JTNews | May 14, 2010

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JTNews | The Voice of Jewish Washington edition for May 14, 2010.


<p>a j e w i s h t r a n s c r i p t p u b l i c a t i o n n $ 2 . 0 0insidenew atwww.jtnews.netvol . 86, no. 10 n fri day, may 14, 2010 n 1 si van 5770 n j tnews. netMorris MalakoffJTNews CorrespondentIn 1995, Jewish Family Service moved into its cur-rent Capitol Hill location on 16th Avenue, renovating a former eye clinic to serve as the center of operations for 40 employees and about 200 volunteers.Fifteen years later, 200 employees and 1,300 volunteers are crammed into the same structure, with closets and other non-administrative areas having long ago been converted into ofce space, often shared by more than one employee.Many other employees and programs are spread across town in rented space, adding a fnancial burden to JFS and a logistical burden for clients who need to access multiple programs.Te current ofces are so overcrowded and outdated that administrators worry client confdentiality is at risk.It is very uncomfortable to be here for a confdential appointment and have someone you know walk in and ask What are you here for? said Ken Weinberg, Jewish Family Services CEO.But those days of uncomfortable working conditions, awkward moments in the lobby, and other impediments to the high standard of service JFS strives to deliver may soon be a thing of the past.On April 28, the JFS board of directors unanimously voted to proceed with the construction of a $9 million, 19,000-square-foot building adjacent to the current 13,500-square-foot structure. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in early 2011.Tis has been a long process that was not entered into lightly, said JFS board president Dianne Loeb. It has been a dream for nearly a decade and now it seems like after almost 10 years the pieces have sufciently fallen into place for us to feel comfortable with moving ahead.Te plan is contingent on promised money convert-ing to solid donations, something Loeb and Weinberg are confdent will happen. Fundraising for the building is also continuing.Loeb said the funds, which are segregated from the operational monies used for programs, have been actively raised for many years and that a combination of sources available, including some government money, have made the board comfortable with breaking ground early next year.Our goal is to raise $11 million, Weinberg said. About $2 million of that is to cover interest charges, which we are hoping to not have if enough money is raised to pay for the building.Te new building, named the Jesse Danz Building, as the current structure is now, will rise above the current parking lot on the north side of the JFS building with the parking being retained at street level below the frst foor of the two-story building.Weinberg said that while JFS is not building an extrav-agant headquarters, it is building a quality facility.Te building will be LEED certifed at the silver level, he said, referring to environmental building standards. Tat is not only good for the broader environmental ele-ments, but it has been shown that LEED buildings are healthier working environments as well.Leadership in Energy &amp; Environmental Design is an internationally recognized green building certifcation system.Te Jessie Danz Building, which will be attached to the current structure, will bring an immediate cost savings to JFS when programs that are currently in rented satellite locations are consolidated under one roof.New JFS building finally gets green lightu Page 12 u Page 5 CelebrationsJoel MagalnickThe women of Alpha Epsilon Phi, until earlier this week known as the Jewish Sorority, received their colonization into the national organization at a ceremony on Mon., May 10. The 13 University of Washington students, plus Lauren Brown of UW Hillel and Chaya Estrin of Chabad at the UW, who were instrumental in getting the sorority off the ground, received membership ribbons from several of the Jewish sororitys alumni. AEPhi had a presence on the campus until the 1980s, so this new colony, after it satisfes a number of criteria, will become a full-fedged chapter and retain the previous iterations charter.the voice of jewish washingtonnewsJTPAgE 13Kagan seen as brilliant and afable and a mysteryRon KampeasJTA World News ServiceWASHINGTON (JTA) Rabbi David Saperstein runs through a shopping list of superlatives on Elena Kagan self-evidently brilliant and steady, strategic and tacti-cal before acknowledging that he doesnt have much of a handle on what President Obamas choice to fll a U.S. Supreme Court seat actually believes.In the Jewish community Saperstein, the head of the Reform movements Religious