Challenging Nagging Questions as You Design Your Life­­­ Can’t be Avoided

No matter who you are, young or old, there are always times when someone poses a nagging question about your next step or decision in life. It is a situation that is almost hard to avoid.

Prosecutor for 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, National Security Writer, to be Honored by ZOA

It seems that no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, this year’s presidential election is a bizarre one.
“This is the most unique election that we’ve certainly had in modern history,” remarked a bemused Andrew C. McCarthy.
Usually hesitant to make sweeping statements like that, McCarthy — a contributing editor and writer for the National Review who is receiving the Ben Hecht Award for Outstanding Journalism at the Greater Philadelphia Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) 2016 Gala on Sept. 15 — remembered the “tumultuous” presidential election in 1968, which gave him pause to make broad generalizations about this year’s election.
“But I don’t recall in my lifetime seeing an election where the two candidates are so unpopular with the public,” he said.
McCarthy, who has authored several books such as Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad and The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America, started his journalism career a little more than 10 years ago following a successful years-long stint as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Even before that, he worked for the U.S. Marshals Service in the Witness Protection Program while he was going to Columbia University for his undergraduate degree. He went to law school at night and worked at the U.S. attorney’s office during the day as an intern, and he was hired soon thereafter.
He got into law following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who was also a New York prosecutor, and following his own passion.
He became something of a household name in 1995 as he led the prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, otherwise known as the “Blind Sheik,” who helped orchestrate the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Abdel Rahman and nine others were convicted, and future planned attacks were thwarted as a result of the investigation.
It’s a case that still affects McCarthy today.
“It was a life-altering thing to be asked to participate in because it was very different from any kind of law enforcement not only I but we had ever done,” he said. “We didn’t really have up until the World Trade Center was bombed any experience with systematic terrorism, international terrorism, where attacks on the U.S., on our home soil, were common. So we didn’t really have a legal architecture to deal with it, didn’t have a legal strategy to deal with it. … Over time, we started to realize it was more of a national security problem than a law enforcement problem.”
The aftermath of the Abdel Rahman case and the country’s response to the attacks are not dissimilar from what we are seeing today, he said.
“Ideologically, the threat was much different than what we were willing to acknowledge in the beginning,” he said. “The mistakes in the early ’90s are the same we’re making today.”
He worked in the field of national security for many years before switching gears and becoming a writer, which ended up being a way to blend his two biggest interests: writing and law.
“I get to do what I love to do and I have the rare privilege that many people don’t get of having a public platform to say what I think, rather than just say it to my friends or to the moon,” he laughed, “so it’s been a pretty good deal for me, I think.”
In addition to writing about politics and national security, he also frequently writes about Israel.
“I very strongly believe in supporting our only Western democratic ally in the world’s most threatening, troubling region,” he said, “but I also think it’s essential for the U.S. to show the world that we recognize who our friends are and act in an honorable way as far as our friends are concerned. And in Israel’s case, it’s not only a matter of doing the right thing by an ally, which derivatively helps us, it’s a fact of Israel’s survival.”
As far as Israel’s future depending on which candidate is next in the White House, he hopes that the next administration won’t focus as much on negotiations unless they really can be effective, which they haven’t been.
“They seem to think — and Obama in particular but the Bush administration did as well — ‘as long as we’re still talking, that’s a good thing,’” McCarthy said. “To my mind, if somebody’s taking a position that is barbaric, then talking to them is not a good thing because it signals to them that their barbarism is not unacceptable.”
While adding that he doesn’t want to make it a political issue as it’s a “bipartisan problem,” what he worries about with Israel and its relationship with the United States is that there has been perhaps some lenience on Washington’s part with Palestinian leaders when it comes to peace talks, and there are two rules everyone at the negotiation table should follow.
“One is, acknowledge the right of the party you’re negotiating with to exist because you can’t have a sensible negotiation where one side will be happy with nothing less than the destruction of the other side,” he explained, “and you can’t have people make their way to the negotiation table by terrorism. If we had stuck with those two very basic rules we’d be much further along than we are now.”
In regard to recent developments in the United States in countering terrorism, he isn’t so supportive.
With the recent observance of the 15th year since the 9/11 attacks and with threats today like the Islamic State, “we’re in the most dangerous time terrorism-wise that we’ve ever been in notwithstanding that some people seem to think we’re in better shape than 15 years ago,” he said. “The bottom line: If you compare where we are today to where we were right before 9/11, today we have double the problem.”
If jihadists had time and space, he said, “they will attack the West and Western interests and they’ve now got more time and space than they’ve ever had, so to me that’s double the threat.”
Through his writing, McCarthy inadvertently got involved with the ZOA, and is “floored” to be honored at its gala.
“I’ve been very pro-Israel in my legal-slash-national-security career and as a writer,” he said, “so I guess I have, without intending to ally with any organization in particular, had natural alliances with ZOA over the years because I feel very strongly from a policy perspective in what they support as their basic mission, and as a result over the years, we found ourselves on the same side [on] a lot of security questions.”
McCarthy will deliver a keynote address at the ZOA gala. Tickets are available at
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0740

