Denise and Jason Hoffman Talk Legacy

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 7:32am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

Tradition and custom were a big part of childhood for both Denise and Jason Hoffman. Both experienced structure and ritual—but the juxtaposition was huge. While close geographically, their experiences were worlds apart.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Jason’s family was fairly observant. Weekly Shabbat dinners took place in his kosher home and attended a Solomon Schechter day school. Jason says of his childhood, “Being Jewish was certainly part of who we were.”

Across the water in New Jersey, Denise Vastino was busy living her own life. “We did all of the Catholic things. There was much structure and many rules. However, as I got older I began to stray from that mold,” Denise says of her own upbringing. “Like Jason in the Jewish world, I lived in a very Italian neighborhood. My friends were primarily Italian Catholics. We stuck together.”

Fast forward to 1999, when Jason and Denise meet at a mutual friend’s party. Denise was not feeling well, and Jason offered her his coat. The rest is history. Differences in their faith were not an issue. As their relationship progressed, the issue of faith took on more relevancy. “In my family there was an expectation that you would marry someone Jewish. The fact that I was moving towards not [doing so] was met with disapproval.” Denise and Jason focused on their relationship and what had brought them together: their common values and morals.

For the Love of Soldiers

Mon, 10/19/2015 - 6:46am

Posted in: Special Events

If you’ve been to Israel, you know that it is just as common to see soldiers on the street as it is to see kids playing in the park.

You have pictures of them in your photo albums and maybe you even have a child or a relative that has served as a “lone soldier” in the Israeli army. If you haven’t made it to the Holy Land yet, then you’ve either met a soldier who was visiting the U.S. or you’ve gotten to know them personally through last year’s Tidewater movie screening of Beneath the Helmet.

They are the brave young men and women who risk their lives day in and day out to protect the homeland of the Jewish people. Many of them know little about their heritage or history, and 30% have never even been to Jerusalem.
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What this mitzvah project means to the children of Pardes Katz

Fri, 10/16/2015 - 2:35pm

Posted in: Special Events

By Marilyn Johns, project chair

Music Education has been a passion of mine for over 35 years.  This year I am celebrating 31 years as a music teacher in the Virginia Beach public school system, and 40 years as a Jewish music educator and performer. 

I have seen the positive impact music has on people’s lives, when they are given the opportunity to create their own music and play their own instrument. 

During our Jewish Women’s Renaissance Program (JWRP) trip to Israel, summer of 2014, the women from the “Tidewater group” spent the morning visiting Pardes Katz (our sister JCC).  After a tour of the center we were given the opportunity to help preschoolers with a craft that they were working on. 

There was a piano in the room, so I naturally had to open the lid to the piano and began to play.  The children and teachers sang along. 
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Learn a Mitzvah, Do a Mitzvah: Havdalah at Home

Fri, 10/16/2015 - 2:28pm

Posted in: Special Events

By Brenda Kozak and Marcy Mostofsky
Project co-chairs

My introduction to the real meaning of havdalah came during my J.W.R.P. (Jewish Women’s Renaissance Program) trip to Israel in the summer of 2014.

Over the course of the nine-day educational excursion, the speakers were amazing, and each one brought my Jewish awareness to a higher lever. After a full week of traveling and activities, I joined my Tidewater friends by packing up my technology and purse for safe keeping over the next 27 hours of Shabbat.
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Marty Einhorn: Sharing Traditions, Securing the Future

Tue, 09/22/2015 - 2:48pm

Marty Einhorn, president of the Simon Family JCC and the shofar blower, or ba’al tekiah, for Ohef Sholom Temple, recently took time to meet with Sam Sachs, a young man with an affinity, and a talent, for the age-old instrument.

Without prior discussion, the two showed up wearing similar clothing. Great talents dress alike?! They also had a similar look of intense concentration when they brought the shofars to their lips and took turns sounding them for captivated audiences in the Simon Family JCC Cardo and on the playground at the Strelitz Early Childhood Center.

Marty shared his thoughts and feelings about the responsibility of blowing the shofar with readers of the Jewish News in this article.

