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February 15, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 15, 2013 Spiderman From page 2A tute of Art. An independent comic book publisher picked up his final thesis and pub- lished it. After graduation, he continued working on comic books but supported himself doing freelance illustration and caricatures at bar and bat mitzvahs. "It's the lowest form of human existence--and I worked at McDonald's," he said. Through the 1990s, Ben- dis hustled his work on the road with fellow independent comic book creators. Those years were somewhat of a golden age for the indepen- dent comic scene, producing a bevy of talented, original creators. But the period was financially rough for Bendis and his wife, Alisa, whom he met while doing a freelance assignment for the Hillel Foundation. Even his successes didn't change the basic financial equation. The day after his work on the crime comic JINX won an Eisner Award, the comic book equivalent of an Oscar, he was back at a bar mitzvah drawing caricatures. Bendis' explosion on the independent comic book scene coincided with a shake- up at Marvel Comics, the largest comic book publisher in the world. A new president and editor in chief wanted a fresh voice for the company. Joe Quesada, then the editor in chief, called Bendis in 2000 and told him that he wanted to bring him to Marvel. "I asked, 'What do you need an artist for?' "Bendis recalled. After what Bendis describes as a long "dead" silence, Quesada finally an- swered," 'You know your art isn't that good, but you're an amazing writer.' " Bendis' first assignment was a four-issue run on Mar- vel's Daredevil. After the first two issues, Quesada asked him if he was interested in writing Ultimate Spiderman. The series became one of the best-selling comics of the decade. "He's really terrific," Sean Howe, author of "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story," said of Bendis. "I think he's one of the few comic book writers that has a really singular voice in terms of dialogue. He just has the snappiness of a really great crime novelist." The couple's financial wor- ries were over. Bendis finally had regular comic bookwork and his original graphic nov- els were optioned for movies. He and Aiisa began thinking about starting a family. Doctors told Bendis that Alisa wouldn't be able to have children, but as they prepared to adopt, she be- came pregnant with their daughter, Olivia. Later the couple adopted Sabrina from Ethiopia and, three years later, a third daughter, Tabatha, through a domestic adoption program. "Adoption is something I'm insanely proud of," Ben- dis said. "My wife wanted to make a family of the world and help raise children with a lot of love that they might not have gotten otherwise." Bendis raised the idea of shaking up the Spiderman franchise at a Marvel creative retreat. "We thought about what we wished we could do dif- ferently," he said. "We talked about that the New York in Marvel comics isn't the one you see when you walk out- side the door." Ultimate Spider Man No. 160 was published in 2011. In that issue, Peter Parker is killed by his archenemy, the Green Goblin. In the PAGE 19A next issue, Morales inherits his super powers after being bitten by a genetically engi- neered spider. The Jewish nature of comic book superheroes has long been an object of speculation, with much attention focused on post-Holocaust Jewish psychology and the yearn- ing for powerful protectors of the innocent. But Bendis traces the connection back even further. "The Torah is full of myth- ological sources of father and son, and so is Marvel Com- ics," Bendis said. "I think about my upbringing with a single mother--I have father issues--I was born to do this. That's why I can write." In December, Alisa gave birth again. It's a boy. Smuggling From page 2A since she'd be in her 50s when her husband, serving a 25-year-sentence, is released. "He might be able to have children, but I won't. In the following visit he told me he agreed," said the mother of a 12-year-old daughter Rand, now excited she will have a sibling. There are no religious or political stands against insemination with the smuggled sperm. In 2003, religious leaders includ- ing prominent theologian Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi said it was not against Islam if done securely, as the wife of security prisoner Abbas AI-Sayed tried to do it. Late Palestinian Authority Presi- dent Yasser Arafat and other political leaders backed the idea but her attempt failed and no others were made. Palestinian society, on the other hand, had its concerns. What would people think if they saw a woman pregnant while her husband was in jail? The question troubled the families and doctors alike. "At first many people were surprised and said