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March 1, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 1, 2013 Anti-Morsi fervor grows despite shift in election dates By Sherif Elhelwa The Media Line Whether it's angry Copts or the ongoing demonstrations against his rule, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi continues to face growing challenges and growing na- tionwide unrest--even while he tries to win a trip to outer space. Morsi's latest move was to issue a presidential decree amending the dates for the four-stage parliamentary elections in order to placate angry Copts and meet the Christians' demands that the' dates not coincide with the Coptic Easter holiday. The first stage of balloting will now be on April 27. Speaking to The Media Lihe before the change of dates for the election was announced, former lawmaker Mohamed Abu I-lamed said, "These are il- legal parliamentary elections. Morsi intentionally chose the days of Coptic Christian holi- days to hold the elections so people won't vote. A conspir- ing regime is doing all it can to control the nation." Meanwhile, while dem- onstrations against Morsi and his party of the Muslim Brotherhood arespreading and intensifying ahead of a planned March trip to Mos- cow, he still found time to PAGE 13A reshuffle his cabinet--seen as a test of public opinion. Last week, President Morsi dismissed one of his deputies, Khaled Abdel Malak, who also represents the Salafi AI-Nour party. The president's office released a statement saying, "This dismissal was based on personal conflicts and not political." The Salafis have responded by seeking other allies to se- cure their future under the Muslim Brotherhood govern- ment. Several media reports said the party is seeking an alliance with the Salvation Front party led by Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a Nobel laureate. Morsi's moves came as calls for civil disobedience that began in Port Said continued into the seventh straight day, with some other cities follow- ing suit. Following Friday prayers, thousands of protesters marched through a number of Egyptian cities, united in what they called "The Friday of Prosecuting the Regime." The demonstrators called for continuous civil disobedience in all private and government sectors and for aboycott of the April elections, which they call, "illegal." In Cairo; the protesters erected a stage in front of the presidential palace in the Ithadiya neighborhood and gave speeches against the rule of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. "Beware of the Muslim Brotherhood," admonished on protester who was afraid to give her name. She told The Media Line that, "We have to continue protesting. If we stop now, we will never be able to get rid of them." Different groups of dem- onstrators representing the opposition gathered in Tahir Square and marched to the presidential place to show their discontent. While no clashes with police were re- ported, there were those who saw the protesters as being responsible for the redent violence in the streets. The Islamist group AI-Jamaa- Islamiya recently announced it had created independent militias to combat protesters and "thugs,." According to the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm, the group i s calling for the Muslim .Brotherhood and Salafi groups to join forces. The paper says that police squads are not sufficiently armed to defend themselves, so the militias will help the police restore order. So far the riots and pro- tests that began in Cairo on February 15 have resulted in at least 125 injuries inflicted by the riot police according to the Egyptian official news- paper AI-Ahram. Protesters are accusing Morsi of being responsible for the deaths of at least 70 people in the Port Said soccer riots on January 30, after which the president declared a 30-day state of emergency there, and in the cities of Ismailia and Suez. They are calling for Morsi to be tried for those deaths. The unrest is having a crippling effect on Egypt's economy. On February 13, Moody's Investors Service lowered Egypt's bond rating to the B3 category, six levels below investment grade, ac- cording to Arabian Business magazine. The downgrade in rating was due to the "on-going unsettled political conditions and recent escala- tion of civil unrest in the form of violent clashes between protesters and security forces and the ensuing 30-day state of emergency declared by President Morsi in January," Moody's wrote. Moody's noted that a fur- ther downgrade may