Naf Naf Grill Offers East Coast a Taste of the Middle East, Plans Additional Local Outlets

A fire has started in King of Prussia.
But don’t worry — it comes with fries.
Naf Naf Grill — “naf naf” is slang in Israel for “to start a fire” — opened last week at 100 Main St., the first location on the East Coast for the company.
It celebrated its grand opening Sept. 6 with a free pita sandwich plus fries and a drink for customers, who were also greeted with a live DJ and free Naf Naf gear like sunglasses and T-shirts.
Cheers from employees echoed inside as they pumped each other up for the big day and welcomed the long line of guests that wrapped outside the door.
Originally based in Chicago with 15 locations, Naf Naf recently expanded to four additional grills in Minneapolis and one in Madison, Wis. Philadelphia marks its 21st location.
It is set to open more locations in the surrounding area by 2017: Mount Laurel, N.J., Marlton, N.J., Malvern and one at 1919 Market St. in Center City this October.
For Naf Naf co-founder Sahar Sander, the restaurant has been a longtime dream.
Sander moved to Chicago from Tel Aviv in 1991 with his parents. He was only 21 at the time and it was his parents’ decision to move closer to family and opportunities, but he found there was something missing: Israeli food and culture.
“This idea has been on my mind for a very long time, ever since I moved here in 1991,” Sander remembered. “I always wanted to bring my culture, my street food, to the States. And seven years ago, I was able to fund the first restaurant and merge with my partner, David [Sloan, Naf Naf co-founder],” who he said handles more of the behind-the-scenes financial parts of the business.
Sander grew up in a home full of hospitality, homemade Israeli salads and decadent barbecue, so food was always a part of his upbringing.
“Falafel, shawarma is like Starbucks [in Israel] on every corner,” he laughed. “And the nice thing about it, even back home, people always go back to what they’re used to. And I’ve seen it in the States. Twenty years ago, I used to drive 20 minutes to get good falafel and shawarma [in Chicago]. Now it’s around the corner — besides Naf Naf, there’s plenty of other restaurants in walking distance.”
Sander thinks the new King of Prussia location of the privately-owned company will do well — as evidenced by the line out the door.
“We don’t even do advertising,” he continued. “We sent out a couple memos and that’s it. But it’s all word of mouth, and I think it’s a great location.”
When it comes to the Naf Naf menu, Sander said they’ve kept it simple over the years.
“The food is great. It’s not traditional, it’s not really a trendy food — it’s real food. It’s rice, meat, bread — that’s going to stick around for a very long time.
“American consumers love it. It’s something that they’re not really familiar with, but once they try it, that’s it, it’s simple.”
Each restaurant has a bakery inside, and the pita bread is baked in-house daily, up to four times a day, to keep it really fresh. And that definitely goes a long way as the pita bread stood out from the sandwich — it’s light and airy and warm to the touch.
The restaurant has the modern atmosphere of other places like Chipotle with a create-your-own selection of veggies, meat and sauces.
Customers can choose between chicken or steak shawarma or falafel, varying in either a hummus bowl, a couscous, rice or salad bowl, or as a pita sandwich.
Sides like fries, lentil soup, basmati rice or baba ghanoush are also made fresh.
“The menu is very simple,” he continued. “The reason it’s simple is because we want to make it right. We actually simplified the menu about four or five years ago. We wanted to get great execution. So everything we have on the menu — there’s really only three items, which is the chicken shawarma, steak shawarma and the falafel.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to have great support, a great group of people, and the execution is very well, so everything is really good.”
Sander added that though this food reminds him of life in Israel, which he visits once or twice a year, the cuisine is overall just Middle Eastern.
“On our menu you can find items from Egypt, from Yemen, from Lebanon, from Israel,” he said.
“It’s a Middle Eastern food, and we’re a part of the Middle East,” he said. “We are partially Middle Eastern Jews or partially Ashkenazi Jews — the bottom line is it’s our culture, it’s everybody’s culture around the region, and we love to share it with everybody.”
Sander came up with the name Naf Naf from common Hebrew slang back home.
“Naf naf” (pronounced “nef nef”) had a nice ring to it, so he stuck with it.
“‘Naf naf’ means to ‘make fire, to start up a fire.’ It’s a slang for us in Israel to say, ‘Let’s go naf naf,’ ‘Let’s go start up a fire,’” he said. “I just wanted to have something to reflect to our culture. And ‘naf naf’ means ‘to start up the grill,’ so it’s pretty catchy.”
And since starting the business, that fire within Sander has not been extinguished.
“I was able to take something that I’m so passionate about, like the food and the culture and what I grew up with, and transfer it to the consumer, bring it to the people, share it with our customers, our workers,” he said. “For me, it’s a lot of passion. I don’t consider it a job. I’m fortunate enough to say it’s a hobby. I do it every day and I’m not getting sick of it. It means more than just a business.”
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0737

