As 5783 draws to a close and we welcome 5784, the American Israelite would like to showcase the top stories that ran in the newspaper this last year. This is the Year in Review.

September 29, 2022 – Meet CJ Gossage, one of the American Israelite’s newest additions to their roster of columnists. What will be CJ’s role here at The American Israelite? This year, The American Israelite will issue a new series titled “Jews by Choice.” This series will explore the diverse experiences of converts among Cincinnati’s vibrant Jewish communities. Each month beginning in October, CJ will interview one of Cincinnati’s Jewish converts to learn more about their journey to Judaism.

On Monday, October 3, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the American Jewish Committee, along with Local 12 News, will host a congressional election forum aimed at educating voters on issues central to the Cincinnati population before the upcoming midterm election

Today, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and Hillel International announced the launch of a groundbreaking new collaborative partnership to support the emerging generation of leaders who will build a strong and vibrant Jewish future.

October 6, 2022 – Susan (Suzy) Zipkin (née Silverman), age 71, passed away on September 30, 2022, beloved mother of Elise (Brian) Mattes, Mollie (Jared) Newman, Ariel (Dan) Weiss, Derek (Molly) Zipkin, cherished grammie of Arthur, Josie, Samuel, Lielle, Zev, Lev, Elan, and Jacob. Caring sister of Nancy Silverman and the late Marc Silverman. Loving daughter of the late Benj and Lee Silverman.

Shirley J. Werthaiser was born in London, England. She was considered the “Shirley Temple” of England, performing on stage, singing, and dancing. In fact, she was an expert tap dancer. Postcards were even made of her. Shirley’s career ended with the onset of World War II. She was originally sent to the countryside with other British children for safety; however, she had to return to London with other Jewish children because families refused to take in a Jewish child. She stayed with her mother through the Blitzkrieg.

Joan Ungar Leitz, age 94, passed away peacefully at her home in Phoenix, Arizona on September 21st after a courageous battle with congestive heart disease. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 27, 1928, Joan graduated from Walnut Hills High School, and married her high school sweetheart, Herbert Leitz, on August 29, 1948.

October 13, 2022 – We mourn the loss and celebrate the life of our mother, Dorothy Anne (Dabby) Blatt.

Our mother filled her life with love of family, friends, books, music, travel, and a commitment to women’s reproductive healthcare, philanthropy, and community engagement.

Building on the unprecedented success of the Skirball Museum’s 2018 FotoFocus exhibition, “Jewish Cincinnati: A Photographic History by J. Miles Wolf,” which garnered the museum’s largest audience in more than fifteen years, “Jewish Cincinnati: A Photographic Record by J. Miles Wolf” extends the previous exploration of Jewish houses of worship in Cincinnati to a broader picture of the integration of the Jewish community into the larger Cincinnati community with a focus on photographs that document Jewish contributions in the spheres of business, civic life, social welfare, faith, the arts, healthcare, philanthropy, and popular culture.

Six esteemed local community members who have demonstrated the power of women in philanthropy will be honored for their invaluable support of the land and people of Israel and Jewish people everywhere at Jewish National Fund-USA’s Tree of Life™ Gala on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, at 6:00 pm. 

During the reception at the Cincinnati Music Hall Ballroom, Marty Betagole, Victoria Morgan, Kay Geiger, Pam Green, and Delores Hargrove-Young will be presented with the organization’s prestigious Tree of Life™ Award, which recognizes outstanding community involvement, professional leadership, dedication to the cause of American Israeli friendship, and a devotion to peace and the security of human life. A relative of longtime partner (donor) Florence Lieberman (z”l), who was affectionately known as “Miss Jewish National Fund-USA,” will also be accepting the organization’s Lifetime Achievement award on her behalf.

October 20, 2022 – On September 18, 2022, Rockdale Temple, in partnership with Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati, celebrated the dedication of a memorial cenotaph honoring Joseph Jonas, placed at Cincinnati’s historic Chestnut Street Cemetery. Jonas is widely considered as the first Jewish resident of Cincinnati, having arrived in 1817, and is among the founders of both the Chestnut Street Cemetery and Kehal Kodesh Bene Israel – Rockdale Temple, both the oldest of their kinds west of the Allegheny Mountains. Jonas was the first President of K.K. Bene Israel from 1824 – 1826, a title he would hold three additional times (during 1835 – 36, 1843 – 44, and 1846 – 48).

Adath Israel congregation will be hosting a Friday night Family dinner on October 21 open to its members and non-members alike. This will be Adath Israel’s inaugural participation in the new Friday Night Shabbat program which began with a campfire dinner at Wise Temple on October 7. Adath Israel Congregation and Wise Temple, together with Northern Hills Synagogue, Rockdale Temple, The Mayerson JCC and Rockwern Academy are all participating in a new community program called Friday Night Shabbat.

“Jewish Spaces Lost, Jewish Spaces Regained” is the topic of the 2022-2023 Jacob and Jennie L. Lichter Lecture Series organized by the Department of Judaic Studies of the University of Cincinnati. Recent years have seen a transformative revisioning of physical and imagined Jewish spaces. One could point to the proliferation of Jewish museums, Moishe Houses and “inclusive, relationship-driven” communities such as The Well in Detroit.

October 27, 2022 – Governor Mike Dewine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted have officially declared November to be Clean Speech Ohio month, beginning November 1, 2022.

According to the proclamation, “the need for mindfulness about how we speak is of critical importance.” The proclamation also details the benefits of clean speech and positive communication throughout all communities.

Rabbi Ari Ballaban and Jeremy Spiegel have only been on the job a few months as the new director and assistant director of the JCRC, respectively, but they’ve already got big plans and are implementing new ideas. When the opportunity to serve as director of the JCRC presented itself, Ballaban said, he jumped at the chance to participate in work that he saw as “endlessly fulfilling.”

No dinner plans on Friday nights? Want to introduce Shabbat to your children? Now you’re not alone. Here’s how Cincinnati families have found an easy solution…and it’s free.

On October 21, more than twenty young families attended a Family Dinner at Adath Israel Congregation in conjunction with Friday Night Shabbat, the new community program which offers a no cost Friday night dinner nearly every Friday night to families with young children (at least one child twelve years old or under).

November 3, 2022 – Stephanie Deutsch’s journey to Judaism commenced early in life, even while growing up in a Protestant church in the suburbs of Ohio. “It was a typical Midwest conservative-Christian upbringing,” she recalls. Even then she was developing an emotional connection to Judaism, a theme that shapes our interview. This connection was borne out of a deep-seated respect for the Jewish people’s “special relationship with G_d.”

Friday Night Shabbat continues to provide a weekly opportunity for families with young children to enjoy a no-cost Friday night dinner in a pleasant atmosphere with both old and new friends. Last week, Rockwern Academy welcomed over one hundred people.

