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March 1, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE BA " HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 1, 2013 i North Fl()ria z R ,ylon teens attend convention in D.C. tries. Jessica Watzman a high school senior from Altamonte Springs said, "I felt like I was part of an organization that could actually do something and make a difference. Be- ing recognized by President Obama showed me that we aren't doing hours of service, programs, and hard work for nothing. We are the future and current Jewish community leaders." The president addressed the audience, "this gathering gives you a chance to affirm your faith and recommit your- selves to the enduring values this organization represents." He then'encouraged the teens world sent delegations to D.C., including but not limited to, Israel, Bulgaria, Ireland and United Kingdom. The open- ing ceremony began with a welcome video from Presi- dent Obama to a room filled with more than 2,000 Jewish teen leaders, volunteers, and philanthropists from 18 coun- North Florida Region BBYO sent 16 teens to the organiza- tion's International Conven- tion (IC) in Washington, D.C. over Presidents' Day Weekend. The theme of the event was "From the Roots We Build" and was the largest attended BBYO Convention in 90 years. Teens from all over the Jewish Pavilion pr( vioes Purim parties Many activity directors and non-Jewish residents in long- term care have never heard of Purim. Therefore, there is not much of a chance that it would be celebrated at assisted living residences anywhere in Orlando if it were not for the Jewish Pavilion. Residents of all faiths enjoyed Purim festivities this year, especially the Purim play and the ha- mantashen. The Jewish Pavilion wants to sendoutaspecialthankstoVitas Innovative Hospice for providing colol'ful beads and masks for all the residents as well as colorful paper goods. In order to provide 40 celebrations around town, Jewish Pavilion program direc- tors organized parties before and after the actual holiday. This year, they are especially pleased that the party at Island Lake Rebecca Gaeser celebrates The cast of the Purim play at Horizon Bay, from left: Mat- Pu'mwiththeJewishPavUion thew Goldberg, Julie Levitt, Jackie Levitt, Marty Glickstein and at Horizon Bay. The grogger Sarah Goldberg. Standing in the back is Lee Goldberg. This she is holding was made by a crew of volunteers helps monthlg at Jewish Pavilion musicales, student at the JCC Preschool. took place early because one of the residents, Carl Betas, who thoroughly enjoyed thefestivi- ties, passed away a few days later, said an event planner. Purim brot ght to Village on tn G] een Left to right, Steve Newman, Phyllis Amsterdam and Jade Murray Starting with Shabbat prayers with Cantor Allan Ro- buck at keyboard to learning about the story of Purim with Dr. Zena Suikes, followed with the Purim Shpiel by the Jewish Pavilion volunteers complete with props, crowns and grog- gers. Everyone enjoyed the Hamentashen, singing songs and drowning out Haman's name with groggers. Bar Mitzval 0000]aron Yq00/cAae/JCarr Aaron Michael Karr, son of Roseanne and Phillip Karr of Winter Springs, Fla., was called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at Chabad of North Orlando in Lake Mary. Aaron is in the seventh grade at Milwee Middle school where he is a mem- berofthe Pre-Internation- al Baccalaureate engineer- ing program. His hobbies and interests include flag football, minecraft and gaming. He also is a member of Kadima at Temple Israel and Cteen at Chabad. Sharing in the famly's simcha was his sister, Eliana Karr; his grandparents, Sara and David Danziger of Winter Park, and Shirley and Stanley Karr of Tamarac; and family and friends from South Florida, Maryland, Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California and Arizona. to return home, spread their enthusiasm and show the important role that young people play in making a dif- ference in society. The energy of almost 1,500 Jewish teens in one conven- tion center brought the re- alization of being a part of a movementvery close to home. Junior Tamara Zishuk of Oviedo said, "The atmosphere was incredible. While it seems like it would be easy to be swallowed up by such a large crowd, even just by being at IC, I felt important. Everyone came there because of their dedication to BBYO, and pas- sion for helping others, and it was just so inspiring to be in a room filled with 1500 teens that were there because they felt obligated to help preserve the Jewish faith. Everyonewas so kind, and it was so easy to make friends with everybody." Throughout Friday, Feb. 15 the teens participated in 34 service projects all over the greater D.C. area. Some of the organizations the teens volunteered with for the day of service were American Jewish World Service, Autism Speaks, Invisible Children, Kid Power and Playworks. Hannah Smith, a junior at Lyman High School, said, "A lesson I learned from Ben Keesy of Invisible Children was to combine your passion with service. I now plan on bringing music to kids in low- income areas when I'm older!" The teen leadership body presented the Annual BBYO Stand UP Lifetime Achieve- ment Award to DNC Chair- woman and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who spoke about the importance for standing up for critical causes of the day. On Friday morning, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice de- livered a Call to Action before the delegates went into the D.C. community for hands on service and advocacy training. By the end of the conven- tion, the teens had learned many different ways