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March 6, 2015     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 6, 2015

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Elie Basher The American Hebrew Academy recently extended invitations to a select num- ber of students worldwide for admittance into the esteemed American Hebrew Academy Honor Society. Now in its sixth year, the American He- brew Academy Honor Society, modeled after the National Honor Society, is an inter- national honor society that acknowledges exceptional 8th and 9th grade students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, the arts, leadership and service to their communities. Last year six students from the Central Florida area were inducted into the prestigious organization. This year, seven remarkable students have been selected. Six of the students attend the Jewish Academy of Orlando, and one is a student at Lake Mary High School. The Heritage congratulates the following students on their inductions: Elie Basher of Orlando: Elie, son of David and Yaei Basher, is an outstanding student, actor, and athlete. He In celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Women's philanthropy event, the Jew- ish Federation of Greater Orlando is shaking things up _= " O@ _.= Q = _ ~ o~ = _ Editorials ..................................... 4A ,-Ed .......................................... 5A Directory .................. 7A B'nai Mitzvah .............................. 8A Scene Around ............................. 9A < Ofree Basher Eli Finkelstein ~ Jordan Harris Frances Hoffen Aaron Soll Ashlinn Thomas By Christine DeSouza Recently, the Heritage re- ceived a phone call from the mother of a young woman attending the University of South Florida. She was alarmed at what her daugh- ter was telling her about the bullying tactics of the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The mother is a member of the Congregation of Reform Judaism and gave the Heritage her daughter's email address to learn what exactly was hap- pening on campus. The daughter, who did not want her name to be men- tioned, (and therefore the Heritage also did not want to give the mother's name), had this tosay in email: "I would prefer if anything I say is left anonymous. I spoke to the rabbi at Hillel [Rabbi Ed Rosenthal] about saying something and he said that his statements were ripped apart by the group that is behind most of it. The group is Stu- dents for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and they have a reputa- tion all over the country for being anti-Semitic. Last year ithey sent around a petition and SOMEHOW (with brib- ery, half-truths, and lying by omission) got 10,000 student signatures. "They said the petition was for USF to divest from companies supporting human rights violations in Palestine, but it was a petition that has been going around many col- lege campuses about Israeli divestment. They came into classrooms (including my own) to talk about the petition but didn't even go into detail about it, and I saw a lot of my classmates blindly signing it without even reading it. The whole petition and organiza- tion created a really unsettling feeling for me and a lot of my Jewish friends because it re- ally felt like they weren't just attacking Israel, but also Jews in general." USF Hillel's Rabbi Ed Rosenthal sent out a news- letter to bring attention to the goings on at the university. "Are you aware that a brutal attack on Israel is underway at the University of South Florida in Tampa?" he asked. He went on to explain how the campus chapter of SJP USF on page 14A ispassionateaboutbasketball, honor society is an enormous Elie's sister). She is a capable soccer, swimming, and run- opportunity for me. It is a leader who is dedicated to ning. He has dedicated more privilege and an honor to be making a difference in all than 10 years to learning and receiving this position as an aspects of her life. When she practicing karate, and has inductee. Thank you. is not volunteering with the earned a leadership role as Ofree Basher of Orlando: Jewish Community Center, assistant sensei in his class. "I am very thankful for the she is the student govern- Elie values the way Judaism opportunity to be recognized ment secretary, an avid ten- helps him live a meaningful as an inductee to the Ameri- nis player, and actress in her life. and is an active member can Hebrew Academy honor school's theater productions. in his local BBYO chapter. On society and to be a receiver Ofree is also a member of her receiving his invitation, Elie of this amazing award," said local BBYO chapter. had this to say, ""I feel that Ofree, who is the daughter of being inducted into the AHA David and Yael Basher (andHonor on page 15A again at this year's Choices. On Tuesday, April 14, at Congregation Ohev Shalom, Choices will show the Jewish women of Orlando how "It Takes A Woman" to strength- en the Jewish community. The planning for Choices 2015 is underway with a fabulous and inspiring pro- gram at 7 p.m. followed by a one-of-a-kind Kentucky Derby-themed cocktail party. Kentucky Derby hats are en- couraged with chances to win prizes for best hats in various categories. Speaking of great Bonnie Rayman, first executive director of the Rosen JCC. The Jack and Lee Rosen Jewish Community Center, Inc., is now officially a legal entity of its own. This marks a change in direction from the Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando and a renewed focus on Southwest Orlando. iii? prizes, don't miss this year's B~gPhotographix Their story began in 1994 Directors for the Rosen JCC spectacular Choices raffle to InaPpth Jennifer Weiner when the JCC of Greater includesJeffImberasthefirst enterandwinmorewonderful Orlando (JCCGO) opened an vice-president, Rhonda Fair, prizes- Tickets are $25 each, postcards anc then the beau- Lion of Judah, and currently Early Childhood Learning Susan Flower, Rob Gerencser, but the more bought, the bet- tiful jeweled vitation to the chairstheJewishCommunity Centeronpropertybelonging Mat Greene, Wendi Harris, ter the deal. Ten tickets are one and onL Choices 2015: It Relations Council. to the Southwest Orlando Paula Kotzin, Jody Layne, only $100. Takes aW0man event. Special guest speaker,Jewish Congregation. After PaulMcConnell, Josh Rosen, Choices ambassadors (for- This year, Ina Porth will be world-renowned author Jen- 14 years of renting space for merlytablecaptains) recently honored as the 2015 Harriet nifer Weiner made her debut the Early Childhood program, JCC on page 15A gathered to fill out the Save Ginsburg Woman of Choice. with The New York Times the community's dream be- t~ote nnite~un~o~aeinto~ ~oon~t~ m it~nt~i~i dredsofcommunitywomento Jewish Federation of Greater story of a smart, witty plus- on the Jack & Lee Rosen the event of the year. At the Orlando, has served as an- size, pop-culture journalist. Campus opened its doors in time of this writing, ladies nual campaign chair for the August 2009. Beginning as should have received their last two campaign years, is a Choices on page 14A full service JCC, the brand J new facility was complete with a gymnasium and fit- ness center. As the JCC on the Rosen Campus grew over the years, the desire to become a sepa- rate entity grew as well. The JCCGO Board voted last sum- mer to allow for the reorgani- zation and the process is now complete. "Since its inception in 1994 to its current full-service facilities, the Rosen JCC has been an integral part of Jewish life in Southwest Orlando and it will continue to thrive as it provides quality programs and services to the Central Florida community. The two JCCs will continue to work collectively to fulfill our mis- sion of building community, strengthening family life, and promoting Jewish values," said David Wayne, executive direct6r of the Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando. Led by President Scott Richman, the new Board of t~