Obituaries


Marty Adlin died Sept. 26 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Frances; brothers Bernard (Arlene) and Sidney; and special brother-in-law, Ted Krakower. Malinow and Silverman

Selma Balberg died Sept. 27 at 89. She is survived by her husband, Harry; son, Stephen; daughter, Susan Robinson; and four grandchildren. Groman

Ester Beckerman died Sept. 23 at 85. She is survived by her daughters, Pnina (Michael) Rothenberg and Lalik Martin; five grandchildren; one great-grandson; and brothers, Yehuda, Shlomo and Mordechai Makover. Chevra Kadisha

Uri Berger died Sept. 28 at 91. He is survived by his daughters, Batya Reff and Sara; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Groman

Jerry Berk died Oct. 2 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; sons, Michael (Karen) and Arnold (Sally); daughters, Michelle (Herman) Desser and Penny (Philip) Attneave; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. Groman

Ben Bronson died Sept. 26 at 91. He is survived by his daughter, Marlyn (William) Diamond-Gray; five grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and brother, Herman. Mount Sinai

Joseph Brown died Sept. 28 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Pauline; son, Jeffrey; daughters, Arlene Mars and Ellen Weitz; brother, David; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Groman

Natalie Darnov died Sept. 28 at 76. She is survived by her husband, Morris; daughter, Sharon; son Rabbi Allen (Cantor Avima); three grandchildren; and brothers, Henry (Sarita) and Samuel (Lelia) Rose. Mount Sinai

Ruth Lillian Falkin died Sept. 30 at 80. She is survived by her sons, Bernard and Lawrence (Harriet); and sister, Joyce Sincher. Malinow and Silverman

Rae Iris Feinberg died Sept. 27 at 83. She is survived by her son, Howard; daughter, Susan (Jeff) Strumpf; and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Ira Frieder died Sept. 26 at 86. He is survived by his daughter, Regi (Gary) Block; son, David (Rondi); and four grandsons. Mount Sinai

Sigmond Frohlich died Sept. 30 at 95. He is survived by his sister, Ethel Leiman. Malinow and Silverman

Dorothy Gavin died Sept. 30 at 84. She is survived by her daughter, Carla (Richard) Satnick; and granddaughter, Shauna Satnick. Mount Sinai

Gary Goosen died Sept. 30 at 67. He is survived by his son, David; daughter, Susan; mother, Molly; and sisters, Randy and Andy. Groman

Joseph Gould died Sept. 28 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; sons, Marc (Cyndi Goldman) and David (Deborah Chankin); and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Muriel Hahn died Sept. 30 at 83. She is survived by her son, Jonathan. Mount Sinai

Paul Heller died Sept. 29 at 60. He is survived by his wife, Susan; and sons, Jordan and Luke. Malinow and Silverman

Rakhil Khokhlova died Sept. 25 at 80. She is survived by her daughter, Yevegeniya; and grandchildren, Galina and Tatiana Bluvshteyn. Chevra Kadisha

Minnie Rothman King died Sept. 30 at 93. She is survived by her son, Darrell (Sandra); and one grandchild. Groman

Robert Kline died Sept. 30 at 61. He is survived by his wife, Georgann; daughter, Lisa; and brother, Thomas. Malinow and Silverman

Leo Laufer died Sept. 18 at 82. He is survived by his niece, Beatrice Freed. Chevra Kadisha

June Laxer died Oct. 1 at 85. She is survived by her daughter, Ellen (Michael) Garner; son, Kenneth; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Ralph Lazarus died Sept. 29 at 94. He is survived by his daughter, Susan (Earl) Broidy; sons, Bill (Lynn) and Steve; and six grandchildren. Mount Sinai

David Lerner died Sept. 29 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Sarah; son Rabbi Barry Dov; daughters, Betha Hollander and Sarah; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Groman

Dolores Hillner Levin died Oct. 1 at 86. She is survived by her sons, Barry and Joel (Marilyn); three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and sister, Renee (Leon) Sherman. Malinow and Silverman

Anna Levine died Oct 2 at 91. She is survived by her sons, Steven (Gabriela) and Jacob; four grandchildren.