to take action within their own communities. Zishuk said, Convention on page 19A Over 200 attend Ohev Shalom00 presentation of 'Cuban-Jewish Diaspora' Judy Shujman More than 200 people heard the story of the Cuban Jew- ish Diaspora. More than 200 people at- tended the late morning pre- sentation Feb. 17 of "The Cuban-Jewish Diaspora '' of the early 1960s at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland. An overflow crowd came to learn details about the "Pedro Pan" operation that brought more than 14,000 Cuban youngsters (among them 396 Jewish kids) to the United States in the early 1960s. About a dozen "Pedro Pan kids" and their families were in the audience. The program started with professor Marcos Kerbel, a Jewish Cuban American vho teaches finance at Florida International University in Miami giving details of how the program was led by Monsignor Brian Walsh of Miami in con- junctionwith then Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and former Jewish governor of Connecticut, Abraham Ribicoff. Ribicoff, a son of Jewish im- migrants, was able to allocate the sum of $1 million to help finance the program. HIAS (Hebrew ImmigrationAid Soci- ety) and Catholic Charitieswere the main agencies in charge of implementing the logistics to brijng these youngsters to America. Kerbel explained that, "there was a concern that the (Cuban) government was going "to take control of the kids. They real- ized that they had to send the children first. I was one of these kids. The parents put the lives of their kids above their own." Kerbel gave details about his personal experience--beinK sent immediately after arriving in Miami in 1961 to California where he lived with a Jewish Orthodox family until he was reunited with his parents who migrated to the Unitede States on the second-to-last plane from Cuba prior to the October 1962 missile crisis. He went on to earn a BBA and MBA from Georgia State University. As co-producer of a docu- mentary prepared in late 2009, Kerbel showed it on a large screen giving details of the history of Cuban Jewry since the early 1900s until the recent past in the United States. He presented the many steps, ini- tiatives, cultural and pro-Israel programs iflwhich Cuban Jews have been involved since their arrival in this country. The secondspeakerwas Justo Martinez, who is Catholic, and another "Pedro Pan," who has lived in Orlando since 1966. A retired certified financial planner, Martinez reviewed his family's career military background in Cuba, and the reasons for them to send him alone to safety in July 1961 to the United States. His father had been a career military officer and the Castro regime did not consider these officials friendly to their ideas. Thus they were marked people. Martinez ended up in an orphanage in the Washington, D.C., area, then lived with several Catholic families, eventually earning a Judy Shujman Jamie Shujman (1), Justo Martinez and Marcos gerbel were the speakers at the Cuban Jewish Diaspora event Feb. 17 at Congregation Ohev Shalom. degree from UCF in Orlando. Like Kerbel, Maitinez hardly spoke English when he arrived in the United States. Eventually he ended up becoming a top 100 CFP consistently throughout his career with the likes of EF Hutton and Morgan Stanley. Martinez spoke about the six stages in his life: 1, happy Cuban child; 2, confused Cuban child; 3, unaccompanied refugee Cuban child; 4, Cuban refugee survivor; 5, Cuban American story; 6, retired Cuban Ameri- can baby boomer. The last speaker was Jamie Shujman, another Jewish Cu- ban American who also arrived alone in the United States in late June 1962--four months before the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. Shujman spoke about attending the larg- est Ashkenazi/Jewish secular school in Havana with 450 stu- dents (as did Kerbel) and then the same public high school as Kerbel, He also indicated that both their fathers had been members of the same Masonic Lodge in Havana, which was mostly Jewish. Shujman has a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland, where he settled with relatives that had been there since the 1940s. Shujman told about not seeing his parents and younger brother for 17 years until he and his wife Judy and son Robert were able to travel in Septem- ber 1979 when a Cuban Jewish banker (Bernardo Benes from Miami) convinced Fidel Castro earlier that year that allowing Cuban exiles to returnwas good business for Cuba. Shujman indicated that the decision to send their children alone to the United States instead of remain and become indoctrinated as Cuban com- munists was the ultimate act of sacrifice by their parents, some of whom would never see their children again. He also "mentioned two things that occurred during the trip. One, a black maid at the hotel where they were staying, coming inside the room and asking if it would be OK for her to take an empty bottle of Gerber baby food "so she could show her daughter what she was fed as a child." Second, he showed a copy of a large secret manual that was distributed to all Cubans that instructed them on "how to deal with the returning exile%, as they had made a bil mistake in leaving the island years before." To finish the presentation, Shujman showed two items: first, a survival kit from the American Red Cross that con- tained among other things, Colgate toothpaste, a bar of soap, Burma Shave, Gillette razor blades and more that was given to all arriving Cubans, all unopened. Second, he held in his hand the three flags that Cuban Jews love, the Cuban, American and Israeli flags clos- ing the programwith the state- ment, "We love this country" to a round qf applause. ,t