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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 4, 2013 By Neil Rubin Cou(,00l Russia's crackdown against foreign NGOs imperil Jewish groups working there? WASHINGTON (JTA)--Fol- lowing the collapse of the Soviet Union, it didn't take long for international Jewish groups to rush into Russia and begin rebuilding institutions of Jewish life that had been destroyed under generations of communist repression. In the two decades since, Russian Jewry has undergone a remarkable revival, and Diaspora Jewish institutions from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to the Jewish Agency for Israel to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement have been there every step of the way. But with the environment in President Vladimir Putin's Russia growing increasingly hostile toward foreign non- governmental organizations, could the operations of inter- national Jewish groups be in jeopardy? "We're in avery reactionary phase," said James Brooke, the Moscow correspondent for the Voice of America. "The cur- rent leadership doesn't favor civil society and prefers vertical power, which is an authoritar- ian, dictatorial concept from the top of salute and shut up." On Oct. 1, in a sign of rising tensions between Washing- ton and Moscow, Russia an- nounced that it was ending all U.S. Agency for International Development operations in the country, ending a program The Jewish Agency More than 25,000 Jews in the former Soviet Union are participating in aliyah preparation each year with The Jewish Agency, including career guidance and immersive Hebrew instruction. that has invested more than $2.7 billion in Russia since 1991 to promote "a more open and innovative society and a strengthened partnership between Russia and the United States." Then there's the crackdown on dissent that has seen every- thing from the jailing of opposi- tion leaders to the prison terms handed down to three women from the punk band Pussy Riot for their "blasphemous" performance in a church. The rockers, one of whom has been released from prison, were convicted of "hooliganism." Fortunately for the Jews of Russia, Judaism is one of four recognized religions in the country. The Russian parlia- ment is now considering a blasphemy law that would criminalize acts of"sacrilege" against any of the recognized religions. Finally, a new law requires groups that acquire funds from overseas to declare themselves "foreign agents'--a category that on its face would seem to include international Jewish aid groups. Publicly, Jewish organiza- tions say they are not con- cerned and emphasize that their work is humanitarian, not political. "There's nothing here that Jewish organizations that operate in the former Soviet Union from the United States or Israel that support activities in the FSU have to be concerned about," said Misha Galperin, president and CEO of Jewish Agency International Develop- ment. "We provide assistance for humanitarian, education and community building programs that have nothing at all to do with any political processes and situations in Russia." Privately, however, Jewish organizations are toeing very The quest for the lady in gold By Rabbi Rachel Esserman The (Vestal, N.Y.) Reporter How important is the title of any particular work of art? Does it matter if someone-- other than the artist--decides to change a painting's name? In "The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait ofAdele Bloch-Bauer" (AlfredA. Knop0, Anne-Marie O'Connor shows how something as simple as a name change can represent a world view--in this case, one that pretended the Jewish art patrons of early 20th century Vienna never existed. The painting in question has had two names throughout the decades. Its creator, Gustav Klimt, called it "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer." When, during World War II, Nazi art histori- ans displayed the painting and others Klimt had created, they sought to remove their Jewish connection by pretending that Bloch-Bauer and the other Jew - ish women Klimt had painted were Aryans. The "Portrait ofAdele Bloch- Bauer" became "Portrait of a Lady With Gold Background." Otherworkswere given equally generic titles, erasing the names and identities of the women who once inspired the artist to greatness. Although the discussion of the "Portrait of Adele Bloch- Bauer" forms its central core, "The Lady in Gold" covers a wide time period. O'Connorfirst looks at Vienna at the turn of the 20th century before analyzing the pre-World War II decades. The story then follows the extended Bloch-Baner family through World War II and the post-war period. The author [ ............... ........... [ I: LADY .........  ................. [ I' rN ...................... I _ i. > : :. manages to juggle a complex narrative with a large cast of characters before focusing on the most exciting part of her story: whether or not the Bloch-Bauer heirs will be able to recover artwork stolen by the Nazis. O'Connor sets the tone for her work by examining early 20th century Vienna in order for readers to understand how the Jewish Bloch-Bauers felt about their enchanted city. She notes that Vienna was "a city of contradictions. It was one of Europe's richest cities, yet its immigrants were among the poorest. The construction of opulent new palaces did little to hide a severe homing shortage. Vienna doctors were creating modern medicine--pioneering surgeries; discovering germs, the polio virus, and blood types--yet incurable syphilis spread unchecked. Sigmund Freud was illuminating hidden drives of sex and aggression at a time of xenophobia and anti-Semitism so crude that some believed Jews murdered children to leaven their matzah with blood. Famed for its gaiety, 'the sacred city of musicians' had the highest suicide rate in Europe." The author believes Jews had been living in Vienna since pre-Christian Roman times (although the earliest Jewish relic dates to about the third century).AsVienna turned from a pagan to a Christian city, Jews were either tolerated or vilified, but never accepted into general society. During the 19th century, the condition of the Jewish Vien- nese changed for the better, due to their service--financial and other--to the city. However, as the 20th century approached, these Jews found themselves in the minority as Eastern European Jews fled to Austria to escape persecution. The Austrian Bloch-Bauers were among the richest fami- lies, many of whom became patrons of the arts. This group was more accepting of experi- mental, radical artists, includ- ing Klimt, whose avant-garde work was declared degenerate by the more conservative art establishment. Klimt found inspiration in the beautiful Jewish women of Vienna. A womanizer who fathered sev- eral illegitimate children, the artist is thought to have seduced many of his models. Although the Bloch-Bauer family mem- bers debate whether or not she was ever his mistress, it's dear thatAdeleBloch-Bauerwasone of Klimt's muses. Life changed greatly for the Jews of Vienna once Germany annexed Austria. Those lucky and wealthy enough to escape early had their businesses, homes and estates plundered. Adele's husband, Ferdinand, managed to survive the war in Switzerland, but by the time of his death, most of his assets had been stolen by the Nazis. After the war, Vienna made it very difficult for Jewish heirs to claim artwork and/or move the art outofVienna.Adele's picture had become asymbol of the city and local authorities refused to return it to Ferdinand's heirs. However, the family, at least some of its members, wanted the paintings back; one fervent attorney, Randel Schoenberg, fought against the odds to get the painting returned. The law case is too complexto discuss in a short review, but the cruxofthe argument is based on the differing wishes of Adele and Ferdinand.Before Adele died in 1925, she requested that her husband leave the Klimt paint- ings to the Austrian Gallery in Vienna. However, Ferdinand's will split his estate among three relatives. Austria claimed Adele's wish should be followed. Schoenbergnotedthatsincethe painting belonged to Ferdinand, legally his will trumped any re- quests made by hiswife. Readers are left to ponder how Adele's feelings about Austria might have changed if she lived to see its citizens embrace the Nazis. "The Lady In Gold" reads like melodrama and O'Connor's breathless prose keeps the pag- es turning quickly. The author manages to create suspense even for those who know how the court case ends. Readers may wonder if she's accurately projecting the thoughts of those long deceased, but her notes show that most of that material comes from letters and interviews. "The Lady in Gold" highlights not only the importance of a name, but the complex relationship between Vienna and its Jewish population. PAGE 15A The Jewish Agency More then 6,000 young Russian-speaking Jews are par- ticipating in The Jewish Agency's summer camp programs in the former Soviet Union. carefully to make sure they do not run afoul of a regime that in recent months has severely restricted the operation of foreign NGOs in Russia. The key, says Ben Cohen, a former director of European affairs for the Anti-Defamation League, is to steer clear of any criticism of the regime. "The organized Jewish com- munity