ADL Honors Dr. Rachel Levine
The Anti-Defamation League honored Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine on Dec. 6 with its new Courage Award.
ADL Regional Director Shira Goodman told KYW Newsradio that Levine’s status as an openly transgender official and the way she has handled the pandemic inspired the organization to honor her.
“She has been attacked, she has been misgendered. She is Jewish and she has been called horrific things. She has been called a Nazi for the restrictions she has tried to put in place under the Wolf administration to protect Pennsylvanians during the pandemic. She has had threats from extremists,” Goodman said.
“She has just been steadfast in working for the people of Pennsylvania, standing up, not being afraid to be in public, to be in front of people and tell us what we need to know to give us the facts to help get us through this tough time.”
Gratz Partners With Carleton University
Gratz College and Carleton University of Ottawa, Canada, signed a memorandum of understanding on Dec. 8 that “forges a collaboration between the two schools, with a focus on Holocaust studies and international engagement,” according to a Gratz news release.
Possibilities include exchanging faculty and staff, student exchange programs and joint research projects.
“We are honored and excited to develop a partnership with one of the great universities in Canada,” Finkelman said. “The collaboration will make Gratz and Carleton stronger institutions by complimenting each other’s programs and strengthening international cooperation in higher education.”
Under the agreement, Gratz will work directly with the Max and Tessie Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies at Carleton, with students and faculty having access to Carleton’s libraries and archives. There also will be opportunities to join the center as research affiliates.
In exchange, Carleton faculty and students can access Gratz’s Holocaust Oral History Archive, which houses one of the largest collections of audiotaped testimony in the U.S.
Temple Sholom in Broomall Adds Menorah
Temple Sholom in Broomall on Dec. 11 lit for the first time a new Chanukah menorah created by congregants Rick and Sue Shandler and their children Bram and Eli.
Executive Director Abbey Krain said the menorah — which is made of copper, glass and other materials — is both a piece of art and a functional menorah. It uses propane tanks to light.
“When the ‘candles’ are lit, the display is absolutely magnificent,” Krain said. “The Shandlers designed and created this piece and it was truly a labor of love. They thought of everything, and the back of the chanukkiah is even outfitted with a fire extinguisher … just in case.
“We enjoyed lighting the chanukkiah in our parking lot, with all proper pandemic protocols for social distancing, on several night of the holiday,” she said.
Ohev Shalom of Bucks County Hosts Drive-Through Chanukah Event
On Dec. 6, Ohev Shalom of Bucks County hosted a Chanukah drive-through event, according to Barbara Glickman, the synagogue’s educational director.
The multigenerational interactive event included a social action component (donations for a food drive) and various Chanukah-themed activity stations, including Count the Dreidels, Flip the Latke, Sufganiyot Toss and Judah’s Jeopardy, as well as candle blessings with the synagogue’s religious staff.
About 200 Participate in Car Menorah Parade
Lubavitch of Greater Philadelphia reported that its annual car menorah parade on Dec. 12 was its largest ever locally, with about 200 cars bedecked with electronic menorahs gathering on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Because of the pandemic, however, the event was a bit different than usual.
As usual, the parade wound its way through Center City, stopping for Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, the regional director of Lubavitch of Philadelphia, to kindle the giant menorah opposite the Liberty Bell. Shemtov explained that Philadelphia was the site of the world’s first public menorah.
But this year, the parade continued to its final destination outside Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia.
Once there, cars parked and participants were entertained with a concert by the band 8th Day, which was projected on a large screen. Yeshiva students dressed up as huge dreidels distributed presents and individually wrapped nosh to those in their cars, as a fire juggler ended the show.