Community Briefs: Exponent Reporter Honored, JEVS Shooting, More

Mayer Kirshenblatt’s ‘The Black Wedding in the Cemetery’ from ‘They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust,’ by Mayer Kirshenblatt and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (University of California Press 2007) Courtesy of Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

Jewish Exponent Reporter Wins First Prize in 2020-21 Journalism Contest
Jewish Exponent reporter Sophie Panzer won a first place award in the 2020-21 SPJ Keystone Pro Chapter Spotlight Contest.

“History’s Lessons: Jewish Couple Wed in Graveyard to Stop 1918 Flu Pandemic,” which was published on Oct. 8, 2020, was selected in the feature story, non-daily category.
The article detailed a ritual known as black wedding or plague wedding in English that was an attempt by the Jewish immigrant community to stop the Spanish Flu pandemic raging that year.

“Fascinating history — revealing a hidden history. Well-written. The opening sets up the reader’s interest by posing a riddle — well done. Good parallel with today’s pandemic,” the judges wrote.

Shooting Occurs at Assisted Living Facility Owned by JEVS
A 71-year-old resident of an assisted living facility in Upper Gwynedd owned by Jewish Employment and Vocational Services was accidentally shot under his left eye by an employee on April 10, the Upper Gwynedd Township Police Department said.

The victim was transported to Abington Hospital — Main, then transferred to Jefferson Hospital and is receiving treatment.

Police said the employee, 25, was a caretaker at the facility for special needs adults at 271 Oakland Ave. The employee, who had worked there for about seven years, was handling a Glock 17, 9mm that he recently bought. While he was holding the gun, it discharged, striking the resident.

Neither the employee nor two other residents in the room at the time were injured.
Police said the employee is cooperating and is not in custody. The weapon was seized.
Police declined to identify the victim or the employee, citing the ongoing investigation, which is slated for review by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
JEVS declined to address specifics, also citing the ongoing investigation, but did issue a statement.

“Bringing firearms to work is a clear violation of our policies, and the caregiver has been terminated. We are cooperating fully with authorities. The care and safety of our residents and clients is our highest priority. Our hearts go out to our resident and the resident’s family,” the statement read in part.

Jewish Learning Venture Names Elana Rivel as CEO Starting on Sept. 1

Elana Rivel was named CEO of Jewish Learning Venture starting Sept. 1 by its board of directors, the organization announced on Facebook.

JLV provides programs and services that empower families to make Judaism more meaningful and relevant. Its programs include jkidphilly, Whole Community Inclusion and Jewish Education Leadership Development.

Rivel, who previously worked for JLV for 12 years, has served as a leader in Jewish nonprofit organizations ranging from Camp Ramah in the Poconos, Penn State Hillel, Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas and, most recently, as director of Ramah Day Camp in Philadelphia.

In her prior tenure at JLV, Rivel helped to develop and manage numerous initiatives, including One Book, One Jewish Community, jkidphilly and LeV: Getting to the Heart of Jewish Education.

“This is a critical time in our American-Jewish community as we move into post-pandemic living and I believe our families and our institutions will need even more guidance, support, networks and opportunities for growth and innovation.” Rivel said.

Rivel replaces Rabbi Philip Warmflash, who retired in 2020 after 27 years at the helm of JLV. Chief Strategy Officer Anna Marx and Chief Program Officer Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer served as interim leaders.

Bagel Delivery Services Gives Away 5,000 Bagels
New York Bagel Butler, which delivers New York-style bagels made on Long Island, New York, to parts of the Philadelphia area, has given away nearly 5,000 bagels since opening in June, according to 6abc.

“I kind of grew up eating bagels three times a week. I would bring back bagels from New York. I just kind of had this light bulb moment: ‘Why don’t I just make this into a business,’” said Anker, a Long Island native and a 2019 Drexel University graduate.

During his deliveries he stops at local organizations, including The Block Gives Back and the Ronald McDonald House, to volunteer and donate bagels

“It’s just very rewarding. It’s just a feeling you can’t get from anything else. It’s almost like you hit the lotto but it’s more, it’s better than hitting the lottery,” he said. “Food is so important. Food insecurity is unfortunately a rampant thing. If I’m able to help it one person at a time, one bagel at a time, I’m going to do that.”

Barry’s Buns to Open New Location in Wildwood Crest
The owners of Barry’s Buns in Chestnut Hill announced that they will open a new branch in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, starting on May 7.

The 900-square-foot space at 6107 New Jersey Ave., will feature the same menu as that at the Chestnut Hill location. That menu includes sticky buns, sticky bun bread pudding, cinnamon roll bites, babka loaves and Jewish apple cake, among other things.
Husband-and-wife owners Joel and Jen Singer had to close their location at the Bourse Food Hall in Old City in 2020 because of the pandemic.

— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb


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