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February 29, 2008
 

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4 RI Ih h,h,h,ll,Ih,lh,ll,hlll,h,h,hl,lh"l ,11 13"2 MIXED ADO 320 TO: SMALLTOWN PAPERS 17270 F 5026 CALIFORNIA KVE SW SEATTLE WA 98136-1208 .z-x J I .I[1. N House & Home Section B i Dani Machtis/BGU Faculty members from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Prof. Isaac Meir (left); Prof. Raz Jelinek; Prof. Miriam Amit; Dr. Ofer Dahan and Dr. Simon Barak presented cutting-edge research on the environment and other topics at American Associates of Ben-Gurion University's Oasis of Innovation Symposium on Jan. 20 at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. Five scholars from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev brought their cutting-edge research from Israel to Palm Beach the weekend following Jan. 17 at a symposium that was part of the Southeast Region of American Associates Of Ben- Gurion 13niversity's gala weekend honoring Lore and EricRoss. Keynote speaker Ambassador Dennis Ross discussed his newest book. Statecraft. but before that the researchers took center stage. Miri Amit, head of the university's Mathematics department, drew ap- plause and tears from the audience -when she described the ways in which her innovative "Kidumatica" program has taught disadvantaged youth from the Negev to use math and logic to prepare themselves for careers in science, technology and the military. Simon Barak, a lecturer and researcher at the Al- bert Katz Department of Dryland Biotechnologies at BGU. discussed his research into plant genetics. Barak and his team are developing desert-hardy varieties of plants that have the potential to feed greater numbers of people. -Professor of Chemistry Raz Jelinek is developing polymer-coated film that can detect bacteria in food; the process also has implications in future detection of biologic terror agents. Ofer Dahan of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research has created a device that can detect pollution in water deep under the earth's surface, which can give an early warning of toxins in water used by humans. And Isaac Meir of the Department of Man in the Desert illustrated the ways in which architecture has adapted to desert living, enabling people to construct comfortable homes and workplaces heated and cooled naturally. All the scientists agreed that continued funding from interested members of the public is critical for the future of their work. Much of their time that could be spent teach- ing and researching is consumed in grantwriting in order to support their projects. For more information on becom- ing involved with American As- sociates of Ben-Gurion University, contact Southeast Regional Director Linda Slavin at [slavin@aabgu.org, or visit www.aabgu.org. O Brian Headier An Israeli artillery piece at the Gaza Strip on Feb. 25 in opposition to the threat of Palestinian protesters from the llamas-run territory breaking down security barriers as they did last month. By Leslie Susser JERUSALEM (JTA~ Irked by the slow rate of progress in Israeli- Palestinian peace talks, major Arab players are threatening to withdraw their offer to normalize ties 'with Israel once a Palestinian state is established. Underlying theArab reassessment is a deeper problem: Arab belief in the viability of "the two-state solu- tion." Israel and Palestine at peace, is diminishing. And the worry in Jerusalem is that this growing lack of confidence could undermine the fragile negotiating process so care- fully put in place at the regional peace conference in Annapolis, Md last November. The Arab offer to normalize ties with Israel was part of the 2002 Arab League peace plan initiated by Saudi Arabia. The ideawas to give Israel an added incentive to make peace with the Palestinians. Now. however, in the run-up to a new Arab League summit slated for Damascus in late March. the Saudis seem to be having second thoughts. Pointing to the slow advance in the peace talks, for which he blamed Israel. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a gathering of Arab and South American foreign ministers in Argentina on Feb. 21 that "despair will force us to review these options." Faisal accused Israel of sabotag- ing the Arab League peace plan. which he said was now "facing great danger." Arab League officials were quick to take their cue. They complained that Israel had not responded posi- tively to the Arab peace initiative, so there was little point in leaving Solution on page 15A By Tom Tugend LOS ANGELES (JTA) Much of the Jewish Oscar buzz this year focused on director Joseph Cedar's "Beaufort" and the chances of an Israeli film picking up an Academy Award for the first time. But itwas another Jewish-themed film. "The Counterfeiters ." that end- ed up taking home foreign-language honors on Sunday night. Set in 1943. the Austrian film probes the moral dilemmas facing a special group of Jewish concentra- tion camp inmates in a little-known and remarkable episode of Word War II. In his short acceptance speech, Ruzowitzky paid graceful tribute to the great Jewish movie directors of his country's past. "'There have been some great Austrian filmmakers working here. thinking of Billy Wilder. Fred Zinnemann. Otto Preminger." he said. "Most of them had to reave my country because of the Nazis. so it sort of makes sense that the first Austrian movie to win an Oscar is about the Nazis' crimes." [n an earlier interview with JTA. Ruzowitzky went further. "My grandparents on both sides 'were Nazis. or Nazi sympathizers, so I felt a special responsibility to deal with the Holocaust era." he said. "I felt an equal responsibility not to exercise moral judgment on the Jews who collaborated in Operation Bernard." In the film, as the Nazis realize that the war is going against them, they try one more piny to wreck the economies of Britain and the United States with massive amounts of perfectly counterfeited pounds, sterling and dollars. Under the code name Operation Bernard, the Germans combed concentration camps and assembled a team of more than 100 skilled Jewish printers, photographers and engravers. In Sachsenhausen. the prisoners are placed in two isolated barracks dubbed "The Golden Cage." They are given soft beds, good food, civilian clothes, first-class eqmpment and piped-in music. Congregation Mikrah Kodesh is East Orlando'S newest Conservative synagogue. Organizers bill it as "an entirely new kind of congregation." The goals include supporting the congregation through donations rather than dues: offering family educational programming, rather than age-specific religious school classes; holding Shabbat services that emphasize studying Rabbinic text and "unlocking the doors to the richness of our tradition": and creating participatory services. The hope is also to "create a family-style atmosphere in a warm. engaging congregation." The congregation invites the community to its Pre-Passover Workshop, to be held Sunday, March 9 from 12 - 2 p.m. at the current home of Central Florida Hillel, lO- cated at The Vault. at the corner Matt Petit/ ~ M:P.A.S. Stefan Ruzowitzky, director- writerof"The Counterfeiters," with his newly won Oscar on Feb. 24. Heading the team is Salomon Sorowitch. a character based on a Russian-born Jew named Salomon Smolianoff. Nicknamed "Sally," he lived high in the Berlin of the 1920s and early 19B0s as "The King of the CounterfeiterC' Faced with the choice of instant death or producing pound notes so perfect that even the Bank of England accepts them. Sa- rowitch does the Nazis' bidding. By the end of.the war. the Sach- senhausen team had turned out 134 million pounds, three times the amount of British currency reserves, and was close to producing equally perfect dollar bills. Ruzowitzky does not draw Sorow- itch, portrayedby Karl Markovics, as merely a craven collaborator. Sorow- itch protects a fellow prisoner who is trying to sabotage the operation and uses his skills to acquire medicine for an ill inmate. "The Counterfeiters" retains the tension of a top thriller, but it goes deeper. It probes a haunting moral question--given a chance at life, even temporary life. at the price of aiding the enemy, what path will a man choose? The actual Smolianoff survived Oscar on page 14A University and Alafaya in the UC-7 Plaza, next toBankokSquare, across the street from the University of Central Florida. Light refreshments will be served, and there will be door prizes. Participants can learn creative ways of enhancing the Pass- over experience, and {help children create their own chocolate-dipped matzah. Rabbi Jackie Wexler. a member of the Rabbinical Assembly, will lead the workshop, and will be assisting in the process of this venture. She will have a weekly e-mail list for all people interested in Mikrah Kodesh. To be included in this e-mail list. or for more information about the event, contact Rabbi Wexler at rab- biwexler06@aol.com. For other questions, call Jeff Golub 407-517-4627. or contact Beth at beth.berger@gmail.com.