“Jewish Cincinnati: A Photographic Record,” a photo exhibition by J. Miles Wolf, opened last Thursday, October 27. The exhibit features images that depict Jewish life in Cincinnati from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

November 10, 2022 – Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Meissner has been the acting rabbinic leadership of Golf Manor Synagogue’s 8:20 Shabbos minyan for close to two years. Under his leadership, the minyan has gained stability and has seen growth. Shortly after the Yomim Tovim, the Board of Directors decided to “make it official” and promote Rabbi Meissner to the position of Assistant Rabbi of Golf Manor Shul.

The unseasonably warm fall air took on a chilly bite as participants in the Walnut Hills Cemetery walking tour, hosted by Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati, gathered near the administrative building. The forecast had teased rain, so many gripped umbrellas as they waited for the tour to begin. The tour was part of Cincinnati’s Jewish Bicentennial, a way to experience Cincinnati’s history by visiting notable burials and hearing about the history of the cemetery itself.

For more than twelve years on Capitol Hill, Ted Deutch was a powerful voice for the Jewish people, a champion of the Jewish state, and a defender of democratic values. But he’s always seen that as his charge, whether as a congressman, colleague, father, and now CEO of AJC, a global Jewish advocacy organization

November 17, 2022 – KAUFMAN, Barbara Ann, neé Kraus, age 87, passed away November 8, 2022, beloved wife of the late Walter Kaufman, devoted mother of Karen (Rob) Lowenstein, Shari Yant, and Dave (Christie) Kaufman, loving grandmother of Jill, Stacey, and Daniel (Jess) Lowenstein, Josh Longworth, Amy (Matt) Molloy, Ali Kaufman, and the late Zachary Yant, caring great grand-mother of Ryan Walter Molloy, dear sister of the late Dr. Vernon (Shannon) Kraus.

LEVY, Charlotte, nee Gordon, age 91, passed away on November 13th, 2022, beloved wife of the late Bernard Levy, devoted mother of Michael Levy, Barry Levy, and the late Sandy Melser, dear sister of the late Frieda Perlmutter and Lee Gordon, caring grandmother of Jake and Lexi Melser.

As Thanksgiving approaches and more people strive to give thanks and give back, Jewish Family Service (JFS) wants to thank everyone in the community who participated in this year’s Sukkot Food Drive.

The food drive looked a little different this year, taking place at the Mayerson JCC as part of the tenth annual Under One Roof community art exhibit.

November 24, 2022 – On December 1st, New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch will be visiting the Valley community to discuss his recent book. The volume helps to set the foundation for the history that informs our modern conversations, and begins to explore the ways that people can have the often-fraught debates about issues of importance in the still-young country.

Johnny Berg and Linda Mallory married on October 2, 2022, at Four Bridges Country Club in Butler County. Having met years ago in the court system, Linda was a court reporter and Johnny was an attorney, and they were brought together on a fix-up date by a mutual friend nine years ago.

Sisters Barbara Koshover Forbus and Sherie Koshover became a b’not mitzvah on September 24, 2022 at Adath Israel Synagogue. At age 72 (Sherie) and 75 (Barbara), the sisters undertook traditional study to learn their Torah and Haftorah portions and the prayers of the Torah service.

December 1, 2022 – Cincinnati’s new independent initiative, Friday Night Shabbat (FNS), is building a following with its free, Friday night Shabbat dinners around town. Open to all families with children 12 and under, these dinners are a great way for parents and children to spend time with friends, meet others, enjoy delicious food, and celebrate Shabbat.

On Sunday, December 11, 2022, from 10:30AM-12:00PM, Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati, in partnership with the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, will present a workshop that will give participants all the tools they need to capture the treasured stories that make a family legacy. The program will take place both live at the American Jewish Archives in Clifton and streaming online.

A group of twenty six Cincinnati Jewish Moms travelled to Israel on the Cincinnati Jewish Experience Eight Day Momentum Israel trip, which took place October 31st – November 7th. The trip was a massive success, with participants highlighting their strengthened (and for some, newfound) connection to Israel, to Judaism and to the local Jewish community.

December 8, 2022 – The J Baby program was launched by the Mayerson JCC this fall and is now ready to enroll first-time parents! The first cohort will begin prenatal classes in January 2023.

In Jerusalem on Tuesday, Cincinnati resident and Hadassah National Secretary Carol Ann Schwartz took time out from Hadassah’s one hundredth national convention, the occasion that had brought her to Israel, to visit a young kidney patient named Jana. Jana is the 10 year old patient of Dr. Oded Volovelsky, the award-winning head of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem’s pediatric nephrology unit, who is recovering at Hadassah’s Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center after Dr. Volovelsky stabilized a dangerous infection that had developed in her one and only kidney.

The Over-the-Rhine Museum is delighted to announce the next installment in our story-sharing series, “Three Acts in Over-the-Rhine” on Wednesday, December 14th at Memorial Hall (1225 Elm Street). As Jewish Cincinnati’s bicentennial year comes to a close, this program features three talks about the roles and impacts of Jewish residents in Over-the-Rhine and the West End.

December 15, 2022 – The Cincinnati Hillel house, located on Clifton Avenue, was vandalized December 4 around 2:00 a.m., according to police reports. Surveillance footage recovered from the scene shows two men destroying plants and throwing dirt at the building. According to a social media post from Rachel Kaplan, Executive Director of Cincinnati Hillel, the suspects also overturned trashcans and broke spotlights.

“Family, education, hard work, faith. It’s not rocket science. It’s five thousand years of basic principles,” said Andy Abel about Judaism. “I’ve always believed people who are not Jewish look at us and think we’re so complex, but we’re a pretty simple formula: family, education, hard work, and faith.”

Abel is the 2023 Major Gifts Chair, and he recently sat down with Ed Kuresman, the 2023 Community Campaign chair, to discuss their family history, community involvement, and Jewish values. The following discussion has been edited for time and clarity.

From now until January 2, the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust and Humanity Center will offer free admission to anyone who wishes to attend. Incidents of antisemitism are on the rise, and the museum’s offer of free admission is meant to address the recent surges in these incidents and educate the public.

December 22, 2022 – The Modern Language Association recently awarded Dr. Jordan Finkin, Rare Book and Manuscript Librarian at Hebrew Union College and The American Israelite’s Yiddish columnist, the Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish studies for an outstanding translation of a Yiddish literary work. Finkin received the award for his work with Allison Schachter, associate professor of Jewish studies and English at Vanderbilt University, translating “From the Jewish Provinces: Selected Stories” by Fradl Shtok, a Jewish American poet and writer.

Jewish Home of Cincinnati, Inc. (JHC) is pleased to announce a recent round of grant recipients to support programs which benefit Greater Cincinnati Jewish seniors. Grant Committee Co-Chairs Ernesto Levy and Tovah Kirschner thanked the JHC Grant Committee for evaluating proposals. The committee includes JHC Board Chair Jan Frankel, Patti Heldman, Jeanne Schmerler, Merrie Stillpass, and JHC Treasurer Beth Guttman.

