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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 14, 2014 PAGE 15A JAO From page 1A Academy Executive Direc- tor Glenn Drew added, "The Academy is an exceptional institution with an outstand- ing faculty and student body. Identifying stellar students follows our mission of men- toring the Jewish leaders of tomorrow." These students were nomi- nated by school personnel, rabbis, Jewish community professionals, camp directors, counselors, or their coaches because they are bright, hard- working, and well-rounded. Here is a little more about each student: Joshua Finkelstein, son of Howard and Kim Finkelstein of Longwood, is a leader both on and off the field. As co- captain of his soccer team, he makes sure each player feels included and comfortable. Off the field, Joshua tutors special needs kids at his synagogue, helping them prepare for their b'nai mitzvot and mak- ing sure they feel heard. He's also a great participant in his school's multi-faith program, which meets with Christian and Muslim schools in the area. Joshua also runs cross country and spent last sum- mer as a technology assistant at the JAO. "I am honored and thrilled to be inducted into the American Hebrew Honor Society," said Joshua. "With- out the inspiration of my loving and supporting fam- ily as well as academic op- portunities at JAO, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish this achievement." "Hebrew and Judaica have been such a big part of my life for as long as I can remem- ber. Being inducted into the AHA Honor Society is just the proof that all my years of Jewish learning has created a strong Jewish individual ready to take on the world!" said Sophie Libow, daughter of Michael and Renee Libow of Maitland. Sophie values community and it shows in everything she does. Whether she's playing soccer, acting in a play or serving on the board of her youth group, she continually looks for ways to bring people together. A gifted student, Sophie still finds time to volunteer with Give Kids the World and serves as a teacher's aide at her synagogue. Estrella Varnagy, daughter of David and Miriam Varnagy of Maitland, is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and is vice president of the student government at JAO. "I'm honored for being accepted into the American Hebrew Academy Honor Society," she said. "I feel this achievement wouldn't be possible without the strong academics and the Jewish education from The Jewish Academy of Orlando." In ad- dition to excelling in her stud- ies, Estrella loves basketball, rowing and drama. Jordan Greenberg, son of Michael and Lauri Greenberg of Longwood, is always ready to lend a helping hand to any- one in need. He is a great ath- lete and serves as team captain for his Fitness and Nutrition class. Jordan approaches every opportunity with enthusiasm and a positive attitude. As a former vice president of JAO's student council, he has proven himself a leader in all aspects of his life. "I am honored to be given thisuniqueawardbecausethe honor society and I feel that American Hebrew Academy this couldn't have happened emphasizes Jewish learning with out the support of my as well as academic excel- lence, which are both very important to me," said Shira Weiss, daughter of Kevin and Rona Weiss of Winter Park. Shira is president of JAO's student government. She enjoys learning and playing instruments, including the piano, drums and guitar. Tak- ing after her grandmother, Harriet Weiss, she is also an active participant in JAO's theater productions and is an avid dancer. She is a member of the school yearbook staff, working hard as a photogra- pher and editor. Rachael Henig, daughter of Alan and Risa Henig of Casselberry, is thrilled with this invitation, stating, "I am very honored to have been accepted into the AHA amazing school and teachers." Rachael belongs on the stage. A singer, actor and dancer, she is involved in theater both at JAO and with Next Genera- tion Kids. In addition to her onstage talents, she has also helped behind the scenes with makeup and costume design. A true self-starter, she is teaching herself Japanese and is active in martial arts. Rachael is currently secretary for JAO's student government. Students accepted into the Honor Society have the opportunity to compete for substantial annual merit- based scholarships to attend the American Hebrew Acad- emy. Students nominated and accepted in the Honor Society are not required to attend the Academy. Chabad From page 1A Preston, director of Office of Student involvement; Dr. Terri Susan Fine, Stenzler faculty advisor for the Chabad Jewish Student Group and political science professor; Dr. Moshe Pelli, director of Judaic Studies and the Abe and Tess Weiss Endowed Professor; and Rabbi Meir Levinger, director of the Mayanot Women's Institute of Jewish Learning in Jerusalem all shared a few words. In ad- dition Dr. Abraham Pizam, dean of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, and Dr. Jay Hoffman, profes- sor and chair of sports and exercise science, with his wife, Yaffa Hoffman, were in attendance. "It's amazing to see over 600 members of such a diverse community on campus," said Jonathan Cannon, a senior at UCF double majoring in political science and psychol- ogy. "UCF has such a strong Jewish community that I am proud to be a part of. I hope it continues to grow and flourish with UCF." Shabbat 613 was made