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March 14, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 14, 2003

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PAGE 16 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 14, Watson Realty CotV REALTORSe Randy Ames, ABR, GRI REALTOR~ PINNACLE CLUB Serving Buyers & Sellers Since 1990 1425 West Highway 434, Suite 101 Longwood, Florida 32750-3847 407/622-8503 1-800-943-6444 x109 Fax 407/767-5989 E-Marl: TTR IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT Repairs Timers Pumps Rain Sensors Broken Pipes System Revamps Pool Revamps Plumbing Repairs Handyman Services Flat Rate/No Hourly Fees/10% Off With Ad Major Credit Cards Accepted. Tony Riley-Owner 24 Hr. #407-592-5532 HANDYMAN SERVICE Handy man and General Maintenance Air Conditioning Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960 Shoah Continued from page 3 Miller said. "I had to bring my grandparents." "It's a hum- bling experience," Debbie Boy said. For all its success, the museum's first decade has been plagued with contro- versy, often related to the ten- sion between the museum's role as a Jewish institution and its responsibility to the U.S. government. Roughly half of the museum's $60 million annual operating budget comes from federal coffers, Zeidman says. The controversies were present at the beginning.'Re- publican financier Harvey "Bud" Meyerhoff, a key player in building the museum, was pushed out as chair of the museum's council after re- fusing to invite then-Israeli President Chaim Herzog to the opening ceremony in 1993. Meyerhoff had been con- cerned about maintaining the American character of the institution, but Herzog even- tually spoke at the opening ceremony. In 1998, as Israeli-Pales- tinian peace talks continued, the museum invited - and then rescinded - an invita- tion to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Ararat to visit the museum as a visit- ing dignitary. The museum's director, issues? It's Big It's Colorful It's The Advertising Deadline: April 2, 2003 For Further Information Call 407-834-8787 Walter Reich, refused to ex- tend the invitation. Arafat eventually canceled the planned visit, and Reich soon was ousted. That same year, Holocaust scholar John Roth was cho- sen to head the museum's Center for Advanced Holo- caust Studies. But Roth was forced to resign before start- ing work after it was discov- ered that he had written a 1988 piece for the LosAnge- les Times that compared Israel's treatment of Pales- tinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews. A 1999 congressional re- port criticized the museum for its lack of professional- ism and for the paucity of non-Jews on the governing council. Therewerewhispers that the museum was being run like a Jewish organiza- tion. Today, a handful of non- Jews, including poet Maya Angeiou, sit on the council, though the Bush adminis- tration has yet to announce its new appointments. At the height of the Marc Rich scandal, in early 2001, reporters learned that the then-chairman of the coun- cil, Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Greenberg, had written to President Clinton on mu- seum stationery, asking him to pardon the fugitive finan- cier. Despite months of contro- versy and calls from a num- ber of council members for his resignation, Greenberg served out his term. Zeidman, who was ap- pointed by President Bush, has pledged to keep the mu- seum away from politics and to maintain focus on the museum's goals. Among those goals are education and outreach. The museum runs educational programs for teachers around the country to come to Washington and develop material for their classes. After Washington's police chief, Charles Ramsey, vis- ited the museum in 1998, police there began allowing department recruits a day of training at the museum. Similar programs are run with other local police de- partments, and with federal bureaus such as the FBI and NSA. Other efforts aim at the grass roots. The museum has launched a number of travel- ing exhibitions, and over 350 Washington schoolchildren, most of them African Ameri- can, have participated in the "Bring the Lessons Home" program, a project that in- cludes a summer internship and educational classes. At the close of the pro- gram, the students use their training to lead community members on a tour of the museum. The museum also has be- come a model for the new generation of Washington museums. Its success helped spur the development of Washington's National Mu- seum of the American Indian and the planned National Mu- seum of African American History and Culture. Holo- caust museum officials have met with the planners of those other efforts to lend their help, Zeidman said. "This broke the ground for that kind of place," Talisman said. "There had been at- tempts for decades to build