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February 22, 2008

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 22, 2008 PAGE 7A By Dan Pine and Joe Eskenazi j. the Jewish weekly of northern california SAN FRANCISCOhTom Lantos sat in a desert tent, eyeball to eyeball with Muam- mar Khaddafi. when he noticed a strange stick-like object lying at the Libyan dictator's side. "Tom worried it might be a weapon." recalled Ron Kaufman, who heard the story firsthand from his friend Lantos. "Finally Khad- daft used it as a flyswatter." Even if it had been a weapon, Lantos would surely have confronted Khaddafi, just as he confronted human rights violators around the world. That combination of Old World courtliness and righ- teous courage sticks upper- most in the minds of Lantos' many friends around the San Francisco Bay Area. "Tom could be very tough and direct," added Kaufman, a San Francisco Jewish com- munity activist. "He made it a point to know most of these characters and talk to them. That's an" interesting point of view: to have tough talks rather than no talks." Lantos died Feb, 11 Of esophageal cancer. He was 80. Kaufman had known Lan- tos from before his election to Congress in 1980. In fact, he recalls Lantos initiallyquery- ing him about a congressio- nal run not for himself, but for his daughter Katrina. "I said, 'No, Tom, she's way too young,'" Kaufman remembered. "'As someone who knows foreign affairs, as an economist, you're from central casting.'" "I remem- ber being in a warehouse down in San Mateo County when the news came in that he had won. It was like a miracle." That first run--the year of the Reagan land- slide stands out in the mind of Lantos' former executive assistant Brian Rosman. "We won by pulling out the kind of grassroots stops, by connecting to people. We'd go to major street corners like El Camino Real in San Mateo, and while traffic stopped at By Dan Pine j. the Jewish weekly of northern california SAN FRANCISCO--Con- servative talk radio host Michael Savage is drawing fire for comments he made on the air following the death of San Mateo, Calif. Congressman Tom Lantos last week. One group, the National Jewish Democratic Council, demanded Savage be fired. Savage, the nation's third- highest-ra[ed syndicated talk radio host and a Jew from Marin County, told his listeners Feb. 11: "You're not supposed to talk badly about the dead. I generally wouldn't do it. But in the case of Tom Lantos, I'll make an exception. "I think he was One of the most" -he was a scoundrel. And I'll tell you why I detested courtesy ofj. the Jewish weekly of northern california Tom and Annette Lantos (center), flanked by Washington friends, at the dedicaHon of the plaque honoring Swedish diplomat Raoui Wallenberg. Wallenberg rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews--including Tom Lantos--from the Nazis. red lights. [Lantos] would go up to cars in the middle of the street and hand out campaign literature." The only Holo- caust survivor ever elected to Congress, Lantos claimed the moral high ground on global human rights issues and defense of Israel. But his friends in the Bay Area also remember a man intefisely devoted tohis district. Lantos was the leading force behind the environmen- tal preservation of Sweeney Ridge, between Pacifica and Millbrae in the San Fran- cisco area. During the era of Reagan Interior Secretary James Watt, Lantos pressed the issue to fruition. "In the end, it came down to the very last minute with the Reagan administration throwing in the towel," Rosman said. "Because of that, Sweeney Ridge open space is protected forever. To think that could have been condos up there makes me appreciate Tom's work so much." Rosman also admired his boss's "'human concern for everybody he would en- counter. Constituents would come in who didn't know him from Adam, and he would drop everything and insist they get a personalized tour of the Capitol building. He was really able to connect with people in a one-to-one way." Rosman, married to a rabbi and now working with a Boston health care advocacy group, believes Lantos served the Jewish community par- ticularly well. "Tom really saw himself as playing a unique role in Congress as a voice of con- science," he added. "Because he suffered under the Nazis, and then fought against the communists, he had a unique credential to talk about human