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February 14, 2003

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PAGE 18 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY Ramon Continued from page 1 staunch partnership between our nations," Sharon said. Among the recipients of that sentiment were 15 NASA representatives who had es- corted Ramon's body back to Israel. In addition to the NASA representatives, dignitaries and soldiers at the ceremony were a few Israeli high school students from Haifa who had designed an experiment that Ramon carried aboard the shuttle. They had traveled to Florida for Columbia's Jan. 16 launch. Sharon, like the others who eulogized Ramon, in- cluding Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Dan Halutz, insisted that Israel's participation in space was far from over. Ramon's wife, Rona, sat stoically in the front row be- side her children, each draped in a NASA bomber jacket. 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(321) 229-7704~l ~ ttql ,- w ~ Licensed and Insured ~ I=-~j About your computer headaches FREE 15 minute first phone consultation + PC repair and upgrades + Software updates and anti-Virus checks + Network installation + Software instruction and tutoring Larry Gutter [,arrythecomputerguy @ cfl.rr.corn (407) 869-8375 or (407) 375-7430 served under Ramon played, on his saxophone, the melody of a love poem Rona sent her husband aboard the Colum- bia, she winced but did not weep. Ramon's four children looked haggard and stunned. A wide-eyed Noa, 5, stared out from her mother's arms at the digni- taries around her, appar- ently already used to the sight of dozens of security guards from previous me- morial ceremonies. The family broke down when a chorus of young chil- dren began singing a mourn- ful version of "Watch Over lraq Continued from page 2 century with the rise of Arab nationalism and, with it, anti- Semitism. With the birth of Israel in 1948 came increased anti- Semitism and Israel's own Zi- onist promotional campaign. State-sponsored persecu- tion forced all but 7,000 of them to flee. Most went to Israel, and Iraq froze the as- sets of anyone who went there. Iraq allowed the Jews to leave due to international pressure, the desire to take over'Jewish assets and the sense that the pressure of im- migration on the young Jew- ish state might force it to col- lapse, according to Levin. Today, one of Iraq's wealthiest Jewish families, which once owned the land of Saddam Hussein's presiden- tial compound, is almost pen- niless, Levin wrote. Confis- cated Jewish assets in Iraq are valued at .more than $4 bil- lion in today's terms, accord- ing to Levin. Similar circumstances oc- curred in many other Arab countries. Recently, Israel and the American Sephardi Federa- tion began collecting claims of assets looted by Arab states. The goal: to counter Palestin- inn claims for lost property during Israel's 1948 War of Independence. The claims of Jews for their looted properties are expected FLORIDA EWISH NEWS Open Your Door to an Exceptional Market Plaf hYe UHrAR ITAtGE FHl:SdajdwI hnNIs:ue 9 Deadline: Feb. 19, 2003 Call Today and Reserve Your Space the World Child." Rona, arms folded across her chest, gazed down and away. Her eldest son, Assaf, gathered younger brother Tal under his arm. The family arrived just a few houri before the cer- emony. But the seemingly endless chain of memorial services they have attended was slated to end Tuesday when Ramon is buried near the gravesite of Israeli com- mander Moshe Dayan in the northern moshav of Nahalal. Rona Ramon has asked that a plot be reserved for her be- side her husband. The ceremony at Lod lasted barely 45 minutes. An honor guard ofeightAir Force colo- nels bore Ramon's casket to a waiting truck that flew the body to Ramat David Air Force Base near Nahalal. The final speakers during the ceremony were Assaf and Rona Ramon. Patched on the right shoulder of 14-year-old Assaf's NASA bomber jacket was the Israeli flag, on the left the insignia of the doomed STS 107. Rona and Assaf walked slowly to the podium, making a wide arc around the coffin. They read aloud a letter written to them by Ramon's crewmate and friend Dave Brown on day of the flight. "The most moving ment of the flight came Ilan read a letter he from a Holocaust who talks about his old daughter who did not rive," Assaf read in as Rona Ramon into Hebrew. The letter continued:" could such a beautiful survive? It is such a thing. It makes me enjoy every bit of the how great it is," read passive mother and they did not really what they were saying. to be used in any future po- litical negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians. In Iraq, the years after the 1967 Six-Day War saw arrests and disappearances of Jews, who fled to Iran - the only open border at the time - shrinking the population of the Iraqi Jewish community to 100. Now, about 250,000 Jews of Iraqi descent are spread throughout the world, the bulk of them living in Israel, according to Nassim. He estimates that 45,000 live in London, 10,000 in Los Angeles and 3,500 in both Montreal and New York. Iraqi Jews have a more "open" culture