As you might imagine the terrorist attack at Hebrew University hit pretty close to home. I have eaten in that cafeteria more times than I can count. Two of the dead from the terrorist attack at Hebrew University were USY alumni studying on Pardes’ Senior educator’s program (for an MA from Hebrew U). Alexis and I were both very active in USY (United Synagogue Youth). We were both regional offices in this youth group and met at a USY convention. The Pardes Institute for Jewish studies is a long-time client of mine and I have many friends affiliated with this liberal, pluralistic, coed modern Orthodox yeshiva <http://www.pardes.org.il>.
Marla wrote the following, as you know from reading my e-mails, I could have written the same things: “My friends and family in San Diego ask me to come home, it is dangerous here,” she wrote. “I appreciate their concern. But there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be right now. I have afront-row seat for the history of the Jewish people. I am a part of the struggle for Israel’s survival. Paying for my groceries is the same as contributing money to my favorite cause.”
USY has recently started regional discussion groups for alumni.The Far West Region discussion group has been filled with talk around this. I am forwarding one of these messages below. (To join your alumni list contact <email@example.com> for instructions – tell them I sent you). Also here is a brief biography and funeral.
Benjamin Blutstein, 24, from Susquehanna Township, Pennsylvania (EPA Region of USY), was on atwo-year study program at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies to be a teacher of Jewish studies and was attending a Hebrew language ulpan. He earned a BA in religion and Judaic studies from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, in 2000. He was the president of Hillel at Dickinson College in 1998-1999. Benjamin, a musician, lived with two friends, and worked as a DJ at discos in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. He was planning to fly home today to visit hisfamily in Pennsylvania before returning for the next academic year.
Marla Bennet, 24, was from from Tifereth Israel in San Diego (Far West), and was completing the second year of a three-year master’s program in Judaic Studies at Hebrew University, as part of Pardes’ senior educators’ program. She received a BA in political science from the University of Berkeley at California in 2000. In 1998 she attended the Rothberg School’s One Year Program for her junior year abroad. “This question may seem inconsequential, but the events of the past few months in Israel have led me to believe that each small decision I make, by which route to walk to school, whether or not to go out to dinner, may have life-threatening consequences,” Bennett wrote in a May 10 column in a newspaper in her hometown of San Diego. “Marla was incredibly bright, top of her class. She was extremely outgoing, a bubbly young lady, very seriously involved in investigating her Judaism. She was interested in human beings, and finding a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict,” family spokesmen Norman Greene said.
Ben’s funeral will be held today, Friday, August 2, at 3:00 p.m. in Harrisburg, at the Kesher Israel Synagogue 2500 North 3rd St. Marian Frankston, a friend of the family, offering Shabbat food and hospitality. She can be reached at 717-232-9621. Ben’s family: Richard and Katherine Blustein 3484 North 3rd Street Harrisburg, PA 17110
The funeral for Marla Bennett will be Monday, August 5 at 2 PM at Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Diego. Directions may be found at http://www.tiferethisrael.com or by calling 619-697-6001. Marla’s family: Michael and Linda Bennett 6037 Lomond DriveSan Diego, CA 92120 May their memories be a blessing