Boys to men: Jewish education helps prepare kids for life

Raising three boys to be well-rounded, menschy men isn’t easy, and I admit to making one or two mistakes (per hour) in my efforts to guide my sons toward actions that reflect soulfulness, integrity and compassion.

As my children grow, so do my expectations of their accountability for their decisions. However, there is much that I — that all of us — can do, as our sons lurch toward manhood. In partnership with their educators, we can make a difference in helping them become stand-up young men.

Seeing the impact of an ethically based Jewish high school, both as a parent and as a professional in the school, I’ve witnessed much to give me hope. This is in spite of all the news spotlighting boys walking onto campuses to vent rage and fear with bullets, and young men at colleges assaulting women.

As an educator, I’ve witnessed how much of an effect the parent-educator partnership can have. I’ve seen boys who have reacted in anger to classroom situations learn to recognize the triggers and articulate frustration productively. I’ve seen young men poke fun at weaker kids on one day, then, weeks later, encourage those same kids when they’re teamed up on a soccer field. I’ve seen shy freshman boys who tease girls at the lockers later become superb co-leaders with young women in student government. 

All of this requires parents to engage with educators, giving context to the students’ situation, expressing hopes for their children’s maturation and staying consistent on a plan of action. Meanwhile, teachers, deans and administrators must spend ample time talking, setting boundaries and goals, and following through with the young men and their parents.

I do not profess to have easy answers. Negative things can happen in spite of all the right efforts. However, I do believe in the power of a parent-school commitment to painstakingly and repeatedly teach our boys values and behavior that help them navigate their emotions and the expectations placed on them by a society that too often rewards aggression.

One of my conclusions: Leading by example trumps everything. So many times, I have lectured my boys with a torrent of words, only to realize they don’t hear much of it. What they do gather are my actions. When they’ve seen me disagree with their mother, they’ve watched me listen to her side as much as argue my own. And when I’m wrong, I admit it (even if it’s long after the argument). When greeted by a homeless person asking for money, they’ve witnessed how I say hello and often give something, usually a food item, because I want to stress that ignoring someone in need is a missed opportunity to have a direct impact. 

I’ve also discovered that there may be no skill more important than communication. Being able to articulate an idea, concern or feeling can make life much easier in everything from business to personal relationships. This is especially important for guys to learn because, even in this more egalitarian age, males still find it difficult to express their emotions and needs, which sometimes results in the building up of tension that gets released negatively.

As an educator at a Jewish high school, I’ve noted how role modeling and communication can be addressed through tradition and text. This is why we commit a year’s worth of assemblies to hearing senior students give presentations, called drishat shalom (messages of peace and wholeness). The students each summarize a piece of Jewish text, explaining what the text has taught them about particular values and recommending ways younger students can apply the values. 

It is also why we gather our entire school for a yearly off-campus Shabbaton. Some of the programming is led by kids from all grade levels and allows them the time to value their relationships with one another and with their teachers. Because faculty often bring family with them, students see first-hand how these adults model the values they espouse.

Of course, teachers and pupils need to notice when students seem upset. When necessary, an experienced school counselor and the parents must be brought into the loop.

I feel so fortunate to raise my boys in partnership with an ethics-based Jewish school. Although I am still ultimately responsibile for rearing my children, I don’t have to be the only role model, and I don’t have to do all of the complicated explaining of why character counts so much. In these ways, I am more confident that my boys, and the many others who are educated similarly, can become the kind of role models and communicators who will make the world a little safer and better.

Diary of an IDF Father

These are the e-mails of Marvin Hankin, father of two IDF soldiers, Aviel and Gilad, currently stationed in Gaza. Aviel, age 27, is a medical officer for his unit; in August, he will finish the first year of his five-year commitment. Gilad, 22, was drafted into the tank corps at age 19; he will complete his three-year commitment in November. Marvin lives in Jerusalem with his wife Irit.

July 25, 2014

The war here has been going on now for just over 2 1/2 weeks.  Hamas fires 100 to 120 rockets every day into Israel.  Over 2,000 rockets have been fired into Israel since this present war started.

When rockets are fired against the targets in Israel, air raid sirens sound out in the target area.  Towns close to Gaza have 15 seconds to run to the nearest air raid shelter. Here in Jerusalem, we have 90 seconds to run down the stairs to shelter in the basement of our building.  Another plus for living on the first floor. Even inside the shelter, we can hear the overhead explosion as the “Iron Dome” anti-missile system intercepts the incoming rocket.  We are instructed to remain inside the shelter for 10 minutes as debris from the overhead explosion fall to the ground, and these can also cause damage and injury.  Actually, it has been quiet here in Jerusalem as we haven't had a rocket here now for the past week.

Aviel and Gilad are both in the army now and are either inside Gaza or on the border of Gaza waiting to go in. They have been there for the past three weeks.  Both are in the tank corps, but in different battalions. Aviel is a medical officer. He is the only doctor for his whole battalion, and as his tank goes into Gaza, he goes in, riding in the back of a tank, treats the wounded soldiers, and sends them back out of Gaza to hospitals for further treatment. Aviel will be in the army for a total of five years. Gilad is in the army for a total of three years, and he now is close to the end of his service — he finishes at the end of November.  He is the gunner inside a tank. His unit is also inside Gaza, but he is just outside the border of Gaza.