Somerton Synagogue’s Menorah Stolen Then Returned


The first surveillance video — some of it in black and white, some in color — shows a young man on the move.

Dressed in a black T-shirt, shorts and a backwards baseball cap, the man, who appears to be in his late teens or early 20s, runs across Tomlinson Road, grabs a large metal menorah off of the front lawn of Congregation Beth Solomon, and runs off with it. Throughout, he’s carrying a flagpole under his arm.

The video was made at 3 a.m. on Aug. 20, and shows a group of people walking in the background as the man perpetrates the theft. The man was apparently part of that group. Northeast Detectives released the video to the public in the hopes that the menorah would be returned.

“It got a lot of media coverage in the last night, I was hoping somebody would come forward,” said the 7th District’s Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum, who speculated that taking the religious symbol was just a drunken prank. “They were stealing stuff all up and down the street,” he said of the group in the video, who also took a bike in addition to the flagpole.

Rabbi Solomon Isaacson, who founded Congregation Beth Solomon, said, “It’s a very emotional thing because it was donated by someone in memory of his mother,” adding that the menorah is an important symbol of Judaism in the neighborhood.

He said he did not believe the theft was an anti-Semitic incident, however.

“There was no malicious intent. It was just kids having a good time,” he said. “Maybe they were high on dope, on marijuana.”

Both Lt. Rosenbaum and Rabbi Isaacson hoped that the media coverage would compel the group of friends to return to the menorah — and that seems to be exactly what happened.

A second surveillance video shows a different young man, his face blurred, returning the menorah in the middle of the night. When the rabbi arrived at 6 a.m. on Sept. 8, he saw it was back.

“We’re very pleased. It’s already being lit, and it’s being used again. Two bulbs were broken probably just in their schlepping it around,” he said, but noted that otherwise it’s in good shape. “We’re overjoyed.”