has traditionally been very careful not to alienate the Russian government," he said. "Firstly it would hinder their operations there, and secondly, I think they're aware that there is a very strong undercurrent of anti-Semitism in Russiaand they're very nervous about provoking that." As things stand now, Putin has good ties with the Jewish community. He has developed personal relationships with some Jewish leaders--notably Rabbi Berel Lazar, one of Rus- sia's two chief rabbis--and Jewish schools, synagogues and community centers have flourished in Russia since Putin came to power in 2000. "Putin is a despicable man, but he's very shrewd," Cohen said. "He understands that getting into a needless con- frontation with Jewish orga- nizations isn't going to serve his interests." aRT, the educational agen- cy, cited its close work with the government in running schools and educational pro- grams in Russia. Moscow aRT Technology College, which opened in 1996, has 4,000 students, and the aRT de Gun- zburg Jewish School No. 550 in St. Petersburg has received the President's Prize--Russia's highest award for innovation and excellence in education. "We're in these countries" in the former Soviet Union "because we've been invited by the government and the ministries of education, which we partner with," said Alan Klugman, executive director of aRT America. Likewise, Jewish groups including the Hebrew Immi- grant Aid Society and the JDC told JTA that they have not experienced problems with the government and do not expect U.S.-Russia tensions to affect their operations. The unspoken tradeoff, Cohen said, is that Jewish organizations cannot criti- cize the regime for anything. U.S.-Russian tensions will not impact Jewish groups, Cohen said, "unless they challenge the government." 1st Choice fftome Companion Services "Touching our Customer's lives one at a time" Best Prices Quality Services 555 Windedey Place Ste. 300 Maitland, FL. 32751 Call 321.594.3579 24 hrs./7 Days a Week www. lstchoicehomecompanion.com smartchoicehomecompanion@gmail.com Caring for you in your home  Development Corporation for Israel State of Israel Bonds 12600 South Belcher Road, Suite 101A SRAE "ieONOS,,,.,, Largo, Florida 33773 Reva Pearlstein Monica DiGiovanni Assistant Director Registered Representative 727-539-6445 800-622-8017 tampa@israelbonds.com www.israelbonds.com HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 4, 2013 By Neil Rubin Cou(,00l Russia's crackdown against foreign NGOs imperil Jewish groups working there? WASHINGTON (JTA)--Fol- lowing the collapse of the Soviet Union, it didn't take long for international Jewish groups to rush into Russia and begin rebuilding institutions of Jewish life that had been destroyed under generations of communist repression. In the two decades since, Russian Jewry has undergone a remarkable revival, and Diaspora Jewish institutions from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to the Jewish Agency for Israel to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement have been there every step of the way. But with the environment in President Vladimir Putin's Russia growing increasingly hostile toward foreign non- governmental organizations, could the operations of inter- national Jewish groups be in jeopardy? "We're in avery reactionary phase," said James Brooke, the Moscow correspondent for the Voice of America. "The cur- rent leadership doesn't favor civil society and prefers vertical power, which is an authoritar- ian, dictatorial concept from the top of salute and shut up." On Oct. 1, in a sign of rising tensions between Washing- ton and Moscow, Russia an- nounced that it was ending all U.S. Agency for International Development operations in the country, ending a program The Jewish Agency More than 25,000 Jews in the former Soviet Union are participating in aliyah preparation each year with The Jewish Agency, including career guidance and immersive Hebrew instruction. that has invested more than $2.7 billion in Russia since 1991 to promote "a more open and innovative society and a strengthened partnership between Russia and the United States." Then there's the crackdown on dissent that has seen every- thing from the jailing of opposi- tion leaders to the prison terms handed down to three women from the punk band Pussy Riot for their "blasphemous" performance in a church. The rockers, one of whom has been released from prison, were convicted of "hooliganism." Fortunately for the Jews of Russia, Judaism is one of four recognized religions in the country. The Russian parlia- ment is now considering a blasphemy law that would criminalize acts of"sacrilege" against any of the recognized