We usually hear about once a day from the boys. But Aviel's cell phone battery has just run out, and he has no facilities to recharge.  Out last message from him was yesterday.

The two boys are at an area that must be about the most dangerous a person can imagine. Of course, this keeps Irit and me awake at night.  For the last two weeks now.

There is talk of a cease fire.  On a national level, we feel there should not be a cease fire until the Israeli army has completely destroyed hamas' ability to fire rockets and has completely destroyed all the tunnels.  On a personal level, for us, a cease fire can't come too soon. We haven't seen the boys in almost a month, and we want them home for dinner with us.  The sooner the better.


Gilad just called us.  A soldier in his unit was killed just a short while ago.  He was quite upset. It was also just notified on the TV.

July 28

Aviel has been inside Gaza ever since the ground offensive started. His battery for his cell phone ran out and we haven't heard from him since this past Friday.

We hear each day from Gilad as he is able to keep his phone charged up on the field generator.  He has been on the border of Gaza since this campaign began, but hasn't actually entered Gaza.

Israel has been generally successful in intercepting the hamas rockets using the “Iron Dome” anti-missile system.  Now for a couple of days, hamas has introduced the use of mortars.  These are a low tech short range weapon and the anti-missile system is useless against it. 

A few hours ago, a mortar was fired over the border and landed very near Gilad.  He was not injured, but four of his friends were killed before his eyes and two others were seriously injured. His unit has been moved a few kilometers further back out of the range of the mortars.  Gilad phoned us.  He is quite upset, very disturbed and very distraught.  He feels he needs to talk right now to a psychologist. Of course, we have an expert psychologist in the family but she is too far away to help. 

How nice if the army would let Gilad come home for a few days.  Would he likely go back to the war after a few days at home?  Knowing his character, the answer would be a loud yes.

July 29

We spoke to Gilad today. He spent a rather restless night, with thoughts of the bloody events from yesterday in his head all night.

He explained to us just what happened.  He was sitting at the encampment with a circle of friends.  He got up to walk over to a box to take out something just when a mortar struck at just the place he had been sitting a minute before.  Four of his friends died and two were seriously injured.  He was unhurt.  But very upset at the sight before his eyes. 

The commander of the unit had a long talk with the soldiers last night and again this morning to reassure them.  An army officer is to visit them later during the day.  She is a social worker and psychologist — I didn't get clear her position.  He did sound a lot better than last night.  Of course, last night just after the event, he was understandably upset.


After not hearing from him since Friday, Aviel finally called this afternoon.  He still does not have any battery on his cell phone, but he was able to use a friend's phone to call us. He is well and was in good spirits.  For most of the last three weeks, he has spent most of his time in the back of a tank. That's how he travels to the battlefield in Gaza.  And it is where he sleeps.  Because it is a safe place, and he is ready to go if he is needed urgently.  The back space in the tank seems to be tiny, but he says that if he is tired enough, he is able to sleep.

Gilad seems to be a lot better.  He is still in mourning for his friends. But when we spoke, he seemed to be in good spirits. A lot better than at this time yesterday.

We hope we will continue to get daily contact with the two of them.

July 31

We spoke this morning with both Gilad and Aviel.  Aviel for only a few seconds as he is always on the move.  But he had a short break and they took them to a facility where they had a shower, and he said he feels like a mensch.  A real treat. Gilad had a little more time to talk with us.  He is better, but we could tell from his voice that he still suffers mentally from his recent tragic experience. They have three army officers who speak to them all the time. I guess we have to expect it to take a while for him.

This is Thursday noon.  If there is not some unexpected drastic development in the next 24 hours, it looks like we will have another erev shabbat dinner tomorrow without our two soldiers.  That makes our dinner table seem way too under populated. We like a nice family crowd for our Friday night dinners.

August 4

Gilad is home!!!   What a nice surprise!!!

There was a memorial service for one of his friends who were killed a week ago.  The memorial service was at his hometown of Safed, and a number of soldiers from Gilad's unit went by an army bus.  When the service was over, they allowed Gilad to come home for a day.  Maybe two??

I just picked him up at Jerusalem's central bus station and brought him home.  We haven't seen him in over a month now.  He looks fine now. How really good to see him.  With a beard.  A bit thinner now.  He hasn't had much of an appetite since the incident a week ago. Maybe some of his favorite home cooking will help him over that.

Now it's Aviel's turn to come home.  Cross your fingers everyone.

Egypt’s Mubarak, sons detained

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons have been detained for 15 days while the country’s prosecutor general investigates corruption allegations.

Wednesday’s detentions came a day after Mubarak, 82, was hospitalized in Sharm el-Sheik with heart problems, which afflicted him as prosecutors began questioning him over allegations of corruption and abuse of power. He is also being investigated on allegations that he ordered the military to fire on demonstrators. State prosecutors are probing his sons, Alaa and Gamal, on allegations of embezzlement.

The detentions were announced on Egyptian state television and on the Egyptian prosecutor general’s Facebook page.

In a five-minute recording released April 10, Mubarak denied the accusations against him and his family.

