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ShivaWatch: Stars of Disney, the Exodus, and the London Art Scene, as Well as Auschwitz’s ‘Woman in Blue’ and DC’s greatest Ba’alat Tokiah

We are saddened to report that:

A star of Disney Channel shows and two Adam Sandler films passed away at the age of twenty from an ongoing medical condition. Cameron Boyce is best known for his roles in The Descendants movies, General Hospital, Grown Ups, and Jessie. Adam Sandler wrote, “Too young. Too sweet. Too funny. Just the nicest, most talented, and most decent kid around. Loved that kid. Cared so much about his family. Cared so much about the world. Thank you, Cameron, for all you gave to us. So much more was on the way. All our hearts are broken. Thinking of your amazing family and sending our deepest condolences.” A native of Los Angeles, he had been acting since he was a child. #restinpower @thecameronboyce – Cameron liked to say he identified as Bl-ewish.. African-Caribbean black and Jewish. His mother, Libby (Elizabeth Small), a native of New Haven, is a LCSW social worker who is a noted leader and activist for the homeless populations in Los Angeles and the country. Her late father, Roger, was one of the founders and builders of Temple Emanuel in New Haven.

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Mark Schulman reports that his father, Sam Schulman, the last surviving US crew member on legendary ‘Exodus 1947’ ship passed away this week at 91 in Richmond, Virginia. After escaping the Holocaust with his mother, narrowly escaping the roundup of Jewish in Paris, and hiding for three years in Pionnat France, Schulman survived and returned to America (he was born in Indiana), Schulman volunteered to help bring Jewish refugees to British-controlled Palestine.

In the two years before the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, more than 60 Aliya Bet ships were organized to bring refugees of Nazi Europe to Palestine. But just a few penetrate the British blockade. The Exodus carried more than 4,500 Holocaust survivors but they were forced onto prison ships in Haifa and sent back to Europe in July 1947 Schulman volunteered on other ships that were also captured by the British. Schulman helped establish an agriculture collective, Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’Negev, and as the State of Israel was founded, he helped train seamen in Haifa during Israel’s War of Independence. After returned to the US, he served in the US Army during the Korean War, graduated college, and worked in the watch business in Manhattan for four decades. In 1958, a decade after the Exodus incident, a bestselling fictional account was written by Leon Uris, and later, a film based on the book was released and starred Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan.

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Leon Kossoff, a controversial London artist, passed away at 92 in the city he painted. His works were an expression of the undying human need to wrest a separate existence for art from the universal stuff of local daily life. He was a rugged individualist who drew daily – mostly with charcoal – and painted through years of being not merely unfashionable, but positively spurned.

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Geri Rothman-Serot of St. Louis, Missouri, who served as 2nd lady of Missouri, a St. Louis County Councilman and the democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1992 passed away. She organized the “Legislative Spouses” in Jefferson City into a strong bipartisan force. A three-time breast cancer survivor, Geri served on many committees and Boards in St. Louis to educate men and women to eliminate the fear of cancer and understand you can thrive for years to come.

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Judith Krantz, a best selling author, who did not publish her first novel (Scruples) until she was fifty years old, passed away at her home in Bel Air, California at 91. She was ranked as the third-largest-selling female novelist in U.S. history. selling over 80 million copies of ten novels. Seven of her novels were adapted into films and mini-series.

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Also of note, was the passing of Ben (Berl) Barenholtz, 83, who began the midnight-movie phenomenon at his Manhattan theater – the 600 seat Elgin Theater in the Chelsea – in the 1970s and nurtured the movie careers of David Lynch and the Coen brothers. Mr. Barenholtz’s programming appealed to younger audiences who wanted to experience indie films in a run-down theater where marijuana smoking was condoned. Other theaters copied his formula. John Waters’s classic “Pink Flamingos” (1972), Perry Henzell’s “The Harder They Come” (1973), and Jim Sharman’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” became staples of these midnight screenings. Born in Poland, he and his family hid for two years on a farm during WWII. But on March 15, 1943, his father was killed by a Ukrainian nationalist as Berl sat next to him. “My father’s last word to me was ‘Run,’ ” Mr. Barenholtz said in various accounts of his childhood. Berl survived the war. He and his mother immigrated to New York City in 1947. His brother moved to Palestine. After a stint in the Army, and work as a house painter, bartender, carpenter and postal worker, he became manager of the Village Theater (Fillmore East), and the the Elgin in 1968. In 1977, David Lynch stayed in Barenholtz’s apartment until he finished “Eraserhead.”

