Friendship, Solidarity, and Support – Stop the Sirens


We can’t silence them. But we can try and soften their impact on the lives of the children and families living under their blare.

Hamas’ upgraded military capabilities put the vast majority of Israel’s population within range of rocket fire. But all of Israel is within reach of our work.

afplivefive947182[1]Tuesday night thousands of children were read bedtime stories in bomb shelters. With your help, we can take them out of harm’s way for a day of normal play.

Wednesday, the Nachum family in Netivot emerged from their home bomb shelter—only to find that their house was destroyed. Federation funds provide the Nachum’s, and thousands of victims of terror like them, with the money and support to begin rebuilding.

And this morning, the 15 second warning siren that rang out in Be’er Sheva, was not long enough for a 70 –year old wheelchair bound resident to make it to a shelter. So for now, she must live in one. Federation partner programs are her sole lifeline to food and medicine and human contact.

During every time of hostility or need, in virtually every town in Israel, every day, you will find a piece of Federation at work. Helping those who need it the most. Making sure no one falls through the cracks.


Support Federation’s Israel Emergency Campaign by
making your checks payable to:

Israel Emergency Campaign
Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania

601 Jefferson Avenue
Scranton, PA 18510

For further information call 570-961-2300 or email

The Jewish Agency Gives Many Southern Children a Break

Reprinted Courtesy The Yeshiva World

The Jewish Agency for Israel will take thousands of children and teens from rocket-battered southern Israel for rest and recreation activities outside the line of fire throughout this week. The activities were made possible by the support of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and are being undertaken in coordination with the National Emergency Authority, government ministries, and local authorities. 1,500 children and teens will enjoy recreational activities on Monday 16 Tammuz at the Cheftziba amusement park; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and the Biblical Zoon.

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said: “It is both moving and inspiring to feel the mighty fortitude of the people of southern Israel—both immigrants and native Israelis—and the powerful solidarity of world Jewry, which draw upon and strengthen one another. The Jewish Agency is proud to serve as a conduit of positive energy between the Jewish world and the people of Israel’s south and we will continue to do whatever we can to support the local residents during this trying time. Thanks to the immediate action of our partners at the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod-UIA, The Jewish Agency is able to offer a real-time response to the residents of southern Israel.”

The children and teens who will participate in The Jewish Agency’s rest and recreation activities are in 1st through 12th grades and are residents of the Ofakim, Shafir, Lachish, Be’er Tuvia, Gan Yavne, and Yoav regional councils, as well as recent immigrants from Jewish Agency immigrant absorption centers in Be’er Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, and Shaar HaNegev. They will enjoy activities at the Cheftziba amusement park; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and the zoo.

In addition to the recreational activities, The Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror continues to offer immediate financial assistance to families affected by rocket attacks and other acts of terror. The financial aid of 4,000 NIS is meant to help the families cope with their immediate needs in the aftermath of their trauma and has been distributed to families across southern Israel in recent days.

The Fund is sustained by contributions from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Keren Hayesod-UIA, and other donors. In addition to the immediate assistance, the Fund provides supplemental financial assistance of up to 25,000 NIS to families recognized as victims of terror by the government of Israel.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

- See more at:

Governor Tom Corbett Signs Holocaust Education Legislation Into Law – Act 70 of 2014

PA JEwish Coalition

Governor Tom Corbett Signs Holocaust Education Legislation Into Law – Act 70 of 2014

Press release for immediate release June 26, 2014

The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) commends Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett for signing into law legislation to encourage Pennsylvania schools to teach the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights violations.

House Bill 1424 (now called Act 70 of 2014), sponsored and championed by House of Representative Majority Education Chairman Paul Clymer, encourages schools to teach their students about the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights violations by having the state develop strong curriculum options to teach these subjects, distribute these curriculum options to all school districts, train teachers to teach this subject effectively, assess schools’ use of these resources, and assure that every school district is offering these subjects to their students.

“Pennsylvania’s Jewish community applauds Governor Tom Corbett for signing this important legislation into law,’ commented Matt Handel, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition. ‘Act 70 of 2014 ensures that Pennsylvania students will receive the best possible education about the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights violations. This curriculum will be developed with experts in the field and teachers will be trained to use it well. The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition wishes to thank Governor Corbett and the many Senators and Representatives who have played an essential role in helping to move this legislation into law.”

“Educating our students about our world’s historic atrocities creates an understanding of the need for tolerance and an understanding of the consequences of bigotry and hate’ continued Mr. Handel. ‘We must never forget the horrors of what has happened, so that we do not allow these tragic chapters of history to be repeated.”


The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) is the eyes, ears, and voice in Harrisburg of the Jewish communities across Pennsylvania, including Jewish Federations in Altoona, Erie, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Wilkes-Barre, and York.
Contact: Hank Butler:

50 Years of the Parade: Jubilee and Gold

The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania joined the thousands who marched down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on Sunday June 1, 2014.

The weather was perfect and spirits ran high as participants, old and new, boarded the bus which picked up marchers in Scranton and East Stroudsburg. Many people have been marching with us since the Federation started joining the parade in 2008 and they commented that this was the nicest march for them.