The video below shows footage and photos captured during Marty and Sam’s introduction to one another.

Sharing traditions, building strong Jewish identities, and providing religious education, opportunities, and cultural enrichment for all Jewish residents illustrate important goals of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Financial gifts donated to the UJFT’s Annual Campaign help meet the challenges facing our Jewish community, and work to secure the future for generations to come.

The Simon Family JCC receives funds raised in the Annual Campaign. Keep up the great work, JCC!
Marty Einhorn is the managing shareholder of Wall, Einhorn and Chernitzer, a CPA and consulting firm in downtown Norfolk.

Shifting Perspectives: Virginia Tech Student Adam Zelenka and the importance of Hillel

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 6:59am

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Shifting Perspectives

The Tidewater Jewish Foundation recently partnered with Hillel at Virginia Tech for an event at the home of Brenda and Abbey Horwitz. This was an opportunity for local alumni, donors, parents, students and future students to learn more about what’s going on at Tech, the programs that are available through Hillel, and the importance of these programs to the students—and to ensure they are available for the next generation of Jewish students. One of our local Virginia Tech students, Adam Zelenka (sophomore), shared his feelings about Hillel:


Virginia Tech students Austin Sheffer, Adam Zelenka and Whitley Miller with Tech's Hillel Executive Director, Sue Kurtz

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Shifting Perspectives: Jewish Communal Work at the UJFT

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 1:31pm

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Shifting Perspectives

This article is the first of a continuing series that will spotlight local members of our Jewish community and its communal professionals. The Tidewater Jewish Foundation provides support for the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and all of our local Jewish agencies, plus many of the temples/synagogues.

Hometown: Chadds Ford, PA
Favorite Color: Purple
Occupation: Young Adult Division (YAD) Director of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

What do you find most fulfilling about your job?

As the YAD Director for the Federation, which is a very communal-based agency, I am in a unique position to be at the forefront of meeting the future leaders of our community, and seeing what they’re all about. I get to find out what’s important to them, and how we can make sure that our mission, our projects and our programs reflect those interests, to keep them engaged.

When you meet people who are interested in getting involved because they have heard how great YAD is, or how much fun their friends are having at YAD events, or how incredible a YAD leadership program is, and to see the same people keep coming back year after year, spreading the message and bringing new people with them—that’s really fulfilling. At a family Shabbat, when you see the same people you’ve been seeing for the last six years—plus ten new families who want to be engaged in the community—that’s really satisfying.
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Mickey Kramer’s legacy of learning continues with Tidewater Together

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 1:38pm

Posted in: Special Events

1826 Everything about Tidewater Together would have pleased Mickey Kramer.*

The learning, the diversity, the scholars, the extension of Jewish values and the community— especially the community—were some of the most important things in the world to him, says his son Ron Kramer.

“My father would just love it—he worked his whole life for this community and the Federation—and to him, it didn’t matter whether you were Reform or Orthodox or Conservative, whether you liked the Tigers of the Yankees,” says Kramer. “What mattered was that we’re here for each other, and that we’re continuing to learn. He was a mensch and a great role model.”
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'I-Am-From-The-IRS' Phone Fraud

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 2:10pm

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

1817 At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on March 12, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Deputy Inspector General for Investigations, Timothy Camus, explained the growth of an IRS "phone impersonation scam." Camus called the "I-am-from-the-IRS" phone fraud the "largest, most persuasive impersonation scam in the history of our agency."

The scam usually starts with a fraudster using a fake name who calls a victim. The fraudster gives a false "badge number" and claims the victim owes taxes. The scammer frightens the victim by claiming there is criminal liability without an immediate payment.
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IRS "Tax Time Guide" Helps Taxpayers

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:11pm

Posted in: Tidewater Jewish Foundation

1812 With tax filing season now at full speed, the IRS published a "Tax Time Guide" with many tips that will help taxpayers.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen noted, "We are doing everything we can to help taxpayers get the assistance they need this tax season. Our phone lines are extremely busy this year, so this series will offer taxpayers tips on how to get help. There also are important options and issues to keep in mind as the April 15 deadline approaches."

There are many online services on to assist taxpayers.
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