond, also known as Date With the State, addressed issues such as prayer in schools, Jewish Family Service funding, Medicaid Expansion, Israeli business opportunities and more. Approximately 180 people from across Virginia participated.
Thursday, February 20
Tidewater was included in the StandWithUs Israeli Soldiers’ Stories tour. Forty teens from BBYO, NFTY, USY and the Jewish Teen Leadership program of the Simon Family JCC and their parents came out to hear the soldiers at Bite restaurant in Norfolk in an event organized by the Community Relations Council of the UJFT.
Friday, February 21
Ohef Sholom Temple held its annual Men’s Club Shabbat with Men’s Club members leading the service. Jefferson C. Harrison, chief curator of the Chrysler Museum of Art, spoke on “Nazi-Era Provenance Research and the Chrysler Collection.”
Saturday, February 22
Temple Israel celebrated Education Shabbat and the leadership of Kathryn Morton, who retired in the summer, after 16 years as director of the synagogue’s Sunday school.
Tuesday, February 25
In anticipation of the Virginia Arts Festival performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on April 2 in Virginia Beach, UJFT’s Community Relations Council presented a screening of Orchestra of Exiles with UJFT’s Holocaust Commission and the Simon Family JCC as partners. The film reveals the fascinating story of the Philharmonic’s beginning, chronicling the story of celebrated Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman’s efforts to save the lives of Jewish musicians and European music from extermination by the Nazis during World War II.
Monday, March 3
Congregation Beth El’s trip to Israel arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport. Twenty travellers, mostly Beth El members, were on the week-long adventure.
Saturday, March 8
Larry Ferber, the former cultural arts director at the Simon Family JCC, entertained as the second of the Performing Arts at the J Series. His “COULD THEY TALK!” lecture included video clips and anecdotes that gave an inside look at the TV industry. A three-time Emmy nominee, Ferber is a 30-year television veteran who has produced, executive produced, and consulted in all forms of broadcast media, with such personalities as Regis Philbin, Dinah Shore, Mike Douglas, Sally Jessy Raphael, and Joan Rivers.
Monday, March 10
BINA High School held its first Grandparents & Grandfriends Day.
Thursday, March 13
The 6th Annual Latke-Hamantaschen Debate took place at the Simon Family JCC. The All-Tidewater Invitational Debate is held to raise hunger awareness. Admission is free, but all who attend are urged to bring donations of canned or dried goods or to make a contribution to Jewish Family Service or the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.
Friday, March 20– Sunday, March 23
Approximately 1,000 people attended Tidewater Together, a collaborative weekend presented by UJFT, Synagogue- Federation partnership of the Tidewater Jewish Community, and the Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholar-in-Residence Fund. Rabbi Brad Artson was the scholar-in-residence.
Saturday, March 22
Two of Tidewater’s Masorti/Conservative congregations, Kehillat Bet Hamidrash (KBH) of Kempsville and Temple Israel of Norfolk, celebrated the 13th year of their partnership with the feeling of a Bar Mitzvah.
Thursday, March 27
The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities presented the 50th Annual Humanitarian Awards at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. Michael Glasser was one of the award recipients. Jerry Kantor was the event’s chair.
Wednesday, April 2
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the Sandler Center. The concert was presented by the Simon Family JCC, in partnership with Virginia Arts Festival, as part of the JCC’s Celebrate Israel series presented by Charles Barker Automotive.
Saturday, April 12
Bagels and Bluegrass took place at the Jewish Museum and Cultural Center. Performers included Simcha Klezmorim, the popular local Klezmer ensemble led by Warren Weiss and the legendary Bob Zentz and Jeanne McDougall, who performed traditional folk and bluegrass music, entertaining listeners with unique instruments and stories.
Thursday, April 24
Tidewater Jewish Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary, acknowledged the members of the Simon Family Legacy Society and honored Philip Rovner on his retirement from the Foundation after 18 years of service. Approximately 150 people attended the festive evening, which included a welcome by the Foundation’s chair, Ron Kramer, a brief history of the Foundation by Hal Sacks, TJF’s executive director emeritus, and remarks by Kim Simon Fink on behalf of the Simon family, as well as remarks by Philip Rovner.
Sunday, April 27
The annual Yom Hashoah program, sponsored by UJFT’s Holocaust Commission took place at Ohef Sholom Temple. Featured speaker Werner Reich, a survivor of Gestapo beatings, prisons, and four concentration camps including Auschwitz, let the audience know right away that he could still laugh. Temple Sinai of Newport News approved hiring Severine Sokol as its new rabbi. Sokol had been rabbi and cantorial soloist at Congregation B’nai Chaim in Morrison, Col., a Denver suburb, since 2011.
