Whats nu, July 2019

Local composer wins international competition

Out of 800 entries for the Best Composition/Score category, Penny Corris ­— a local composer from Hartland, Wisconsin — received first place in an international music competition.

The competition, The Artemis Women in Action Film Festival, took place in Hollywood, California during April 24-27, 2019. Corris, a classically trained composer with a degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, won for her piece titled “Romance.”

Corris found it exciting to be in Hollywood and meet women composers from around the world. “Of course, the biggest thrill was winning,” she said.

This is the second time Corris won an international music competition; her “Mi-Ha-Ish” received first place in the Liturgical category of an international Jewish song competition.

Corris’ Symphony No. 1 will be premiered by Matthew Makeever and the Milwaukee Philharmonic on July 6, 2019. The free concert is at 8 p.m. in the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, 19805 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield.

– Claire Davidson

Rabbi completed marriage and family course

Rabbi Wes Kalmar of congregation Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah in Glendale completed a course on marriage and family counseling on April 5, 2019.

The course, “Marriage and Family Counseling: The Rabbi’s Role, Part 1 – The Development of Marriage and the Family,” dealt with topics such as improving communication, materialism, dating and struggling with God and religion, according to a news release.

Kalmar has been ASKT’s rabbi since 2010.

– Emily Blumenthal

ADL Report shows ‘near-historic’ levels of anti-Semitic activity

Antisemitic incidents increased to “near-historic levels” in 2018, the Anti-Defamation League wrote in its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.

The levels were the third highest on record since the ADL began collecting data in the 1970s, with 1,879 attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions, according to a news release summarizing the report.

“We’ve worked hard to push back against antisemitism, and succeeded in improving hate crime laws, and yet we continue to experience an alarmingly high number of antisemitic acts,” ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said.

The incidents were divided into three categories — assaults, harassment and vandalism. Assaults especially have become more pervasive, more than doubling since 2017. Among those counted in the assault tally were the casualties of the shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018. During the shooting, 11 were killed and two were wounded.

The ADL pledged a renewed commitment to its work, and recommended solutions to the rise in antisemitic, including more training for law enforcement on hate crime responses.

“We will continue to advocate for … remedies to ensure that there is no place for antisemitism in our society,” George Selim, the ADL’s vice president of programs, asserted.

 – Emily Blumenthal

New president of Jewish Federations of North America

The next president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, Eric D. Fingerhut, will begin his tenure on Aug. 6.

Fingerhut takes the spot after serving as president and CEO of Hillel International, where he brought change to the 90-year-old organization, according to a news release. Under Fingerhut’s leadership, Hillel’s collective annual revenue grew from $90 million to nearly $200 million.

In addition to his involvement with Hillel International, Fingerhut served in the Ohio State Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Mark Wilf, chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees, describes Fingerhut as “humble despite his many accomplishments” and “a man with a commitment to Jewish life and values.”

“Fingerhut is a cultural change agent and a keen visionary on how to educate and engage the Jewish future,” according to JFNA Strategic Task Force Chair Cindy Shapira.

– Claire Davidson

Sarah Eisinger, of Wisconsin camps, to lead national organization

Sarah Eisinger, an alumna of Camp Shalom in Madison and Steve & Shari Sadek Family Camp Interlaken JCC in Eagle River, has been tapped to be the director of JCamp 180, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

Eisinger brings more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit field, including coaching, consulting and funding as well as economic development. She previously served as program director of Camp Interlaken.

Eisinger will work with JCamp 180’s 120 affiliated overnight and day camps across the U.S. and Canada to put structures in place that will sustain the camps financially.

Though she has worked with several nonprofit organizations, she is new to the Jewish nonprofit world outside of camps. Because of her outsider status, she said in an interview, she is “unencumbered and … can really take a fresh look at things,” which will help her in serving JCamp 180 and its affiliated camps.

For Eisinger, camp keeps Jews connected to Judaism and culture. “People who go to camp go on to lead Jewish lives,” she said.

Her experience attending Jewish camps motivated her to pursue this position. “I have this love for camp that’s very deep and this opportunity really spoke to … my heart,” she said.

Eisinger grew up in Madison and was a camper at Camp Interlaken JCC from 1984-1988 and a counselor from 1992-1995 before becoming its program director in 1995. She was a counselor at Camp Shalom JCC from 1990-1991 and a camper as a child.

