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, t ,; #t HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 18, 2013 Honoring From page 1A Dyer invited the crowd at City Hall to walk to the interfaith service at the First United Methodist Church, just down the block, noting, "We will walk united--whether individually or collectively, keeping Dr. King's dream alive." Rabbi Yonina Creditor, associate rabbi at Congre- gation Beth Am, led the opening prayer. Creditor said, "I crafted the opening blessing to reflect everyone in the room. I carefully chose language that was accessible to each and every attendee." Creditor compared Dr. King's methods of peaceful intervention to the bibli- cal prophetess and Judge, Deborah, explaining each motivated their communities to action with words, rather than violence. The Rev. Bryan Fulwider, president of the Interfaith Council, introduced Dyer, who addressed the crowd once again at the First United Methodist Church, first with a "thank you" to Rabbi David Kay of Congregation Ohev Shalom for organizing the evening's events. The mayor stated, "Dr. King taught us the importance of partnership and cooperation. This big crowd makes me smile--this is what today's about--embracing diversity." Dyer explained that this year's event took place a week before the national holiday due to conflicting events such as the upcoming presidential inauguration on Jan. 21, but hoped the day's commemoration would turn into a week of remembrance of Dr. King's message of peace and non-violence. He shared that the Interfaith Celebration had carried through three mayoral administrations, and he said he was proud to help carry out this annual event. Following a keynote address by Pastor Larry Mills of Mount Sinai Baptist Church, Orlando sharing the message of "Un- armed Truth and Uncondi- tional Love" that culminated in a standing ovation. Kay then led the event's first children's choir, appro- priately named, Everybody's Children." Kay explained, "The thought of a children's choir emerged in the wake of the tragedy of Newtown. Conn....It was important to hear the comforting voices of children." The choir featured eight local children of diverse backgrounds, singing "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," followed by Bob Marley's "One Love." The audience harmonized with the chorus in their second verse, and the church reverberated with the rhythm of peace. Fulwider said, "These moments are essential to lift up the legacy of Dr. King. What better time (than in this era) of Sandy- hook to discuss peace and non-violence?" The Dr. King Commemora- tion came to an end, as does each year, with the audience belting out the civil rights an- them, "We Shall Overcome." As the crowd stood hand-in- hand, arm-in-arm, joining across the divide of pews, race and culture, it seemed (if only for a moment) that it was PAGE 19. A possible to have peace as well as unconditional love. As the group dispersed to City Hall, Jewish community member and Ohev Shalom congregant, Genie Blaher stated, "It was wonderfully inspirational to be part of this event for the sixth or seventh time. It is vitally important that we all come together with what unites us rather than what separates us." Words echoed from outside the church, "We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace. We shall live in peace some day...." Pamela Ruben is an Or- lando area writer, teacher and author. Hagel From page 2A not take a position on Hagel but that he looked forward to a thorough vetting process. In an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star in his home state of Nebraska, Hagei said his record of support for Israel was "unequivocal" and had been subject to "false- hoods and distortions." "I have said many times that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism," he said. "I have also questioned some very cavalier attitudes take n about very complicated issues in the Middle East." Hagel suggested that differ- ences on policy were a matter of nuance and tactics, not of goals. "I have not supported unilateral sanctions" on Iran "because when it is us alone they don't work and they just isolate the United States," he said. "United Nations sanc- Election From page 2A ers say this year's effort feels larger and more sophisticated than those of elections past. American-born candidates such as Gimpei, Tal and Dov Lipman of the centrist Yesh Atid are hosting par- lor meetings in American homes. Party leaders like Yesh Atid's Yair Lapid and Jewish Home's Naftali Bennett have addressed large crowds in English. The Jerusalem Post has sponsored four English debates in Anglo-heavy popu- lation centers. Some parties have English bumper stickers and fliers. "The English-speaking community is finally step- ping up to the plate, as we become more comfortable and understanding of the system," said David London, executive director of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel, which co-sponsored The Jerusalem Post debates. London noted that like American Jews, Anglo Israelis are just a small fraction of the population--estimates are between 3 and 4 percent--but they tend to be more finan- cially successful than the average Israeli. Some 300,000 native English speakers live in Israel, the majority of them American, accordingtoAACI. Gimpel, Tal and Lipman hope to replicate American economic success in the po- litical arena. Israel has not had an American-born member of Knesset since 1984, when the ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane was elected. His party, Kach, was later deemed racist and disqualified from running tions are working. When we just decree something, that doesn't work." In the interview, Hagel did not refer to the controversy over his use in 2006 of the term "Jewish lobby" and his assertion when he was a sena- tor that his loyalty was to the United States, not Israel. Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York and a contributing fellow at the Israel Policy Forum, said Israeli leaders naturally would have concerns about past Hagel statements. But Pinkas said they would deal with Hagel not as the loquacious one-time senator who often was critical of Israeli policy, but as the defense secretary hewing to a policy set by Obama of a close U.S.