The theme of the parade was “50 years of the Parade”. Our group’s sub-theme was based on the verse in Leviticus announcing the 50th year as a time “to proclaim liberty throughout the land and its inhabitants”. Our T-shirts depicted the Liberty Bell which has this verse etched on it. We also carried pictures of many of the medical and technological innovations that Israel has given the world. Of course, Israeli flags were carried as well.

After marching and spending time watching the parade from the sidelines, our charter bus took us to Teaneck, N.J. where everyone found their favorite kosher restaurant and shopped the many shops along Cedar Lane.

Our marchers were Jeanne Blom, Phil Cutler, Dassy Ganz, Rick Gelb, Asher and Mindy Grossman and family, Mrs. Linda Grossman, Dr. and Mrs. Joel and Leah Laury and family, Michael and Miriam Litvak and family, Gwen Pole, Becky and family, Mark Silverberg, executive director of the Federation (Scranton). The Poconos marchers were Bernie Driller, Joe Fisch, Lily Harter, Mel Kaplan, Richard Keleman, Betsy Kosmerl, Lois LaBarca, Sara McGowan and family, Rabbi Boruch Melman, Gene Scneider, Al Shivers, Al and Carol Sitroon, Donna Waite and Frank Wholey.

The Jewish Federation thanks Mr. Barth Rubin of the Budget Inn and Suites for his continued support of this event.

Many thanks to Rabbi Moshe Saks, Leah Laury and Becky for their expertise in our preparations for the parade.

Thank you to Mark Silverberg and Dassy Ganz and the Jewish Federation of NEPA for continuing excellent programming.

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2014 Mission to Harrisburg: The Best of Pennsylvania’s Capital

A delegation of 15 members of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania visited our state capital on Monday April 28, 2014. The mission was organized and presented by Hank Butler, executive director of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC) with a full agenda for the participants.

Upon arrival, coffee and cakes were served as the group settled in the Democratic caucus room for a series of presentations by many state senators and representatives. Hank introduced Sen. John Blake, state senator for Lackawanna County, whom we have met before on other missions. Sen. Blake greeted us and gave us an overview of topics currently under discussion and vote, most notably a potential mandate for Holocaust education in the Commonwealth public schools. He easily took questions and comments from our group.

Secretary of Aging, Brian Duke, next spoke. He talked about the current status of Pennsylvania’s commitment to its aging population, noting that Pennsylvania is the fifth “grayist” state in the country. Interestingly, he mentioned a documentary made by University of Scranton professor, Dr. Hauser, about the issue of aging in place. Our own Jewish Family Service is featured in this film as well interviews with some of our JCC SAC club members.

Other visitors included Jewish members of the State Legislature, Senators Andrew Dinniman and Judy Schwank and Representative Dan Frankel.

Sid Michael Kavulich, of our region, stopped by before we left to attend the Pennsylvania State Civic Holocaust Remembrance held in the governor’s office.

The memorial gave us a chance to reflect on the Holocaust and to remark on the passing of our good friend, Sam Rosen, who always attended this program. His son, Ray, lit a candle in his memory.

We enjoyed a boxed lunch before heading out on a tour of the capital building, probably the most beautiful state capital building in the country.

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All who participated enjoyed the company, appreciated the education and marveled at the tour. Thank you to the Federation and to Dassy Ganz for organizing this trip.

The Celebrate Israel Parade Celebrates 50 years of the Parade

The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania will proudly join the thousands of marchers at the annual Celebrate Israel parade in New York City.

This year’s theme is “50 years of the Parade” and organizers have asked each marching group to acknowledge the number 50 in their banners and T-shirts.

We have chosen to focus on the Biblical verse announcing the “fiftieth year to proclaim liberty in the land”(Leviticus 25:10). Our banner will have the verse in both Hebrew and English and our T-shirts will have the famous Liberty Bell (on display in another Pennsylvania city) and its famous “proclaim liberty” quote on it.

We also hope to carry photos of many of the contributions Israel has made to the world in the areas of art, science and technology and spirituality.

Of course, we will be marching under the banner of the Jewish Federation of NEPA.

As always, after the parade our participants enjoy time in beautiful Teaneck, N.J. where they shop and dine in one of the many kosher restaurants available.

Cost of the day is only $15 per person.

Please contact Dassy Ganz at 570-961-2300 x2 for further information or to make your reservation.

Federation’s Meet the Authors Program – A Huge Success

Michael and Susan Diamond, of Clarks Summit, opened their beautiful home to host the Jewish Federation’s Meet the Authors event featuring authors Joani Ascher of New Jersey and Keith Gilman of Scranton.

About 25 people sampled Susan’s delectable refreshments including a selection of kosher wine. When both authors arrived the very congenial group settled in the Diamond living room to listen first to Joani and then to Keith as they told us about how they started writing, how they developed their style and genre and how the business end of writing works as well.

