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February 14, 2014

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 14, 2014 Planting water in Israel Flash90 The hills leading up to Jerusalem are covered with trees. Most of the trees in Israel today were planted by the Jewish National Fund. By Karin Kloosterman the Jewish National Fund (JNF)--or Keren Kayemeth LeIsraei--set up in 1901 in Israel to develop the land. Under Ottoman rule at the time, Israel was neglected and considered a backwater state infested with malaria. There was a genuine need for a long-term plan to turn things around. Using donations from gen- erations of Jews in the Dias- pora, some 240 million trees have been planted in Israel by JNF over the last 11 decades, including a few by the Ken- nedys. But its focus is no longer just on greening the desert. The JNF has helped build some 180 dams and water reservoirs and has established about 1,000 parks, some of which feature hiking trails around water. Some of its flagship rehabilitation proj- ects include cleaning up the polluted Alexander River. At the recentwater technol- ogy conference in Tel Aviv, WATEC, the JNF showcased its expertise and exportable knowledge in water for coun- (Israe121c)--The Jewish National Fund isn't only about planting forests. Some of its newest water-tech projects were recently showcased in Israel. Exciting fact about Israel's land use, as the world experiences massive defor- estation: Israel is the only country in the world to have a net gain of trees in the last 100 years. This is thanks to a non- profit and visionary non- governmental organization, tries experiencing similar conditions as Israel. By dealingwith desertifica- tion and water scarcity for the past few decades, the JNF has acquired ample experience knowing where the rain flows, which trees can withstand water stress, and how to make non-arable land better suited for people and agriculture. Like dialysis for cities Elisha Mizrahi, regional director of the JNF in Israel, tells Is- rae121c that WATEC allowed him "to show what the JNF can do in order to enlarge the availability of water to people in the peripheries--farmers or the people in the munici- palities," he says. Land reclamation for cities, parks and landscaping is one key strategy. The organiza- tion's biggest achieJements in water include the reclamation of the Hula Valley, Mizrahi explains. The swampy land in north- ern Israel was once drained to rid Israel of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Recently, ecolo- gists helped persuade authori- ties to re-flood the swamp, as it offers a special ecosystem for wildlife as well as a twice- yearly refuge for millions of migratory birds. "In partnership with the farmers, we re -flooded the Hula Valley. The JNF took on the burden of carrying the financ- ing ofthe project," says Mizrahi. Even animals thought to be extinct, such as the Hula painted frog, have emerged once again, making Israel's environmental Hula project a model of success for coun- tries and regions with similar aspirations. The JNF has also been in- strumental in adding a layer of natural water runoff to city ecosystems. Call it dialysis for a city's aquifers. The Israeli city of Kfar Saba, for instance, is now home to a holistic pilot project based on a water bio-filter where "wintertime water that runs through the city was chan- neled to the sea," say Mizrahi. Now that water is being col- lected, treated and filtered, with some of it going back to the aquifer and some toward local landscaping. A water bridge between nations While Israel's experience is yet to be applied to neighbor- ing countries with which it has no diplomati c relations-- consider Iraq and its devas- tated marshlands--"people are coming from every end of the planet to see what can be done in wide open areas with water reclamation, says Mizrahi. "We have experience and they want our aid and experience." Israel, he says, offers such expertise freely. "We are speaking with Africa to help reclaim desert. It's true that we are exporting our knowl- edge without any fee. It is im- portant to show other coun- tries that this can be done. We are creating bridges," says Mizrahi. It's hard to pin down just one approach or specific technology that Israel uses for water and land reclamation, he says. There are multiple successful approaches. Among its areas of expertise are how to prepare the land, how to capture and utilize wa- ter runoff, and which Species to introduce in each area to create a forest, he says. By Suzanne Levy (JTA)--OnValentine's Day, I'd like to sing the praises of American Jewish men. I'm aware it's a rather large group, but that's the point: The United States is a sea of plenty for Jewish men. Whereas in Britain,where I grew up, there are only about 300,000 Jews. If you remove married men, women and children, you're left with enough eligible Jewish bachelors to inhabit a synagogue or two. There are, however, mil- lions of men in the U.K. who look like Benedict Cumber- batch or Hugh Grant. Lovely chaps, all of them, but none embodied the stocky, dark, curly-haired Jewish types I longed for when I was grow- ing up in the 1970s. Think Paul Michael Glaser, the guy who played Starsky. Or Tony Curtis. There were some in my Hebrew school class in London, but few had that sass, that chutzpah I was after. They were aiming to be languid and vaguely ironic, like Jeremy Irons. My first encounter with a real-life Jewish American boy came when I was 16. I was on a summer Israel tour, My valentine to American Jewish men that rite of passage, and one night, on the shores of the Kinneret, I met Lance from Michigan. I'd never met a Lance before. Only Jeremys, Howards and Simons. It was thrilling. He was stocky, with a"Jewish nose" and thick hair. We flirted, I fell in love, he left on an Egged bus. I was leftwith the confirma- tion that yes, such beings do exist in real life, and a deep knowledge that one day we would meet again and marry. (That knowledge proved to be illusory, but if anyone knows a Lance from Michigan who went to Israel in 1979, please pass on this story. Maybe our children could marry.) I'm sure my attraction to American Jewish men was a factor 10years laterwhen, at26, I decided to move to New York. I'd like to say it was because I had taken a job at the BBC's New York bureau. But in fact it wasjustthat I knew I'd be living in a world inhabited