possible by the efforts of many students. Though the rabbi and Rivkie directed the event, the Chabad Jewish Student Executive and Gen- eral Board of Chabad at UCF played a major role in pro- moting the affair, recruiting their friends and colleagues to attend, and preparing the ballroom for that night. The president of Chabad Jewish Student Group, Alexa Free- man, was very pleased with the outcome of everyone's hard work. "Shabbat 613 was an in- credible experience," said Freeman. "To be surrounded by that many Jews for a Friday night dinner was a unique experience that I and many other students will never forget. Before we put together this event, we keptasking our- selves, 'Will we get 613?' Sure enough, the Jewish student body at UCF pulled together to make this event a success." Shabbat 613 was a tre- mendous success as a result of those who coordinated, and attended it. According to Rabbi Lipskier, many people who attended gave him excel- lent feedback on their expe- rience. "Since Shabbat 613 ended, people have reached out to us through Facebook, text messages, and phone calls saying what an amazing time they had, and how excited they are for the next one, hopefully, as the years grow (the event) will be larger and larger in numbers as every year builds enthusiasm. Last year was Shabbat 500, this year we had Shabbat 613, next year we are aiming for Shabbat 1000!" For more information about Chabad at UCF please visit their website www.Jewi- shUCF.com. Protest From page 1A Professor Yedidia Stern, vice president of research at the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), told JNS.org. Currently, a committee chaired by Member of Knes- set Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) is pushing to pass a law to solve the social inequal- ity issue, whereby secular Israelis must enter the army as part of a mandatory draft, while religious Israelis can be granted exemptions. The issue has become a flashpoint in Israeli politics in recent years, with the coun- try's secular majority calling for the religious to share their burden of national service. In 2012, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the previously legislated Tal Law, which exempted tens of thousands of eligible religious males from national army service, was illegal. Stern, amemberofthe2012 Plesner Committee for Ad- vancing Equality in Sharing the Burden, and author of a proposal titled "A Framework for Ultra- Orthodox Conscrip- tion," believes that the Shaked Committee's proposed law does not improve on the Tal Law's mistakes. He believes the proposed law will be both damaging to society and likely to be eventually overturned if passed. "I also want to see haredim in the army, the question is how to achieve this common goal," Stern said. The religious sector has overwhelmingly boycotted the Israeli army, with few exceptions, due to in large part the perception that the army--run and founded by secular elements of society-- does not provide an appropri- ate and safe framework for religious participants. In ad- dition, leaders of the religious communities prefer that their constituents spend their days studying Torah in religious institutions. Many secular Israelis resent that seemingly eligible mem- bers of the military and the workforce choose instead to rely on government subsidies and under-the-table business, as opposed to serving their nation and then contribut- ing to the nation's coffers by paying income tax. And for parties that seek to change such patterns, which may ul- timately prove unsustainable for religious families as well as the government, the issue of changing conscription laws represents a first step. "Everyone understands that the issue of haredim serving in the army is com- ing at a time when the ai'my isscaling down on manpower, and making significant budgetary cuts," said Moshe Weiss, a leader of the religious community and former official in Israel's Ministry of Absorption, who has often been at the forefront of initiatives to integrate religious and contemporary social issues. "This has less to do with equal burden of service--for which haredim are currently not needed--and everything to do with politics. This issue is being driven by populism," Weiss told JNS.org. According to Weiss, there are already a rapidly growing number of religious Israelis who want to serve in the army, from more modern national- religious Israelis who believe strongly in protecting the land with a strong military, to the more stringent yeshiva-based communities--commonly known in Israel as haredim. "There is a growing trend--all-time highs--of haredi young men who are willing to serve in the army, in units that are geared for their needs, and which don't make them adapt to a secular lifestyle," Weiss said. Weiss believes that in addition to those who have publicly expressed interest in serving in the military, there are thousands of haredim of all ages are willing to perform various forms of national service for the state of Israel. "We are not just not just talking about service for one or two years, but there are religious Jews that are willing to serve the State of Israel for 20 years, as firefighters, as policemen, in hospitals--in a framework that enables them to protect their unique religious lifestyle," he said. "If the politicians--like Lapid and others--will work on further developing this framework, instead of using the issue of haredim serving in the