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January 3, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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January 3, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 3, 2014 VIEWPOINT HERITAGE encourages readers to send in their opinions for the Viewpoint column. They must be signed; how- ever, names will be withheld upon request. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit, if necessary. Opinions printed in Viewpoint do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the paper. BBYOmone of the best decisions I've ever made By Jonah Goldberg Sophomore Seminole High School in 1924 the first chapter of the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA) was formed in Omaha, Neb. In 1925, B'nai B'rith Inter- national adopted AZA as its official youth program. Later on, in 1944, B'nai B'rith Girls was officially established the B'nai B'rith Youth Organiza- tion (BBYO) was born. Now BBYO is independent from B'nai B'rith International and BBYO, Inc. was established as its new name. Also BBYO has spread to Israel, U.K. and Ireland, France, Thailand, Bulgaria, Curacao, South Africa, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and recently Turkey, Serbia, and Argentina due to a new BBYO-JDC partnership. Now there are over 40,000 teens involved in BBYO in- ternationally. North Florida Region #52 (NFR) is where I call home. We hold events with more than 300 teens and are growing with eight different chapters in Orlando, Oviedo, Sarasota, Tampa, and Naples. I am a member and current board member of Rebels AZA #442, located in Orlando. We have more than 25 members and have been around for over 60 years. This fall term we had a regional kickoff on a boat. More than 100 Jewish teens attended! We also participated in an event for young Jewish men of Orlando called Project Mayhem. Everyone arrived at the Roth Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando dressed in all black and oblivi- ous to the surprises of the night. We then got on a bus and arrived at a fitness center and tested our workout en- durance. Afterwards we were transported to the JCC where former Orlando Magic player Anthony Bowie awaited us. He told us his story of playing in the NBA and how it was like a family. Then we proceeded to play basketball with him for the rest of the night. It was one of the most influential nights of my life. This past Novemberwe had our regional Kallah conventionwhere Iwas chosen as a member of the steering committee in charge of marketing and logistics. Throughout the weekend everyone discovered part of their Jewish Identity and had a great time doing it. For me, personally, itwas a life chang- ing convention and by far my favorite convention I have at- tended. I want to thank North PAGE 5A Florida Region BBYO for all of the amazing opportunities for Jewish teens. BBYO is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I have met so many amazing people that I would have never met if it wasn't for BBYO. Now I have friends all across the country who also love BBYO as much as I do through the summer programs I've experienced. My best friends are also my Brother Alephs and the bond we all have is stronger than any other. I have learned so much about Judaism and just everyday things during my time in BBYO. BBYO is a huge part of my life and I wouldn't want it any other way. A monthly update from Olga Yorish A light at the end of the tunnel A few months ago, as I was beginning my tenure at JFGO, a former senior volunteer leader of the United Jewish Communities whom I greatly admire for his wisdom and in- sightwrote in his blog: "Many of us have watched the JFGO for years, viewing it as a place of unrealized and incredible potential. In the past years, it has struggled with dormant campaigns and huge debts. But, there is clearly a revital- ized leadership in Orlando and.,, there is real hope. But this community represents an incredible challenge." Today, I can say that he was right. In the past nine months, I learned a lot about the challenges and worked very hard to nurture the hope. I came to this community to help realize its incredible potential and the last thing I want to hear is the word "unrealized." Today, I see a glimmer of light and I think that the tectonic plates are beginning to shift in the right direction. In recent weeks, a group of committed communal leaders, moti- vated by a desire to address the major fiscal challenges facing the community, have come forward with a bold pla n of action, Some of the components of this plan are not new- they have been proposed and discussed in the past- but what's different now is a sense of real urgency and a commitment to stay the course. I am very energized by this effort and look forward to updating the community on its progress. What also gives me hope is a changing climate of our relationships with the agencies, both those on the campus and those that "live" off it. In the past several months, JFGO's Chairman In appreciation Edgar Bronfman: Prince of the Jews By Ami Eden thought of himself as too big ' a way that few of'us could same time never hesitated to NEW YORK (JTA)--In the coming days, many eulogies will attempt to capture the magnitude of the loss suf- fered this week by the Jewish community. Really, though, all you need are eight words: Edgar Bronfman was a prince of his people. There are other machers who devote much of their time and money to Jewish causes. But none of them boast the same combination of lineage, intrigue, eccentricity, wonder, grandness and love for Juda- ism and the Jews. By birth, he was the son of Samuel Bronfman, chairman of Seagram Ltd. and president of the Canadian Jewish Con- gress, making him the scion of a family renown both for its beverage empire and its tradi- tion of Jewish leadership. And on both counts it showed: He was never quite like the other boys, never quite like the other billionaires. The differences were on dis- play the first time I met him, at a conference in Chicago in 2000 dedicated to making synagogues more meaningful and attractive. He shared the stage with two other mega philanthropists, financier Michael Steinhardt and oil and gas magnate Charles Schusterman. Steinhardt berated the Reform and Conservative rab- bis in the audience, sounding very much like a Wall Street guy who made enough cash not to suffer fools lightly. But he was balanced by Schuster- man, who