“An Evening of Gratitude and Harmony” was held on Sunday, October 9th at Wise Center in Amberley Village. Wise Temple hosted the Zion Temple First Pentecostal Church for a musical program and dinner.

December 29, 2022 – Sadie was happily making her seventh birthday party plans with her family when a compassionate little switch flipped in her mind. Yes, birthday invitations had already been sent out a few weeks prior. And, yes, parental expectations were solidifying around fun ideas that were age-appropriate, child-focused, and celebratory. But that didn’t stop Sadie from abruptly turning to her parents and announcing with resolve, “I don’t need any birthday presents. I need to do a mitzvah because that’s what I learned about in Sunday school.”

All seventy two volumes of Talmud Yerushalmi, or the Jerusalem Talmud, have now been completed, thanks to a project funded by Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein of Columbus, OH.

The Jerusalem Talmud is one of two compilations of Jewish religious teachings and commentary. The other version, the Babylonian Talmud (or Talmud Bavli), is later than the Jerusalem Talmud and is likely more familiar to those studying Talmud.

“We are a story telling people,” Joey Taylor of Bespoken Live told attendees at JCGC’s Preserving Your Family History Through Storytelling event, Sunday December 11. The event was aimed at teaching attendees best practices when accumulating stories for one’s family history and was hosted in partnership with the American Jewish Archives, where the gathering took place.

January 5, 2023 – Julius H. Braverman, age 85, passed away on December 26, 2022, beloved husband of Cathy Daniels. He was the son of the late Sidney and Anne Braverman, devoted father of Lori (Ted) Cole, Brian (Hazel) Braverman, and Jami (Chris) Archiable, dear brother of Barbara (Dr. Edward) Spievack and the late Michael (Gwen) Braverman, loving grandfather of 7, Cody, Brooke, Amanda, Sydney, Emily, Lindsey, and Morgan; Great grandfather of 4, Paisley, Carson, Westen, and Kyler. Additionally, Julius had 8 nieces and 7 nephews and great nieces and nephews.

In conjunction with its exhibition, “Jewish Cincinnati: A Photographic Record by J. Miles Wolf,” the Skirball Museum is offering an illustrated lecture by Skirball Museum director and exhibition curator Abby Schwartz about Cincinnati’s rich legacy of Jewish art and history on Wednesday, January 18 at seven o’clock pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit the exhibition following the lecture with Schwartz and photographer J. Miles Wolf.

Friday Night Shabbat (FNS) has a full schedule of exciting community dinners for young families in 2023. Since its inception in October 2022, the new initiative has organized eight successful dinners in conjunction with its partner organizations in Cincinnati’s Jewish community, including one with more than one hundred and seventy people.

January 12, 2023 – On Thursday morning December 1st at 9:18 a.m., less than twenty-four hours before a bus of United Synagogue Youth (USY) teens were scheduled to depart to their regional convention in Cleveland, Samantha Rose received a phone call that the bus would not be coming to pick them up. Samantha is the Youth Coordinator for Adath Israel Congregation. She said, “They called and said that they were really sorry, but they don’t have a bus for us… I paid, I called to confirm, they confirmed it, and that was that until Thursday morning at 9:18 a.m., and we were leaving Friday at 9 a.m.”

In commemoration of International Holocaust Day, the Judaic Studies Department at the University of Cincinnati and The Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center invite the public to join them for a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Veidlinger, titled “The 1918-1921 Pogroms in Ukraine and the Onset of the Holocaust.”

January 19, 2023 – Barbara Anne Harshman of Cincinnati, Ohio, aged 89, passed away on January 7, 2023. She was born in Crossville, Tennessee but moved to Dayton, Ohio when she was young. She was the daughter of Walter and Nina Elmore, the youngest of nine siblings.

Barbara attended The Ohio State University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Radio-Television Journalism and Education in 1957. She met the love of her life, Morton, at OSU. They were married for sixty four years and remained avid Buckeye fans.

Slava Slevin, 99, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great -grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, January 7, 2023.

Slava was born in Russia on June 7, 1923, to Rosa and Osher Altshuler. She moved to South Africa at age 2. She had a younger sister, Freda (z”l), with whom she was extremely close. In 1946, she married her beloved husband, Benjamin Slevin (z”l). They were true partners in every way and had two daughters, Melanie and Jillian.

In commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust survivor Zahava Rendler will share her story in front of hundreds of Cincinnatians at historic Union Terminal on January 29.

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center will host a special conversation with Holocaust survivor Zahava Rendler in Reakirt Auditorium at historic Union Terminal on January 29 at 12:30 p.m.

Zahava Rendler

January 26, 2023 – Richard Weiland passed away January 19, at age 93, leaving behind his loving family and a legacy of activism and social justice.

Dick was born and raised in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati in the heart of the Jewish community. His family was of Russian and Polish descent. “We were a very closely knit family, we had all our holidays together,” said Dick.

SHAFER, Sam, age 82, passed away January 17, 2023, beloved husband of Nancy Shafer, devoted father of Scott (Gina) Shafer, Marilyn (Mike) Plaatje, Debbi (Marc) Witorsch, and Allison (Marc) Lippman, loving grandfather of Aaryn, Rebecca, Brianna, Sam, Kacy, Jesse, Alden, Evie, and Shannon, dear brother of Charles (Miriam) Shafer and the late David Shafer.

David Jeremy Schear, age 27, passed away January 14, 2023, beloved son of Rick (Paul Cauthen) Schear Cauthen and Lisa Graceman Schear, devoted grandson of Ron (Joanne) Graceman, the late Judith Graceman, Vivian Schear, and the late Melvin Schear.

February 2, 2023 – Susan L. Brant (Litvak) passed away at the age of 71, on January 25, 2023 at her home in Cincinnati, Ohio. Suzi was the beloved wife of Bob, loving mother of Abbie (Neal), Vallie (Chris), and Jordan (Tory), cherished sister of Judi Roth, proud grandmother of Sloane, Reid, Harper, Ryan, and Brant, and a devoted Aunt and Great Aunt.

For Lexi Melser, The Hilb Scholarship Fund through JVS Careers was a family affair. Introduced to the scholarship through her brother, who was also a recipient, Lexi was able to use the scholarship throughout her college career. “The scholarship was extremely helpful to me. As a student, you have a lot of stress and a lot of expenses, and I definitely needed the help. So, it was amazing that I felt, you know, you guys were willing to help me out and support my career by getting me through college.”

On Wednesday, January 18th, Abby Schwartz presented an illustrated lecture meant to accompany J. Miles Wolf’s exhibition “Jewish Cincinnati: A Photographic Record.” Schwartz, curator at the Skirball Museum in Cincinnati, titled her lecture “Jewish Cincinnati: A Tapestry of Art and History.” Indeed, Schwartz successfully illuminated the close knit network of Jewish families and community members who worked together to create a large, vibrant Jewish community here in Cincinnati.

