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March 8, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWSI MARCH 8, 2013 PAGE 15A By Gil Shefler NEW YORK .(JTA)--In 2006, aspiring Israeli singer Rami Feinstein faced a big- time dilemma: Would he sign a 19-year contract with a top talent agent and relinquish 45 percent of his future profits, or take aj0b selling cosmetics at an American shopping mall? Feinstein took the job at the mall--and it worked out better than he expected. Not only did he make enough money to cut an album the following year, he found inspiration in the most unlikely of places. The sales pitch he used on clients at the Minnesota mall became the lyrics of "Something Amaz- ing," his first single. "The song is about a bit- tersweet memory from that period," Feinstein told JTA by phone from Tel Aviv. "As a musician I wanted to make music. But in order to do thatle suddenly found myself having to sell cosmetics to American women at a shopping mall. That conflict gave birth to my song." Feinstein is an American citizen, but many if not most of the Israelis who find easy money selling brand-name cosmetics at mall kiosks across the United States are YouTube Israeli singer Rami Feinstein singing the song "Something Amazing," about his mall-working experience. not. And not all of them enjoy Feinstein's fairy-tale ending. Last month, 13 Israelis were arrested when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents rounded up sales- people at two shopping malls in Houston. Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has been working to stem the flow of illegal workers at the source, producing a video warning would-be Israeli kiosk salespeople that beside the ignominy of being jailed, they faced a potential lifetime ban on entering the United States if they are caught. "It is true that thousands of Israelis have traveled over the past 10 years and worked at these kiosks," Charles Shan- non, an embassy official, says Israeli worker in the video released in June 2011. "The difference is we of illegal Israeli workers is know about it now." capturing the attention of In the United States, talk American law enforcement, of undocumented workers which treats them much as is more likely to conjure ira- they treat any worker caught ages of sun-parched Latino workingillegallyintheUnited agricultural workers or nan- States. nies caring for the children Even so, Israelis continue to of the affluent rather than flocktoU.S.malls,judgingthe pushy Israeli salespeople in rewards to outweigh the risks. air-conditioned emporiums "I earn more money in one hawking eye lotions and hand month working at a shopping creams, mall in the U.S. than I would But increasingly, the flow in Israel in a year," said Noa, demonstrating a beauty product at a who recently returned from a stint at a Texas mall and asked that her real name be withheld. Noa, who spends the Christ- mas shopping season working at U.S. malls, says she can earn up to $8,000 in a good month--nearly four times the average Israeli monthly sal- ary. Of her many friends who have worked in the business, very few have been caught, she said. Some use the money to Creative Commons mall kiosk. open businesses back home, while others used it to pay for trips to South America. "You're standing at the cart all by yourself trying to communicate with people around you, but they're all saying 'no, no, no,'" Feinstein said. "Just like an artist, you're constantly being rejected. But if you're strong and you have something interesting to of- fer, then eventually you'll be rewarded." By Maxine Dovere Joseph (Yossel) Friedenson carried the title of "rabbi," but his "pulpit" was far wider than any vithin four walls. Friedenson, iongtime edi- tor of the monthly Yiddish- language Dos Yiddishe Vort (which means "The Jewish Word") journal published by Agudath Israel of America, died Feb. 23 in New York at the age of 93. For close to 60 years, his writing gave voice to the thinking and concerns of the 16ost-Holocaust Eastern European Orthodox Jewish community. He was married to his wife Gitele, who died in 2006, for 64 years. They were married in November 1941 in the Warsaw Ghetto. A survivor of six concentra- tion camps during the Holo- caust, Friedenson was finally liberated from Auschwitz- Birkenau on January 27, 1945. He was not a proponent of "Holocaust remembrance" memorials or museums. Writ- ing in the Jewisl~World Review inAugust 1998, he complained that remembering has become "the new Jewish religion." At the age of 90, the dedi- cated editor was still reading seven-point type and still devoted to his audience, albeit, dwindling. He remained an ac- tive voice for Torah-observant Jewry until his last days. In Au*gust 2012, writing for Agudath Israel of America, Friedenson discussed the celebration of the 12th Siyum HaShas, the completion of the cycle of the Talmud, as "a day of great victory.., a day that testifies loudly and clearly that we Jews are an eternal people, indestructible and everlast- ing... The day of the Siyum HaShas is my day of~victory, the day of victory for ~ll survivors and the day of victory of every 'Talmud Jew.'" Jeanette Friedman au- thor, advocate and one of the founders of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, recalled Friedenson as "a brilliant man, entirely dedicated." "He loved his job so much that he worked at it until he could not work anymore," she told "Even after a stroke, he was still editing the paper." .- Together with Volvie Fried- man (Jeanette's father) and Moshe Sherer, Friedenson was one of the founders of the post-warAgudath Israel move- ment. In addition to his posi- tion as editor of Dos Yiddishe Vort, he served as the move- ment's Secretary General. DosYiddisheVort, a 64-page Yiddish journal, is printed in black and white and "dedicated to the problems of Torah Juda- ism.., the mouthpiece for the dwindling Yiddish-speaking contingent" of the Agudath Israel movement. The journal began in the post-Holocaust displaced persons (DP) camps, and its first two issues were printed in transliteration in Latin letters because Yiddish type was not available. "Friedenson was Dos Yid- dish Vort," Friedman told, expressing fear that the magazine "dies With him." Friedenson, she said, had not missed a deadline in 54 years. "He was awesome, literally awesome," Friedman said. In 2007, TobyAppleton Perl Friedenson's niece, wrote in the Forward newspaper about her uncle's continuity and dili- gence, noting that he "has been editing this Yiddish monthly Friedensonimmigratedtothe almost single-handedly since U.S., he continued to promote 195 --since 1945, [counting] the objectives and goals of the the first editions he put out in Agudath Israel movement, the Feldafing and Landesberg especially in its political- displaced persons camps in theological struggle with Germany." David Ben-Gurion's s~cular Securing kosher food, government in Israel. That mikvehs (ritual baths) and generationofHolocaustsurvi- religious schooling for Ho- vors,wrotePeflintheForward, .locaust survivors and their was"determinedtoregenerate children--basic necessities ultra-Orthodoxy in the wake for maintaining an Orthodox of the near-destruction of Jewishlife--wereprimeobjec- European Jewry." tives of Agudath Israel in the Friedenson re-established post-Holocaust DP camps. Dos Yiddishe Vort in tFe U.S. The re-establishment of Dos as a monthly publicatim. Yiddish Vort i.n the camps . According to Perl, h~ read served osan important tool to voraciously, including publi- accomplish those aims. When cations on many pointsof th~ political spectrum: The New York Times, New York Sun (now defunct), Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth and Ha'aretz (in He- brew) the haredi Hamodia, and German editions of Der Spie- gel, Frankfurter Algemeine and Die Zeit. Friedenson once headed a writing staff that included Moshe Prager, David Adler; Moshe Yehuda Gleicher, Nis- sim Gordon, Rabbi Simcha Elberg, and Hillel Seidman-- renowned Yiddish authors in the U.S. and in Israel. At its height during the 1970s and '80s, Dos Yiddishe Vort had a readership of 7,000- 8,000. Even as its readership aged, the paper remained an influential voice: Friedenson supported the development of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Shas Party,believing that the Sephardic community voice needed to be independently heard. In recent editions, I~s Yid- dishe Vort had become more of a commemorative journal dedicated to single topics and special editions. The magazine maintained a fervently Ortho- dox position, commenting on current issues and their impact on Orthodox Jewry, and frequently criticizing the.Conservat'tve and Reform movements. 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