than other Sephardic Jews, says Rabbi Haim Ovadia of the largest Iraqi congregation in Los An- geles, Kabul Joseph, which has 400 families. Ovadia believes a liberal mind-set may have brought higher assimilation rates to Iraqi Jews than their Sephardic counterparts. There are more opportuni- ties for women in Iraqi con- gregations, which allow bat mitzvahs and have women re- cite all the blessings, he says. Iraqi Jews also emphasize life cycle events, Ovadia adds. One such custom is the fes- tivity the night before the brit mitah, or circumcision, in which the chair where the baby will be circumcised is tied with branches of myrtle. Ovadia suspects myrtle was chosen because the name in Arabic is el- niscent of the Eliyahu, who he ciated For now, Iraqi ditions appear to have best shot at survival Western world. What's left of the community in Iraq synagogue with no celebrates Jewish holiq discreetly to avoid the media, b are prevented from their livelihoods," to an i "Jews cannot turn to tbe for protection and contact foreign Jewish munities for assistance. Memorial Continued from page 3 synagogues, as well as can- tors, Federation staffand CLJ's own cantorial soloist. Two candles were lit during the service; one for the shuttle Co- lumbia disaster, and one for hope for America and for peace in Israel. Rabbi Steven Engel, of the Congregation of Liberal Juda- ism, opened the service by re- lating to those gathered, "It's part of our tradition that we never remember without hop- ing, and we never hope with- out remembering That is what we recognize as the du- ality of life." moved and shaken since he learned of the Columbia disas- ter. He reported he feels very impacted by what has hap- pened, because of the first Is- raeli Astronaut, Ilan Ramon, and because he observed the shuttle launch on Jan. 16 from Titusville, Fla. "It has been extremely sad- dening to me," Pastor said. Jacqueline Rawiszer, the cantorial soloist at CLJ stated that she was on the bimah, completing preparations for a b'nai mitzvah, when she heard the news. She said, "It was so emotional, and yet at the same time I didn't want to really appear upset by what The names of the fallen As- had happened. It was an un- tronauts were read aloud, and they were remembered as be- ing unique, special individu- als, and heroes. Rabbi Daniel Wolpe, of Temple Ohalei Rivka, es- teemed the Columbia crew by usual moment to be standing so publicly and not be able to react to it. It was very diffi- cult." After the service, Engel ex- pressed his thoughts candidly, "I was just very upset about it conflict. Itwas that was happening to And the sad part of it waS, madem good, positive shot with what they've been through "I think that Judaisna very clearly you have to I sure the bad with the I don't think that bad stuff. I think a lot of good stuff for But~ tou ing with Iraq, which we Israel's going to be with Israeli's could feel about one of their native son. I'm even more the current in Israel. I don't see the about the importance of the Jewish homeland. With a far- ranging association as the or- ganization that plants trees in Israel (220 million were planted in its first century), JNF received an overwhelm- ing number of tree orders to help realize Mr. Ramon's dream to see more trees planted in Israel. In response stating, "They were not he- (the disaster). I was thinking (that) everything bad h roes because ofhow they died. about not only all the astro- to Israel. A lot of goo0, They were heroes because of . nauts, but the meaning of the happened to Israel.- Aa 'Or] how they lived." Israeli astronaut, andwhatthat ing. It's there. It's flou Once the service concluded,meantforIsraeI.Thiswassome. It has problems, but ntinu, Mike Pastor, one of the thingthatwasgoingtobegood are still living there. congregants who attended andniceanditdidn'thavetodo working. The state is v| shared that he hasbeen deeply with war or Palestinian-Israeli ing." ~ - -5.J Trees Continued from page 3 to this demand, JNF America nauts at which any o JI is workingwith its 39 interna- ~ivjdfl~0"t For more than 100 years, tional offices to coordinate a would like to donateT | JNF has been involved in a global effort to plant trees e-recognized', [ broad spectrum of projects in throughout Israel in honor of Those who wish Israel-from developing infra- the seven Columbia astro- Iian structure for new communi- nauts, request orwould liketol ties, to buildingreservoirs to JNF is also establishing an a donation toward Ila ' 4 increase Israel s water re- eco-zionism center in the do so by calling sources, toeducatingchildren geographical heart of Israel TR EE-('8 -3-i- or to be called "Iianot" in honor of Ilan Ramon (Ilanot is the plural of Ilan which means "tree"). The center will be a site for thousands of visitors to learn about the environ- ment through scientific re- search and hands-on educa- tional programming. Ilanot will also include a memorial to the seven Columbia astro- JNF will forward tificates to the family bets of astronauts band, William Michael Anderson, Brown, Kal rel Clarkand Ilan RarnO. gregarious and 4 want to establish a prol " )1 call 888-JNF-0099.