‘American and Israel: Politics and Belief’: A Thought-Provoking Rabbinical Forum Oct. 13


Rabbi David Nesson

Three prominent area rabbis will keynote a fascinating forum titled “America and Israel: Politics and Belief” on Tuesday, Oct. 13, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Morris County Library, 30 E. Hanover Ave., in Whippany. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), West Morris Section’s Our Jewish World, chaired by Melanie Levitan and Ellen Nesson.

This engaging and interactive forum will be led by Rabbis Menashe East, spiritual leader of Mount Freedom Jewish Center in Randolph; Ellie Miller, spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Or in Morristown; and David Nesson, spiritual leader of Morristown Jewish Center–Beit Yisrael.


Rabbi Menashe East

Each of the rabbis will give an opening statement, and then the discussion will proceed with questions from the audience. This gathering is especially timely in light of recent events in the Middle East, including the Iran nuclear deal, the rise of ISIS, and tensions between the United States and Israel.

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. For further information about NCJW, West Morris Section, visit www.ncjwwestmorris.org.

To register for this free forum, email melanielevitan@gmail.com.

Calling All Poets

Gail Fishman GerwinLet your poetic inspiration blossom at our upcoming Poetry Workshop, led by our resident poet Gail Gerwin. The next gathering of poets will be on Thursday, November 5, at 1:30 p.m., at a private home in Dover. This event is free and open to the public. For details, and to reserve a place at this inspiring poetry workshop, RSVP to stellahart@optimum.net.

Personal Giving Thank-You Brunch & Installation

We held a lovely Thank-You Brunch for donors to our Personal Giving Campaign and the Installation of Officers for 2015–2016. Installing officer Susan Coen, former co-chair of the New Jersey, NCJW SPA Network, toasted our Section’s many achievements over the past year.

Then Peggy Grow, head of the Soothing Paws Program at Morristown Medical Center, and her lovely therapy dog Lilly, a Lab/Golden cross, gave a special presentation about the Soothing Paws Program and what a difference the program makes in the lives of the patients and staff at the hospital. The Personal Giving Campaign was coordinated by Dorothy Cohen and Anne Gorman.



Maude DahmeMaud Dahme, a hidden child of the Holocaust and a champion of human rights around the world, told her story of triumphing over the anti-Semitism of Nazi Germany at the NCJW Diversity Contest Awards Ceremony at Morris Knolls High School in Rockaway.

Born in Holland in 1936, the speaker told the honorees that after the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and took control in 1940, military bases were established all around her town. “Gradually, life for the Jewish community became more and more restricted,” she recalled. “We were forced to wear a yellow star, with the word ‘Jood’ (Dutch for ‘Jew’) on it in black letters. We weren’t allowed to go to parks or restaurants or movies.”

When her family was warned about upcoming arrests of Jews by the Nazis, who had began deporting Jews to concentration camps in 1942, Maud was sent into hiding at age six. She and her four-year-old sister Rita were separated from their parents, who were helped by Righteous Rescuers in another town. “My parents told us we were ‘going on vacation,’ so at first we were very excited,” she notes. “Then someone came to our house at 3 a.m. and told us we were ‘leaving right now.’”

Photo Credit: Stella Hart Public Relations/Jen Costa

Once she and her sister were placed with a farm family they did not know, they had to answer to different names and they could never reveal that they were Jewish, even though they had come from an Orthodox Jewish family. “It was very scary and hard for us to understand. But if we had ever revealed our religion, that would have put the family who was sheltering us in tremendous danger,” she said. “They risked their lives for us.”

Altogether, she and her sister spent three years in hiding. They were shuttled to another family when word reached the farm where they were living that someone in the neighborhood had told the Nazis that Jewish children were living there. “There was a price on our heads,” she said. “But we survived because people cared.” She urged members of the audience to stand up for what was right to make a difference in the world, as those who sheltered her family did during the dark days of World War II.  Continue reading