Sunday, May 4
Jewish Family Service wrapped up its 10th Annual Week of Healthy Living with more than 450 runners and walkers who gathered at 24th Street Park at the Virginia Beach oceanfront for JFS’s 10th Annual Run, Roll or Stroll. The event included an 8K run, 5K run/ walk and 1-mile run/walk. Ohef Sholom Temple’s Men’s Club presented the annual Henry B. Kaufmann Award to Lawrence L. Steingold. The award is given to a congregant for extraordinary service to the temple and the community at large. The third annual Tikkun Tidewater took place on the Sandler Family Campus.
Tuesday, May 13
More than 100 people gathered for Jewish Education Night. Presented by the Simon Family Jewish Community Center, it is sponsored by the Jewish Education Council of the UJFT, and underwritten by the Lee A. and Helen G. Gifford Jewish Education Council Fund of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation. Zohar Ben Moshe, Hebrew Academy of Tidewater’s Judaic studies teacher, was named Jewish Educator of the Year.
Sunday, May 18
The Simon Family JCC’s Annual Israel Fest, presented by Charles Barker Automotive, was the biggest to date, with about 1,800 people enjoying the many activities. JCC’s Celebrate Israel series concluded with the Iron Dome program at Regent University Theatre. Gideon Weiss, vice president of Rafael USA, the company that makes the Iron Dome, was the featured speaker. The event was presented by Charles Barker Automotive, and was organized in partnership with UJFT’s Community Relations Council. In addition, Gordon Robertson, CEO of CBN, introduced a brief screening of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Made in Israel series.
Monday, May 19
The Simon Family JCC held its 61st Annual Meeting, recognizing Terri Sarfan for her successful two-year term as president, welcoming Marty Einhorn as incoming president, and bestowing awards on several groups and lay leaders.
Monday, May 26
Continuing Sunny Werth’s work, the local JWV held a fundraising program. For a $25 donation, the Norfolk JWV Post 158 maintains a United States Flag at the grave of a Jewish Veteran in Tidewater. The Post ensures every Memorial Day that the flag is in good repair and still attached.
Tuesday, May 27
Guest speakers Ken Young, Norfolk Tides owner, and Jeff Cogen, CEO of the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, spoke to members of UJFT’s Business & Legal Society event held at Harbor Park. A dinner at Hits at the Park with a lively discussion preceded the game where Jacob Levy threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game.
A publication commemorating Tidewater’s Jewish community’s 75 organized years included a time-line, historical articles, reflections from children about the leadership of their parents, lists, lots of photographs and more.
Sunday, June 1
Alene Kaufman was honored for her 36 years of devotion and service to Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and the Strelitz Early Childhood Center preschool. She retired that month. “Looking back,” Kaufman said, “I’ve worked for 10 heads of school, five general studies directors, and 17 board presidents. Throughout this period, I also gave birth to my son Adam, married off my older son Jason and became a savta to two gorgeous baby girls. I am counting my blessings, including the fact that Ron and I both still have our parents, who range in age from 84 to 94.” An afternoon filled with praise, warmth, dance, song, speeches, proclamations and a packed house, commemorated the 40th anniversary of Rabbi Israel Zoberman’s ordination at Congregation Beth Chaverim.
Monday, June 2
Hebrew Academy of Tidewater class of 2014 held its graduation ceremony with awards at the Sandler Family Campus.
Monday, June 9
Jewish Family Service held its 62nd Biennial Meeting to install the new board president and officers. Dr. Marcia Samuels, outgoing president, welcomed Lawrence Steingold, president for the 2014–2016 term.
Tuesday, June 10
Rep. Cantor (R-Va.), the only Jewish Republican in Congress, was defeated in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District’s Republican primary.
Wednesday, June 11
The 12th Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning graduation ceremony took place at the Simon Family JCC. Nine graduates received their certificates, joining 180 adults in Tidewater who have completed the first two years of the school.
Thursday, June 19
Seventeen members of the UJFT Summer mission to Israel left for an action-packed and highly emotional visit. The adventure began in Jerusalem, with a panoramic view of the city atop of the Tower of David. Mission co-chairs were Bonnie and David Brand and Jodi Klebanoff.
Thursday, July 24
In the midst of Israel’s war in Gaza, Stand Strong for Israel, a gathering planned by leaders of the Tidewater Jewish community and supported by synagogues and Jewish agencies, was held in the gym of the Simon Family JCC. More than 550 people attended.
Wednesday, August 6
Hunger Feast, a two-part experiential event organized and led entirely by young people, took place at the Sandler Family Campus. Nearly 200 people participated. Hannah Moss brought the event to Tidewater, where 21,972 meal bags were packed in just one hour that would feed more than 130,000 people.