The police continue to investigate the theft.

Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0747

Your Words Ought to Reflect the Feelings Present in Your Heart

Parshat Ki Teitzei
We live in a talk-saturated world.
Spoken, often shouted, words accompany, and sometimes bombard, us wherever we go. Announcements and pronouncements, analyses and debates, idle chatter and friendly conversation, and, yes, even a little gossip, fill the airwaves and ear-ways of our lives.
There’s no getting around it; we spend a lot of time talking.
We spend less time talking about how we talk, and even less thinking about how we might wish to speak to one another.
Parshat Ki Teitzei has a powerful set of things to say on those themes. Lodged at the geographic center of a parasha that details no fewer than 72 mitzvot (nearly 12 percent of all the commandments in the Torah), we encounter these words about the use, and misuse, of words.
“When you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not put off fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will require it of you, and you will have incurred guilt; whereas you incur no guilt if you refrain from vowing. You must fulfill what has crossed your lips and perform what you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God, having made the promise with your own mouth” (Deuteronomy 23:22-24).
Vows are verbal promises made to God, often expressions of gratitude for divine help, and thus constitute a specialized form of speech. Interpreters and commentators from the very beginning derive principles and guidance about talk and words in general from the Torah’s statements about vows.
The early rabbis notice seemingly repetitive phrases in Deuteronomy’s language: “You must fulfill what has crossed your lips …” and “having made the promise with your own mouth.”
The words have crossed your lips and the promise was made with your mouth. Why the need to say the same thing twice? In order to teach us that our mouths and our hearts should align! (Midrash Tana’im)
Here’s a beautiful lesson: Your inside and your outside are meant to match. The words that come out of your mouth ought to reflect what resides in your heart. How often do we say things that we don’t really mean, or mean things that we don’t really say? Until your mouth and your heart align, teach the rabbis, you’ve not said anything at all (Mishnah Terumot 3:8).
Or, as Maimonides summarizes the principle, “the rule among us is that the conclusion of one’s heart should emerge from one’s lips.” Mean what you say; say what you mean.
Ki Teitzei’s verses about vows closely resemble an earlier commandment in the book of Numbers. “If a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips” [Numbers 30:3]. The Hebrew phrase translated as “he shall not break his pledge” reads lo yahel d’varo, and from that formulation the early rabbis derive another important concept. “Do not make your words commonplace (hullin),” which is to say, do not cheapen or devalue your words. Hold your own words in high esteem.
Rashi pushes the thought a bit farther by transposing hullin — commonplace to hillul — desecration. Make sure your words do not become a vehicle for profaning God’s name. Recognize, in the words of the Sefat Emet, that “the power of speech is holy.” Torah came to us in spoken words. Words, badly used, can destroy and do harm; words, well used, can build and create and heal. Are our words desecrations or are they vessels of sanctity and godliness?
The Sefat Emet brings us back to Ki Teitzei.
“The mouth,” he teaches, “is the most inward of our limbs; all the breath and the inward self come out as we open our mouths. That is why the mouth needs special guarding … that is why this mitzvah requires full-time duty — day and night — because the opening of the mouth needs to be so guarded. The very root of a person’s life is in that inner breath. Guarding this stands at the root of all one’s deeds … the rest of our deeds all depend upon guarding the mouth.”
That last statement is powerful. How we speak determines everything. Our mouths and lips serve as the point of connection between our inner lives and the outside world. That spot needs special attention — guardianship, in the Torah’s language, full-time duty (tamid) in the Sefat Emet’s phrase.
We read Ki Teitzei each year right in the middle of the month of Elul, always just a few weeks before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Its lessons about how we speak are here, I suggest, to prepare us for the Yamim Nora’im.
As we focus on what is in our hearts, Ki Teitzei reminds us to attend to what comes out of our mouths as well. Mind your words; there’s a whole lot riding on them.
Rabbi David Ackerman is the rabbi at Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley. The Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia is proud to provide the Torah commentary for the Jewish Exponent.

