Skip to Content
North Carolina Newspapers

The Charlotte Jewish news. (Charlotte, N.C.) 19??-current, November 01, 1995, Image 1

Below is the OCR text representation of this newspaper page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

5007 Providence Road Charlotte. NC 28226 Address Correction Requested Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Charfotte, NC Permit No. 1208 The Charlotte JEWISH Vol. 17 No.10 TIshrel 5756 November 1995 9th Annual Book & Author Evening: A Modern-Day Exodus From Egypt By Suzanne Cannon “/n each generation every man must regard himself as though he persorutlly had gone forth from Egypt. ” - from The Haggadah It is not hard for Andre Aciman to regard himself as having personally gone forth from Egypt. The author of the critically ac claimed memoir Out of Egypt was bom in Alexandria and left there when the rising tide of Arab nation alism finally swept his family out of the country in the mid-1960’s. Aciman is this year’s special guest for the Ninth Annual Book and Au thor Evening, co-sponsored by the Charlotte chapter of Hadassah, the Speizman Jewish Library and the Andre' Aciman Photo Credit Sigrid Estrada Jewish Community Center. The tale he tells of living as a Jew in an Arab land is a skillful blend of the lyrical, the farcical and the frightening. Barely a generation ago, 800,000 Jews lived in the Arab world, nearly a quarter of them in Egypt alone. Among them was Aciman's family, who settled in Al exandria in 1905 after his great uncle Isaac befriended Fouad, the future king of Egypt, while both were stu- doits at the University of Tiirin. This nuuked the beginning of the family’s sixty-year sojourn in Egypt, a pe riod often punctuated with the anxi ety and fear brought on by turbu lent world events. Recaptured in Ad- num’s silvery prose, however, even the worst times seem to be bathed in the honeyed glow of nostalgia. While the entire fiamily huddled in his great-grandmocher’i dtarkened reluctant to sacrifice their high bour geois Mediterranean lifestyle to what they hoped were only tran sient fears. In the meantime Aciman, a student at an English public school that “had essentially become an Arab school wearing the tattered relics of British garb," endured the sting of incessant insults heaped on him by Miss Sharif, his Arabic teacher, and Sec ACIMAN, Page 7 Interfaith Couples Find a Home at Temple Beth El living room during one of the fre quent air raids of the Suez War, Aciman recalls musing, “I would miss these nights, not the war itself but the blackout, not my uncles or aunts but the velvety hush of their voices when we turned off the lights and drew closer to the radio, almost whispering our thoughts in the dark.” Nearly a decade later, most of Aciman’s extended family had fled Egypt in the face of the roiling cur rents of pan-Arab nationalism and the concomitant rise of anti- Semitism. Aciman, his parents, grandmother, and an aunt and uncle were all that remained in Alexandria By Resa Goldberg Like many interfaith couples that choose to raise their children Jewish, Andrea and Howard Seidler needed a connection to the Jewish community. They had that at the Univer sity of Massachusetts, Amherst, where they were active at the Hillel House and enjoyed the proximity of cities heavily populated by Jews. There was no need, they said, to join area synagogues that didn’t really welcome the interfaith anyway. Then they moved to Char lotte. “We realized when we arrived last year that if we wanted that sense of community here, we would have to search for it,” says Howard. The Seidlers found their com munity at Temple Beth El, where interfaith couples represent one of the fastest growing segments of membership. While the numbers aren’t tracked on a monthly basis, Beth El officials estimate that up to 80% of new members in recent months are interfaith couples — a group that now makes up approxi mately 30% percent of the 750 fami lies who belong to the temple. A recent survey of Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the official organization of Reform synagogues, found that the major ity —41%— reported between 6% and 150% of membership units are interfaith families. Like Temple Beth El, 16% of Reform temples said that more than 25% of their membership consists of interfaith families. “The numbers of interfaith couples joining Reform synagogues is rising across the country,” says Dru Greenwood, director of UAHC’s Commission on Reform Jewish Outreach. *‘One measure of growth is the higher numbers of kin dergarten-aged children of interfaith marriages in religious schools than children in the 5th or 6th grade.” Greenwood says much of the increase can be attributed to the ris ing numbers of UAHC temples that provide Outreach programming. While Temple Beth El has had some form of such programming for many years, it has been stepping up its eff(Mts to meet the growing de mand. One of its more succesfiil pro- Next Month in the CJN Joei Goldman writes about Rabbis from Charlotte Who Are Thev? Where Are They? TTi/s Intorfalh group discussion at Tsmpis Beth El focused on self-identity, criteria that define a good person and tfte dWerences t)etween Judaism and Christianity. grams - now in its third season - is called Second Mondays, a drop-in discussion group that meets moa&ly to talk about issues in terest to interfaith couples. Other Outreach activities, such as the Teaching Shabbat, are designed, in part, to help educate the non-Jew ish partner and help that person feel more comfortable. Shirley Fytelson, Temple Beth El member for 12 years, says the recent influx of interfaith couples and increased interest in Outreach programming coincides wi#i Rabbi James Bennett’s arrival in Charlotte just over two years ago. “I think Rabbi Bennett is more lib eral than our former rabbi on issues such as officiating at interfaith mar riages,” she says. See Interfaith page 3 Federation Community Campaign Begins For Ourselves, For Our Children For Israel, Forever spearhead the annual cam[>aign. The following individuals have assumed key leadership positions for the 19% fundraising drive: Men*s Division Major Gifts ($10,000 +) - Bob Speizman Cimak ($3,600 - $9,999) - Todd Gorelick and David Swimmer Pacesetter ($1,250 - $3,599) - Jack Levinson and Alan Goldberg $365 - $1,249 - Jon Goldberg suid Craig Katzman WQmto*s PiYisioD Women’s Division President - Phyllis Schiffman UaiutUMdab. ($5,000 -t-) - Bobbi Bernstein and Lee Blumenthal PiKtsrttiT ($1,250 - $4,999) - Ruth Goldberg and Nancy Kipnis $365 - $ 1,249 - Alison Lemer and Donna Lemer JkUpUdfe - Alison Levinson Sm^Smmdav - Dan A Stacy Levinson and George A Andrea Cronson The 19% Jewish Federation of Greater Chariotte campaign kicks off this month with the theme “For Ourselves, For Our Children, For Israel, Forever.” Under the enthusi astic leadership of campaign chair Bill Gorelick and vice-chair, Jill Newman, a team of dedicated woric- ers has been assembled to solicit funds for needs both locally and abroad. At a recent solicitor train ing event. Bill said, “I am confident that with support and participation ftxNn the community, we will be able to achieve our goal and continue to meet the growing needs of the Jew ish community at home and around the world. The Federation annual campaign is the best way to ensure that we will keep alive a legacy that makes a difference in thousands of Jewish lives.” C!ontributions to the campaign underwrite a wide range of local Jewish educational, cultural and so cial service programs and agencies in addition to supporting Israel and the needs of fellow Jews woridwide. The Charlotte Jewish commu nity can be proud of the dynamic leader^p tlutt has volunteered to

North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Chronam.

Digital North Carolina