WALTER JACK MARZOUK died Sept. 27 at 64. He is survived by his wife, Joyce; sons, Ben, Michael and Raymond; sisters Lillian Sciammas, Nelly Ibrahim and Odette Cohen. Hillside

Vajeheh Moin-Amini died Sept. 18 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Nina Sami. Chevra Kadisha

Iraj Mehrannia died Sept. 19 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Sona; and daughter, Nazie Meskin. Chevra Kadisha

Florence Pascoe died Oct. 1 at 95. She is survived by her sons, Dennis (Susan) and Michael. Malinow and Silverman

Iosif Perstin died Sept. 22 at 68. He is survived by his wife, Raisa; and daughter, Alla Suzdaltsev. Chevra Kadisha

Bernard Peters died Sept. 28 at 85. He is survived by his son, Joe; grandchildren, Sandra Albertson and Daniel Peters; and two great-grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Bernice Ratner died Sept. 23 at 90. She is survived by her daughter, Jacqueline Ann Ratner-Stauber; and grandson, Adom Ratner-Stauber. Chevra Kadisha

LILLIAN ANN ROSS died Sept. 27 at 78. She is survived by her grandchildren, Jessica (Chanania) and David; brother, Frank (Rosalie); sister, Evelyn; and nieces, Marsha and Barbara. Hillside

DAVID SALLAN died Sept. 26 at 90. He is survived by his wife, June; son, Bruce; and two grandchildren. Hillside

Sylvia Schneider died Sept. 27 at 92. She is survived by her son, David (Tobianne); three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and brothers, Norman (Beverly) and Arnold (Helen) Kominsky. Malinow and Silverman

Donald Schwartz died Sept. 26 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca; daughters, Marilyn Rado, Bobbie (Mito) Sion and Ronnie (Lenny) Lieb; and five grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Dr. George Shecter died Sept. 28 at 92. He is survived by his son, Paul (Moriah Bat-Hayim); daughter, Alice (Richard Gracer); and granddaughter, Nicole Pollack. Mount Sinai

Annabelle Frances Singer died Sept. 26 at 84. She is survived by her husband, Aaron; daughter, Ellen (Paul) Plumer; sons, Howard (Terry) and Dennis (Claire); and two grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Harriet Bernice Slomiak died Sept. 29 at 76. She is survived by her sons, Jeffrey, Mark and Jay; daughter, Ellen Glettner; brother, Cantor Harvey Bein; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Groman

SOL SMITH died Sept. 25 at 86. He is survived by his daughters, Shirley-Mae (Dr. Harvey Roter) and Carolynne ( Ze’ev Drori); sons, David (Irene) and Mark (Marcia); seven grandchildren; and brothers, David and Mel. Hillside

Freyda Penner Spatz died Sept. 30 at 87. She is survived by her daughters, Julie DaVanzo (Frank), Barbara and Andrea (Bob Wunderlich); four grandchildren; and sister, Edith Penner Wolfson. Hillside.

Lois Jane Spector died Sept. 26 at 74. She is survived by her husband, William; daughter, Ellen Kotler; sons, Dr. John, Dr. David, Steven, and Jeffrey; and four grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

SAMUEL SWARTZ died Sept. 25 at 92. He is survived by his sons, Joel and Steven; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren and brother, Paul. Hillside

Roman Tsyrlin died Sept. 28 at 62. He is survived by his wife, Ludmela; daughter Inga (Reza) Farahanchi; one grandchild; and mother, Lubov. Malinow and Silverman

Deanna Waxman died Sept. 29 at 90. She is survived by nephews, Michael and Richard Druyen; and nieces, Earline Cooper and Adele Leibman. Groman

Gertrude Leah Weingarten died Sept. 30 at 101. She is survived by her daughters, Connie Gerson and Louise Goldsmith; nine grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Bernard Wyman died Sept. 29 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis. Malinow and Silverman

 

Tend the Fire


“Israel is not a people of definers but a people of
witnesses.” — Abraham Joshua Heschel, “God in Search of Man”
Among the several stunning memorials at Buchenwald
concentration camp, designer Horst Hoheisel created a simple, flat steel
square placed on the cold, hard ground and inscribed in the
center with an alphabetical list of the 50 nations of origin of the people who
died there.

The temperature of the metal is kept at 98.6 F, the
temperature of the human body. When one touches the plaque, it feels not cold —
as one expects from steel — but warm, familiar, almost soft, as though touching
the hand of a new acquaintance or the cheek of a dear friend. Snow falling on
it quickly melts, raindrops and tears dry as they land upon the heated steel.

I recently returned, along with 17 of my congregants, from
our first visit to Germany. We were guests of the German government-sponsored
program Bridge of Understanding, which invites American Jews to make their own
direct contacts with modern Germany, including contemporary Jewish life, and to
witness firsthand a country deeply engaged in a unification process. Like most
participants in the Bridge program, all 18 of us admitted to prejudices — but
were we ready to extinguish them?