Action Center, apparently is not alone.Community reaction to Obamas selection of Kagan, the U.S. solicitor general, is enthusiastic until ofcials consider what it is, exactly, she stands for.Kagan, 50, has never been a judge she would be the frst Supreme Court justice without bench experience since 1974. Its a biography the White House touts as refreshing, but also has the convenience of lacking a paper trail of opin-ions that could embarrass a nominee in Senate hearings.When someones a solicitor general, it is really difcult to know what is their own position and what is the position of the state they are charged to represent, Saperstein said.Te White House strategy going into Senate hearings appears to be blame whatever controversy trails her on her employer, on her client on anyone but Kagan herself.The first such controversy to emerge since Obama announced the nomination May 10 was Kagans defense, as dean of Harvard Universitys Law School, of the practice of banning military recruitment through the main career emilys corner 7a View from the u 9M.o.t.: Member of the tribe 10calendar 18lifecycles 23the shouk classifeds 26 Page 10Page 21Her Bubby wouldnt have made it to the hospital.Our Kiryat Malachi clinic saved her life. _Dr. NissimHelp create healthy communities in Israel at www.JewishInSeattle.org/IsraelNeedsThe JTNews is the Voice of Jewish Washington. Our mission is to meet the interests of our Jewish community through fair and accurate coverage of local, national and international news, opinion and information. We seek to expose our readers to diverse viewpoints and vibrant debate on many fronts, including the news and events in Israel. We strive to contribute to the continued growth of our local Jewish community as we carry out our mission.2041 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 phone 206-441-4553 fax 206-441-2736E-mail: editor@jtnews.net www.jtnews.netJTNews (ISSN0021-678X) is published biweekly by The Seattle Jewish Transcript, a nonproft corporation owned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, 2041 3rd Ave., Seattle, WA 98121. Subscriptions are $56.50 for one year, $96.50 for two years. Periodi-cals postage paid at Seattle, WA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to JTNews, 2041 Third Ave., Seattle, WA 98121.STAff Reach us directly at 206-441-4553 + ext.Publisher *Karen Chachkes 267 Editor *Joel Magalnick 233Assistant Editor Leyna Krow 240 Account Executive Lynn feldhammer 264 Account Executive David Stahl 235Account Executive Stacy Schill 292Classifeds Manager Rebecca Minsky 238 Art Director Susan Beardsley 239 Proofreader Mordecai goldsteinBoARD of DiRECToRSPeter Horvitz, Chair*; Robin Boehler; Andrew Cohen; Cynthia Flash Hemphill*; Nancy Greer; Aimee Johnson; Stan Mark; Daniel Mayer; Cantor David Serkin-Poole*; Leland Rockoff; Tana Senn Richard fruchter, CEO and President, Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle Ron Leibsohn, Federation Board Chair*Member, JTNews Editorial BoardEx-offcio Member The opinions of our columnists and advertisers do not necessarily refect the views of JTNews. We would love to hear from you! Our guide to writing a letter to the editor can be found on our Web site: www.jtnews.net/index.php?/letters_guidelines.htmlThe deadliNe FOr The NexT iSSue iS may 18 n FuTure deadliNeS may be FOuNd ONliNefriday, may 14, 2010 n jtnews3viewpointspageRabbi Olivier BenHaimBet Alef Meditative SynagogueAs my first name suggests, I was born in France. Te France I grew up in ofered only one Jewish denomination, one form of practicing Judaism: Ortho-doxy. For French Jews like my parents, practicing Judaism was virtually an all-or-nothing endeavor. My parents were uncomfortable to say the least with most Jewish Orthodox practices. As Jews frmly grounded in modern French sec-ular culture, they restricted their Jewish celebrations to Passover and Yom Kippur, the purpose of which was to get together with extended family twice a year. As a good rebellious teenager, I decided to embrace Orthodox Judaism, to the utter dismay of my entire family. I practiced modern Orthodoxy through my teens and into my 20s both in France and, later, in Israel, where I emigrated after graduating from high school. Jewish Orthodoxy was not only all I had ever known, it was all I ever knew existed. You can imagine my surprise then, when, having moved to the U.S. in my late 20s, I discovered numerous denominations available to American Jews. I was stunned! I found myself wondering, How would Jewish life have been diferent for my par-ents for French Jews in general? Would they have found it easier to attend syna-gogue had such diversity been available in my youth?It soon became apparent, however, that the