an African American history museum." Officials planning the construction of a Sept. 11memorialinNewYorkalso take the risk," said the visitedthe museum recently tional director of the to gather ideas. Abraham Foxman, a Over the next decade, one vorwho sat on the Holocaust of the main challenges for Council while the the museum will be main- was planned and launched. taining its Jewish character. But Foxman admitted that After all, survivors origi- he and other survivors nally had worried that in worry that future opening a national museum tions maintaining the on federal land, the Holo- seum might reduce caust might be enshrined as ish content. an event that included Jews, "How do we ratherthanaspecificailyJew- years from now that', ish event, is a word that resonates?" "They were still ready to asks. Money and relevance key By Eli Kintisch WASHINGTON, D.C. (JTA)--The chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council, Fred Zeidman, sees a wide range of new goals for the institution as it enters its second decade. "We are truly at a watershed point in the museum's history," Zeidman told JTA in a recent interview. "The first 10 years were truly the honeymoon period. .When the museum opened, people - knowing the need for this museum - really were incredibly forth- coming philanthropically, and the survivors were all here to tell the story." Fundraising remains constant even with the survivor generation in its twilight, Zeidman said, but the challenge of spreading the museum's message takes on a new urgency. A longtime ally and fund raiser for President Bush, Zeidman was nominated to the council chairmanship by the president last year. He has pledged to keep politics out of museum operations, while maintain- ing a focus on the Holocaust itself. "We've got to keep this story alive; we've got to make it breathe," Zeidman said. "There are 2 million people a year that come to the museum," but "there are so many people who can't come to the museum. "We've got to take it to the rest of this country. There are 280 million people in this country, every one of whom needs to be knowledgeable about what we do here," he said. We need to be America's national educator." Toward that end, Zeidman said he wants to increase teacher training programs, work with more museums with traveling exhibitions and increase existing cooperation with law enforcement officials. POlice officials in Georgia, for example, are speak- ing with the museum about setting up daylong train- ing visits similar to existing programs with depart- ments from Maryland, Virginia and Washington. "We've got to take it to the people with the greatest potential to impact society, the caretakers of democ- racy, the educators, the law enforcement officials, the judiciary, the military, the civic leaders," Zeidman said. In addition to the yearly Days of Remembrance ceremonies in April, a number of special events are planned for this year. In June, to honor the anniversary year, the mu- seum will sponsor a new exhibit of some original writings of Anne Frank, the first time the writings will be shown outside of Amsterdam's Anne Frank House. In late summer or fall, the museum will host a special night for Holocaust survivors and their fami- lies. "That will arguably be the last time that this will ever happen," Zeidman said. "We'll have a special night so that survivors can bring their children and grandchildren and hopefully tell their stories and show the museum to their kids. There has been a tremendous reticence on the part of so many survi- vors to truly tell their story." But, Zeidman said, the museum has givenmany people a chance to tell their stories, keeping the institution's research depart- ment busy. "We're trying to record every story we can possibly get," he said of the research efforts. "The real problem is that we don't have a lot of time left." Noting that the museum so far has weathered the nation's economic downturn, Zeidman said he sees a bright financial future for the museum. "I've been pleasantly surprised," he said. "I'm not hearing 'I'm not giving this year because the stock market's down, I'm not giving this year because I had to give to 9/11. I'm not giving this year because I'm giving to Israel,' "he said. "The more money I can raise privately, the lesS dependant I am on the federal government," Zeidman said, adding that a "key goal" of the coming decade was to raise an endowment for the museum. As for the fear that the Holocaust may be seen to lose relevance with every passing year, Zeidman said that the history the museum represents remains as important as ever. "The incidents of terrorism and 9/11 are bringing the reality of this kind of activity home," he said. "It'S just reinforcing the importance of telling our kids, 'Let me tell you what happens when this starts and we don't do anything about it.'"