by Jewish guys. And so I was. I would walk down the street on the Upper West Side (with a particular viewing point outside Zabar's) and clutch myself in excitement at the Jewish Adonises around me with their deep, soulful eyes on their expressive faces. Could you be my prince? How about you? My dating pool suddenly expanded. Jewish men were everywhere: waiters, dentists, squash instructors. It con- stantly amazed me. I would meet a guy at a bar or a party and their last name would be Rosenbaum or Cohen. Definitely not Clemington- Smythe. My bubbewould have been proud. I was ecstatic. It's not like I hadn't dat- ed-or even been in love with--non-Jewish men in England. But I just found there was a level of comfort and warmth--heimische- ness, if you will--with my Jewish tribesmen. And the American Jews also had an ex- otic assertiveness that thrilled me. They have a confidence in their manliness, in their heri- tage. They're descended from the Jews who made it through harsh winters and pogroms in the shtetls. They're risk takers and life embracers. While it's true that British Jewish men are descended from the same stock, more than a century of keeping your head down, fitting in and hoping no one will no- tice you're avoiding the ham sandwiches at work doesn't exactly make you want to stand out in a crowd. British society is wonderfully tolerant ofmulticulturalism--as long as you don't make a fuss. Jewish American men don't try to assimilate. They don't seem to rein in their mannerisms. They're out and proud (at least in New York or Los Angeles). And they have broad shoulders and are, as my mother would say, "shtark- ers"--they're strong. Of course, there's the stereo- type that Jewish men are neb- bishy Woody Allen types--and some are! But what these men may lack in brawn, they make up for with their scintillating smarts. The few Jewish intel- lectuals in the U.K. stand out because of their rarity (Alain de Botton, Harold Pinter), while here you can find bespec- tacled Jewish men passionately expressing their views or flu- ently spinning bewitching tales everywhere in the media. Talk wonkeryto me, Ezra Klein! Give me a driveway moment, Ira Glass! Paul Krugman, fill me with your finance talk! (Paul doesn't wear glasses, but you get my point.) One day seven years ago, after many years of happily wading through New York's large Jewish dating pool, I was out for drinks with coworkers when one of the company's vice presidents admitted to the crowd that he'd once considered becoming a rabbi. I almost fell off my chair. This would have never hap- pened in London. His name was Steve Holtzman. It was love at last name. The next day I rushed to talk to him. We compared notes on teenage years involved with Orthodox Your Orlando Real Estate!!!! Over 25+ years Residential Real Estate Sales experience Over $200 Million+ Lifetime Sales GALE MILGRIM, PdL, Realtor 407-443-9832 Visit To read my Glorying Client Testimonials and my BIO!!!!! Member Congregation Ohev Shalom Parent of 2 Jewish Academy Alumni Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando Supporter youth groups, and we've been together ever since. Today, Steve shrugs off his Jewishness, but for me it con- tinues to be part of the appeal. His maternal grandfather escaped the czar's army by walking across Europe when he was 12. His father's family comes from Pinsk. (I just like saying the word Pinsk). He's smart, funny and cute. He has a big embrace. And a big heart. So on this day of pagan/ Christian celebration of love, I'd like to take this moment to make a toast to him--and to all American Jewish men. May you all continue to thrill this nice Jewish girl from London. And all Jewish girls, from wherever they are, through- out the decades to come. Suzanne Levy is a British- born writer and TV producer now living in Los Angeles. AIPACjoins Obama in call to delay Iran sanctions vote (Algemeiner)--In a sharp about turn, AIPAC, the Amer- ica Israel Public Affairs Com- mittee, has now backed the White House in its call to delay a Senate vote on new sanctions against Iran while the U.S. and world powers negotiate with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program. In a statement released on the heels of an extensive speech by Senate Foreign Re- lations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), calling on both sides of the Iran sanctions debate to soften their positions, AIPAC said, "We agree with the Chairman that stopping the Iranian nuclear program should rest on bipartisan support and that there should not be a vote at this time on the measure." Menendez, who together with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), is a lead sponsor of the bill known as the NuclearWeapon Free Iran Act, did not explic- itly call for a delay in a vote which dozens of Republican senators have pushed for, but he did warn against the Iran issue becoming a "partisan process trying to force a vote on a national security matter before its appropriate time." Menendez also critiqued the White House's stance on Iran, saying, "We have placed our incredibly effective interna- tional sanctions regime on the line without clearly defining the parameters of what we expect in a final agreement." AIPAC praised the New Jersey senator for "his strong and eloquent statement on the Senate floor today outlining the threat of Iran's nuclear program and the imperative of dismantling it." "We remain committed to workingwith the Administra- tion and the bipartisan lead- ership in Congress to ensure that the Iran nuclear program is dismantled," the pro-Israel lobby added. Last November, when de- tails of an interim deal be- tween Iran and world powers were first revealed, AIPAC and other Jewish groups criticized the agreement as giving up too much for too little, and vowed to push hard in Congress for new sanctions. "AIPAC continues to sup- port congressional action to adopt legislation to further strengthen sanctions and there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts," AIPAC Presi- dent Michael Kassen said at the time. The Obama administration strongly opposed the effort, leaning on lawmakers to tow its line. In his "State of the Union" address last Tuesday, Obama said, "Let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it." On Monday, The New York Times claimed that AIPAC's influence in the Senate had been "blunted," pointing to slow progress with the bill.