rights not as a left versus right issue, but as an apolitical issue, a universal issue." Regina Waldman said the Soviet Jewry movement, of which she was a local leader, provided a natural springboard for Lantos' lead- ership. "I had the opportunity to meet him and work with him very closely, and his wife [An- nette] as well," she said. "He was extremely supportive of anything to do with Soviet Jewry. He hardly ever missed the. rallies we had.!' The Libyan-born Waldman, who now co-chairs JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and Africa) would go on to work with Lantos again. Last year he called her to testify before his Human Rights Caucus. "To him humanity had no borders and had no col- ors." Another friend. Jewish community activist Naomi Lauter, valued Lantos' pas- sion for Israel and the Jewish people. Tom Lantos. The man sur- vived the Holocaust of World War II and used it as aweapon the rest of his life." The liberal Web site Media Matters for America posted an audio clip of the comments. The NJDC called upon Talk Radio Network, the com- pany that syndicates "The Savage Nation," to drop the program. Said NJDC executive direc- tor Ira N. Forman, "These lat- est comments about the late Rep. Lantos are disgusting. Enough is enough. It's time for all of us who find Mr. Sav- age's behavior unacceptable to call upon his employers to replace him with someone who will use their freedom of speech more responsibly." Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) also weighed in with a press release, saying, "Yet again. Mr. Savage has shown why he has no shame and no de- cency, and his remarks are an affront to all decent people. Tom Lantos was a great public servant, humanitarian and educator. He fought hatred . and anti-Semitism--like the despicable remarks of Mr. Savage everywhere." The controversy coincides with an ongoing effort to strip "The Savage Nation" of advertisers. Late last year the Council onAmerican-Islamic Relations (CAIR), launched an interfaith campaign, Hate HurtsAmerica, to draw atten- tion to Savage comments the group sees as hateful. CAIR is a Muslim media watchdog group that some in the Jewish community have accused of anti-Israel bias. Last week Hate Hurts America announced that ITT Technical Institute, Chattem Inc. (owners of Gold Bond, Icy Hot and Selsun Blue), Union Bank of California, "His Jewishness had kind of been reborn from-the So- viet Jewry movement," she said. "He felt he had to work to save Jews and really, from that time on, was devoted to that. He started trying to meet Jews all over the country and try to get them involved, which he did." The Democrat- ic congressman consistently reached out across the aisle. and he had many Republican friends, among them local Jewish philanthropist Ronald Wornick. "He was a man of such extraordinary dignity," Wor- nick said. "His competence at articulating very complex ideaswas extraordinary. Even in areas where we might not have seen eye-to-eye, I knew there were no Machiavellian politics involved." Wornick echoes others who remarked on Lantos' knack for making friends and constituents feel at ease. "If you let him know you were in D.C you would get the kind of welcome afforded to a head of state. He made you feel you were the most important supporter he ever had. If you were having a quick encounter in a coffee shop or at the airport; R was the same guy you'd see on TV. There was only one Tom Lantos." Kaufman last saw his friend in December 2007. when Lantos was still looking forward to running for re-election the following year. He later changed his mind. announcingin January both his cancer and decision to retire. But his sudden death left his friends reeling and the Jewish community in mourning. "It's hard to predict what the loss means," noted Kaufman. "Here's someone at the peak of his career as the chair of [the House For- eign Affairs Committee]. He had so much more he could do. He leaves a void in terms of support of Israel and for human rights around the world." Copyright 2008 by j. the Jewish weekly of northern california, and reprinted with permission. Readj. online at Intuit (parent company of TurboTax and QuickBooks) and GEICO ceased advertis- ing on Savage's show. In recent weeks US Cel- lu|ar, Sprint Nextel, Sears, Universal Orlando Resorts, AutoZone, Citrix, Trust- edID, JC Penney, OfficeMax, Wal-Mart. and