February 9, 2023 – “Is it raining in here?” Eddie Saeks paused to ask the rabbi — right in the middle of his bar mitzvah speech. He was having difficulty reading it due to the teardrops that kept falling onto the paper.

Why was he crying? Because he was in the process of thanking his family. But it wasn’t for driving him to his lessons, coordinating a lovely kiddush or throwing him an “epic” party to celebrate his accomplishment. No. He was thanking them for their courage in making the journey from Lithuania, where they had lived in dread of oppression, prejudice and brutality, to the United States to pursue a life of freedom, safety, and a future filled with hope.

Trinity Johnson’s journey to Judaism began in the third grade. Growing up in the “very Christian town” of Bellefontaine, she became enamored by her Jewish friend’s Hanukkah celebration. She went home and told her mom, “I want to be Jewish! For some reason that Hanukkah celebration stuck with me.” Her mother told her she wasn’t born Jewish and could not be.

Steve Schwartz, Chair of the Cedar Village Foundation (CVF) has announced that effective January 1, 2023, the organization has officially merged into its parent organization, Jewish Home of Cincinnati, Inc. (JHC).

February 16, 2023 – On Sunday, February 12th, Dr. Karla Goldman gave a lecture entitled “Isaac Mayer Wise, Cincinnati, and a Vision for American Israel” as part of the Wise Learning program for Isaac M. Wise Temple. Dr. Goldman’s presentation brought to life the figure of Rabbi Wise, and the impact he had on not only Cincinnati Jews, but on the city of Cincinnati and American Judaism as a whole.

When Neil Cohen received the call that he was being awarded Hamilton, Ohio Citizen of the Year, he thought of his approaching New Zealand vacation and said they should “probably give it to the next person up,” he said. Realizing that wasn’t an option, he then weighed the idea of a Zoom call or video acceptance speech. But for Cohen, those were not options either. He realized he would regret not going to the event. “It’s a unique experience in my life that I shouldn’t miss.” He canceled his trip and was honored at the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce on January 27.

Crowning its bicentennial year, little Chestnut Street Cemetery and the story of our Cincinnati Jewish community will soon land in the national spotlight. Beginning Sunday, February 19 and continuing for two months, PBS will make available for subscription-free streaming Season Two of the unique documentary series World’s Greatest Cemeteries, and Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati is excited to announce that Episode 3 is exclusively devoted to the stories found in our local cemeteries. Viewers can view the episode via the PBS website on the internet or by selecting the PBS app on any smart TV.

February 23, 2023 – Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, Senior Rabbi of K.K. B’nai Yeshurun/Isaac M. Wise Temple, will conclude his two-year appointment as President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the professional leadership organization of Reform rabbis.

He will continue to serve the CCAR as Immediate Past President and will continue to lead the Cincinnati Jewish community at K.K. B’nai Yeshurun/Isaac M. Wise Temple, where he has served as spiritual leader since 1985.

Calling all current and past scouts to demonstrate your commitment to the Scout Law and join us to celebrate Scout Shabbat on Friday, March 3, 2023!

Our local Jewish Committee on Scouting (JCOS), part of the Boy Scouts of America’s Dan Beard Council, in conjunction with UC Hillel, is sponsoring a Scout Shabbat on Friday, March 3, 2023, at UC Hillel with services beginning at 5:00pm

Hebrew Union College hosted its Tsevat Memorial Lecture last Wednesday, February 15, at the Klau Library on the Cincinnati Campus. This year’s speaker was Dr. David Aaron, professor of Hebrew Bible and History of Interpretation at HUC and a former student of Dr. Matitiahu Tsevat, after whom the memorial lecture series is named.

Dr. Aaron’s lecture, titled “A New Look at an Old Book: Rethinking the Purpose of Pirke Avot” provided an examination of several aphorisms from Pirke Avot.

March 2, 2023 – On Sunday, March 12th at 7 PM, Adath Israel’s Advocacy Committee will host a screening of The Janes. The documentary recounts the story of a group of unlikely outlaws defying the state legislature that banned abortion, the Catholic Church that condemned it, and the Chicago Mob that was profiting from it. The members of Jane risked their personal and professional lives to help women in need by creating an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions in the pre-Roe v. Wade era — a time when abortion was a crime in most states. Even circulating information about abortion was a felony in Illinois. “It’s an important story, and people should know what it was like before abortion was legal, especially right now when it is becoming illegal again in many states,” says Sandy Kaltman, a member of the Adath Israel Advocacy Committee.

If you’ve ever checked out a book from the Klau Library, you probably have Laurel Wolfson, Margalit Tal, or Lisa Ben-Hur to thank for having access to it. The three women, who have collectively served the HUC Klau Library for over one hundred years, retired this January. The library hosted a celebration of their work Wednesday, February 22, amid the open stacks and periodicals that these three women helped shape.

The new Ish Garage hosted Friday Night Shabbat dinner last week on Friday, February 24, at 4089 Langland Street in Northside, the site of the new Ish garage.

March 9, 2023 – The Mayerson JCC Jewish & Israeli Film Festival concluded on March 1 with a feature at the Cincinnati Museum Center. It wrapped up another great festival season, which featured a hybrid lineup of eleven feature films, shown either virtually or in-person. The films included romantic comedies, dramas, and documentaries. Some films offered engaging additional content such as virtual or in-person discussions with directors or other speakers relevant to the films.

While we’ve had many regional events since social distancing has ended, we can’t possibly explain how excited our chapter was to finally be able to host our first local Cincinnati-Columbus Shabbaton in four years. Not only were the Cincinnati and Columbus chapters present, but chapters from every city in the Central East region sent a small group to join us, including members from Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. In the end we had over seventy teens present.

One might not immediately associate Frank Stella (b. 1936), the American painter, sculptor, and printmaker noted for his work in the areas of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction, with Had Gadya, a cumulative, lyrical poem that concludes the traditional Seder, or festive meal, on the Jewish holiday of Passover. In Frank Stella: Had Gadya, Illustrations after El Lissitsky, opening at the Skirball Museum in Mayerson Hall of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) at 5:30 pm on Thursday, March 23, visitors can explore the ten-verse narrative of this song as depicted by one the leading American artists of our time.

March 16, 2023 – The Cincinnati campus of the Hebrew Union College will host its annual Founder’s Day Celebration Thursday, March 23, at 11:00 a.m.

This year’s featured speaker will be Rabbi Karen Thomashow, a 2007 graduate of the HUC Cincinnati rabbinical program who currently serves as associate rabbi at Wise Temple. Thomashow has taught Senior Seminar and Homiletics at the HUC Cincinnati campus, and has also served as a sermon and fellowship adviser to students.