In this week’s Torah portion, Tzav, God tells Moses to
command (tzav) Aaron and his sons regarding the fire upon the altar.Â

“Fire always shall be kept burning on the altar,” God says,
“it shall not go out” (Leviticus 6:6). Isn’t this redundant, ask the commentators.
If it’s always kept burning, of course it won’t go out. And they answer, as
always, that there is no redundancy, but rather a contrast to the burning bush,
which was a miracle entirely of God’s doing. To keep the fire ever burning on
the altar, human beings must work alongside God. Mishnah Pirke Avot speaks of
10 miracles performed in the Temple, one being that rain never extinguished the
fire of the wood arranged (on the altar) (5:5). Like the heated steel at
Buchenwald, if humans devotedly tend the fire of the altar, to keep it burning,
then no rain or snow will cool it off or snuff it out.

As it turns out, no one in Germany demanded that we dissolve
our prejudices, they only invited us to examine them while we witnessed people
honestly confronting their past, thoughtfully living in the present, and
working toward a different future.

On our last morning there, we attended a Shabbat service,
led by people our age, attended by children and adults. At least three
generations were in that sanctuary, regular attendees at one of seven
synagogues in today’s Berlin. As we reached the verse l’dor v’dor (“from
generation to generation we shall tell of Your greatness, and proclaim Your
holiness”) my eyes unexpectedly filled with tears. Unlike the tears I shed
reciting “Kaddish” at Buchenwald, these tears fell warm and gentle — welcomed —
down my cheeks.

If we tend the altars of our memories, letting the warm
steel touch our hearts and our hands, allowing us to humanize the many people
once dehumanized in that place — in Buchenwald, in Germany — then nothing will
obscure their memory. And if we release our own propensity to dehumanize the
ones still living in Germany, then we’ll be able to hear the voices, and see
the faces, of the ones there right now singing and living l’dor v’dor. On this
Shabbat Hagadol, the Shabbat before Passover, this z’man cheiruteinu (season of
our freedom), I am reminded that this is what Jews do — working in partnership
with God and with other human beings, we liberate ourselves, each generation,
and we tell the stories of our liberations, one generation to the next. Â


Lisa Edwards is rabbi at Beth Chayim Chadashim — House of New Life — in Los Angeles.

Berlin’s Open Wounds


A bombed-out building transformed into a discothèque; the central section of an apartment building that is bizarrely absent — these are just some of the visual images that preserve the memory of Berlin’s complex and turbulent past. War wounds remain conspicuously open and unconcealed, leaving nothing in the city’s history unexposed. Berlin has no intention of concealing its scars, and its candor makes a powerful statement.

It is no different with Berlin’s Jewish history. The memory of the Shoah and the city’s inevitable link to Jewish extermination is intentionally visible and evident in Berlin, and can be found even in the most unexpected places. Visitors to the square in front of Humboldt University law school are surprised to stumble across a small, but effective monument marking the location of the book burning by Nazi students in 1933. Designed by Israeli artist, Micha Ullmann, the monument consists of an underground library with empty shelves, which can be seen through a transparent plastic window.

Near one of the city’s most exclusive department stores, KaDeWe, shoppers are met with an unexpected reminder: A sign listing the 12 concentration camps stands in front of Grunewald train station, the main deportation location for Berlin’s Jews from 1941 to 1945.

Such memorials crop up everywhere in Berlin, recalling the city’s dark and not-so-distant history. However, this is Berlin’s past. It is not the present and, hopefully, not the future.

Some 57 years after the end of World War II, Berlin’s Jewish community is witnessing a renaissance. The city, whose Jewish population was nearly nonexistent after the fall of the Third Reich, now has approximately 12,000 Jews, according to the American Jewish Committee in Berlin. Many of them are emigrants from the former Soviet Union.

While the memory of the past can never be forgotten, it is perhaps Berlin’s effort to come to terms with its history that has provided a catalyst for a Jewish future.

"From all the German cities I know, I like Berlin the best," said Esther Birnbach, 41, a Jewish woman who has spent most of her life in the city. "It’s open, metropolitan and honest with its past…. I saw the open wounds of the German past in this city’s face where other West German cities already erased them. This always made me like the city and makes life here for me OK."