AT&T also dropped their advertising after appeals from Hate Hurts America. Savage has fought back. Last November he filed a lawsuit against CAIR claim- ing copyright infringement because the organization posted Savage audio clips on its Web site. CAIR last week asked a federal judge in Cali- fornia to throw out the suit, calling it "baseless." Copyright 2008 by j. the Jewish weekly of northern california and used with permission. Read j. online at Central Florida Synagogue Service Schedule and Directory Celebration Jewish Congregation (R), Services and Holiday schedules shown at; 407-566-9792. Chabad of South Orlando (O), 7504 Universal Blvd Orlando, 407-354- 3660; Shabbat Services Friday 7 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. Monday and Thurs y.8 a.m. CongregationAhavas Y'urael/Chabad (O), 708 Lake Howell Rd Maitland, 407-644-2500; Services: Sunday, 8 a.m Mon-Fri, 7 a.m Fri 6:30 p.m Sat. 9:30 a.m. Family Service 4th Friday of the month. Congregation Bet Chaim (R), 426 Lakepon Cove, Casselberry, 407-830- 7211; Shabbat service, 8 p.m. Congregation Beth Am (C); 3899 SandLake Road, Longwood, 407-862- 3505; Shabbat service. 8:00 p.m. (7 p.m. on Fourth Friday of the month); Saturday: 10 a.m. ongregafionBeth E1(C),2185 MeadowlaneAve WestMelbourne,321-779- 740; Services, 8 p.m. 1st & 3rd Fridays; 9:30 a.m. 2nd & 4th Saturdays. Congregation Beth Emeth (R), 2205 Blue Sapphire Circle, Orlando, 407- 855-0772; Services once a month, 8 p.m. Congregation Beth Sholom (C), 315 North 13th St Leesburg, 352-326-3692 or 352-787-1999; Services on second Friday at 7 p.m. and last Saturday at 10a.m. Congregation B'nai Torah (C), 445 N. Nova Rd Ormond Beach, 32174, 386-672-1174; Services Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 Congregation Chabad (O), 1301 S. Patrick Dr. #62, Satellite Beach, 321- 777-2770. Congregation Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Daytona (0), 1079 W. Granada Blvd Ormond Beach, 386-672-9300; Shabbat services Fri. 7:30 p.m Sat. 10 a.m. Congregation of Reform Judaism (R), 928 Malone Dr Orlando, 407-645- 0#,44; Shabbat service. 7 p.m. 1st Friday; 8 p.m. 2nd and 3rd Fridays; 6 p.m. 4th and 5th Fridays. Saturday: 10 a.m. Congregation Mateh Chaim (R), P.O. Box 060847, Palm Bay, 32906, 321-768-6722. Congregation Obey Shalom (C), 5015 GoddardAve Orlando, 407-298-4650; Shabbat service, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m.; Junior Cong I0:00 a.m. Congregation Shalom Aleichem (R), 3501 Oak Pointe Blvd Kissimmee, 407-935-0064; Shabbat service, 8 p.m 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month. Congregation Sinai (C), Jenkins Auditorium, West Mon ose and 7th St Clermont: Services on second and last Friday of the month at 8 p.m. 352- 243-5353. New Jewish Congregation (R), 13563 Country Road 101, Oxford, 352-748- 1800; Shabbat Services every Friday of the Month: 7:30 p.m. Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation/Ohalei Rivka (C), 11200 S. Apopka-Vmeland gd Orlando, 407-239-5444; Shabbat service. 7:30 p.m.; Saturday: 9:30 a.m. Temple Beth E! (R), 579 N. Nova Rd Ormond Beach, 386-677-2484. Temple Beth Shalom (R), P.O. Box 031233, Wmter Haven. 813-324- 2882. Temple Beth Shalom (C), 40 Wellington Drive, Palm Coast, 386.445-3006; Shabbat service, 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m: Temple Beth Sholom (C), 5995 N. Widdaam Rd. Melbourne, 321-254-6333; Shabbat Services 6 p.m.; Saturday: 9:30 a.m. Temple B'nai Darom (R), 49 Banyan Course, Ocala, 352-624.0380; Friday Services 8 p.m. Temple Israel (C), Services in the JCC Community Center auditorium. 851 N. Maitland Ave Maitland, 407-647-3055: Shabbat service; 7:30 p.m.; Saturday: 9:30 a.m. Temple Israel (R), 7350 Lake Andrew Drive. Melbourne, 321-631-9494. Temple Israel (C), 1400 S. Peninsula Ave Daytona Beach, 386-252-3097; Shabbat service, 8 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. Temple Israel of DeLand (R), 1001 E. New York Ave DeLand, 386- 736- 1646; Social Hour, 6 p.m.; Shabbat service, 7 p.m. Temple Shalom of Deltona (R/C), 1785 Elkcam Blvd Deltona, 386- 789- 2202; Shabbat service: 7:30 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. Temple Shir Shalom of Oviedo (R); Shabbat service, 7:30 p.m. Most Fridays at Carillon Elementary School. 3200 Lockwood Blvd Oviedo. Call 407-366-3556 for information. 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