Friday, August 8
A relaxing and spiritually moving Shabbat service at the oceanfront for four synagogues: Congregation Beth El, Temple Emanuel, Temple Israel and KBH took place.
Saturday, August 9
Sigma Omega Pi Sorority, Sigma chapter, held its 50th+ reunion in Norfolk. Former SOPS members came from Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Maryland, Northern Virginia, Richmond, Williamsburg, Suffolk and Newport News.
Thursday, August 14
The 5th Annual Bringing Israel Home event attracted approximately 50 local Jewish college students at Azar’s Restaurant at Hilltop. Matt Weisbaum, managing director of Jerusalem U, was the guest speaker. Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front, a Jerusalem U film in its final stages of production at the time, was shown.
Thursday, September 4
A lecture on Religion, Ethics and Dying: Controversies and Perspective, took place on at Old Dominion University. Representing the Catholic and Jewish approaches to death and dying, Dr. Gerard Magill, a tenured professor in the center for healthcare ethics at Duquesne University in Pittsburg and Dr. Jonathan Crane, a professor of bioethics and Jewish thought at Emory University in Atlanta, spoke to a packed house.
Tuesday, September 9
Laura Miller was a 2014 recipient of the prestigious Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award presented at The Jewish Federations of North America’s International Lion of Judah Conference(ILOJC) in Manhattan.
Monday, September 15
The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater inaugurated its 2015 Annual Campaign by showcasing the words and deeds of two relatively contemporary Jewish role models, Theodor Herzl and Golda Meir. Karen Jaffe, Campaign chair, spoke about the year’s theme, ‘It all starts with one.’
Sunday, September 21
Led by chairs Karen and Matt Fine, the 1st Annual Mitzvah Day VA included these projects: making paracord bracelets for and writing letters to U.S. and Israeli soldiers through Operation Gratitude; cleaning up Beach Garden Park with Lynnhaven River Now Project; visiting residents of Beth Sholom Village; supporting juvenile diabetes research at the JDRF Walk at the Oceanfront; and handcrafting blankets and assembling lunches for the homeless with Blankets for the Homeless.
Wednesday, October 8
Thirty-two members of UJFT’s Business & Legal Society attended a discussion with the president of the North American and Caribbean branch of the Israeli company, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services at ZIM’s local headquarters. President Lea Bogatch- Genossar, the first woman in ZIM’s history to hold this top executive position was an honest, witty and educational host.
Tuesday, October 14
Close to 90 men filled Congregation Beth El’s sukkah for the third annual Steak and Scotch in the Sukkah.
Monday, October 20
The community had the opportunity to hear the 2nd Congressional District of Virginia candidates share their views. Rep. Scott Rigell (R) and challenger Suzanne Patrick (D) met with a crowd of about 200 people.
Tuesday, October 21
The 26th Annual Hebrew Academy of Tidewater Golf Tournament, more affectionately known as the Bob Josephberg Classic, took place at Bayville Golf Club.
Thursday, October 23
Nearly 100 Tidewater women gathered at the 2015 UJFT Women’s Lion–Tikva–Chai Luncheon to honor the community’s newest major donor women and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of UJFT’s overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The guest speaker was Merri Ukraincik, a writer and lecturer, and a former JDC executive. Working closely with JDC archivist Linda Levi, Ukraincik’s latest project is a beautiful hardcover book, I Live. Send Help, which chronicles JDC’s first 100 years of service and tells the intertwined history of the agency and the Jewish people.
Wednesday, October 29
An Israel Defense Forces soldier visiting the United States visited the Sandler Family Campus to pick up paracord survival bracelets and handwritten letters that were created by volunteers for Todah Rabah (Thank you), one of the Tidewater Mitzvah Day VA projects.
Thursday, October 30
Hundreds of people in Tidewater were recipients of the insights and opinions of former Knesset member and Israeli advocate, Dr. Einat Wilf. She was the first presenter in the Israel Today Forum, a speaker series presented by UJFT’s Community Relations Council and corporate and community partners.
Monday, November 3
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin was the keynote speaker for the Lee and Bernard Jaffe* Family Jewish Book Festival, presenting his latest work, Rebbe, to a group of nearly 200.
Tuesday, November 11
Tidewater Jewish Foundation honored veterans at its annual Veterans Day service. Approximately 70 people attended—including a local group of Ukrainian immigrants.
Thursday, November 20
An audience of about 600 attended the premier of the new documentary, Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front at the Regent University Theatre. This event was such a success in large part due to the partnership between UJFT’s Community Relations Council, the Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University. *of blessed memory