pluralism I had found so refresh-ing does not necessarily foster harmony. Many conversations taught me that the norm of existing discourse within the American Jewish community is that of discord. Members of the more liberal denominations disparage the more tra-ditional ones, while the latter criticize the practices or lack thereof, in their opin-ion of the former. Tose in the liberal camp are accused of being accomplices to the growing number of intermarriages raising the specter of Jewish disappear-ance while those in the Orthodox camp are decried as being anachronistically patriarchal and stuck in an irrelevant iso-lationist past raising the same specter.Te list of grievances continues from all sides, ad nauseam. Ultimately, every-one believes his or her particular method of practicing Judaism is the correct and authentic way. Most in the name of political correctness would not pub-licly admit as much; nevertheless, our Jewish Home is deeply divided. Where might this divisiveness lead us? Te Talmud ofers us one particularly dark possibility: Why was the second Temple wherein the society was involved in Torah, Commandments and acts of kind-ness destroyed? Because gratuitous hatred was rampant in society. (Yoma 9b)We have yet to reach this level of conten-tion. Tankfully, even amid great inter-nal rumblings, the House of Jacob is not on the brink of collapse. We might be dis-pleased or uncomfortable with the ways others choose to practice Judaism, but that is a far cry from hatred. Perhaps in our generation we have the opportunity to ofer an alternative ending to that of the Talmuds; we can seed a diferent vision for the unfolding of the Jewish story, if we heed a profound teaching gleaned from this weeks Torah portion: Bamidbar. Bamidbar Sinai, in the wilderness of Sinai, the Eternal spoke to Moses saying: Take a census of the whole Israelite communit y (Num. 1:12) Tere, through the census, every tribe is accounted for, each one given a place in the composition of the community as it is about to march through the wilderness. Te metaphor of the wilderness, itself, is most telling. Here is a space welcoming of all and belonging to no one. In this space we are able to receive Torah, or metaphori-cally speaking, to awaken to the most fun-damental teachings. Tis is the spiritual space all of us always travel through. Te marching tribes of our ancestors could represent, in our days, both the multiple denominations of modern Judaism, and those of us non-denominational Jews; all wandering through the midbar together. If we are to pay attention to this aspect of this weeks teaching, not only do all of us, afliated or not, need to be counted as part of the Israelite community, but all of us need the unique space we take up in the arrangement of the tribes in the breadth of Judaism to be recognized and afrmed by all others, as we march through the midbar as one people. Trouble begins when we believe we own Te Truth. No one does. Rather, each of our denominations expresses a whole but partial truth. By whole I mean that, deeply grounded in our convictions, steeped in our unique form of practices and worldview, we hold an absolutely valid and necessary form of Jewish expression a whole truth. But our truth is also part of a greater whole, the whole we call Judaism. And therefore, it is a par-tial truth on the spectrum of truths that make up Judaism. Tis is why I believe all the denominations are needed. Te congregation I personally gravi-tated toward, and of which I now lead, is Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue. Tough founded by a Reform rabbi Rabbi Ted Falcon Bet Alef is an independent con-gregation. As a Jew, I am blessed with being able to find a community that matches my current spiritual orienta-tion and preference. Not only that, but as an evolving human being, I am also well aware that diferent times in my life may call me to diferent forms of practice, and, therefore, to diferent denominations. In our Torah portion, the Hebrew words usually translated as take a census, liter-ally mean: lift the head. By accounting for the entire range of denominations, by counting us all as integral whole-parts of the modern Israelite community, we restore the pride and sense of belonging of all Jews, and allow all to hold their heads up high. As we wander through the wilder-ness, each others presence enhances the remarkable experience of being Jewish. May we be able to fnd within our hearts the benevolent love that will unite our people in the essential acceptance of our diferences, here in America, and most critically in our time, in the land of Israel. e Pluribus unumJust as in the Torah, to each his own placerabbis turnDefinition of insanityThe ed...</p>