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February 14, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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February 14, 2003

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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 14, 2003 PAGE 11 of candidate's Jewish roots add another flavor to campaign Ephross conversion and abandonment Internet, but had found only of Judaism, for the sake of up- bits of information on his fam- (JTA)--First it ward mobility, in an earlier era ily history. of State of America," said Sarna, the The news does not appear to Braun professor of American have major political ramifica- Jewish history at the school in tions. of NATO Waltham, Mass."Giventhe quite There was an initial hubbub significantanti-Semitismofthe when AIbright, secretary of Democratic presi- early 20th century and the evi- state in the Clinton adminis- John Kerry dent obstacles that stood in the tration, learned in 1997 that roots are being path to success, people simply three of her four grandparents changed their names andwere Jewish. The Massachusetts sloughed off their Judaism." The next time she was in the quintessential But that path wasn't always Prague, Albright visited the successful, Sarna said.Pinkas Synagogue, where the name? Kerry'sgrandfather'ssuicide names of her paternal grand* apparentlystemmedfromfinan- parents are inscribed on a wall cial troubles. But one could among thousands of Czech it turns out. wonderif'bychanginghisname Jews who died in the Holo- is a practicing and identity, the man had cut caust. himself off from any sense of There was little political fall- grand- community, Sarna said. out from her discovery- though Was Jewish, but had The Kerry story also might when she dealtwith the lsraeli- searched for hold lessons for the present Palestinianpeaceprocessmany his paternal and future makeup of Ameri- Arab commentators called her roots, can Jewry, Sarna said. Accord- a Zionist and said she had a ing to current statistics, mil- pro-Israel bias. lions of Americans like Kerry Observers say the revelation was born mayhaveJewishrootsbutdon't about Kerry is unlikely to af- family in a small consider themselves Jewish. feet the 2004 presidential race. Czech Republic. "The question is if that is "There's noquestion there's incredible stuff," goingtobe seenacentury from a lot of pride in a Jewish candi- '."I think it now as a harbinger of where date and pride in family Jewish sting. It isa American Judaism is going," connections, but the Ameri- Sarna asked, can Jewish community is fairly show that his Of course, several people mature in its political behav- rick Kerry, contact the American Jewish ior," said Ira Furman, the ex- as Fritz Kohn. He Historical Society every year ecutivedirectoroftheNational name to Kerry inasking for help in their search Jewish Democratic Council. Lothe United for Jewish roots. As far as non-Jews go,"had it 1905-andcommitted The e-mails usually runcome out in 1953 instead of a Boston hotel in along the lines of,"My name is 2003, it would have been fatal Kelly Smith, but my to his presidential ambitions," Kerry'sstoryhigh- grandmother's name was Sara Feldbergsaid, butnotintoday's experience of Goldstein," said Michael world. Brandeis Feldberg, the executive direc- Kerry's revelation adds an- professor Jonathan tor of the historical society, other Jewish flavor to the 2004 which is based in New York. race for the Democratic presi- izingishow Kerrysaidhehadaskedcous- dential nomination. Sen. Jo- e trend toward ins and searched on theseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), who declared last month that he will seek the nomination, is an observant Jew. Another contender, former Vermont Guy. Howard Dean, is married to a Jewish woman and is raising his children as Jews. And Clark, who told theFor- ward recently that he is de- scended from "generations of rabbis," is also weighing a 2004 Democratic presidential bid. "I wonder what this means for his Saturdays?" Jano Cabrera, a spokesman for Lieberman's campaign, joked about