they would ask for the opinion of religious men, but everyone was supportive," Rimawi said of reactions to her pregnancy. AI-Zaben also agreed to speak out about the subject at Abu Khaizaran's request. "The pregnant woman needs all the support she can get. Gossip and accusation of adultery could have affected the mother's health," Abu Khaizaran said. Now Palestinians, believ- ing this is a way to challenge thosewho imprison them, are more supportive, especially after the public backing AI- Zaben received. To eliminate any doubts, the medical center asks for three family members from each side of the family to ac- company the wife when she handles the sample and when she is fertilized. Her ignorance caused Rimawi to lose the first sam- ple. "I kept it in the fridge and went to the center the next day, but they told me I ruined it. Luckily I had another one and this time I brought the needed witnesses as asked," she told the Media Line. Meanwhile pressure con- tinues to allow the prison- ers to pass on their sperm without subterfuge. "Why do the Israeli authori- ties have regular prison inspection? They know you can't seal a prison completely," said Prisoners Club head Qaddoura Fares. Detainees' centers sta- tistics estimate that over 500 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are serving life sentences. It's also not certain if Pal- estinians would trust Israel enough with their sperm. One prisoner's wife told The Media Line she had received the semen directly from her husband during a visit. Speaking anonymously, she said she'd been asked to sub- mit an application through the Israeli Authorities but refused. "How would I trust that Israel will not swap it? I preferred to do it between the two of us," she added. Abu Khaizaran, whose Razan center is one of the few fertility clinics in the Pales- tinian territories, said some 70 percent of the samples received were usable, but the rest were not because they were smuggled in primitive ways. "The success rate of artifi- cial insemination in Palestine is usually 45%, but in these cases the rate is 35 percent" Abu Khaizaran said. Then there is the tricky matter of the baby's sex. Producing a boy in Arab so- ciety is seen as an important achievement for the mar- riage. Since awoman changes her family name upon mar- riage and can't pass her last name to her children, males carry the family's name for generations. Also males are seen as the breadwinners and caretakers of women in the family. Out of 12 women insemi- nated via the smuggled sperm so far, four have been im- planted with male embryos. "The process of choosing the child's gender decreases the possibility of the pregnancy's success, but we operate in special cases. For example, if the woman is in her late 30s and already has daughters we help her, but in general we prefer not to choose the sex," Abu Khaizaran told The Media Line. Rimawi finds out her baby's gender soon. "If it's a boy I'll name him Maid; if it's a girl I'll name her Shahd," she said, adding she hopes to have more children. "Once I give birth, I will go get artificial insemination again from the frozen samples," she said determinedly. As Muhammad AI-Zaben's birth continues to supply the inspiration for the sperm smuggling, Abu Khaizaran sees another important as- pect of the process. "We are doing this for the women': sake," he said. "The detainee. can conceive at any time, bu: the wive's ' biological clocks are ticking, and we woul4 like to help make their dream come true." Museum From page 4A tin Luther King Jr. to Adolph Hitler and Osama bin Laden, can inspire hope or hatred in millions of followers. A cluster of posters and images on a nearby wall show both historic and contemporary examples of bigotry and bias, from ads for Frito Banditos and a photo of the Washing- ton Redskins iconic chief, to a mouse pad--on sale online, I was told--featuring a smiling, pig-tailed young Aryan-looking girl holding a canister of Zykion B, with the tag, "got jews?" Farther along the large exhibit area is a section with touch-screen computer ter- minals that show the kinds of hate readily accessible on the Internet. Examples of current games include "Border Patrol," where the object is to shoot illegal immigrants, and a website that looks like the official Martin Luther King Jr. site, but this one's "information" is filled with racist views of blacks and Jews and could easily fool an unsuspecting truth-seeker. These and other exhibits lend themselves to thought- ful discussion about where prejudice comes from, how stereotypes are formed, and what, if anything, an indi- vidual should do about it. Adam Rudich, director of operations and community affairs at the museum, and Natasha Poor, the manager of education and outreach programs, who accompanied me on my visit, explained that tour guides