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Rockland Holocaust Museum set for renewal

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Before the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington or the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan, there was the Holocaust Museum and Study Center in Spring Valley. With its roots in the Rockland County Legislature, which launched the Rockland County Commission on the Holocaust in 1979, in 1988 the museum opened in a building belonging to Spring Valley’s public library.

Now, more than a quarter century later, the museum has a new home and a new name, and it is about to start building a larger exhibition with state-of-the-art interactive exhibits.

The new home is less than four miles away, at Rockland Community College. There the center will occupy a 6,000-square-foot floor of a library building. Last week, a hundred museum supporters took a tour of the soon-to-be-renovated space, before joining an audience of 500 for a Yom Hashoah lecture.

For the Holocaust Museum, the new home is about more than space.


Laugh with comedian Carol Leifer

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Carol Leifer

Women’s Philanthropy, a division of the Jewish Federation of Rockland County, will host a spring outreach and fundraising event featuring comedian Carol Leifer at the Rockleigh Country Club in Rockleigh on Thursday, May 14.

Ms. Leifer, a comedian, writer, and actress whose career began in the 1970s, is a three-time Emmy Award nominee and a writer/producer known for her work on Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live, the Larry Sanders Show, and the Academy Awards. She has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, the Howard Stern show, and Fresh Air with Terry Gross to promote her bestselling book “When You Lie About Your Age, The Terrorists Win.” Last year, she released her second book, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying.”

The evening with Leifer begins with a private meet-and-greet at 6 p.m., where attendees can have their picture taken with her. Buffet dinner, the auction, and the program begin at 7.

For information or to buy tickets, go to before May 7, the registration deadline. Leifer’s appearance is made possible by the generosity of local sponsors, including Riviera Produce Corporation, TD Bank, and Harrington Press.

The Jewish Federation of Rockland leads efforts that strengthen Jewish life and meet the critical needs of the Jewish community in Rockland County, Israel, and around the world. As a member of Jewish Federations of North America, the federation is part of a network of 157 such organizations across the continent. The Jewish Federation of Rockland County is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization with offices at 450 West Nyack Road, West Nyack. Check


Cooking demo and tasting

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“A pinch of this, a dash of that…” is the theme for a cooking demonstration and a chance to taste delicacies to benefit the Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance and Education in Suffern May 20 at 7 p.m.

The menu includes iced tea fruit sangria, watermelon feta salad, New York cheesecake, and “lots of schmoozing.” The $36 charge benefits the museum. RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) as space is limited. The event is at a private home in Suffern.

To stay updated on Holocaust and Tolerance Education Programs and other events, text 22828 and enter HMSC.


Array of services offered survivors of the Holocaust

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Rockland Jewish Family Service can help Holocaust survivors age with dignity. Assistance includes home health care or companion service, case management, help with pension forms, food aid, medical and dental expenses and transportation needs. To learn more or for help, call Doris Zuckerberg at (845) 354-2121, ext.198, or email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Jewish Preschool of the Nyacks receives license

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The Jewish Preschool of the Nyacks was accredited by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services in February. The action enables the preschool, housed at Congregation Sons of Israel in Upper Nyack, to accommodate 34 preschoolers and 12 toddlers for full-day programs.

Founded three years ago, the preschool began with three children and one teacher, and has grown to three classrooms, five teachers, and 17 students.

The school was praised by Rebecca Stiles, a preschool parent. “Our son has thrived at the Jewish Preschool of the Nyacks,” she said. “He loves going to school every day, interacting with his friends, and learning with his wonderful teachers. As parents, we love the small class sizes, the patient and talented teachers, and the opportunity to get to know other families in the community.”

Now a part-time program, the preschool plans to expand the number of students and instructional hours.

The program focuses on socialization, fine and gross motor skills, awareness of society, Jewish values, and academics. It includes music, yoga, Torah, occupational therapy, and Hebrew.

Congregation Sons of Israel is an egalitarian Conservative congregation of 200 families in the heart of the Nyack area, along the Hudson River.


Temple to honor its long-time congregants

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To celebrate long-time congregants, Temple Beth Sholom of New City will hold a Milestone Membership service on Friday, May 29. Thirty-six synagogue members who have been members for 36 years or longer will be honored with a gift from the congregation.

“Membership in a synagogue represents a commitment to ensuring that Judaism will continue to flourish,” Rabbi Brian Leiken said. “Over the years, synagogues have been losing members due to challenges in financial constraints, the prioritization of other memberships and beyond. The commitment of Jews to retain membership in a synagogue represents a commitment to the future of Judaism itself. Long-term members are not only remaining for themselves but also for the future generations.

“There are many synagogue leaders who feel that the synagogues’ priority should be gaining new members,” he continued. “While new members are important, we must do our job in educating members about the importance of staying. The synagogue is the one place where Judaism is communal, where life is seen through the lens of the community”

“The synagogue is about much more than personal relationships with God. It is ultimately about the relationships we have b’nei Adam l’chaveiro, between a person and his/her fellow,” Rabbi Leiken concluded.


Shul displays flags to remember victims

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“For the past few years we have copied a Holocaust Commemoration I first observed set up by the Hillel group at University of Colorado in Boulder,” Rabbi Ariel Russo of Congregation Sons of Israel in Upper Nyack reports. The lawn display, which is made of 1,200 colored flags of a few different colors, each flag representing 10,000 civilians murdered in the Holocaust, causes drivers and walkers to stop and read the poster describing the display.

After helping to plant the flags, Hebrew school students participated in a teaching program and ceremony led by Rabbi Russo.


Temple Beth El to host talk on ‘Life in Israel’

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The National Council of Jewish Women, Rockland Section, presents “Life in Israel,” a talk by Timna Mekaiten, the Rockland community emissary from Israel, through Jewish Federation of Rockland County. Timna, who grew up in Jerusalem and graduated from Hebrew University, teaches about Israeli culture and current events.

The program starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, at Temple Beth El, 415 Viola Road, Spring Valley. The free program includes refreshments and is open to the public.

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New Reform Temple of Rockland set to emerge from two shuls

Change can be frightening, but it often is necessary, and sometimes it can lead to great opportunity.

The demographics of Rockland County are changing. That is a clear truth. The Reform synagogues that flourished in the third quarter of the last century are struggling now. But instead of despairing, they are regrouping.

In January, Temple Beth Torah in Upper Nyack and Temple Beth El in Spring Valley, which are about a 15-minute car ride apart, agreed to merge. The new Reform Temple of Rockland will be the fruit of that new union.

“Temple Beth Torah was founded 50 years ago,” its president, Allen Fetterman of West Nyack, said. “It’s interesting that this is happening now.”

The synagogue’s membership peaked at about 400 families; now it has a still respectable 270. “But we realized a few years ago that the trend was going to continue, and we needed to look at some plans if we were going to continue,” Mr. Fetterman said. “About a year ago, Beth El came to that same realization — that they were facing having to close their doors if they didn’t do something.”


Teenagers and sleep deprivation


Club W to discuss ‘Defending Jacob’



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