religions. Finally, a new law requires groups that acquire funds from overseas to declare themselves "foreign agents'--a category that on its face would seem to include international Jewish aid groups. Publicly, Jewish organiza- tions say they are not con- cerned and emphasize that their work is humanitarian, not political. "There's nothing here that Jewish organizations that operate in the former Soviet Union from the United States or Israel that support activities in the FSU have to be concerned about," said Misha Galperin, president and CEO of Jewish Agency International Develop- ment. "We provide assistance for humanitarian, education and community building programs that have nothing at all to do with any political processes and situations in Russia." Privately, however, Jewish organizations are toeing very The quest for the lady in gold By Rabbi Rachel Esserman The (Vestal, N.Y.) Reporter How important is the title of any particular work of art? Does it matter if someone-- other than the artist--decides to change a painting's name? In "The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait ofAdele Bloch-Bauer" (AlfredA. Knop0, Anne-Marie O'Connor shows how something as simple as a name change can represent a world view--in this case, one that pretended the Jewish art patrons of early 20th century Vienna never existed. The painting in question has had two names throughout the decades. Its creator, Gustav Klimt, called it "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer." When, during World War II, Nazi art histori- ans displayed the painting and others Klimt had created, they sought to remove their Jewish connection by pretending that Bloch-Bauer and the other Jew - ish women Klimt had painted were Aryans. The "Portrait ofAdele Bloch- Bauer" became "Portrait of a Lady With Gold Background." Otherworkswere given equally generic titles, erasing the names and identities of the women who once inspired the artist to greatness. Although the discussion of the "Portrait of Adele Bloch- Bauer" forms its central core, "The Lady in Gold" covers a wide time period. O'Connorfirst looks at Vienna at the turn of the 20th century before analyzing the pre-World War II decades. The story then follows the extended Bloch-Baner family through World War II and the post-war period. The author [ ............... ........... [ I: LADY .........  ................. [ I' rN ...................... I _ i. > : :. manages to juggle a complex narrative with a large cast of characters before focusing on the most exciting part of her story: whether or not the Bloch-Bauer heirs will be able to recover artwork stolen by the Nazis. O'Connor sets the tone for her work by examining early 20th century Vienna in order for readers to understand how the Jewish Bloch-Bauers felt about their enchanted city. She notes that Vienna was "a city of contradictions. It was one of Europe's richest cities, yet its immigrants were among the poorest. The construction of opulent new palaces did little to hide a severe homing shortage. Vienna doctors were creating modern medicine--pioneering surgeries; discovering germs, the polio virus, and blood types--yet incurable syphilis spread unchecked. Sigmund Freud was illuminating hidden drives of sex and aggression at a time of xenophobia and anti-Semitism so crude that some believed Jews murdered children to leaven their matzah with blood. Famed for its gaiety, 'the sacred city of musicians' had the highest suicide rate in Europe." The author believes Jews had been living in Vienna since pre-Christian Roman times (although the earliest Jewish relic dates to about the third century).AsVienna turned from a pagan to a Christian city, Jews were either tolerated or vilified, but never accepted into general society. During the 19th century, the condition of the Jewish Vien- nese changed for the better, due to their service--financial and other--to the city. However, as the 20th century approached, these Jews found themselves in the minority as Eastern European Jews fled to Austria to escape persecution. The Austrian Bloch-Bauers were among the richest fami- lies, many of whom became patrons of the arts. This group was more accepting of experi- mental, radical artists, includ- ing Klimt, whose avant-garde work was declared degenerate by the more conservative art establishment. Klimt found inspiration in the beautiful Jewish women of Vienna. A womanizer who fathered sev- eral illegitimate children, the artist is thought to have seduced many of his models. Although the Bloch-Bauer family mem- bers debate whether or not she was ever his mistress, it's dear thatAdeleBloch-Bauerwasone of Klimt's muses. Life