Joani is the author of six mystery novels whose protagonist is a Jewish soccer mom who finds mysteries to solve in her own community. Keith also writes mysteries of a grittier nature based on his experiences as a 20-year veteran of the police force.

Questions and comments abounded after the formal presentations and both authors brought books to sign and sell. All were impressed with our authors professionally and truly enjoyed spending the afternoon with them.

We especially were fortunate to have Irving and Florence Gilman, Keith’s parents, join us for the program.

Thank you to Michael and Susan Diamond and to authors Joani Ascher and Keith Gilman.

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Meet The Authors Joani Ascher and Keith Gilman

Please join us for
Light Refreshments
and to
Meet The Authors

Joani Ascher and Keith Gilman

Sunday, March 23rd at 1:00
at the home of
Susan and Michael Diamond
6 Chatham Hill Circle
Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

Sponsored by
The Jewish Federation of NE PA

Please respond to
or phone 570.961.2300 x2

JoanibiopictureJoani Ascher is the author of six books set in a fictional small town in New Jersey, similar to the one where Joani lives. She will be speaking about her books, which feature amateur sleuth Wally Morris.  Wally is a Jewish nursery school teacher who is always busy with something, whether it is teaching the students in her class, caring for her family, or solving a local problem. She is nearly as busy as Joani, who when not writing books, raises puppies for The Seeing Eye®, works in the children’s room of a local library, is a cooking captain in her synagogue’s Kitchen Cabinet, and is a member of her sisterhood board.

Joani’s books will be available for purchase as well as signing.

_MG_7041WEBA native of Scranton, Keith Gilman has been a police officer in the Philadelphia area for nearly twenty years and his writing is a reflection of that experience. He has always believed that cops have important stories to tell, stories that need and deserve a
strong voice. Readers want to know how cops think. They want to know what cops know. They want to know what makes them tick, what they dream about at night, their loves and fears, how they balance their roles as cops, fathers, friends and finders of truth.Keith is the author of three novels: Father’s Day; My Brother’s Keeper and Bad Habits. His first novel, Father’s Day, won the Private Eye writers of America’s Best First Novel Award.

All three of Keith’s books will be available for sale and signing.

BTA breakfast asks “How do I make a difference”?

BTA -Prof Schaps 001Ziv Ben-Dov of Out-of-the-Box Therapy in Scranton was the co-sponsor with the Jewish Federation at the 2014 winter breakfast held at the Scranton JCC.

After a delightful buffet breakfast, Mr. Ben-Dov began by showing a video clip of the famous philosopher and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl. Frankl discussed the importance of having a moral compass and that it is imperative to aim high in the hopes of achieving even the basics in the proper level of goodness and morality. If one doesn’t reach for the stars, he is bound to land way below what is necessary for society to exist.

Ziv then brought the conversation to the assembled business people and challenged them by asking what they do in their daily living, both at home and in their professions that keep them on the track of morality and decency. Many of the attendees jumped in with questions and comments including how we pass these proper values on to the next generation.

As always, each attendee had an opportunity to introduce himself/herself and their business. Welcome to Andrew Katz of Katz Financial, Lake Ariel PA.

The NEPA Business and Trade Alliance is a project of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern PA under the guidance of Becky Schastey. For further information or to join the BTA go to

Professor Malka Schaps wows the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Close to fifty people sat mesmerized as Professor Malka Schaps told her life story- the story of Mary Elizabeth Kramer of Ohio who converted to Orthodox Judaism, who holds a PhD in Mathematics from Harvard University, who lives in the Ultra-Orthodox community of Bnai Brak in Israel, who is a novelist and who has been appointed as Dean of Exact Sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer sciences) at Bar-Ilan University.

With humility, wit, and sheer brilliance, Professor Schaps gave an overview of her personal journey. The audience was spellbound listening to the professor sharing her discovery of Judaism as the true faith and the twists and turns she had to endure to get to the goal of her conversion.

She and her husband, Professor David Schaps, moved to Israel to join the academic community after they received their PhD degrees from Harvard (she in mathematics and he in the classics).  While working in academia, Malka Schaps raised two children and fostered four more. She also began a side career writing novels and non-fiction for the Orthodox Jewish audience under the pen name “Rachel Pomeranz”. This past November, she was appointed to the prestigious post of Dean of Exact Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, the first Orthodox woman to do so.

One of the professor’s proudest accomplishments is the development of a program/curriculum in Financial Mathematics which is being used throughout the State of Israel. Malka Schaps said “this is probably my biggest contribution to the State of Israel”.

Her inspiring presentation left people wanting more.

“I’d love to spend more time with her.”

“I’d love to have her at my Shabbat table.”

“For someone so brilliant, she is very modest, very unassuming.”

“I could have listened and asked questions for another hour”.

When I mentioned to Professor Schaps that people found her humble, she replied, “Strange as it seems, being a mathematician can be a job encouraging humility.  I am constantly dealing with people who are conspicuously smarter than I am.”

Many thanks to the Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania for sponsoring this event. Co-sponsors were Dr. Shaya and Phyllis Barax, Shlomo and Deborah Fink and Dr. Nancy Willis.

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