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Eva Kor, an outspoken survivor of Auschwitz and its notorious, criminal medical experiments on twins, passed away in Krakow while leading her annual trip to Auschwitz. Known as “the woman in blue” for the outfits she favored, her 4 foot 9 inch height belief her boundless energy. Eva and her twin sister Miriam Mozes were born 85 years ago on Jan. 21, 1934, into a Jewish farming family in the village of Portz in northern Transylvania, then a part of Romania but later a region of Hungary. She hand her family were deported to Auschwitz in 1944. As a twin, she was selected by Josef Mengele’s for his sadistic pseudoscientific genetics experiments. After surviving the war and immigrating to Terre Haute, Indiana, Kor created a museum and foundation, was featured in many documentary films and videos and led annual trips to the former death camps.

At the young age of 55, noted World Bank Economist Jennie Litvack succumbed to cancer. THE ECONOMIST magazine wrote: “The call came, appropriately enough, while she was walking through the Old City of Jerusalem, her husband said. They had stopped at a small shop near the Roman Cardo. By the door stood a barrel of shofars. Not regular ram’s horn shofars, but the long curved Yemeni instruments made from the horn of the greater kudu, an African antelope. She blew each one in turn. What emerged was a deep throaty musical summons that almost quivered, casting those who heard it back to one of the most significant moments in Judaism when God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his own son and ordered him to kill a ram instead. In the street a crowd began to gather. They had never heard such a sound before. And then, somewhere in the barrel, she found it—the shofar that produced the perfect deep baritone, the primal call she’d long dreamed of but never made. When she blew it, the crowd fell silent. Shopkeepers, tourists, old men pushing carts: they all stopped. They knew this one was different. And so was born a new ba’alat tokeah, a high mistress of the horn.”

The DC Community wrote: Jennie Ilene Litvack, of Chevy Chase died…. A native of Montreal, Jennie was blessed with a happy childhood – a warm, loving, supportive family and friends with whom she remains close to this day. Unlike most of her classmates, Jennie went to America for college, receiving her undergraduate degree at Duke University and then earning her master’s and doctoral degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. At Duke, Jennie met fellow student Rob Satloff; together from the mid-1980s, they married in 1990 and lived joyfully over the years in Oxford, England; Yaounde, Cameroon; Zichron Yaakov, Israel; Rabat, Morocco, as well as Washington, and environs. An economist by training, Jennie traveled the globe for two decades for the World Bank, helping to fight poverty and improve living standards as lead economist of human development for Latin America, lead economist for Morocco, and country economist for Vietnam, among other positions. Her original doctoral research on pharmaceutical pricing in rural health centers in Cameroon itself had a major impact, playing a key role in ensuring access to medications for millions of people throughout Africa. After her retirement from the Bank in 2010, Jennie shifted focus from the highly technical to the deeply spiritual. She joined the board of Adas Israel Congregation and led the lay effort to establish its Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, a project that won two national awards for innovative Jewish programming. She also helped bring mindfulness and religious pluralism to Israel through her work as a board member of Or Halev, the Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation. In addition, Jennie found her calling a decade ago as Adas Israel’s ba’alat tekiya (shofar blower). She created such powerful, evocative, melodic sounds that services on the Jewish new year overflowed with congregants eager to fulfill the commandment to hear the shofar. The “goddaughter” of famed jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, who she met when she was fourteen and with whom she stayed close friends for the rest of his life, Jennie was featured on National Public Radio for her magical ability to make music out of the sounds of her special shofar, an African kudu horn nearly four feet long…. Donations may be made to the Jennie Litvack Memorial Fund at Adas Israel, which will support the redesign of the gallery adjacent to the synagogue’s entry foyer as special contemplative space dedicated in her memory and will, in Israel, promote greater religious pluralism and the spread of mindful Judaism through the important work of Or Halev.

Here she is three years ago in Central Park

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