-Israel security relationship. "What a senator says at a three-martini lunch and what a secretary of defense says are two different things," Pinkas said. bama made clear the WhLte House would aggres- sively tout Hagers bona tides as a wounded Vietnam War veteran, twice calling him a "patriot." There also was a veiled reassurance to Israel in Obama's remarks. "Chuck recognizes that American leadership is in- dispensable in a dangerous world," Obama said. "I saw this in our travels together across the Middle East. He under- stands that America stands strongest when we stand with allies and with friends." Peter Medding, a political scientist at Hebrew University, said Israel's leaders understand that the White House shapes the defense relationship and it would be counterproductive to create distance with the U.S. president at a time of increased regional tensions. "Making policy is a matter for Obama, and the Israelis are not interested in taking on Obama at this time," Med- ding said. Hagel is by no means out of the woods. A number of Republican senators already have pledged to vote against him. His apostasy on Presi- dent George W. Bush's Iraq policies--in 2007, Hagel sup- ported Democratic legislation requiring a troop withdrawal from Iraq--is still an open wound in the party. A lone Republican senator could hold the nomination unless the Obama administration is able to muster 60 votes, which could be daunting in a chamber in which Democrats control 55 of the 100 seats. Support among Demo- crats and liberal groups also is not assured. Gay groups want to hear more about his apology for opposing a 1998 ambassadorial nomination because the nominee was gay. In the Senate, Hagel was a pronounced conservative on domestic issues, including government spending, abor- tion and gun control. Susan Turnbull, a former vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Com- mittee and now chairwoman of Jewish Women Interna- tional, called Hagel's views "knee jerk" and "worrisome." A range of rightist pro-Isra- el groups remains committed to upending the nomination, among them the Zionist Organization of America, Christians United for Israel, the Republican Jewish Co- alition and the Emergency Committee for Israel, which on Monday launched a website headlined"Chuck Hagel is not a responsible option." Among centrist Jewish groups, the American Jewish Committee has written to Democratic senators urging them to oppose the nomina- tion. "AJC has shared our con- cerns with members of the U.S. Senate, who have the responsibility to ask the prob- ing questions about Hagel's record and vision," AJC said in a statement. For their part, Hagers Jew- ish allies have pushed back hard. J Street, Americans for Peace Now and Israel Policy Forum all have endorsed him. "It is particularly troubling that some claiming to repre- sent the pro-Israel commu- nity have tried to impugn Sen. Hagers commitment to the U.S.-Israel special relation- ship and our countries' shared security interests," J Street directorJeremy Ben-Ami said in a letter sent to all senators. Sudoku solution from page 7 358697214 791452836 in the 1988 elections. The polls show Gimpel 14th on the Jewish Home list and Tal 13th on Hatnua--on the verge of winning Knes- set seats. Lipman, 17th on the Yesh Atid slate, is a more unlikely victor. "My mother tongue is Eng- lish, so I wanted to empower the English-speaking immi- grant community," said Gim- pel, 33, who moved to Israel when he was 11. "They have someone they can turn to." While the three candidates come from different parts of the political spectrum, they agree that most English speakers care about strength- ening the state's democratic values and reforming its fragmented political system, inwhich as many as 15 parties may enter the next Knesset. Tal and Lipman both noted that Americans, who come from a tradition of religious pluralism, also emphasize is- sues of religion and state and tend to oppose government support for haredi Orthodox institutions. "In America, haredim have education, there are op- portunities and they work," said Lipman, who himself is haredi Orthodox. "That issue bothers us more because we know there's no contradic- tion" between working and being haredi. All three candidates agreed that a common stereotype Israelis have of American vot- ers-that they care only about supporting settlements--is false. "Part of the Anglo immi- grants are right-wing reli- gious, but a large percentage are not," Tal said. Lipman added that English speakers are "very much in line with mainstream Israel" and, like a majority of Israelis, are prioritizing economic is- sues in this election. Many Israelis, and es- pecially politicians, speak fluent or proficient English, but Lipman said English- speaking voters can identify particularly well with native English-speaking candidates. "Your English can be as good as you want it to be, but if you're coming from America you can connect with immigrants in a much better way," he said. "My passion to make Israel great is driven by us being relatively new." American candidates also come with American quirks. Tal plays fiddle in a bluegrass band. Jewish Home Chair- man Naftali Bennett, whose parents are American, loves the film "The Shawshank Redemption." Although Anglo political influence is on the rise, it's unclear if English speakers will follow in the footsteps of Russian immigrants, who formed their own powerful Knesset party, Yisrael Beit- einu. Gil Troy, a McGill Uni- versity history professor who is now a fellow at Jerusalem's Shalom Hartman Institute, said that English speakers have historically tried to blend into mainstream Israeli society rather than form their own distinct culture. "There was always this kind of American immigrant zeal to be truly Israeli and out- Hebraicize the Hebraists," Troy said. "There's a lot of American immigrant feeling of inadequacy in our Hebrew, so you try to overcompensate by not acknowledging that you're a separate community." Gimpel said thatAmericans are eager to integrate into Israeli society because they came to Israel by choice, unlike Russian or Ethiopian Israelis, who were fleeing oppression. "If Americans were in- terested in themselves they would have stayed in Ameri- ca," he said. 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