ABC Contributor Shares Her Life-Changing Words With Einstein Healthcare Network

Tory Johnson had a choice to make: lose weight or lose her job.
Granted, the decision wasn’t so forcefully cast upon her — her TV boss gently suggested that “you don’t look your best, I want to send you to a stylist” — but Johnson reached a point in her life where she accepted change.
“I realized no matter what clothes I wear, I need to lose weight,” said Johnson, a contributor for ABC’s Good Morning America. “She was being nice, and I recognized that. The only solution that can come is not from a stylist but from me.”
And after a year, that shift was the best choice for her.
Johnson later documented her 62-pound weight loss in her book The Shift, which prompted her keynote address for the Great Thinkers Series last week as part of Einstein Healthcare Network’s celebration of its 150th year.
This talk, titled “Conversations: Words That Can Change Lives,” at the National Museum of American Jewish History, focused on conversations and how we communicate.
Other speakers and panelists included Ronnie Polaneczky, Philadelphia Daily News columnist; Jenice Armstrong, pop culture critic and Philadelphia Daily News columnist; Janet Ko, M.D., assistant program director of the Einstein OB/GYN Residency Program; Ann Whitehouse, Psy.D., Einstein bariatric program psychologist; and Douglas McGee, D.O., Einstein chief academic officer.
Johnson, who is well known for her money-saving, bargain-finding “Deals and Steals” segment, shared her story of how that one subtle conversation changed her life for the better.
She recalled one of her earliest memories was eating a Happy Meal with her mother at McDonald’s where she learned she’d become a big sister. At her wedding, she wore a navy suit instead of a white wedding dress because she didn’t want to look like a “giant marshmallow.” She even admitted to herself that she hadn’t been to the doctor in 10 years.
She used to think “whatever happens on the road stays on the road,” but discovered “what happens on the road stays on your ass.”
But she stopped making excuses and gave in to change.
She didn’t count calories or follow a diet points program. She just made good choices, ate less and moved more.
And for her, that didn’t include cheat days.
“For me, rewarding healthy eating with a cheat day is akin to an alcoholic celebrating a month of sobriety with a beer,” she said.
In The Shift, Johnson outlined her five steps to “shifting” toward success for any type of personal or professional change: Figure out how fed up you are that you’re willing to make a change, decide what you’re willing to give up to make that change, make a clear and concise plan, be accountable for your changes, and develop patience and celebrate little successes.
Although the change came in small, gradual steps over a year, her 62-pound success — or as her son joked, the equivalent of two of their family beagle, Marley — was worth it, she said.
Johnson still looks back on that first conversation, not exactly sure what motivated her.
“I think that she told me what I needed to hear at the time that I needed to hear it, and I was somehow ready to hear. And I don’t know if the same conversation a year earlier, 10 years earlier, would have made the same difference, but she came to me with a problem and a solution.”
Successes showed up in other forms for Johnson, too.
She incorporated a treadmill desk at work. She wore her first white dress ever on Good Morning America, which shocked her 17-year-old daughter, who had never seen her mother wear any dress before.
And in the spirit of reinvesting in self-care, she returned to the doctor.
“I was probably the only patient who ever went into the office like, ‘Do every test on me, I’m so excited to be here!’”
Even with Jewish holidays approaching, Johnson said she won’t falter.
But one thing she does miss from holiday tables: matzah.
“It’s the one thing that everyone in my house eats … with different concoctions that they put on their matzah, and it’s the most delicious. But it’s the one thing I won’t do because I have memories of having a piece of matzah, and then a box of matzah, and I’m just not going to go there. So I’ll have an extra piece of brisket instead,” she laughed.
But throughout this whole process, Johnson made it clear that she is still “a work in progress. There’s no end date, there’s no finish line. It’s just sort of like every day counts.”
“The past doesn’t have to dictate the future. If you want to change something about yourself, you can do it. It’s not easy — changing is hard. But it’s doable and you’re worth it. Too often we give up because we want an instant fix. And when that doesn’t happen fast enough, we just give up. … You’re worth giving yourself the benefit and beauty of time to make a change.”
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0737

After 35 Years, Sara Garonzik Ready for New Role

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 11.07.01 AM.png
Sara Garonzik

In college, Sara Garonzik went on a date at the Pocket Playhouse, saw three one-act plays and left feeling transformed.