be likely if the political uncertainty coinues. Meanwhile. talks with the International Mon- etary Fund (IMF) for a $4.8 billion loan continue. The loan is viewed as essential to restoring confidence in the country's economy. More- over, a concern about rising unemployment estimated to be above 12%; declining tour- ism revenue; rising inflation; removed subsidies; declining foreign currency reserves (an estimated $15 billion to run out within three months); and expectations of a further devaluation of the Egyptian pound continue to hurt the economy. Observers say the nation has entered a tough transi- tional period, with the situ- ation unlikely to improve, at least in the short term. Amr Moussa, former chair- man of the Arab League and head of a major opposition party, said in a statement that the upcoming elections "will coincide with the collapse of the Egyptian foreign currency reserves. This will further intensify the disturbances in the country." But it was .the opposition group called the April 6th Youth Movement which came up with a truly innovative way to show its discontent with Morsi. On its Facebook page, the group announced that the president recently entered an online contest organized by Axe CosmetiCs to win a trip into space. So far Morsi has received over 21,000 votes, putting Seeking Kin: From Down Under, a gaze toward the Old Conrntry him in first place. "Maybe he can rule people on the moon. I don't believe that he is fit to rule our country," ayoung taxi driver told The Media Line. During his presidential campaign, Morsi was hailed as beir]g a research scientist at the NASA space center. If the president wins, he will go to Global Space Camp in Orlando, Florida. Meanwhile, the current sta- tus quo is confusing to many Egyptians. Some observers say that the Muslim Brother- hood doesn't appear as if they can be trusted with the fate of the Egyptian nation. "Whatever the Muslim Brotherhood is doing now is neither going to make an impression now, nor a lasting impact. They will have wasted their last 80 years of struggle for recognition," Ayman Al- Sayad, a former consultant with a consortium advising Morsi, said in an interview with Tahir TV. Although the first freely- elected Egyptian president in 60-years, Morsi is becoming unpopular among main- stream liberal Egyptians, and is being held "guilty by association" with the Muslim Brotherhood, famous for be- ing the" mother of all radical Islamist groups and behind many atrocities and assas- sinations. Courtesy Naomi Bloch Naomi Bloch believes the photos seen here may show some members of the Rosenberg branch of her family. The writing at the top right reads "Tula," where Rosenbergs lived; "triumph" appears on the left. By Hillel Kuttler BALTIMORE (JTA)--Several "Seeking Kin" columns have presented people's searches for descendants of relatives who emigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States. Now comes Naomi Bloch of Melbourne, Australia, with a search involv- ing a twist: She hopes to find cousins who remained in the Old Country. Early in World War I, Rus- sia expelled communities of Lithuanian Jews after fabri- cating charges that they were spying for and otherwise aid- ing German invasion forces in the region. Siauliai, the northern Lithuania city from where Bloch's ancestors hail, was among the affected com- munities. Avrom Leizer Rosenberg, also knownasAbrasha. Solomo- v itch; was then living in Tula, a Russian city south of Moscow. Rosenbergwas the half-brother of Bloch's grandmother, Yetta. His wife, Masha, was a Tula na- tive who came from a wealthy family. The home in which the Rosenbergs and their five children lived featured a grand piano in one salon and an up- right piano in another. When the expulsion order was issued, three generations of Bloch's family left Siauliai (in Yiddish, Shavel) on the long eastward journey to Tula. The group included Bloch's grandparents, Yetta and Joseph Seltz, and their children, Chaya (Bloch's mother) and Hiilel; Yetta's half-sister, Chaitsa Slo- movitch, awidow, and her three children, Rafael, Shlomo and Itola; and another half-sister of Yetta, Hindl Kupovitch, and her six children, who laterwould be known as Morris, Boris, Lily, Bertha, Mindl and Ellis. "Hindrshusband, Joseph, was a mohel who had emigrated to Johannesburg, South Africa, and was saving to bring over his family when war broke out and the expulsion occurred. The family matriarch, Esther- Temma Rosenberg, who was Yetta's mother and stepmother to the others, made the trip to