go along with the school groups--ages 12 and up--and facilitate the discussions. It's still a bit of a mystery to me why this museum remains under the radar. The truth is I didn't know itwas open to the general public until I found out last month. But it is, and a visit is worthwhile for adult:. as well as teens. Tell them I sent you. Gary Rosenblatt is the edi- tor of The New York Jewis[ Week, from which this article was reprinted by permission. You can reach him at Gary@ Follow GarE Rosenblatt's blog, Rosen- Blog, . throughout the week. Rights From page 5A special needs, left feeling anger as their community turned them away. Too often, no matter how hard they try, many Jews with disabilities are simply not fully welcomed. This isn't an isolated problem: Estimates based on Jewish studies put the number of Jewish chil- dren in America with some sort of disability at 200,000. According to the U.S. Census, 20 percent of Americans have a disability, and a recent national poll showed that 51 percent of likely American voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. The Jewish community harms itself when it turns away people with disabilities. Moreover, some buildings for Jewish day schools, syna- gogues and special events education have doors that are too narrow for wheelchairs. Why host programs in places that are not compliant with the Americans with Dis- abilities Act? High Holidays services are led without sign language interpreters in congregations with deaf members. We hand out songs sheets in font sizes too small for the visually impaired to read. The mantra of the disability community, which wants and deserves a say in its destiny, has become "Nothing about us without us." Yet even many Jewish organizations that serve Jews with disabilities don't put people with dis- abilities on their committees, staffs or boards. We would not tolerate it if a prestigious school rejected children because they were Jewish. Why does the Jew- ish community continue to tolerate it when Jewish institutions say no to people with disabilities? It's time to use the power of the purse to stop the dis- crimination. The "golden rule" of non- profits is that those who give the gold makes the rules. So donors, large and small, must say "hineini" (here I am) to end the intolerance and injus- tice. Rather than talking the talk, we must walk the walk. Jewswith disabilitiesaren't the only Jews who face dis- crimination from within; so does the LBGT community. Thankfully the Schusterman and Morningstar founda- tions, along with Stuart Kurlander, the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and a gay rights activist, have created an index to show if Jewish groups are open to the LBGT community. They are having a positive impact. This is an example to follow. Indeed, the Ruderman Family Foundation was the first to raise this issue when it came to inclusion of Jews with disabilities. Others should follow its example. At the Mizrahi Family Charitable Trust, we are. While our fam- ily foundation doesn't accept any unsolicited applicants, even those who we encour- age to apply for support must answer serious questions. They include: Does your organization have policies that support meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities at all levels, including on your board of directors? Does your organization have a disability advisory committee/inclusion com- mittee? Will the program or project include people with disabilities? If not, why not? If so, how do you plan to identify, reach and welcome them? Describe the accessibility of your offices to people with physical disabilities. Do you employ and/or of- fer internships to individuals who have disabilities? If so, what are their jobs? Do they receive the same compensa- tion and benefits as all other employees in like positions? Please describe how you educate your board of direc- tors or trustees and staff about serving and partnering with people with disabilities. Our foundation is smaller than others, but we believe that no matter the size of our philanthropic investments, they must be moral in nature. For example, this year we cut funding to an organization with the sole purpose of serv- ing people with disabilities, but tragically the very people they were supposedly serving didn't feel they were being heard and respected as equals. We hope that others, in- cluding federations, founda- tions and individuals, will join Sudoku solution 25781 691 35 83462 92816 17643 34597 41 379 58924 76258 us as we fight for justice an opportunity, so that all Jew can experience our Jewisl birthright. Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi i: the co-founder and directo: of the Mizrahi Family Chari table Trust and founder an president of Laszlo Strategies. from page 7 4693 7824 9571 5347 2958 8162 6285 1 736 3419