While the date did not lead to a second outing with the boy — whom, Garonzik laughed, she barely remembers other than he was more interested in getting a drink after than discussing the plays — it did lead to a long-lasting relationship with an area she hadn’t really thought about before: theater.

“There was some sea change in me that said theater is not about glitz and Broadway and dancing and singing,” said Garonzik, executive producing director of the Philadelphia Theatre Company, who recently announced her departure after 35 years. “It was about real things, and when you walk out of there you could be somewhat changed and it could stick with you for a really long time. And that’s when the first little plate shifted into place.”

Growing up in Mount Airy and graduating from Girls’ High School, where she was a member of the Jewish sorority Tau Epsilon Chi, and later Temple University, Garonzik was in a graduate program for Spanish at the University of Pennsylvania when she decided on a whim to join a theater company despite no prior experience.

Soon after, she dropped out of graduate school — much to her parents’ chagrin, she chuckled — and trained to be an actress. She then turned to directing and eventually producing. She started working for PTC, becoming its artistic director in 1982, and later became its producing director in 1990.

And now she’s ready for a nice, long vacation.

“Well, it’s 35 years,” she laughed, explaining why she decided to leave now. “The last few years have been kind of tough sledding — although we have triumphed and prevailed. When we got our theater back last September, and we owned it again and repurchased it with the help from [Ralph and Suzanne Roberts and their family] and others, I really viscerally kind of relaxed and I thought, ‘This marks the end of this struggle we’d been having for the last couple of years.’

“I thought, I can finally foresee a time when I would like to still do theater, still make theater, but not have quite the administrative responsibilities for an organization as I had been having these past many years and that it would be OK if I did that.”

Since she joined PTC in 1982, she has seen the company go through its ups and downs, most notably, in 2007 when, after 25 years of being housed at the Plays and Players Theatre by Rittenhouse Square, the company bought the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Lombard Street — which, despite it being nearly 10 years old, Garonzik still affectionately calls “the new theater” — and was faced with a large mortgage.

The plan had been to pay it off quickly with the help of naming opportunities, which would lead to big gifts, but then the recession in 2008 struck. The opportunities to secure those naming gifts “evaporated.”

After a series of financial struggles, including a foreclosure in 2014, PTC officially repurchased the theater in September 2015.

“It took us three years to clean that up and get the theater back, with tremendous support from principally the Roberts family, we can never thank them enough, ever,” Garonzik said. “With them and also help from other members of the community … now we’re on a level playing field with everyone else.”

But despite the downs, for Garonzik, there are plenty more ups to look back on.

For instance, those include witnessing the growth of the regional theater scene between the 1970s and today, and forging relationships with artists and playwrights like Terrence McNally. He has had multiple premieres at PTC, including the Tony Award-winning Master Class and one of those one-act plays from Garonzik’s date.

And most importantly, the theater has produced new and contemporary American works that have meaning to the community.

“There was always a sense of social purpose to the plays that we do,” Garonzik said. “Not just that we kick up our heels and have a good time, certainly we do work that’s just a lot of fun, but I guess I’ve always felt that I like a little bit of social justice in with my art. If you’re going to spend all this money and time and give your heart and soul to producing work, it has to be meaningful.

“It has to stimulate a conversation that is greater than just what you’re seeing in the theater. It needs to carry over to you and your lives and your community and give you something to think about, so that has always been a real part of what we do.”