The Northern Hills Sisterhood will host a Women’s Seder this coming Sunday, March 19, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Northern Hills Synagogue, 5714 Fields Ertel Road.

Community members are invited to join the NHS Sisterhood for an afternoon of seder, song, and celebration of women.

On Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m., Congregation Etz Chaim will host a presentation by nationally recognized civil rights attorney Alphonse Gerhardstein, who will discuss the legal history behind the right to personal autonomy and the right to privacy as it relates to reproductive health and other related issues. He will address the events leading up to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established the fundamental right to abortion in this country, as well as subsequent efforts to reverse that decision, including the recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned this legal right.

March 23, 2023 – Abby Schwartz, Director of HUC’s Skirball Museum, is stepping away from that role and into a new one at the historic Cincinnati institution. Beginning March 8, 2023, Schwartz began her role as Curatorial Consultant at the museum. Schwartz has served the Skirball for the past ten years. Dean Jonathan Hecht writes, “Abby has worked tirelessly building and maintaining our core collection, absorbing artwork from other museums and gifts, and putting on wonderful special exhibits. While we are going to miss her in the day to day work at the Skirball, we are so pleased that she is staying on in a consulting role.”

When Adath Israel first agreed to be part of the new Friday Night Shabbat program around Cincinnati, they thought it could be a nice way to bring families back into the shul on Friday nights. “It was also a great opportunity to meet some new families who might be interested in Friday evening programming,” said Rachel Brown, Director of Education and Youth & Family Programming at Adath Israel. What started as a mid-size program of about forty people quickly became a much larger program drawing in sixty, seventy, and finally over one hundred people. Rachel credits this dramatic increase in attendance to Adath’s continual efforts to increase engagement, providing (by popular demand) Friday afternoon and evening programming for families.

The Cincinnati City Council approved the adoption of the globally recognized working definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

Cincinnati joins more than eight hundred governmental bodies, educational institutions and companies that have adopted the nonbinding definition.

March 30, 2023 – Dr. Gary Zola, director of the American Jewish Archives since 1998, will retire June 30, 2023, becoming the AJA’s Director Emeritus as of July 1. Zola, who is also a professor at HUC Cincinnati, will then begin an eighteen month sabbatical after which he will become the Edward M. Ackerman Family Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the American Jewish Experience and Reform Jewish History, effective January 1, 2025. Dr. Zola has dedicated more than forty years of service to the historic Hebrew Union College. He was ordained at the college in 1982 and received his doctorate in American Jewish History from the school nine years later, in 1991.

Sometimes a gift can be so much more than just a present for a special occasion. That’s what Nechoma Miriam Stern received for a Bat Mitzvah gift this past year — something more than what she thought.

Last year, Nechoma’s best friend gifted her the 2022 Fall session of Theatre at the J for her Bat Mitzvah. Theatre at the J is a new children’s program at the Mayerson JCC that encourages children ages 5-7 and 8-14 to learn more about and engage in the performing arts.

On Friday, March 3, Cincinnati’s newest initiative, Friday Night Shabbat, teamed up with Isaac M. Wise Temple to host families from the community at a free Shabbat dinner. Sponsored by Friday Night Shabbat, Wise Temple welcomed families across Cincinnati for a catered dinner and intergenerational service.

April 6, 2023 – Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise and other Cincinnati Jews saw the Queen City as a kind of “Promised Land,” said Dean Jonathan Hecht in his introductory remarks at the beginning of the celebration. Dean Hect, Rabbi Julie Schwartz, Dr. Richard Sarason, and Cantor Yvon Shore took turns stepping up to the microphone and reading excerpts of Dr. Isaac Mayer Wises’ writings about the notion of Minhag America.

Frank Stella’s Had Gadya: Illustrations After El Lissitzky opened last Thursday, March 23, at the Cincinnati Skirball Museum on the campus of Hebrew Union College. The exhibit features a series of twelve large lithographs, now on display on the museum’s second floor in the Mayerson Hall Auditorium. The room has been transformed from its usual organization into a gallery featuring Stella’s lithographs and detailed labels and QR codes for further interaction.

In recent months, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) has celebrated key successes, while continuing to combat ugly antisemitic incidents. Federation CEO Danielle V. Minson highlighted these accomplishments during the Federation’s first-ever Impact Breakfast on February 8.

April 13, 2023 – Rockdale Temple has reached and exceeded its one million dollar fundraising goal for its Bicentennial Fund Campaign. Kehal Kodesh Bene Israel/Rockdale Temple, founded in 1824, is the oldest continuous Jewish congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains and the eleventh oldest in the United States. The congregation will celebrate the Temple’s two hundredth anniversary in 2024.


There’s a diaspora of Jewish people across the world, but this ties us together even if we don’t see it every day,” Mayerson JCC Manager of Youth, Family, and Jewish Life Devra Silverman said. “We’re excited to have everyone come out and celebrate Israel at 75.”

The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati (JFC) and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) announced Monday they have joined the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism as an official partner of hashtag StandUpToJewishHate, their new national campaign to mobilize all Americans, and especially non-Jews, to combat antisemitism by using the blue square emoji as a unifying symbol of support.

April 20, 2023 – American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO Ted Deutch will be in Cincinnati on May 24 as the featured speaker for the 2023 Judge Learned Hand Award Dinner honoring Kathy Brinkman for her career as a legal trailblazer and lifelong commitment to advancing justice and democracy.

Social justice, racial equality, interfaith activism, and hope for the future were center stage at a recent book-signing event held at the home of Michelle and Greg Young of Indian Hill.

Literary stars of this show were authors Jennifer Mooney and Byron McCauley, who over the course of ten months or so, wrote a series of letters to each other that turned into the book Hope Interrupted: America Lost & Found in Letters.

The Valley Temple of Cincinnati, 145 Springfield Pike in Wyoming, is busy making the necessary preparations to host Friday Night Shabbat families on Friday April 28. A family fun evening, open to the entire community and featuring a full catered traditional Shabbat dinner is planned. The evening will also include children centered activities, Shabbat greetings and blessings, and a family themed service.

April 27, 2023 – On May 1st at 7:30 PM, Marlene Ostrow will be the honoree at Adath Israel Sisterhood’s Torah Fund event. Heidi Weisman, President of Sisterhood said, “Marlene is a true Eshet Chayil, Woman of Valor. She gives with her heart and soul.” Natalie Wolf, Adath Israel President said, “I’ve known Marlene for many years, both as a dedicated volunteer at Adath Israel Congregation and in our shared passion for volunteering for candidates and issues that improve the lives of all women in our community. I am so pleased that Sisterhood chose to recognize Marlene for her strengths, dedication, and passion.”