– Emily Blumenthal

Melton, Bader awarded honorary degrees

Howard Melton and Daniel Bader were awarded honorary degrees from Cardinal Stritch University at commencement ceremonies in May 2019.

Cardinal Stritch University President Kathleen A. Rinehart, J.D., conferred associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on approximately 350 students at two ceremonies on May 19, at the Wisconsin Center.

Melton received an honorary degree at the undergraduate ceremony. Melton is a retired Milwaukee business owner and U.S. Air Force veteran who served in the Korean War. A native of Kovno, Lithuania, Melton is a Holocaust survivor who is an advocate for peace, justice and tolerance.

Bader, president and CEO of Bader Philanthropies, received an honorary degree at the graduate ceremony. Through the Helen Daniels Bader Fund and the Isabel & Alfred Bader Fund, Bader Philanthropies makes grants, convenes partners and shares knowledge to affect emerging issues in key areas. Under Bader’s leadership, the foundation has granted more than $300 million since 1992 to organizations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and around the world.  

Rosenzweig joins CEO onboarding program

Miryam Rosenzweig, CEO and president of Milwaukee Jewish Federation, has been selected to be part of the Leading Edge CEO Onboarding Program.

Leading Edge is focused on building a robust leadership pipeline for Jewish nonprofits and seeks to provide CEOs with a supportive peer network and the opportunity to work directly with experts in the American Jewish community and beyond.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that the future of the Jewish community hinges on ensuring that the emerging leaders of our institutions are set up for success,” says Sandy Cardin, board chair of Leading Edge.

The 14 members of the new cohort are:  Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal – The Rabbinical Assembly; David Bryfman – The Jewish Education Project; Lisa Budlow – CHAI; Mariam Feist – Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas; Elizabeth Fisher – Amplifier; Addie Goodman – JCC Chicago; Tyler Gregory – A Wider Bridge; Sheila Katz – National Council of Jewish Women; Joel Marcovitch – JewishColumbus; SooJi Min-Maranda – ALEPH; Rosenzweig; Halie Soifer – Jewish Democratic Council of America; Neil Spears – Silverlake Independent JCC; and Rabbi Jay Strear – JEWISHcolorado.

Interfaith trip to Israel

Rabbi Martyn Adelberg, spiritual leader of Beth Israel Sinai Congregation of Racine, is hosting an interfaith trip to Israel.

The cost is $2,500 per person, sharing a double room. This does not include the flight, but it does include nine days with guiding, bus and driver, plus entrance fees and some food.

The trip is slated for Oct. 24-Nov. 2, 2019.

Contact Adelberg at RabbiMartyn@iCloud.com.

Daughter, like father, becomes temple president

Laurie Schwartz, whose father Aaron Sweed was Congregation Emanu-El of Waukesha president in the mid-1960s, was voted to be CEEW Board co-president along with Ann Meyers at the temple’s annual meeting on June 2.

Meyers has served as president for the past four years.

It is the first time in CEEW’s 80-year history that it has had co-presidents. Also on the Board are vice president Mark Levy; secretary Denise Stodola; treasurer Alan Meyers; trustees Doug Anson, Elizabeth Hamlin and Ed Weiss; immediate past president Phil Schuman; and representatives of Sisterhood and the Youth Education Committee. A fourth trustee is expected to be appointed by the Board.

Tikkun Ha-Ir fundraiser honors Jody Hirsh

Local non-profit Tikkun Ha-Ir honored artist, activist and educator Jody Hirsh at its annual fundraising event, The Art of Giving, on Wednesday, June 19, 2019.

The Art of Giving event featured the opportunity to view and buy local art, design art projects and bid in an art-themed silent auction.

Jody Hirsh, the event honoree, is the director of Judaic education at Milwaukee’s Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay. He is the winner of the 2014 Morton L. Mandel Award for Jewish Educational Leadership and the 2005 Covenant Award for Outstanding Jewish Educator.

Proceeds from The Art of Giving will support Tikkun Ha-Ir in its efforts to make Milwaukee a more just place for all its residents. Meaning “repair the city” in Hebrew, Tikkun Ha-Ir’s main initiatives are to bring fresh produce and vegetable-rich meals to food pantries and to provide vital supplies to formerly homeless families.

– Claire Davidson