Duffy Earns Prize

Congratulations are extended to Sean Duffy of Wheeling who has won third prize in the 2019 West Virginia Fiction Competition.

Duffy, who is the programming director of the Ohio County Public Library and executive director of the WALS Foundation in Wheeling, captured the bronze medal with a story titled “The Photograph.”

Crystal Wilkinson, the 2019 West Virginia Common Read author and recipient of the Weatherford Award, chose the winning entries in the fiction competition.

Duffy and the other winners will be honored Sept. 26 during the Scarborough Lecture and Awards ceremony and reception at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown. Wilkinson and Karen Goff, representing the West Virginia Center for the Book, will present the fiction awards. The Center for the Book provides funding for the annual competition.

Wilkinson will offer critiques for the nine finalists. Their stories will be submitted for consideration for the 2020 “Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Crystal Wilkinson Volume XII.”

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After a tumultuous week filled with sad news and uncertainty for residents and workers in area communities, it’s time to take a moment to reflect upon affirming and uplifting messages and occasions.

One such uplifting event was the joyous, three-day celebration held last weekend for the 170th anniversary of Temple Shalom in Wheeling. The theme of the celebration was “Honoring Our Heritage, Futhering Our Legacy.”

Events began last Friday with a Shabbat service and a family dinner, honoring the congregation’s past presidents.

Members of the temple’s congregation and guests from the interfaith community gathered for a special 170th anniversary Shabbat service and brunch last Saturday. Festivities continued that evening with a banquet and entertainment. The celebration concluded last Sunday with a picnic and congregational photographs.

Rabbi Joshua Lief, spiritual leader of Temple Shalom, delivered an eloquent and inspiring sermon at the Saturday Shabbat service. He recalled growing up in the congregation and in Wheeling, as well as the surprise and joy of being able to return to his hometown to lead his home congregation. He spoke of the thriving business community of his childhood, the decline of downtown Wheeling during his teen years and the revitalization of the downtown area and the city in general that he and his young family encountered upon their move to Wheeling two years ago.

Lief also spoke of the congregation’s founders — German Jewish immigrants — who regarded Wheeling as their own “promised land.” They, along with members of other faiths and later immigrants from other countries, became leaders of the city’s business community and civic organizations.

The rabbi then urged Wheeling residents, of all faiths and backgrounds, to become involved in the real work of rebuilding and revitalizing the community as a continuing “promised land” for current and future generations.

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Rabbi Gary Zola of Cincinnati served as scholar-in-residence for Temple Shalom’s anniversary observance, speaking at the Friday Shabbat service and at the Saturday brunch.

Zola is a distinguished professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. He taught Lief during his rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union.

The guest speaker has another connection to Temple Shalom. He also serves as executive director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, housed in Cincinnati.

Zola was a student of Jacob Rader Marcus, who had a long and distinguished career as a professor at Hebrew Union College for nearly 75 years. Zola related that Marcus was confirmed at Temple Shalom in Wheeling before heading to Cincinnati at age 14 to continue his studies.

Marcus (1896-1995) founded the American Jewish Archives in 1947. He also was a prolific author.

According to the website for the center that bears his name, “Jacob Rader Marcus was the first trained historian of the Jewish people born in America and the first to devote himself fully to the scholarly study of America’s Jews.”

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: lcomins@theintelligencer.net

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