Mubarak, the president of Egypt for 30 years, stepped down Feb. 11 and power was transferred to the military’s Supreme Council following popular protests that began in late January. Mubarak has been under house arrest ever since in Sharm el-Sheik, a resort city on the Red Sea. Presidential elections are due in September.

Song of the Sons

The centerpiece of the third section of the Tanach, the section known as Ketuvim (the Writings), is the Book of Psalms. The Book of Psalms contains some of the most majestic poetic images in the history of the Hebrew language. They express awe at the artistic power of the Creator and express wonder at the reality of all Being. They reflect on the redemptive design of the God of history who took us out of Egypt and anticipate the ultimate redemption at the end of days. They cry out in the pain of human suffering and appeal to a God of healing. They protest the injustice that surrounds us and the domination of the powerful over the weak. They sing of the yearning for communion with God. And more.

Nowhere is the relationship between God and the Jewish people articulated with more poetic power or artistic beauty than in the 150 chapters of the Psalms. The Psalms have withstood the test of time with their undiminished power to inspire, to move, to touch and elevate the human soul.

The original purpose of the Psalms was liturgical, written to be sung by a choir of Levites during the sacrificial service in the Temples in Jerusalem. Still, in our own day, many of the Psalms are used liturgically and comprise entire sections of the prayer book, the most obvious examples being Psukei d’Zimrah (the preliminary service recited daily before the Shachrit prayers) and Hallel, (the thanksgiving liturgy recited on holidays and Rosh Chodesh), the kabbalists of Safed in the 16th century used Psalms when creating the Kabbalat Shabbat service, which introduces the Shabbat evening prayers with great beauty.

Although the Talmud (Bava Batra 14b) ascribes authorship of the Book of Psalms to King David, even the Talmud ascribes composite authorship, insisting that David incorporated earlier collections of Psalms into his own. Among those the Talmud identifies are two collections, Psalms 42-49 and Psalms 84-88, 13 in all, that were written by the sons of Korah.

It is a stunning statistic that almost 10 percent of the Book of Psalms was written by the sons of Korah. The very name, Korah, symbolizes all that can go wrong in communal life. Korah was the cousin of Moshe and Aharon and Miriam, who protested the undemocratic centralization and personalization of power in the other side of the family. Korah led a rebellion in the wilderness against the authority of Moshe and Aharon. In the guise of egalitarianism and inclusiveness, with the claim that all of the Levites are equally holy, Korah incited 250 followers to join him in his rebellion. The rebellion was immediately recognized as a thinly veiled exercise of political opportunism and a shameful power grab. The rebellion ended badly, as it should have, as it was destined to. In the final scene, Korah was swallowed up by the earth, his minions and his ideas disappearing with him into the depths.

But his sons were not with him.

One might think that because his end was so dramatic, so violent, and so final, that Korah was wiped out once and for all. Remarkably, even though Korahism was dealt a fatal blow in the wilderness, the line of Korah did not die. The sons embraced the claim of the father that they were indeed holy, and they wrote holy words. His sons became poets; they wrote Psalms.

That is, perhaps, one of the reasons why Psalm 49 was selected to be read in a house of mourning. Beyond the ideas contained in the words themselves lies the power of the Psalm’s authorship. The heading of the Psalm reads: “To the leader: A Psalm of the sons of Korah.” The message of Psalm 49, a lesson the sons apparently learned from the bad example of their father, is that death comes to everyone, rich and poor alike. The importance of wealth and status in life is exaggerated because neither can protect us from death; nor are they of any use to us after we die. What is important in life, and in death, are the relationships we have formed with loved ones, with friends, and with God. Love transcends death. Love is eternal, and lives on after us.

Korach is the symbol of rebellion and conflict and despair; his sons are a symbol of hope. Korah brought dissension and tension into the world; his sons comfort the bereaved. Through the words of the sons of Korah, and by their example, we are inspired to embrace life with gratitude, with optimism and with passion, as long as our souls remain in our bodies.

Perry Netter is rabbi of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles and author of “Divorce Is a Mitzvah: A Practical Guide to Finding Wholeness and Holiness When Your Marriage Dies” (Jewish Lights, 2002). He can be reached at


MORRIS APPLEMAN died July 8 at 98. He is survived by his daughters, Sandi Liebert-Simon and Elaine Glaser; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Hillside

THELMA AYEROFF died July 6 at 89. She is survived by her daughter, Lana Brody; son, Jeff (Martie); and three grandchildren. Hillside

Alvan Irving Beck died July 5 at 73. He is survived by his wife, Blanca; sons, Daniel and Luis Marcilla, Dennis and Brent; daughter, Rosi Marcilla; five grandchildren; brother, Larry. Groman

JACK BERMAN died July 7 at 91. He is survived by his daughter, Barbara Dreyfus. Sholom Chapels

Evelyn Bobrosky died July 4 at 83. She is survived by her son, Jerry; daughters, Suzy Reznick, Debby Shuman and Edie Dayan; 12 grandchildren; and seven great grandchildren. Groman

SAMUEL COHEN died July 5 at 95. He is survived by his wife, Esther; daughters, Sharon (Bob) Wiviott and Faye (Gary) Waldman; son, Larry (Paulette); 20 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren. Hillside