David Harris has returned to the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati as their new Chief Development Officer. He most recently served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati (JCGC), and was formerly the manager of the Create Your Jewish Legacy (CYJL) initiative through the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. Debra Steinbuch served as the interim Chief Development Officer for nine months and will be returning to her role as Director of Planned Giving and Endowment/ CYJL/Donor Advised Funds.

Siona Benjamin’s vibrant, transcultural artwork is now on display at the Cincinnati Skirball museum. Benjamin grew up in India, part of a community of less than four thousand Jews in the country. “Having grown up in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim society, and around other religions too, because India is very multicultural, having been educated in Catholic and Zoroastrian school, being raised Jewish in India and now living in America, I have always had to reflect on the cultural boundary zones in which I have lived,” Benjamin said in her illustrated lecture at the Skirball on Thursday, April 20th.

May 4, 2023 – On Sunday, May 7 from 11 am – 3 pm, Adath Israel Congregation will hold their first Kosher Chili Cookoff. Nate Waspe and his son Sam will compete on a team with Executive Chef Cory Swan. Nate said, “Our secret? It’s nothing but passion and the love of cooking. We are making our own spice blend.”

With the ever-rising rate of interfaith marriages within Jewish communities, Valley Temple is redoubling their efforts to be a warm and welcoming environment. In partnership with Modern Jewish Couples, Valley is welcoming Rabbi Jen Gubitz to run a Shabbaton for young couples as they explore the role that Judaism can have in their lives.

ish celebrated Mimouna at the ish Garage last Saturday, April 22. Mimouna, the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, of- fered a taste of Spain and Central and South America. Guests were treated to foods like tacos, chur- ros, and other snacks, as well as creative craft beverages like a ghost pepper margarita. Musi- cal group Noyse Merchants per- formed in one room of the newly designed ish community space, while staff from Dino Buddies provided hands-on experiences with South and Central American reptiles and spiders in another.

May 11, 2023 – Temple Sholom in Cincinnati was privileged to obtain one of these scrolls through the effort of Werner Coppel (z”l). On April 20, 1943, Werner was in a cattle car train transport to Auschwitz. He spent 21 months in Auschwitz Buna-Monowitz and escaped from the death march back toward Germany in January, 1945. He was one of 771 people to escape that death march.

Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati (JCGC) recently launched into the search for new executive leadership. Richard Barasch, co-chair of JCGC’s Committee on Buildings and Grounds, has been appointed Interim Executive Director. He temporarily oversees the staff responsible for 25 area Jewish cemeteries and is committed to its unwavering mission to “serve the burial needs of the Greater Cincinnati Jewish community with care and dignity and honor the resting places of our people.”

I recently sat down with Jane and Harvey Cohen to discuss their experiences growing up and becoming active participants in Cincinnati’s Jewish community. In fact, each credits the other as an influence for getting involved. Their new legacy gift, coordinated through the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Create Your Jewish Legacy program, will be allocated to two organizations, Congregation Etz Chaim and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). They decided to start their legacy giving now, carefully allocated, over the next six years in- stead of the traditional post-life commitment. –David Harris

May 18, 2023 – SAFE Cincinnati, a program of the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati and the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, has been awarded the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) for their service to the people of Greater Cincinnati.

Rachel Loftspring, a Cincinnati attorney, is one of two recipients of the Lay Leadership Award from the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies.

Gayle Levine Schindler, food columnist for The American Israelite, has published a new cookbook. The book, titled “Stocked: Flavor Bombs and Staples For Your Kitchen,” provides information for home chefs about ingredients they should always have stocked in their pantry and the ways they can contribute to everyday meals.

May 25, 2023 – On Friday, May 19, 2023, Isaac M. Wise Temple hosted an Evening of Appreciation and Shabbat Service in honor of Rabbi Karen Thomashow. After ten years as Associate Rabbi at Wise, Rabbi Thomashow begins her journey as Senior Rabbi at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, Massachusetts this summer. Many came to bid a fond farewell to Rabbi Thomashow before she embarks on this next chapter in her career.

In conjunction with its exhibition, “Frank Stella: Had Gadya, Illustrations after El Lissitzky,” the Skirball Museum is offering a multi-media virtual presentation on Had Gadya by Cantor Ella Gladstone Martin. Martin was ordained earlier this month by the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City.

This Memorial Day is solemnly special, as it marks the culmination of one young man’s desire to decorate the graves of every Jewish American veteran in all 25 Cincinnati area Jewish Cemeteries. Ethan Zied’s work will be honored this Sunday during B’nai Brith’s annual event at Judge Robert S. Kraft War Memorial at Covedale Cemetery.

June 1, 2023 – Ted Deutch, CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) met Ted Deutsch, owner and publisher of The American Israelite, last Wednesday, May 24th. The two Teds met at a media breakfast briefing at which Deutch was sharing how the AJC is fighting antisemitism, creating opportunities with Israel, and building diverse intergroup coalitions. Deutch also shared the results from the AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America survey.

For the second year in a row, Valley Temple is excited to launch the Valley On The Road program, a summer series that invites members of the Cincinnati Jewish community to make Shabbat in a variety of fun and engaging places. After the success of last year’s programs, Valley Temple has compiled a three-part program to offer creative, engaging Shabbat opportunities throughout the summer.

On Thursday, May 25th, the White House released a comprehensive, “whole of society” strategy for combatting anti-semitism, with a live stream launch featuring President Biden’s outgoing chief domestic policy adviser Susan Rice and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.

The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) has been a local leader in combatting antisemitism, with ongoing efforts in each of the four pillars the White House has outlined in its plan.

June 8, 2023 – The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) will hold its 2023 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, beginning at 7:00pm in the Mayerson JCC’s Amberley Room. The event is free and open to the public.

JCRC Director Rabbi Ari Ballaban and Assistant Director Jeremy Spiegel will lead the meeting, having served in their respective leadership positions for the last year.

As a native of Berlin, Enno Zschiedrich has been immersed in history his whole life. And not just any history; a precise history that is painful to remember, and dangerous to forget. Reckoning with this history is a central reason Enno came to Cincinnati, last September, as the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) volunteer for Jewish Family Service’s Center for Holocaust Survivors. While Enno knows his year-long commitment to JFS can never alter history, he hopes his work will lead to a more peaceful, just, and tolerant world.

June 15, 2023 – This past Sunday, June 11, Cincinnati Hadassah hosted its 7th Annual Cincinnati Hadassah “Jon Boskind Memorial” Mahjongg Tournament at the Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In the early morning of May 13, 2020, under an overcast sky, six members of Football Club Cincinnati’s (FCC) demolition and construction team met with the leadership of Ohr Torah Cincinnati, an Orthodox Jewish school located in Deer Park. Their goal was the removal and preservation of a marble plaque embedded in the upper face of what was then Cincinnati’s second oldest standing synagogue building, built over 150 years earlier in 1866.