was more humble and modest than most of the rabbis getting the Steinhardt treatment--not surprising for a self-made man who, though he literally struck it rich, never for Tulsa. And then there was Edgar. He talked about how holding the end-of-Shabbat Havdalah ceremony on Saturday night didn't feel right to him in the middle of his ski weekends, so he started doing it on Sunday night. High Holidays services were boring, so he started putting together his own in his East Side apartment building. Then mid-session, without comment, he stood up, left the stage and exited the room. When he returned a few minutes later, he let us know--with his particular brand of self-assuredness-- that it was just a case of a man's got to go when a man's got to go. In those moments, I saw the silver spoon side of Edgar and had little trouble com- prehending his tabloid-rich family history or his roller- coaster business record. It also wasn't hard to see how two other traits--his occasion- ally vulgar rebuke of political opponents and his reliance on and loyalty to a cadre of lieutenants--helped fuel the controversy and dysfunction that would bring an end to his otherwise storied tenure as the president of the World Jewish Congress. But in between, and in the years since his stepping down as WJC president, what became clear was that his immeasurable contributions to the Jewish people far out- weighed the bumps and were byproducts of the same set of life experiences and character traits. Edgar's memory is already a blessing, and will be for decades to come, because he chased big ideas and remained true to himself in afford to be. He lived large but was no dilettante, neither in his de- fense of Jewish rights around the world or his determination to connect young Jews to their heritage. He was passionate about studying Jewish texts and hearing what the policy experts had to say, but at the speak out against tradition or convention. Occasionally I would get a call that Edgar wanted to get togethe r . Almost always the agenda was simply to talk about the state of things in the Jewish world. He asked as Eden on page 15A Letters To The Editor HERITAGE welcomes and encourages let- ters to the editor, but they must be typed or printed and include name and phone number. We will withhold your name if you so request. Please limit letters to 250 words. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit letters. Send letters to P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to Where's the recognition of 'good Samaritan' acts? Dear Editor: I'm reading, Heritage, (Dec. 20, 2013 issue) for the first time; copies were made avail- able at our shul. I've paused to comment on, "Israeli father saves daughter kidnapped by Palestinians." The writers or their editors offer a glimpse at evidence that explains a little of Israel's difficulties with its neighbors. "'A Palestinian man saw her yelling, pulled over and gave her his cellphone so that she could [call] me and the police.'" No observation, comment of appreciation or acknowledgment that this Palestinian act might have been helpful or contributed to the outcome. "' we drove to the neighboring village and there was an Arab man there who stopped us and told us in Hebrew, 'Come with me, everything will be OK.'" They were led to the car, which was surrounded (protected?) by several Palestinians, with his daughter in the car. Recogniz- ing such circumstances are often hostile, nonetheless, in this case, some recognition that these actions might have contributed to the outcome seemed in order. And finally, Palestinian police enabled the request to wait for Israeli police and military. You may recall the White refrain in the 1800s, American West, about native Americans. If we don't learn from his- tory we're doomed to repeat it (Santayana) or how not to win friends. Michael Blatt Orlando of the Board Michael Soil and I have engaged their lay and professional leadership in direct and honest discus- sions about the role of the Federation and the future of the Jewish community. From these conversations, we learned that there is a desire to move forward and work together. In the past several months, I have been involved in nu- merous discussions about the role of the Federation. There is a point of view that its role is limited to making allocations. To me, it's avery narrow perspective. When the 2008 recession hit and the annual campaign declined, JFGO made a strategic deci- sion to reduce allocations and overhead in order to uphold its critical financial obligations and save the com- munity's main assets. Andwe still make allocations, albeit fewer iri number and smaller in dollars. Atthe same time, JFGO has maintained its programmatic priorities with severely reduced staff and resources. The work of the Federation has continued on. At a recent gathering of past and present major Federation donors, one of the participants suggested that if the Jewish Federation didn't exist, the community would have had to invent it. To prove this point, we presented a strong case for supporting the Jewish Federation of today and tomorrow. The Jewish Federation of today and tomorrow is the central community build- ing organization concerned with the well-being of every member of the Jewish com- munity and with the health of its institutions. The Jewish Federation is an incubator of new leadership for the entire Jewish community. Many graduates of the Jerome J. Bornstein Leadership Pro- gram have held top leadership positions at Central Florida's Jewish institutions. A couple of weeks ago, I met with the 2014 Bornstein class and was very impressed with the qual- ity of its members. I am con- fident that the community will reap long-term benefits of Federation's efforts. I am also very impressed by the growth and success of Our Jewish Orlando (OJO). Even at its beginning stages, OJO has proven thatwe have found the right approach to address- ing the burning question of "how to engage the next generation of Jews in Jew- ish life and philanthropy?" As OJO continues to grow and develop new initiatives, I am confident that it will benefit the Jewish Orlando as a whole. Along with the emphasis on the young members of the Jewish community, we must not forget our elderly and vulnerable community members. At the time of reduced resources, we must look for solutions in creative collaborations with partner agencies and general com- Yorish on page 15A Dry Bones pRes,,00,AL HEARIIY00