Community Briefs: TBI to Host World Music Cafe May 11 and More


Penn Hillel Rabbi to Leave for Rhode Island

After eight years overseeing Penn Hillel, Rabbi Josh Bolton is leaving to serve as the executive director of the Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Hillel, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

Bolton was the Penn Hillel director and senior Jewish educator of the Jewish Renaissance Project. He starts in Rhode Island — Brown and RISD share a Hillel center — effective June 15.

At Penn, Bolton led numerous programs. Those included a fellowship called the Beren Greek Life Seminar and the Pincus Fellowship, where he led students in discussions about being Jewish in the 21st century.

Day School Students Visit Harrisburg to Lobby for Security Funding

Jewish day school students were among a group of more than 300 people meeting with Pennsylvania legislators in Harrisburg on May 7 to lobby for state funding for security in nonpublic schools.

The lobbying was being coordinated by Teach PA, which advocates for government funding for Pennsylvania’s nonpublic schools.

Philadelphia-area schools participating included Kohelet Yeshiva, Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, Perelman Jewish Day School, The Mesivta High School of Greater Philadelphia, Politz Hebrew Academy, Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia, Kosloff Torah Academy Girls’ High School and Abrams Hebrew Academy.

Zahav Wins James Beard Award

Israeli restaurant Zahav won the Outstanding Restaurant award on May 6 in Chicago from the James Beard Foundation, reported.

Zahav, which opened in 2008, is the brainchild of chef Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook and has been much-lauded over the years.

Solomonov and Cook previously won a James Beard award for their cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking. Two years ago, Solomonov won the outstanding chef award, and Zahav pastry chef Camille Cogswell was honored as the rising star chef of the year in 2018.

Holocaust Survivor Gunter Hauer Celebrates 100th Birthday

Holocaust Survivor Gunter Hauer received citations on May 7 from several local officials in celebration of his 100th birthday.

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, state Sen. Christine Tartaglione, state Rep. Jared Solomon and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker honored Hauer at the Philadelphia Protestant Home.

Gunter grew up in Berlin, but he and his family fled Berlin in 1939 and traveled by boat to Shanghai, where Gunter would eventually meet his wife. At 93, Gunter joined the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center’s (HAMEC) group providing eyewitness testimony to the impact of hatred and bigotry.

Rally Against Hate Crimes May 6 Promotes New Legislation

State Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172) held a rally May 6 in the Main Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg to promote the passage of H.B. 635, which would expand what constitutes a hate crime.

The bill would expand the offense of ethnic intimidation. It would include malicious intention against the actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity of another person or groups of people.

Boyle was joined by members of the state House and LGBTQ community, disability rights advocates and faith-based groups.

Herding Cats band members
Herding Cats (Photos courtesy of Tiferet Bet Israel)

TBI to Host Music Café Live on May 11

Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell will host its third Music Café Live event on May 11 starting at 8 p.m.

The event will feature Scot Sax, a pop song writer originally from Plymouth Meeting and a former congregant of the former Norristown JCC. Sax co-wrote the Grammy-winning “Like We Never Loved At All” performed by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

Also performing is TBI member Bonnie Warren, a songwriter who splits her time between Philadelphia and Nashville. She won the 2019 Song-of-the-Year Award in the Social Justice category of the Posi Music Festival. She also won the grand prize in the Pensacola Beach Songwriting Festival.

Finally, Herding Cats, a four-member Americana roots rock band founded by TBI Congregant Marc Bernstein, will perform. The band features Bernstein on bass guitar, Steve Bard on guitar and harmonica, Mike McCauley on electric guitar and mandolin, and Andy Fritz on drums.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, with admission including appetizers, beverages and dessert.

Caskey Torah Academy Reaccredited

The Caskey Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia has earned reaccreditation, according to the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools.

Accreditation is a voluntary process schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards. The process includes a self-study followed by peer review visits from fellow members. The visiting team makes its recommendations to the commissions, which then votes on accreditation.

“The Middle States accreditation process supports school leaders and teachers as they work collaboratively to develop a strategic plan designed to guide students toward the best possible outcomes,” Caskey Head of School Rabbi Isaac Entin said.


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