changed greatly for the Jews of Vienna once Germany annexed Austria. Those lucky and wealthy enough to escape early had their businesses, homes and estates plundered. Adele's husband, Ferdinand, managed to survive the war in Switzerland, but by the time of his death, most of his assets had been stolen by the Nazis. After the war, Vienna made it very difficult for Jewish heirs to claim artwork and/or move the art outofVienna.Adele's picture had become asymbol of the city and local authorities refused to return it to Ferdinand's heirs. However, the family, at least some of its members, wanted the paintings back; one fervent attorney, Randel Schoenberg, fought against the odds to get the painting returned. The law case is too complexto discuss in a short review, but the cruxofthe argument is based on the differing wishes of Adele and Ferdinand.Before Adele died in 1925, she requested that her husband leave the Klimt paint- ings to the Austrian Gallery in Vienna. However, Ferdinand's will split his estate among three relatives. Austria claimed Adele's wish should be followed. Schoenbergnotedthatsincethe painting belonged to Ferdinand, legally his will trumped any re- quests made by hiswife. Readers are left to ponder how Adele's feelings about Austria might have changed if she lived to see its citizens embrace the Nazis. "The Lady In Gold" reads like melodrama and O'Connor's breathless prose keeps the pag- es turning quickly. The author manages to create suspense even for those who know how the court case ends. Readers may wonder if she's accurately projecting the thoughts of those long deceased, but her notes show that most of that material comes from letters and interviews. "The Lady in Gold" highlights not only the importance of a name, but the complex relationship between Vienna and its Jewish population. PAGE 15A The Jewish Agency More then 6,000 young Russian-speaking Jews are par- ticipating in The Jewish Agency's summer camp programs in the former Soviet Union. carefully to make sure they do not run afoul of a regime that in recent months has severely restricted the operation of foreign NGOs in Russia. The key, says Ben Cohen, a former director of European affairs for the Anti-Defamation League, is to steer clear of any criticism of the regime. "The organized Jewish com- munity has traditionally been very careful not to alienate the Russian government," he said. "Firstly it would hinder their operations there, and secondly, I think they're aware that there is a very strong undercurrent of anti-Semitism in Russiaand they're very nervous about provoking that." As things stand now, Putin has good ties with the Jewish community. He has developed personal relationships with some Jewish leaders--notably Rabbi Berel Lazar, one of Rus- sia's two chief rabbis--and Jewish schools, synagogues and community centers have flourished in Russia since Putin came to power in 2000. "Putin is a despicable man, but he's very shrewd," Cohen said. "He understands that getting into a needless con- frontation with Jewish orga- nizations isn't going to serve his interests." aRT, the educational agen- cy, cited its close work with the government in running schools and educational pro- grams in Russia. Moscow aRT Technology College, which opened in 1996, has 4,000 students, and the aRT de Gun- zburg Jewish School No. 550 in St. Petersburg has received the President's Prize--Russia's highest award for innovation and excellence in education. "We're in these countries" in the former Soviet Union "because we've been invited by the government and the ministries of education, which we partner with," said Alan Klugman, executive director of aRT America. Likewise, Jewish groups including the Hebrew Immi- grant Aid Society and the JDC told JTA that they have not experienced problems with the government and do not expect U.S.-Russia tensions to affect their operations. The unspoken tradeoff, Cohen said, is that Jewish organizations cannot criti- cize the regime for anything. U.S.-Russian tensions will not impact Jewish groups, Cohen said, "unless they challenge the government." 1st Choice fftome Companion Services "Touching our Customer's lives one at a time" Best Prices Quality Services 555 Windedey Place Ste. 300 Maitland, FL. 32751 Call 321.594.3579 24 hrs./7 Days a Week www. lstchoicehomecompanion.com smartchoicehomecompanion@gmail.com Caring for you in your home  Development Corporation for Israel State of Israel Bonds 12600 South Belcher Road, Suite 101A SRAE "ieONOS,,,.,, Largo, Florida 33773 Reva Pearlstein Monica DiGiovanni Assistant Director Registered Representative 727-539-6445 800-622-8017 tampa@israelbonds.com www.israelbonds.com