Joseph Conison died July 6 at 91. He is survived by his daughter, Ilene (Andrew) Scharlach; granddaughters, Rebecca and Emily Scharlach; brothers, Julius and Allan; sister, Eva Nedelman; and brother-in-law, Robert Friedman. Sinai Memorial Chapel

DAVID EDSON died July 5 at 75. He is survived by his wife, Bobbi; daughters, Dori (Chuck) Boyles, Lisa, Cindy (John) and Libby. five grandchildren; and brother, Chuck (Sue). Hillside

SAUL EZERSKY died July 5 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; and son, Mark. Sholom Chapels

CELIA FELDGREBER died July 4 at 92. She is survived by her daughter, Marcey Wallman. Sholom Chapels

Nettie Frishman died July 4 at 92. She is survived by her son, Edward (Gaye) Peltzman; daughter, Shirley (Sol) Morrison; stepdaughters, Marian (William) Schiff and Norma Baitman; nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; brothers, Stanley (Phyllis) and Marshall (Adrienne) Nathanson; and cousin, Edythe Spinadel. Mount Sinai

KELLEY GARDENS died July 4 at 76. She is survived by her daughter, Candace Culp; 14 grandchildren; and 20 great grandchildren. Hillside

Leonard Allen Goldman died July 7 at 75. He is survived by his wife, MeraLee; son, Mark (Tracey); daughters, Tami and Robin (Jim Popkin); and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

IRVING GORDON died July 6 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; son, Gary; daughter, Betty; three grandchildren; brothers, Jack and Milton; and sister, Maddy. Hillside

Frances Gray died July 7 at 88. She is survived by her son, Steve; and sister, Janice. Mount Sinai

Sacha Grunpeter died July 6 at 33. He is survived by his parents, Joseph and Susan. Chevra Kadisha

CLAIRE HALPRIN died June 20 at 94. She is survived by her daughter, Nancy (Lonny) Scharf; and grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

BERTHA HELLMAN died July 16 at 96. She is survived by her son, Bryce (Hannah); daughter, Racelle Manes; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

Mac Helsabeck died July 6 at 92. He is survived by his daughter, June (Paul) Canter; sons, Steve (Dianna), Eric (Pat) and Glen (Penny); eight grandchildren; and nephew, Joseph. Mount Sinai

Arthur Holz died July 8 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Doris; son, Michael; daughter, Joanne (Jonathan) Holz-Evans; and two grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Bluma Horwitz died July 6 at 92. She is survived by her daughters, Judith Jeffen and Lael Horwitz; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; sisters, Genevieve Robbins and Fern Naxon. Groman.

Selma Helena Kagan died June 30 at 89. She is survived by her son, Robert (Mimi) Real; and grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

BENJAMIN KATZ died July 4 at 77. He is survived by his sister, Pearl Ziskrout; and niece, Julia Kelly. Hillside

SUSAN WOLF KOZBERG died July 4 at 68. She is survived by her daughter, Nancy Paul; sons, Steven (Gisele) and James (Wendy) Paul; seven grandchildren; and brothers, Bennett (Sue) and Donald (Elaine) Wolf. Hillside

Polina Lerner died July 6 at 68. She is survived by her husband, Yakov; and sons Vadim and Yevgeniy. Chevra Kadisha

Morton Lesh died July 4 at 73. He is survived by his wife, Rhoda; daughter, Susan; sons, Scott (Darla) and Mitchell (Aleta); three grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and sister, Sandy Zerbersky. Mount Sinai

Florence Levinson died July 3 at 96. She is survived by her daughter, Harlene (Fred) Leeds; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and sister, Lillian. Mount Sinai

Stanley Levinson died July 5 at 97. He is survived by his daughter, Judy Weisman; three grandchildren; great-granddaughter, Megan Beitner; and brother, Robert. Mount Sinai

Esther Lewinstein died July 6 at 92. She is survived by her daughter, Ruthie Krivis; son, Bill; six grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and sister, Mary Lewis. Mount Sinai

Harry Liebman died July 7. He is survived by his wife, Beatrice; son, Gary (Denae); daughter, Barbara; and grandchildren, Brandon and Todd. Mount Sinai

Helayne Lipkin died July 7 at 56. She is survived by her father, Nathaniel; and sister, Stanlee Lipkin. Malinow and Silverman

HANS MANASSE died July 5 at 86. He is survived by his wife, Margot; daughter, Diana (Mitchell) Mednick; son, Jerry; grandchildren Michele (Matthew) and Robert; great-grandchild, Jaden; sister-in-law, Charlotte (Ernest) Wulkan; and many nieces and nephews. Hillside

PEARL MARKS died July 3 at 79. She is survived by her husband, Murray; son, Daniel; daughter, Eileen; and five grandchildren. Hillside

Barbara Ann Moore died July 5 at 60. She is survived by her mother, Sylvia; and brother, David (Tobi) Schneider. Malinow and Silverman

PAUL NEWMAN died June 20 at 96. He is survived by his daughter, Paula. Sholom Chapels

DOROTHY OKEN died June 25 at 87. She is survived by her son, Dr. Ben Chatoff. Sholom Chapels