army as a divisive and political wedge issue, we could take advantage of the growing trends of haredim that wish to serve, and do some true good for the country," Weiss added. In addition to the social rifts the proposed bill may cause, it appears as if significant components of the measure may ultimately lead to its legislative failure. "The current draft bill is not going in a rational way toward achieve its goals," the IDI's Stern said. "Parts of this deal are totally irrational." The first part, in Stern's estimation, has to do with the time lapse before the bill be- gins to be fully implemented. Under the current bill, sanc- tions for failing to enlistwould not be enforced until 2017. "If you want to create a revolution whereby you wish to encourage haredim to participate in their national service, then you cannot exempt them for three and a half years. The process needs to start tomorrow," Stern said. "If this proposed bill will in fact be passed, it will dis- incentivize those that wish to go to the army, because of the provision in the law whereby service is exempt for three years," he added. According to Stern, the three-year exemption period represents a lifetime in Israeli political cycles. As such, it is probable that a new coalition will be in place by the time the exemptions are set to end. In such ascenario, a new govern- ing coalition may well seek to legislate a different law. "The likelihood that there will be haredi parties in the next coalition is quite high," Stern said. Furthermore, the annual goals for the numbers of haredim to serve are to be determined in the future by the government. This leaves the fate of the law in the hands of whichever parties are in a future coalition. If religious parties are part of that future government, the numbers could be lowered. If secular parties dominate a future coalition, then the numbers mandated could be much higher. Stern also noted that any plan to place to large numbers in prison could produce a significant burden on Israel's prison system. "You cannot just puta large sector of society in jail simply because they wish instead to study Torah. You cannot put sanctions against so many people. This will create a tremendous rift in society," Stern said. "The new law is probably Unconstitutional, and it will create significant political damage," he said. Sharkansky From page 4A can officials who demand a resolution of the conflict via concessions to Palestinians that have been tried time and again come up against Israeli feelings of fatigue, and give strength to sentiments that neither the goyim nor over- seas Jews understand Middle Eastern realities. The settlers and the Hare- dim each can mobilize 10 percent or more of the Israeli population. Politics being what it is, votes count in national elections, the management of the govern- ment and the Knesset. If the settlers' representatives or the Haredimare not in this govern- ment, they may be essential for composing the next one. Politicians who aspire to lead Israel, or to keep their leadership, seek to keep the settlers and the Haredim quiet, even while keeping them from trampling on the rest of us. That may mean continu- ing construction over the 1967 line, while limiting it to Jerusalem and the large blocs. With respect to the Haredim, it means weaning them out the academies and to work, with at least some of them sharing the burdens of service in the IDF. No one expects that they will pick up a large burden of actual combat. The IDF also needs "jobniks," i.e., soldiers serving administra- tive tasks, as well as guards, cooks, and--especially suit- able to Yeshiva boys--mili- tary rabbis and inspectors of kashrut in military kitchens. No doubt that the slogan an "equality of burdens" with re- spect to Haredi service in the IDFwill be a longway from any formulation likely to pass the Knesset.Whether the reform, likely to be highly touted by Yair Lapid whose future may depend on it, is enough, for the present or near future, will become apparent only when the enactment is made, and implemented. Jews have been a political people since our first writings. Moses wrestled with his op- ponents in the desert. Some years later Ezra coped with Jews unwilling to divorce the wives he considered less than kosher. Tensions among the Jews, as well as with our neighbors, are inherent to Israel. Coping with them, rather than treating them as some- thing to be overridden with a current majority, is character- istic of our democracy. That's us and our life. It could be worse. Ira Sharkansky is professor of Political Science, Hebrew (Emeritus) of the Department University of Jerusalem. Gaza From page 1A press conference that was held last Wednesday, Ma'ariv reported. IDF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said, "The IDF will continue to operate against the Iranian attempts to arm regional terrorist organizations, who intend to continuously ignite our borders. We will continue to employ all the necessary means in order to prevent the armament of terrorist organizations and will com- bat the Iranian smuggling attempts that threaten the security and sovereignty of the State of Israel." The Navy is currently in the process of towing the KLOSC to Israel's southern port in Eilat and it is estimated that the voyage to Israel will take several days, Walla said. The KLOSC is the fourth ship destined for Gaza to be intercepted by Israeli forces in recent years.