On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, Jewish Home of Cincinnati (JHC) held its Annual meeting at Rockdale Temple. Board Chair Jan Frankel welcomed approximately 60 attendees who gathered to hear updates from the organization and to celebrate Larry Neuman, who was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Frankel shared how JHC’s updated mission to support Greater Cincinnati Jewish seniors by investing in innovative services and programs reflects the organization’s historic values.

June 22, 2023 – Jeffrey Ganson Elkus, age 39, passed away June 11, 2023, beloved son of Steve and Nancy Elkus, dear brother of Bradley (Sarah) Elkus, and devoted uncle of Noah Elkus. He is also survived by many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Services were held at Weil Kahn Funeral Home on Tuesday, June 13.

From darkness to light, Jewish teens find growth, understanding and friendship through their time on March of the Living. The International March of the Living is an educational experience that allows individuals to learn from the past atrocities of the Holocaust and in-spire participants to stand up to indifference, racism and injustice.

The focus of JCRC’s 2023 annual meeting was “Working Across Differences,” a theme highlighted in Director Rabbi Ari Ballaban’s opening remarks to the packed Amberley Room in the Mayerson JCC, June 13, 2023. In Ballaban’s view, collaborating in the current climate means “partnership or nothing.” He emphasized the importance of collaboration amongst those who may disagree, stating that the whole point of the collaboration process was to reach across differences in order to reach a common goal.

June 29, 2023 – Phyllis Berg Lappin passed away at the age of 97. She was born on March 24, 1926 to Clara Scheingold Berg and Simon Berg in Cincinnati. As a child she learned to adjust to new environments and people having lived in Dayton, Little Rock, Dallas, and Denver. She attended Walnut Hills High School before moving to Columbus, Ohio in her freshman year of high school and graduated from Bexley High School. Phyllis attended The Ohio State University and transferred to The University of Cincinnati where she received a B.S. from the Teachers College.

Karen Anne Leopold Silverman, 76, devoted wife, mother of three, and a grandmother of five, passed away peacefully on June 23 with her husband and children by her side following a courageous battle with cancer. Karen will be remembered for the kindness she demonstrated to family, friends, and the thousands of children she worked with throughout her career.

Barbara (Enggass) Stern was born in 1923 in Detroit, Michigan. She died peacefully in her 100th year on June 18, 2023. Barbara moved to Wyoming, Cincinnati in 1946 where she started a family and was active in the community. She continued her support of numerous nonprofits in honor of her late husband Robert. D. Stern, whom she loved deeply. Known for her sharp, straightforward wit, Barbara was quick to laugh at herself — donning the same unique blend of orange lipstick for nearly 70 years.

July 6, 2023 – Rita Harkavy Edlin, of Atlanta, GA, passed away on June 24, 2023 at the age of 94. Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Rita was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

Rita graduated from Walnut Hills High School and the University of Cincinnati. She married her one-and-only Leonard in 1952. Six years later, they moved to Atlanta with three sons, all under five years old, so Leonard could work at Davison’s Department Store.

The Cincinnati branches of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) co-hosted the first ever Jewish and Elected Town Hall meeting last Thursday, June 29, at the Mayerson JCC Amberley Room. The event was designed as a panel featuring three elected Jewish officials from all levels of public office. Greg Landsman, US Representative for Ohio’s 1st district, Dani Isaacsohn, State Representative, Ohio’s 24th House District, and Mark Jeffreys, Cincinnati City Council Member sat on the panel, which was moderated by Justin Kirschner, AJC Cincinnati’s Regional Director, and Rabbi Ari Ballaban, director of the Cincinnati JCRC.

The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati awarded eight local congregations $4.4 million total in grants to be paid out over three years, strengthening a partnership between the Foundation and these institutions enhancing Jewish life in our community. The grants have been awarded to: Adath Israel Congregation, Congregation Zichron Eliezer (CZE), Golf Manor Synagogue, Northern Hills Synagogue, Isaac M. Wise Temple, Rockdale Temple, Temple Sholom, and Valley Temple. The Foundation also has existing grants with Congregation Beth Adam and Congregation Sha’arei Torah that will be up for renewal in the coming year.

July 13, 2023 – The American Israelite has launched a brand new website, which is now live and ready for readers to use.

The newly designed domain features local news stories from the Cincinnati Jewish community. The site will also continue to run national, international, and Israeli news in a now more easy-to- access format. Constant scrolling posts of the latest stories will ensure the reader is kept up to date with the most recent news stories. Comment boards are also available, so that our readers can engage with digital content.

On Sunday, June 25, the congregation of Beth Israel honored Rabbi Eric Slaton, who retired from his position after 24 years of service. Rabbi Haviva Horvits offered the opening and closing blessings. His last Shabbat service was the evening of Friday, June 30, with an oneg send-off.

Speakers at the event included Dr. Michael Cohen, who served as master of ceremonies, along with Mr. Jon Rosensweig, President of Beth Israel Synagogue, who spoke on behalf of the board of directors.

Fifteen years after the creation and initial funding of Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati (JCGC), which now serves as a national model for cemetery management, the organization is launching a community-wide capital gifts campaign this month. Hank and Anita Schneider built a solid foundation for the drive with their lead gift of $1 million, called “transformational” by the campaign’s organizers. Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati have quietly made significant gifts, as have several others in our community.

July 20, 2023 – Stuart Tobin, 80, of Cincinnati, Ohio passed away on July 4th of Leukemia surrounded by his family. Born on July 6, 1942, Stuart was the oldest child of Bertha and Harry Tobin. Growing up in Cincinnati, Stuart loved playing baseball, the trumpet, and tormenting his two younger sisters, Carol (Neuman) and Diane Tobin. During summers, he worked at Leshner’s, the family’s textile factory.

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States, has elected Carol Ann Schwartz as its 28th national president. Schwartz, who is from a four- generation Hadassah family and whose election caps more than 30 years of service to the organization, will begin her four-year term on January 1, 2024. She will succeed Rhoda Smolow, who took office in 2020. The election took place today at Hadassah’s annual National Business Meeting in Chicago.

How did Bob Clayton become a mensch? “Mentors, a lot of mentors, taught me the importance of doing for others,” he said.

On May 17, Bob Clayton was honored with the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s annual Mesel Wieder Mensch Award. The occasion was the Silver Circle and Create Your Jewish Legacy VIP reception, held in advance of the Jewish Federation’s 127th Annual Meeting.

July 27, 2023 – On Sunday, July 9, twelve high school students from Netanya arrived in Cincinnati for a month-long summer experience that includes a session at Camp Livingston. Selected from a pool of 100 applicants, these 12 teens will participate in many activities and outings that provide an insight into the Jewish and local culture of Cincinnati, as well as experience Jewish summer camp along with their American peers.