Dorothy Oppenheim died July 6 at 86. She is survived by her son, Elliott (Kathy); daughter, Sheri (Chaim) Neuberg; four grandchildren; sisters, Sarah (Harvey) Austin and Betty (Leonaard) Gorelick; and brother, Jack Cohen. Mount Sinai

IRA REISMAN died July 3 at 51. He is survived by his wife, Miriam; daughters, Stacey and Jamie; brother-in-law, David Finkelstein; and nephew, Eric Finkelstein. Hillside

Shirley Reiter died July 5 at 83. She is survived by her husband, Jerome; son, Terry (Margie); daughter, Genise (Geoff) Tully; and three grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Pearl Saltsman died July 6 at 96. She is survived by her stepsons, Sidney (Helen), Louis (Florance) and Gerald (Ann); nine grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

FLORENCE SANDLER died July, 5 at 78. She is survived by her son, Howard; daughter, Lori; three grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and brothers, Robert and Paul Rehmar. Hillside

Jennie Sherman died July 7 at 90. She is survived by her niece, Christine Silberman. Malinow and Silverman

Khaya Shrage died July 4 at 86. She is survived by her sister, Mysia Robin. Groman

Theodore Spector died July 5 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Esther; sons, Ira (Alisa) and Mark; daughter, Francine (Michael); three granchildren; and nieces and nephews. Hillside

Saul Stanoff died July 2 at 88. He is survived by his wife, Marsha; daughter, Robin Williams; six grandchildren; brother, Harry Stanoff; and sister, Rose Danchik. Groman

Israel StuhL died July 6 at 75. He is survived by his wife, Sarah; sons, Michael (Paula) and Jeremy (Dina); and four grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Perri Turkheimer died July 5 at 55. She is survived by her husband, Alan; son, Aaron; and sister, Jan Matthews. Mount Sinai

Jeannette Wachbrit died July 6 at 88. She is survived by her sons, Michael (Jill), Joel (Jill); granddaughters, Michelle and Tracy; brother, Dr. Seymour (Annette) Bird; and sisters, Selma Framson and Annalee (Kal) Kaufer. Mount Sinai

Sylvia Leah Weitzman died June 14 at 76. She is survived by her husband, Seymour; daughters, Randy (Robert) Greenspan and Karen Hampton; stepdaughters, Terie Lesner and Farryl; stepsons, Marc (Kathie) and Bruce; nine grandchildren; great-grandchild, Rieley; and brother, Emery (Shirley) Kubrin. Mount Sinai

ALYCE MARIE WOLF died July 5 at 88. She is survived by her husband Dr. Earl; son, Dr. Stuart (Peggy) Wolf; daughter, Dorianne Tobey Bass; grandchildren, Dr. Bryon and Ari (Heather) Bass; and great-grandchildren, Betsy and Darcy Bass. Hillside



Michael Angel died June 12 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughter, Judith (Bob Salvaria); son, Stephen (Ellen); five grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Ruth Anne Baim died June 16 at 91. She is survived by her daughter, Beverly (Sol) Mandelblatt; grandchildren, Michael Mandelblatt and Andrea (Bobby) Rashtian; and three great grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Yahouda Benji died June 8 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Faideh; son, Albert (Sarah); daughters, Jaklin and Marilyn (Babak) Younessi; and six grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Milton Bloom died June 18 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; sons, Steven (Sue) and Mark (Jill); and five grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Lillian Libby Chester died June 17 at 99. She is survived by her daughters, Sharon Kaye and Sandra Bercow; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Groman

Bernard Corn died June 14 at 81. He is survived by his wife, Judy; sons, Ronald and Robert; daughter-in-law, Eileen Filler-Corn; two grandchildren; and brother, Charles. Groman

Leo Elmon Eisenkop died June 13 at 80. He is survived by his wife, Winifred; son, Dr. Scott (Teresa Claus). Groman

HOWARD ELINSON died June 17 at 65. He is survived by his brother, Mark. Chevra Kadisha

Barbara Essenfeld died June 15 at 58. She survived by her daughter, Lauren (Paul) Di Cocco. Mount Sinai

Bernard John Gales died June 14 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Berta; son, Ron; daughters, Lilly Rubin, Susan Hochstein and Debbie Stern; and five grandchildren. Groman

Abraham Gelfand died June 16 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Beatrice; son, Harold (Janice); six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Steven Gilman died June 12 at 58. He is survived by his wife, Ann; mother, Renee; brothers, Richard and Chuck. Mount Sinai

Cecil Greenwold died June 15, at 92. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; son, Mark (Betty); stepdaughters, Joanne (Jim) Jubelier and Jill (Bob) McKay; three grandchildren; two stepgrandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and sister, Julia Yorke. Mount Sinai

Ruth Haas died June 14 at 93. She is survived by her sister, Florence Levis. Groman

Irving Halperin died June 19 at 101. He is survived by his son, Michael (Marcia); five grandchildren; and sister, Ethel (Leonard) Smith. Mount Sinai

Carol Hersh died June 15 at 74. She survived by her sons, Jeffrey (Arie), Gary (Maria) and Brian; eight grandchildren; and brother, Donald (Geri) Froomer. Mount Sinai

Freda Hinden died June 13 at 95. She is survived by son, Barry (Marilyn); daughter, Sheila Gruskin; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Groman