Tula, too; her husband, Shlomo Rosenberg, had died by then. (Yet another half-sister, Bryna, had already left for the United States, and the whereabouts of her descendants are known to Bloch.) Research conducted by St. Petersburg Jewish University researcherAnatoli Chayeshand appearing on Lithuania-centric genealogy or- ganization, or "special-interest group'--states that Russia issued the expulsion order in spring 1915 to the governing administration of the Kaunas region. "According to the orders of the Army Command, all Jews must be expelled who are liv- ing west of the line [linking] Kaunas, Viikomir (Ukmerge), Rogovo (Raguva), Panevezys, Pasvalys, Salata (Salo.ciai), Bauska. The aforementioned places must be cleared of Jews," it read. The Seltzes, Slomovitches and Kupovitches stayed in Tula approximately four years. They returned to Siauliai, then departed for South Africa; the Seltzes and Slumovitches settled in Cape Town.Yetta Seltz taught dressmaking there-- she'd learned the skill at the ORT school in Siauliai--but "never told me much" about the Tula period, said Bloch, who grew up in South Africa and in 1987 moved to Australia to join the two brothers of her husband, Jack. Bloch remembers hearing that once in South Africa, her grandfather sold eggs after having peddled sweets in Tula. His marriage to Yetta was ar- ranged. Yetta previously had fallen in love with her Hebrew tutor and a poet, whose first name was Nyoma. Her parents disapproved of Nyoma because he had tuberculosis; Hindl in- terceded on her sister's behalf in an unsuccessful bid to melt their parents' opposition. Bloch believes that she was named for her grandmother's old flame. A retired librarian who now volunteers at the Kadimalibrary of Yiddish books, Bloch hopes to learn whatbecame of her rela- tives from Tula. She knows that correspondence with Avrom Leizer Rosenberg continued after World War I and is unsure why, how and whe the contact ceased. Speaking from his home in California, her cousin, Daniel Seltz, said he has learned the names of two of the five Rosenberg children: Ida and Shmuel. One of his South African relatives, he said, even located ShmuelRosenbergafter World War II and corresponded for awhile. That's when the trail ended for good. Tula's Jewish community escaped annihilation during Courtesy Naomi Bloch Naomi Bloch's great-grandparents, Shlomo and Esther- Temme Rosenberg, pictured here, led the family's exodus eastward after Russia expelled the Jews of Siauliai in 1915. the HolocaustbecausetheRus- Gymnasium, whichher mother sians held the city.Accordingto attended. the Washington-based NCSJ: By researching online, she's Advocates on behalf of Jews already located Rosenbergs in in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic Philadelphia and Boston who States and Eurasia, some3,000 are descended from Moshe Jews live in Tula today and a Rosenberg, who was either a Jewish community center was brother or cousin of Shlomo dedicated in 2004. Rosenberg. "There are many children "I'd like to know what hap- and a very active community" pened to Avrom Leizer's faro- in Tula, said Lesley Weiss, an ily'--and if they are alive, to NCSJ official who last visited know"thattheyarerespectable the city five years ago. and nice people,,' she said. Bloch approached "Seeking Bioch wants to pass on the Kin" for assistance i locating family's history to her sons, the Rosenbergs of Tula after Joel add Danny, and her three reading in The Australian grandchildren.Theyaren'tvery Jewish News of the column's interested in genealogy, Bloch success in December in finding said, "but eventually somebody an Israeli woman's long-lost will be." cousins, now living in Tulsa, Please'emailHillelKuttlerat Okla. if you know "I like being in contact thewhereaboutsofAvromLeiz- with my relatives," Bloch said er Rosenberg's descendants. If from her den during a Skype you would like "Seeking Kin" interview two weeks ago, the to write about your search for Australian summer's heat long-lostrelativesandfn'ends, leading her to step away mo- please include the principal mentarily to increase the speed factsandyourcontactinforma- of her ceiling fan. She directed tion in a briefemail. "Seeking the video camera to the wall, Kin" is sponsored by Bryna where framed photographs Shuchat and Joshua Landes showed her grandmother and andfamilyinlovingmemoryof her great-grandparents. An- theirmo, therandgrandmother, otherframeheldthel928class Miriam Shuchat, a lifelong photograph from Siauliai's Ivri uniter of the Jewish people.