Monthly Archives: October 2013

At 80, Holocaust survivor Ivan Gabor finally revels in his bar mitzvah


(JTA) — Ivan and Rebecca Gabor have been married for 34 years. And for 34 years, Rebecca had heard her husband lament that he never had a bar mitzvah celebration.

Born in Transylvania, Ivan and his family moved to Hungary when he was a young child, changing their last name from Grossman to Gabor. When the Nazis came, his father was sent to a forced labor camp; Ivan and his mother went into hiding.

His father returned at the end of the war but was very sick, said Gabor, whose self-published memoir, “Echoes of My Footsteps,” tells the story of his survival and his life in Israel and Argentina before settling in the United States in 1977.

“He was planning my bar mitzvah,” Gabor said. “He even wrote a speech. But he passed away. I never had a bar mitzvah.”

“Every time we would go to a bar mitzvah, he would say ‘I never had a bar mitzvah,’ ” Rebecca said.

Their son, Gabe, adds, “I can’t remember a time in my life when he didn’t remind me of the fact that he didn’t have a bar mitzvah.”

Rebecca decided to do something about it — without telling her husband. READ MORE


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No stranger to meeting presidents, Rabbi Moline takes helm of NJDC

By Debra Rubin/

Rabbi Jack Moline was sitting with his friend, Rahm Emanuel, then a White House adviser, as the two ate lunch during their regular Jewish study session when the door swung open and President Bill Clinton walked into Emanuel’s White House office.

Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, introduced the rabbi—who stood up, shook Clinton’s hand, and told the president that he was happy to meet him, forgetting he “had a mouthful of sandwich.”

“I mumbled and sort of spit all over him,” Moline tells

It was the first face-to-face interaction the rabbi had with a president of the United States, but not the last—although presumably the last with food in his mouth. As a religious leader, Moline has been to numerous official White House meetings, mostly as director of public policy for the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, a position he held from 2009 until May, and has met both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. On Monday, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) announced that Moline would take over in January as executive director. He replaces David A. Harris, who left last February.  READ MORE

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