Kerry. "Regardless, at this rate, we should have a min- yan at the debates." JTA correspondent Matthew E. Berger in Washington con- tributed to this report. Bruce Ramer, left, then.president of the AJCommittee, presenting the Congressional Leadership Award to Sen. John (D-Mass.) KerrF at the AJCommittee annual meeting in Washington in May 2000. LAW OFFICE OF Auto Accidents Wrongful Death Nursing Home Negligence Defective Products * Slip & Fall Dental Malpractice Dog Bites Insurance Claims "Prepared - " - r, to fight for yore FREE & CONFIDENTIAL INITIAL CONSULTATION M/r~I~I~HIP$; " Flor~ Bar A~iatlon U.S. Dhtdct CAg, ttrt For the Middle Di*trkt of Hadd. Orange (~ounty I~ Aum~iatioa AnwHcan liar Amociatmn ~-iatlon ofTriaJ Lawyt ~ of Amcrlca * h, B (407) 568-3800 decision flint should not be based solely alma ~l~t~4 ~ ~r decide, 1920 N. Orange Ave. Orlando ask us to send ~m free written information about oar qmilfmaiom smi mq~'tence. E-maih i I IIIII I III Gruber St. author and raei, died ington at age a 75-year career in five conti- John chronicled II and befriended fathers. non-Jewish for Jewish causes, ties with irate and was hun- Israel's called him W0rldWar and "From the People," re- conquest of and his own bar- through the when German Carried machine- Irt his leg until his s that instill in him a interest in Issues and anti- 1941 when lredand marked a , writer who at ag of 100 photo by Ruth Gruber Robert St. John, a journal- ist, author and tireless sup- porter of Israel, who died Feb. 6 near Washington at age 100. St. John was an elo- quent non~lewish spokesman for Jewish causes, and main- tained close ties with the Jew- ish state. David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, called him "our goyisher Zi- onist." "I realized that I had been born into a group that had been doing this sort of thing for 2,000 years and therefore had to bear some of the responsibility," St. John, who had sheltered a local Jewish family to save them from the massacre, recalled later. "I promised myself that if I lived out the war, I'd spend the rest of my life trying to atone for these sins, for theatrocities commit- ted in Bucharest by men born Christian and presumably ex- posed to Christian precepts they had so barbarically violated." St. John, who was born in Chi- cago, covered the birth of Israel in 1948 and eventually made more than 40 reporting trips to the Middle East. He covered the Eichmann trial and five Arab-Israeli wars, including the 1982 Israeli inva- sion of Lebanon: at the time, he was 80, by far the oldest of the hundreds of reporters on hand, and the only one who had cov- ered all four previous Arab-Is- raeli conflicts. Many of St. John's 22 books were on Jewish or Israeli topics. They included "Shalom Means Peace," about the birth of Israel, and biographies of Ben- Gurion, Israeli statesman Abba Eban, and Egypt's Gamal Abdul Nasser, as well as books on American Jewish history, the Jordan River and the resurrec- tion of Hebrew as a spoken lan- guage. He also wrote "The Man Who Played God," a novel set in the Budapest Ghetto and Israel, based on the so-called Kasztner affair. Rudolf Kasztner, the leader of Hungary's wartime Jewish Aid and Rescue Com- mittee, was murdered in Israel in 1957 after being accused of having "played God" in negoti- ating with the Nazis to win safe passage outofHungary for 1,684 Jews. St. John is survived by his second wife, Ruth, whom he married in 1965. The couple met in 1959 when Ruth was on the organizing committee for a lecture on Is- rael given by St. John at a Jew- ish event in Charleston, W.Va. Introducing a new Retail-V4holesale Outlet Store conveniently located in Southwest Orlando Great Variety of Products from Israel, English Sweets, Exotic Teas & Coffee. Soft Drinks & Juices, Feta Cheese & Yogurt, Olives & Pickles Olive Oil, Chutneys & Curries, Spices & Nuts, Basmati Rice, Full range of Frozen Products Most of the products are Kosherl Open: Mon.-Fri. 10:00-6:00 Sat. 10:00-4:00 321-281-4300 4300 L.B. McLeod Road Orlando, FL 32811 Mention This Ad Patve And Receive 10% OFF your purchase!* *OFFER VALID TILL 06/01/03