Josef Hodes died June 17 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Sara; and daughters, Zipora (Tibor) Miller and Etta (Alexander) Kogan; four grandchildren; and great-grandchild, Gabriella. Chevra Kadisha

REUBEN HYAMS died June 14 at 75. He is survived by his wife, Celia; sons, Michael and Steve; brother, Joe (Marilyn) Hyams; sisters, Annette (Louis) Sherman and Freda (Clayton) Ferree; and nieces and nephews. Chevra Kadisha

Yolanda Marie Jimenez died June 12 at 74. She is survived by daughters, Linda (Larry) Ross, Nilza Cusamano, Advilda (Jim) Deleneve and Nivea (Mike) McEachern; five grandchildren; and six great-granchildren. Chevra Kadisha

Ruth Krischer died June 19 at 85. She is survived by her daughters, Naomi (Alan) Spiegelman and Judith (Mike Greene); son, David; four grandchildren; and brothers, David and Paul Levin. Mount Sinai

Roselle Lillian Marcus Lewis died June 14 at 77. She is survived by her husband, Earl; son, Dr. David; daughter, Madeline; and one grandchild. Groman

Jerome Irwin Lopin died June 19 at 78. He is survived by his wife, Hope; sons, Michael (Madonna) and Steven (Ty); stepson, Jeffrey Arden; stepdaughter, June (Stacey) Rios; and seven grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Ruth Lubinsky died June 18 at 81. She is survived by her daughter, Katherine Butcher; son, Ralph W. Hood Jr; five grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and brother, Robert (Danna) Khaler. Mount Sinai

Hattie Nadel died June 15 at 92. She is survived by her son, Stanley; three grandchildren; one great-grandchild; brother, Jack Adler; and sister, Florence Kusher. Groman

Shlomo Offer died June 7 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Marion; sons, Willie Daniel and Thomas Yecheskel; nephews, Yisroel and Boaz Amit; and nieces, Devora Meschulam and Dita Amit. Chevra Kadisha

Anna Rosenberg died June 11 at 98. She is survived by her daughters, Eleanor (Joseph) Schwarz and Claire (Rabbi Arthur) Abrams. Malinow and Silverman

Meyer Rubin died June 19 at 82. He is survived by his wife, Lessie; son, Craig; daughter, Andrea (Jason) Feldman; and six grandchildren. Groman

Dorothy Salgo died June 15 at 65. She is survived by her son, Charles Rice; daughters, Kathleen Rice and Rosemary Ponder; mother, Shirley; seven grandchildren; and brother, Jeffrey. Groman

Harriet Samson died June 14 at 84. She is survived by her son, Ronald (Janet) Shlesman; daughter, Naomi (Dr. Michael) Bailie; four grandchildren; and one great- grandchild. Mount Sinai

Aziz Sanandajian died June 17 at 78. He is survived by his wife, Maryam; son, Robert; daughters, Rachel, Roya and Rebecca; and five grandchildren. Groman

Rita Scharf died June 19 at 78. She is survived by her sons, Steven and Lance (Renata); five grandchildren; and brother, Jerry Gold. Mount Sinai

GARY JAMES SHAPIRO died June 14 at 68. He is survived by his wife, Louise; daughters, Allison and Jennifer; and son, Darin.

Makhlia Shoulov died June 17 at 81. She is survived by her daughter, Inga (Moisey) Khanukhov; sons, Joseph (Svetlana) and Yuri (Luda); 10 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Henry Silber died June 14 at 59. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie; parents, Josef and Esther; brother, Abe (Cheryl) sister, Marlene (Roy) Alter; uncle, Eliezer Klavansky; aunt, Ida Taublib; and many relatives. Mount Sinai

Harold Skolnick died June 12 at 91. He is survived by his friends, Arthur (Esther) Brown and Jerry (Mimi) Sisk. Mount Sinai

William Smith died June 16 at 80. He is survived by his wife, Ray; daughters, Kim (Ken) Leigh and Jill (David) Brody; son, Peter (Lisa); and five grandchildren. Mount Sinai

Pearl Starr died June 19 at 95. She is survived by her daughters, Linda (Bob) Russo and Vicki Pass; four grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and nephew, Jim (Linda) Joseph. Mount Sinai

Bernard Stock died June 12 at 78. He is survived by his wife, Claire; sons, Robert and David; brothers, Murray and Malcolm; and one grandchild. Groman

Herman Trop died June 13 at 87. He is survived by his wife, Hilda; sons, Philip (Shelly) and Bob (Billie); daughter, Andrea (Gary) Gleckman; six grandchildren; and brother, Dan Trop. Mount Sinai

Richard Joseph Tuber died June 18 at 74. He is survived by his wife, Iris; sons, Douglas, Rick and Keith; nine grandchildren; one great-grandchild; brother, Arthur; sister, June Lurie. Groman

Renee Viner died June 18 at 71. She is survived by her husband, Jerome; sons, Steven (Suzi) Blonder and Mitch (Jennifer); daughter, Wendi (Jimmy) Gonzalez; and grandchildren, David and Alison. Mount Sinai

Harry Weinberg died June 16 at 88. He is survived by his friend, Mary Mendoza. Mount Sinai

