Newsletter – March 2015

March 2015

Dear Readers,Tony Verna, a sports broadcast director, died on January 18th. He invented “instant replay” and remade sports television by immediately showing a live ‘play’ again on tape and also allowing viewers to see more than one perspective from alternate monitors*. Reading this news article prompted us to wonder how it would be if we could “replay” a moment out of our past. We quickly asked some of our members to get their cultural juices flowing and tell us about a very special instant in their lives that carried profound Jewish significance.The following are moments in time that some of our readers would love to live all over again. Their unidentified voices speak for all of us…

“I had always dreamed of getting married at Temple Emanuel. In 1969 my dream came true and I married my college sweetheart. Walking down the long aisle and standing on the bima with Rabbi David Panitz symbolized taking the next step in my Jewish life; that of an adult and the one who would take my Judaism from my parents to me and on to my children and grandchildren. Rabbi Panitz spoke beautifully and I remember so well his commenting on the fact that despite all the weddings he had officiated at, he was still awed by the way we just glowed and were so much in love with each other. This past June we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary and I would have loved to share with Rabbi Panitz the glow and the love we still have for each other!”

“I think going to Israel for the first time in 1977. It was so exciting to be among “my ” people and seeing the accomplishments that they achieved in that barren land.””It was 1978 and my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. Philip was a student at Yavneh Academy and enjoyed attending services with one of his classmates at a small Orthodox shul on Park Avenue between Wall and Derrom Avenues near his home in Paterson. The shul had no official rabbi and Philip wanted his Bar Mitzvah services there. As my sister and I looked down from above on his Bar Mitzvah day where we sat with all the women, we watched as my nephew conducted the entire service along with his father and 2 grandfathers. We were reminded of the days when 2 little girls accompanied their grandmother to the Fair Street shul. It was such a proud Jewish moment for all of us and wished Grandma Bessie could have been there.”

“One of my fondest memories, is going to see my grandfather at the YMHA in Paterson. One year when I was about 8 or 9, he took me to the gift shop and bought me this small silver menorah that holds birthday candles, it was my first menorah and I still have it and display it every year. It remains a great remembrance of my grandfather and of growing up in Paterson.””At the moment I heard the glass break and everyone yelled “mazel tov” at our wedding I knew the rest of my life was about to begin. It was overwhelming, wonderful and unforgettable.””I was a little boy at Hebrew School preparing for my bar-mitzvah. One day the teacher announced that Israel had just become a state. He quickly taught us the Israeli national anthem…the Haktikvah. We sang it over and over again until we got it “right.” We had no other lessons that day. I had a big lump in my throat that day and still do every time I hear it.””I would have to pick my wedding ceremony. My parents were able to see me marry in the Fair Lawn Jewish Center shul chapel under the chuppa and knowing that after all they had lived through during the Holocaust that at that moment they were able to see and hear the religious ceremony for their child and carry on the tradition that was almost lost to them.”

“The most memorable “Jewish moment” in my life has to be the day and night of July 4, 1976. I was living in Israel at the time with my first wife and we went to an (outdoor) soccer stadium for an all night celebration with Israelis and American expats to celebrate the bicentennial. We brought sleeping bags and food for the long night. There was music and entertainment till dawn and “That’s Entertainment” was playing on the outdoor screen. Sometime during that night it was announced that Israeli commandos had secretly flown to Uganda and rescued the passengers and crew of the hijacked Air France airliner that was being held in Entebbe.”

“I was dating someone who was not Jewish. One day, out of nowhere, he made a taunting anti-Semitic remark to me. It was a moment I never want “replayed” again. However, my greatest moment occurred two years later on a beautiful evening in late June. I was now dating a wonderful Jewish man. He arrived at my apartment and totally surprised me with a marriage proposal. I loved him deeply but never thought that this relationship was going to lead to marriage. I always remembered that electrifying “instant” first of total shock and then realizing that I was finally going to marry a nice Jewish man and my mother could kvell for the rest of her life.”

“I will never forget the elation and pride I felt in ’67 when the Israelis, after 6 weeks of threats to their existence and more than one casus belli, vanquished three Arab armies and reunited the city of Jerusalem as their capitol. The Western (Wailing) Wall was now back in Jewish hands after 2000 years! A few weeks after that event I was in the U.S. Army for basic training and regular army cadre there were already talking about how the tactics the Israelis used would be studied at war colleges here in the U.S.!”

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In a whirlwind of feeling, each individual told to us a memorable story with deep personal meaning. From a historical perspective, these stories showed G-d’s way of working things out for our people. This year Purim is celebrated on March 4 and we should point out that this holiday celebrates the rescue of the Jewish people by Esther and Mordecai. Each narrative told above, either directly or indirectly, says that we are survivors. Sometimes it seemed that we didn’t have a chance but in the end we triumphed. The depth of our history, whether global or local, has a wide-ranging scope…with ‘alternate monitors.’
LissMoeEHS1965160.jpg
Moe Liss c.1965
Although this next sentiment does not speak of one specific Jewish moment, the woman who  submitted it fondly remembers her “local Jewish history” growing up in Paterson and all the wonderful activities she was blessed to partake in:
“The overriding Jewish moment I would relive is being affiliated with the Paterson YM-YWHA and all it encompassed for me. Brownies, girl scouts, Sunday school, confirmation, dances and social events, college search trips, and just hanging out at the “Y” with my friends would be great to do again. Camp Veritans and Camp Nah-Jee-Wah were wonderful experiences and one of my favorite people from Camp Veritans was Moe Liss. He knew everyone’s name and made me feel so special when he took time to just sit and chat with me one-on-one. My involvement at the “Y” built the foundation of my being able to incorporate Judaism as a religion and the essence of my soul growing up. Thinking of reliving this makes my heart smile.”
Please attend our Third Annual Tribute Dinner honoring Moe Liss on May 12th at the Washington Township YJCC. Let’s “thank him for the memories!”
Dorothy Douma Greene
*The New York Times, January 22, 2015
Harold Glazer's Temporary Pass

Harold Glazer’s Temporary Pass

JHSNJ NEWS UPDATE:  The Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey is privileged to own a number of military related collections, including records from two posts of the Jewish War Veterans:  the Kaufman-Harris Post No. 36 (Paterson, NJ) and the Lt. James I. Platt Post No. 651 (Fair Lawn, NJ). We also have some materials that document the military experiences of individuals from North Jersey. This month in my explorations through the collections, I discovered the World War II papers of Paterson native Harold Glazer, who was a member of the 327th AAF (Army Air Force) Base Unit at Drew Field in Tampa, Florida. The materials, which were donated by Glazer, include official notices of classification and induction, telegrams, a pay record book, a benefit application, ID cards, and absentee passes. See above and below for some examples. Please visit our website (jhsnj.wordpress.com) and Facebook page (facebook.com/JHSNJ) to learn more about what we are doing and to see how you can help out.  Miriam Spectre, Archivist
Harold Glazer's non-com membership card

Harold Glazer’s non-commissioned membership card