Gratz College Insider April 2014

Jeffrey B. Plevan 
Annual Event 
author and ethicist
Randy Cohen 
Thursday, May 1, 2014
 at Har Zion Temple
Contact: Mindy Cohen
215 635-7300 x155
Stern Family Institute 
for Israel Studies Distinguished
 Scholar Lecture
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky
Thursday, April 24
7:00 pm
r.s.v.p. Mindy Cohen
215 635-7300 x155
free and open to the public
Please join the 
Gratz College community as we honor
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
during the
May 18, 2014
3:00 pm
summer institute logo 2014
Week 1 July 20-25 
Week 2 July 27 - Aug. 1
Register NOW!
Contact: Mindy Blechman 
215 635-7300 x154
New Locations!
New Initiatives!
Leona P. Kramer 
  Through April 30th

Dear Friends,


In this Insider, I am delighted to share with you some exciting news. Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania has accepted Gratz College's invitation to be the commencement speaker at this year's College graduation.  We welcome you to attend commencement on May 18th to share in the pride of our graduates and to hear Senator Casey's remarks.


We also look forward to seeing you on May 1st at the Jeffrey B. Plevan Annual Event, where we will be entertained by humorist and former New York Times Magazine columnist Randy Cohen. For a taste of Cohen's wit, intelligence and range of professional experience, read the article about him in this Insider.


In this issue, you will also meet a Gratz doctoral student who is pursuing her own unique career path, one song at a time. And you will read the inspiring personal stories behind special gifts to Gratz from generous donors. The article on baseball is our welcome to a much-awaited spring season. Finally, with Pesach, known as Chag Ha-aviv, the holiday of springtime, right around the corner, "The Gratz Gourmet" offers a couple of recipes for delicious Pesach desserts to sweeten the holiday.

Warmest wishes to you for much health and happiness, joy and harmony as you prepare for and celebrate Pesach.

Joy's signature
Joy W. Goldstein                                  
Randy Cohen on 'How to Be Good in the Real World'

Writer and humorist Randy Cohen is headlining Gratz's biggest fundraising event of the year, the Jeffrey B. Plevan Annual Event. Cohen's impressive resume includes three Emmy Awards for his work as a writer on "Late Night with David Letterman." For twelve years, he also wrote the column, "The Ethicist," in The New York Times Magazine, which led to appearances on "Good Morning America" and "Anderson Cooper 360." The author of four books and one play, Cohen is currently the host of his own public radio show. Engaging, intelligent and quick-witted, Cohen spoke with us for this article. Read more


Terry L. Katz: Honoring the Past and Empowering the Future

L'dor v'dor. From generation to generation. It is a phrase embodied by Terry Katz, local philanthropist, Israel advocate and Jewish communal professional. Her grandfather, an ardent Zionist, raised money to arm Jews in Palestine; her mother volunteered for Hadassah and Israel bond drives; Katz, herself, actively supports Israel through her ongoing leadership in the Jewish National Fund. Standing as a bridge between the past and the future, Katz recently rededicated the chapel at Gratz in memory of her parents, Selma and Larry Katz. At the same time, she donated a scholarship fund and other special gifts to the Gratz Jewish Community High School. Read more


Star of David wire necklace made by a Jewish female prisoner at a  slave la

The Grossmann Program: 'The Forgotten Legacy of Unarmed Resistance in the Holocaust'

"What would the world be like without Jews?" asked Professor Saul Wachs during his closing remarks at the Deena Grossmann Memorial Education Program. It would be a very different place, he concluded, in part because of Jewish contributions to concepts like hope and individual choice - concepts that survived the horrors of the Holocaust. In fact, it was during those dark days that many Jews exercised choice by holding on to their humanity and their Judaism in small but powerful ways, as depicted by Claire Goldstein Simmons, the guest lecturer at this year's program. Read more.


Reawakening the Mind with Yiddish

The Yiddish program at Gratz College recently received a generous donation from the family of Dr. Albert Wagman, z"l. Such gifts are often inspired by moving personal stories, and this story is one of those that tugs at the heart.


A neuropsychiatrist at Abington Hospital for 44 years, Dr. Wagman was an exceptionally brilliant and beloved man, making it all the more devastating when Alzheimer's began to dull his sharp mind. Searching for something to brighten his days, his wife, Lynn, enrolled him in one of Rita Ratson's Yiddish classes at Gratz College. Since Yiddish was the language he spoke as a child with his immigrant parents, childhood memories flooded back during class. As Ratson explains, "Yiddish drew him out and made him joyful." In gratitude, Dr. Wagman's family has made a contribution in his memory to support Yiddish programming at Gratz.

Student Spotlight on 'Miss Emily,' the 'Tot Shabbat' Rocker

After ten years, Emily Aronoff Teck is still humbled by the fact that she is paid to pursue her passion. She describes herself as "an electric-guitar-playing, skinny-jeans-wearing, early-childhood, Jewish-music educator." Teck - or "Miss Emily" as her pint-sized fans call her - is also a student in the Gratz doctoral program in Jewish education. Read more about this one-time aspiring rabbi, who has become a "tot Shabbat" rocker and a promising Ed.D. candidate.  

The Gratz Gourmet

This issue features our first return contributor to "The Gratz Gourmet": Yaffa Howard, payroll administrator and benefits supervisor for Gratz College. Outside the office, Yaffa spends much of her time in the kitchen, where she runs a catering business, designs wedding cakes and cooks for her family from scratch, as her Moroccan-born mother did before her. Yaffa's Hanukkah and Thanksgiving recipes were so popular in our November issue that we brought her back for Pesach. Read more for the recipes Yaffa uses for traditional coconut macaroons, as well as for her lip-smacking peanut butter variety. 
Hank Greenberg and Joe DiMaggio donated by Corbis Reprinted with permission from the NMAJH

'Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American'

Suffering through snow, ice and polar temperatures, most of us spent this interminable winter yearning for spring - and nothing says spring like baseball. So to usher in the season, we offer a taste of "Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American," the new exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. A must-see for baseball fans, the exhibit also resonates with history buffs and story lovers. Read more from our writer, Jodi Benjamin, in a preview that includes comments from avid sports fan, three-time Gratz graduate and former program director for Maccabi USA, Ami Monson.