Gilbert Herbert Weintraub died June 15 at 88. He is survived by daughter, Jo Anne Bardini; sons, Alan and Dana; four grandchildren; and sisters, Carrie Werchick and Arlene Lipper. Groman

Esther Winkler died June 17 at 96. She is survived by her daughters, Ann Bose and Joyce Gibson; and four grandchildren. Groman

Esther Winterman died June 13 at 89. She is survived by her daughters, Ruth Zaray-Mizrahi and Lore (Thomas) Sturm; son, Stanley (Viarica); and nine grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Nanette Wintheil died June 10 at age 98. She is survived by her daughter, Perissa Busick. Chevra Kadisha

Sheila Zimmelman died June 17 at 70. She survived by her sons, Mark and Paul (Helen); granddaughters, Molly and Julia; and sister, Randy Medall. Mount Sinai

Shimon Zvi died June 12 at 66. He is survived by his wife, Elana; sons, Ronen (Tanya), Abraham and Guy (Desiree Sanduval); grandson, Jonathan; sisters, Chaya Beran, Zahava and Esther; brothers, Menasha, Meyer and Ezra (Ruthie); and sister-in-law, Sylvia. Mount Sinai


For the Kids

Right a Wrong

The five daughters of Tzlophchad (say that 10 times fast!) went to Moses and said: "The law says that if a man dies his property goes to his sons. But our father doesn’t have any sons! What will become of all his property? Please change the law so that we can keep our father’s property in the family!"

Moses went to God and told him, and God changed the law.

The daughters of Tzlophchad stood up for something they believed in.

Is there something you think should be changed?

Maybe you want better food in the cafeteria at school!

OK to stand up for what you believe is right — you never know what mountains you may manage to move!

Book Review

Here is a book review by Ariel Schnitzer, a fifth-grader at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy
“Strudel Stories” is a great book for people who like learning about the past. It is about a large Jewish family of seven generations with stories from past to present. How did an apple turn to gold? Or, how did Bertie almost get sent back across the ocean to Russia? This book is full of happy times, sad times, disastrous times, all starting with a plate of strudel.
Author Joanne Rocklin’s memories of her family depicted in the “Stories” were humorous and yet real.

Blessed With Talents

Everybody’s good at something. The trick is to discover what it is. In Parshat Vayechi, Jacob blesses each of his 12 sons. They each receive a blessing that is appropriate to their skills. Judah is blessed with leadership, for from him will be born kings. Benjamin is told he is a wolf, because his descendants will be mighty warriors. Asher is blessed with richness — his descendants will grow the best olive trees.

Think about what you’re good at. Now think about a kid in your class who is good at something else. Your challenge is to find out what it is: paper airplanes? miniature golf? crossword puzzles? And then you and your classmate can get together and help each other learn a new skill.

The Four Menches

The haggadah speaks of the Four Sons: the wise, the wicked, the simple and the one who doesn’t know how to ask. And on a good night in Hollywood, you can pick up all four. The first Saturday in March is a girls’ night out (with the understanding we intend to pull men). Elizabeth, Sasha, Sarah and I throw on low-cut tops, low-rise pants and do the L.A. barhop thing.

The night kicks off with dinner at Jones. The Wise Son, Scott, sits at the booth next to ours. The waitress-in-training serves this bright young man my seared ahi salad and brings me his loaded pizza. A serendipitous mistake. After straightening out our leggo-my-Eggo sitch, Scott offers to buy me a beer. And we’re rolling.

A consultant, Scott spent four years in investment banking, grabbed an MBA and is now a three-piecer. He’s sharp, sexy and proves to not only be business savvy but flirt savvy. By the time we finish dinner, I know I’d have fun searching for his afikomen. The feeling is mutual, and Scott asks for my number.

He must have taken notes in his B-school communications class, because he phones me that Monday. The Wise Son understands that the rules of dating apply to him and that a timely phone call is key. We head out on a date that Thursday.

I meet the Wicked Son, Marc, at North. This player, armed with a Nokia cell and a helmet of gel, spends more time getting ready than I do. He says this signless Sunset bar is as yesterday as an apple martini, and he’s only here because he knows the hostess.

Despite his slick exterior, there’s something seductive about him. We continue to chat and swap things in common. We like the same films, read the same books and run the same Santa Monica stairs.

The conversation goes well, and next thing I know, I’ve been hit by a smooth criminal. I laugh when he calls the bartender “chief” and smile when he hands me a lemon drop. He invites my gang to an after-hours party, and I coyly accept directions and his cell phone code.

Everything about Marc shouts “buyer beware.” He’s a staple at the Hollywood Hills party circuit, someone who’s always looking for TNBT (the next big thing) and TNNG (the next new girl). And when he finds her, he’ll toss me like yesterday’s Variety. My girls vote no against Proposition After-Party, but I hold onto Marc’s number. This Wicked Son believes dating rules apply to other men, not him. But what can one date hurt?

We girls head west down the strip to Red Rock, where we meet the Simple Son, Josh. This cutie with the tousled hair teaches fifth grade, surfs before class and spends weekends at the beach. His surfer-boy charm and no-worries ‘tude make me want to ride his wave home.