Certainly the 2016-2017 season will see this mission through, as it opens Sept. 23 with Rizzo, a play about polarizing ex-Philly mayor Frank Rizzo.

“Art is just a tremendous vehicle for stimulating ideas,” Garonzik continued. “Art is the first responder to what happens in the world socially and politically. So it’s our job to be the radar of what’s going on and to articulate it and put it out there for the world. That’s what art’s job is in a large way.”

In her 35 years, she has seen change in the growth of regional theater in the city as well as the audiences. Amid the sweeping complaints that theater is dying and the audiences are aging out, Garonzik has seen one demographic’s interest grow: millennials.

“In terms of the work, millennials are probably more adventurous than we think,” she noted. “In terms of their tastes. It’s dangerous to write them off as a bunch of tweeting, Snapchatting, Instagram-using 20-year-olds who don’t know what they’re doing — they know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re very mindful of the kind of experience they want to have, which has something to do with relevance and authenticity.”

She has seen big changes in the ways audiences, not just millennials, engage with theater and she’s had to adapt.

So needless to say, PTC has been a valuable learning experience for Garonzik, who will receive the Barrymore Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

“We’ve always moved ahead to exciting new phases, so I have never for one second in time been bored and I’ve never not learned something,” she said.

As she prepares to leave sometime during the 2016-2017 season and do some traveling — “I haven’t taken a vacation longer than one week for about 12 years!” — there is one thing she hopes people understand: She is not retiring.

“I’m getting, like, a zillion emails like, ‘Congratulations on your retirement.’ I just get back to them as fast as I possibly can: ‘I am not — n-o-t, underline, bold, italics — retiring.’ I will do other things, but I am not retiring. I have no desire to retire whatsoever, none,” she laughed.

Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0740

NMAJH Exhibit Ties Bill Graham’s Jewish Past and Music Genius Together

The Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution opens this weekend at the NMAJH and runs through Jan. 16.

Newsmakers, the Week of Sept. 15, 2016

Longtime employee benefits and compensation attorney Barry L. Klein has joined the Philadelphia office of Chamberlain Hrdlicka. A 30-year legal veteran, Klein was a partner at Blank Rome LLP prior to joining the Conshohocken-based firm.
Immediate past president at Ohev Shalom of Bucks County, Klein now serves on its board of directors. The University of Pennsylvania graduate earned his law degree from Temple University, where he is now an adjunct professor in the graduate tax program.
Dennis I. Markowitz is the new president of the Buxmont chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Tax & Accounting Professionals. The Langhorne native, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Temple University in accounting, had been vice president.
Markowitz is the founder, treasurer and member of the board of directors of Bustleton Somerton Synagogue in Northeast Philadelphia, which eventually became Congregations of Shaare Shamayim.
A 52-year veteran tax accountant who recently retired from Southampton-based Financial Group Plus, which he founded, Markowitz will handle the overall and day-to-day leadership of more than 450 CPAs, public accountants, enrolled agents and tax practitioners in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Lafayette Hill resident Michael E. Bertin of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP was appointed to the board of managers of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. A member of Congregation Or Ami in Lafayette Hill, he’ll serve a three-year term.
The second vice chair of the Family Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and a previous chairman, Bertin has authored several pieces and lectured on a number of family law topics.
Howard Brod Brownstein, former chairman of JEVS Human Services and a nationally known crisis management expert, was named to the board of directors of A.M. Castle & Co. He also is president of the Brownstein Corp., where he’s spent more than 20 years in a partnership/senior executive role for turnaround management firms.
A former board member of Jewish Family and Children’s Service and the Solomon Schechter School, in addition to being a past trustee of the Federation of Jewish Agencies, Brownstein has served in a number of capacities on behalf of debtors, lenders and creditors. The Harvard University graduate, who later attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, has published numerous books, articles and chapters and serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Corporate Renewal.


Obama Makes Campaign Stop on Behalf of Clinton


President Obama addressed a partisan crowd on Sept. 13 in front of the "Rocky" steps.