On Wednesday Night, July 26th, Congregation Etz Chaim, along with congregations across the world, will be commemorating Tisha B’Av. The date corresponds with the 9th day of the month of Av, the fast day that marks the destruction of the Holy Temple. That date has also been associated with other tragedies including the First Crusades, various expulsions of Jews, approval for the Nazi’s “Final Solution” and the AMIA bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Commemoration of these calamities includes recitation of Megillat Eicha, Lamentations.

August 3, 2023 – Rabbi Sandford Kopnick met Rabbi Solomon Greenberg when Kopnick was a camper at Goldman Union Camp. Over 20 years later, Rabbi Kopnick would succeed Rabbi Greenberg as the rabbi of the Valley Temple. Rabbi Austin Zoot joined Rabbi Kopnick at Valley in 2019, and stayed after ordination in 2020. But that’s only part of the story.

Most people do not come out of retirement once. But for Rabbi Judith Lewis, she decided to do it twice. Her first attempt at retirement was in 2006, when she stepped down as senior rabbi from Temple Israel in the city of New York to pursue teaching at a pub- lic high school after being in the rabbinate for 26 years. But shortly after she’d been accepted into the “New York Teachers” program, she was recruited by Riverdale Temple in the Bronx. After nine wonderful years there, she retired for what she thought was for the last time to care for her elderly father.

Twenty-six local philanthropists were recently honored at the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council’s 25th Annual Voices of Giving Awards for their generous planned gifts to 17 local causes.The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati were thrilled to honor three of our community members.

August 10, 2023 – The Jewish Fertility Foundation (JFF) recently named Talia Smolkin their JFF-CINCY Manager. With branches located throughout the United States, the JFF provides educational awareness, financial assistance, and emotional support to Jewish families who have medical fertility challenges in the communities they serve, as well as offering programs virtually.

Jewish Home of Cincinnati is proud to have granted the first annual Wilbur M. Cohen Family Award for Health and Wellness to the Mayerson JCC 60 & Better Center to strengthen and expand its offerings.

Wilbur was a former board member of JHC and this award celebrates his legacy and dedication to supporting services for seniors.

Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp of Temple Sholom will succeed founding Executive Director Dan Libenson as new Executive Director for Judaism Unbound, a digitally driven and open center for ideas, education, and connection. Terlinchamp’s new position comes after serving 13 years as Senior Rabbi at Temple Sholom in Cincinnati, OH. In her role as rabbi, Terlinchamp was instrumental in the sale of the congregation’s building for a more affordable space, as well as doubling congregational membership and founding “JustLove,” a multi-faith initiative.

August 17, 2023 – The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati welcomes Tess Cohan as its new Young Adult Division (YAD) Development Officer.

Originally from the Boston area, Cohan graduated from the University of Kansas with a double major in Sociology and Jewish Studies. After graduation, she was awarded a two-year Springboard Fellowship through Hillel International and was placed at the University of Iowa. For the past three years, she has worked at Iowa’s Hillel, most recently as their Engagement Coordinator focusing on engagement, programming, and fundraising.

The theme of this year’s festival is: Compassion Through Action: Dwelling Together in Peace and Justice.

New this year, the Cincinnati Festival of Faiths is recognizing four prominent religious leaders as honorary festival co-chairs and adding a Peace Walk to the festival schedule. Hindu priest Acharya Kailash Sharma, Muslim American community leader Shakila T. Ahmad, Jewish Professor and Rabbi Gary P. Zola, PhD, and Roman Catholic Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of the Christian tradition will represent four of our community’s major religions. The Peace Walk at Ault Park will be the culminating event of the festival.

August 24, 2023 – With sadness, the family of Shelley Sandra Ingber (née Nadler) announces her passing on August 14, 2023, in her home in Montreal, Canada. Beloved mother to Avital Ingber, Dorit (Michael) Corwin, Tamar Ingber (Avi Starr Glass), and Arielle Ingber; adoring grandmother (Bubbie) to Zev & Liza; devoted niece to Marjy Reisler and Montreal-based cousins Jeff & Lori Orloff, Herbie & Ellie Reisler, and Stephen & Susie Reisler; daughter of the late Anne & Sam Nadler, of Montreal; and loving friend to many.

Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati has selected Susan Susskind as the organization’s new Executive Director. Ms. Susskind’s responsibilities include all aspects of daily operations, financial oversight, staffing, planning, board coordination and public communication for Jewish Cemeteries, which administers 25 local Jewish cemeteries. Her duties officially began July 10.

When Jewish Family Service (JFS) launched K’vod Connect in early 2021, it was responding to a newly identified need in the community: countering the harmful impacts of social isolation in older adults. “In 2018, the Jewish community created a task force called Aging Services 2.0,” said Ann Sutton Burke, JFS’s Vice President of Client Services. “From this effort, we decided that a strong referral network of community members and resources could combine to reduce social isolation among this vulnerable population.”

August 31, 2023 – Stewart L. Horn, 87, of Cincinnati, Ohio, passed away on August 18, 2023. He is survived by his sons Bradley (Heather) and Douglas (Jennifer) Horn, and his grandsons Dylon and James. He is also survived by his brother Jerry (Dee) and his sons’ mother, Beverly. He is predeceased by his parents Irvin and Lillian.

Leo Harold Munick, age 92, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at his home in Wyoming, Ohio on August 21, 2023.

Born on June 29, 1931, in Malden, Massachusetts, Leo’s passion for life and spirited determination were characteristics that defined him from his earliest days. 

Camp Chabad is proud to announce the opening of the brand new Hebrew School in the heart of Over-the-Rhine (OTR). Said Rabbi Menachem Majeski, Director of Camp Chabad “This exciting addition to our community is set to provide enriching educational experiences for children aged 6 to 12.”

September 7, 2023 – What color are you? Indian American Jewish artist Siona Benjamin poses that question to the Cincinnati Jewish community as she takes on an artist residency at the Mayerson JCC this September.

Benjamin is excited to bring her art, stories, and experiences to the community.

Shannah Tovah to You, Me and the Bee. Congregation Etz Chaim is pleased to present a four part year long program on Bees, Eco-Judaism, Urban Farming, and Conservationism. On Rosh Hashanah we say, “Dip the Apple in the Honey” but have we ever stopped to consider the journey of that apple or the honey from the field to our table? As we begin the process of chesbon hanefesh, taking account of our soul, literally weighing our good deeds and our bad deeds, we stop to consider our carbon footprint and the interconnectivity of the world around us.

Possessed of a burial ground, Haham Gargir and others from the Spanish-Hebrew Society officially founded the Beth Shalom Congregation in 1921, but they were still religiously homeless, worshipping and gathering for holidays in the basement of an early JCC downtown. The congregation’s women advanced the Beth Shalom building campaign diligently, but even a decade of small donations amassed too little to build a synagogue. Neither would the larger Jewish community provide assistance. However, when Rabbi Eliezer Silver came to Cincinnati in 1931 to become the Chief Rabbi of Cincinnati’s Orthodox Jewish community, he took direct responsibility to insure they would have a home.