But Josh is a little slow on the draw. I’m flirting my heart out, but nothing seems to penetrate that sea-salt head. Finally, I buy a round of tequila shots. He asks “What is this?” And Sasha explains that women have been freed from the chains of chivalry. An interested girl can now buy a guy a drink. And just when we think all flirting fell flat, Josh scribbles his number on a coaster. Seems Simple Simon just needs things spelled out.

The Fourth, Ryan, is a yummy actor with a cute shankbone. We meet him in the 2 a.m. line at Pink’s. As the girls and I chow cheese fries, the 22-year-old toddler tells us about his plans to make it big. Fresh off the plane, this L.A. newbie brims with wonder, dreams and an incredible smile.

Compared to the bitter herbs Sarah usually meets, Ryan is really refreshing. It’s clear he’s into his Mrs. Robinson, but is too nervous to ask for her number. So the girls and I unleash the wily ways of L.A. dating on this innocent Midwestern boy. We pass along our knowledge of the rules, the game and Sarah’s number to the wide-eyed boy.

Sometimes it seems you need a candle, a feather and a wooden spoon to search out an eligible L.A. man. But more often than not, bedikat-mensch only requires a fun ‘tude, an open mind and a little red tank. In this sprawling city, there’s a new guy around every bar stool, and each is as different as the place you found him.

Now, I’ll admit that not all nights are as successful as that Saturday. But they have the potential to be. And that’s the fun of being single in this city. You never know what an adventure holds. Why will this night be different than all other nights? On all other nights, you turn up as empty as Elijah’s cup, but on this night, you might meet a man. Or in our case — four.

Parents Want Proof

The parents of Israeli soldiers kidnapped a year ago by Hezbollah are asking the World Jewish Congress (WJC) to help press their case.

The parents of Benny Avraham, one of three soldiers kidnapped along Israel’s northern border in October 2000, met Tuesday with WJC members attending the organization’s plenary assembly here. The meeting took place a day after Israel Defense Force (IDF) officials announced that Avraham and fellow soldiers Adi Avitan and Omar Souad most likely are dead.

Saying the family needs concrete evidence and not just words, Chaim Avraham asked the WJC to "push the government to release our children in whatever condition."

"What happened yesterday is ridiculous," Avraham said, referring to Israel’s surprise announcement. "I asked our prime minister, ‘Why do you come to us to tell us information that we already have, without giving us evidence, without the judgment of a rabbi, without real evidence that you can believe as a father and a mother that your son is not alive?’"

The fate of a fourth victim, Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum — who was kidnapped around the same time as the three soldiers, apparently in Europe — remains unclear.

The IDF chief rabbi, Brig. Gen. Yisrael Weiss, met with the families Wednesday to discuss his expected declaration that the three are fallen soldiers "whose burial place is unknown."

"I am still dealing with other components that will give me the maximum information to make a decision that is 100 percent certain," Weiss told the Israeli daily Ha’aretz on Tuesday after meeting with Israel’s chief rabbis, Yisrael Lau and Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron. "Therefore I request that time not be a factor that influences the decision."

Weiss also met with the spiritual leader of the Shas Party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv, a leading rabbi in the Ashkenazi Orthodox world. Islamic religious leaders also will be consulted because Souad, a Bedouin, is Muslim.

"It is more important to make the correct and desired decision that is acceptable to religious leaders in Israel," Weiss said.

All three of the families, however, have indicated that they don’t accept the IDF’s assessment, which is based on classified intelligence information apparently received in the last two weeks.

"Until we know it, our son is alive. We want to bring him back in any way that Israel can bring its children home," Avraham said.

For months, the United Nations denied Israeli allegations that the organization had a videotape, shot just after the incident, of blood-stained vehicles used in the kidnapping. Israeli officials ultimately were given limited access to the U.N. evidence.

The United Nations is "a joke," Avraham said. "And this is an organization that received the Nobel Prize."

On Wednesday, WJC members submitted a resolution calling on WJC members to urge their governments to press for information on the soldiers’ fate, and work for their return.

The WJC also proposed a resolution condemning the United Nations for withholding information about its videotape — in order, U.N. officials explained, to maintain neutrality between Israel and Hezbollah.

The chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Sallai Meridor, said that Israel should continue making every effort to bring the soldiers home or, if they are dead, to receive their bodies from Lebanon.

He also said Israel should publicize the fact that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, not a legitimate political party.

"I don’t want to advise the Israeli government on military issues, but the lesson should be taught that all free nations recognize that terror is a threat to us all," Meridor said.

Hezbollah refused to allow intermediaries or international organizations to visit the kidnapped soldiers, and demanded that Israel release all Lebanese and other Arab prisoners it holds in exchange for information on the soldiers.

Hezbollah dismissed the Israeli claim Monday that the soldiers were probably dead, saying it was an attempt to squeeze information out of the Islamic fundamentalist group.

Knesset member Avshalom Vilan, of the Meretz Party, said Israel should try to strike a deal with Hezbollah to exchange the Israelis’ bodies for corpses of Hezbollah fighters in Israel’s hands.

A military strike against the Hezbollah would be "playing into their hands," Vilan said.

"They behave like animals. They knew from the very beginning that these three soldiers are dead, but they tried to play a psychological game and force us to pay a heavy price just for the information," he said. "They abused the feelings of the three families and of Israeli society."