One need only visit Berlin’s 10 synagogues or several of its kosher restaurants to see this recovering Jewish community. Currently, Berlin is the only city in Germany where one can lead a completely Orthodox life, with its various kosher butchers and Jewish schools. There are Jewish primary, middle and high schools, and the recent birth of Germany’s first postwar rabbinical seminary, Abraham Geiger Rabbinical College, in nearby Potsdam.

The golden dome of the renovated Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) Berlin glistens above the city, marking the Jewish Quarter around Oranienburger Strasse. The New Synagogue is now used as a museum, but it represents what was once the heart of traditional Jewish life in Berlin.

In the Jewish Quarter, evidence of destruction is interwoven with evidence of rebirth. Near the Neue Synagogue is a memorial plaque marking the site that was once the Jewish Home for the Aging, which the Nazis transformed into a collection point. Not far away, at Grosse Hamburger Strasse 26, is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Berlin, destroyed by the Gestapo in 1942 and now containing only one standing gravestone: that of Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786).

It is in this same neighborhood that there appears to be evidence of Jewish revival. The area buzzes with galleries, restaurants, bars and shops. Customers at Café Oren, a kosher-style, Israeli restaurant next to the Neue Synagoge, socialize with friends at all hours of the day and night. The intimate Hackesches Hof-Theater, Berlin’s Yiddish theater, is within walking distance. Pamphlets advertising klezmer concerts can be picked up at many of the local spots.

The signs of rebirth look promising in the Jewish Quarter, but one thing is conspicuously missing — Jews. "Actually, Jews are not going to the Jewish restaurants, the klezmer [concerts]. The real Jewish life still takes place behind closed doors, in the community center, families, school and kindergarten," Birnbach said.

Despite all strides that have been made by Jews, Germans and the German government to reconcile the past, Berlin’s Jews still live somewhat of a double life. "One visible life as a citizen of this country and one other as a Jew, more or less invisible for non-Jewish people," Birnbach said.

Unlike the Jewish Quarters in many other cities, Berlin’s Jews are no more likely to congregate or socialize in the Oranienburger Strasse area than any other German, nor do Jews typically reside in this neighborhood. But while such a discovery may be surprising to a visitor, it is historically accurate.

Before World War II, the majority of German Jews were quite successful and extremely assimilated into German culture, even to the point that many of their Jewish roots and ties were unidentifiable. "The western suburbs were the places where successful people lived and Jews who could move from the East to the West could say that they really had arrived," said Dr. Johannes Heil, a historian with the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism. It was the much smaller population of poor, Orthodox Jews living in the Jewish Quarter that the Nazis derived their anti-Semitic stereotypes from.

After the war, Jews who returned to or remained in Berlin settled in West Berlin, which is where most reside today. Thus, "the revival of the Oranienburger Strasse area is somewhat artificial and even ahistorical, since the poor Jews of Grenadie Strasse/Scheunenviertel in the East were, in the ’20s, not at all a tourist attraction, only a stage where anti-Semites could take their stereotypes from," Heil said.

Today, Jewish life in Berlin continues to exist somewhat behind the scenes — but exist, it does, and it is continually evolving, Birnbach said.

"I have two children [9- and 12-years-old] and they grow up as German Jewish kids, more normal than my generation perhaps, more clear about their identity. We had no Jewish elementary and high schools. They do. We had no parents with a more or less unbroken identity. They do."

The wounds of the past will forever affect the future of Jewish life in Berlin, but there is a Jewish presence that could never have been fathomed some five decades ago.

At the Wansee Villa museum, the house where 14 top officials of the ministerial bureaucracy and the S.S. met on Jan. 20, 1942, to discuss the systematic annihilation of the remainder of Europe’s Jews, a message scrawled in the guest book reads: "As a proud Israeli Jew, I am shocked and overwhelmed by the atrocities. Our being here today is the real victory over those who planned to exterminate us…. We shall never forget."

Jewish Berlin General Information

For more information, visit gntony@aol.com ; or call (212) 661-7200.

Berlin Tourism Marketing North
America

For more information, visit www.berlin-tourism.de. Click on Sightseeing and scroll down to Jewish Berlin.

American Jewish Committee, Berlin
office

Mosse Palais, Leipziger

Platz 15, 10117 Berlin

For more information, contact Deirdre Berger at bergerd@ajc.org; call 030-2265940; fax
030-22659414; or visit “>www.taltours.com .

Foundation Neue Synagoge Berlin-Centrum
Judaicum

Oranienburger Strasse 28-30, 10117 Berlin

Open: Sun-Thu 10 a.m.-6 p.m.;

Fri 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

For more information, call 030-88028451; or visit “>www.jmberlin.de .