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March 21, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 21, 2014
 

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p.tOrials ................................ 4A Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ................................. 6A Synagogue Directory ............... 7A B'nai Mitzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A Classified ................................ 2B J A group from Wilderness Torah's the California Redwoods in 2013. "B'naiture" program, which infuses the bar~bat mitzvah Wilderness Torah experience with nature, in By Jacob Kamaras JNS.org More than five months after the Pew Research Center's "A Portrait of Jewish Americans" survey drew widespread pessimism over rising intermarriage and assimilation, as well as declining connec- tion with synagogues and other institu- tions, proponents of a newly released study believe they may have the antidote for what ails the Jewish community. On March 10, the Jewish nonprofit Hazon and six funders released "Seeds of Opportunity: A National Study of Im- mersive Jewish Outdoor, Food, and En- vironmental Education (JOFEE),"whose findings drew from a mixture of focus- group data, a survey of 800 people age 18 and older, and review forms submitted by 41 programs. All programs examined were what the study called "immersive" experiences of four days or longer that fall under the umbrella of"JOFEE." The acronym, although coined specifically for the purpose of the study, is lingo that the report's supporters hope will grow to define a movement and become part of the Jewish vernacular. The study identified a total of 2,405 people who participated in 41 different JOFEE programs in 2012, up from 197 participants across six JOFEE programs in 2000. Programs included Jewish holi- day retreats, conferences, outdoor/food adventures, camp (for counselors and staff), fellowships and apprenticeships, and others. For survey respondents who reported that they felt disconnected from Jewish life at some point but subsequently found a way to reconnect, 32 percent said a JOFEE experience was the top reason they reconnected--the most popular JOFEE on page 15A Following the message of Psalm 133, verse 1--"Hineh mah tov u'mah na'im, shevet achim gain yachad" (Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity), Congregation Beth Am in Longwood will host an Interfaith Shabbat Experience on Friday, March 28, at 7:30 pro. Rabbi Rick Sherwin will share the Beth Am bima with local pastors and ministers and their congregants will sit side-by-side with those from the Central Florida Jewish Community who are welcome to attend this unique and uplifting evening. Rabbi Rick, as he prefers to be known, brought this Kabbalat Shabbat together. He stated, "The very first chapter in the Hebrew Bible reflects the universal value of human dignity: "God created the 'Adam' in the Divine Im- age, male and female together. Since every human being is a descendant of the first'Adam,' we correctly conclude that we must treat every individual as a reflection of the Divine Image regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnic origin, physical abilities, mental ca- pabilities, political affiliation, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation. In fulfill- ment of this, it is appropriate that Jews and Christians in our community develop a better understanding of each other so that we can fulfill the dream of Dr. Martin Luther Rabbi Rick Sherwin King and walk the earth like brothers. A first step can be to expose our Christian neigh- bors to a traditional Shabbat experience and explain the rituals and the philosophy of Shabbat." The Kabbalat Shabbat service will feature participa- tion of the invited Interfaith community along with mu- sical enhancement by the Beth Am choir. The invited Christian clergy will contrib- ute their commentary. This service will kick-off a series of study sessions at Beth Am and in local churches titled "Jewish Responses to Chris- tian Questions." Rabbi Rick has asked church leaders to submit questions for this educational series. Many have Beth Am on page 14A 9 The Jewish Heritage Fes- tival expresses the heart and soul of Jewish Florida. It in- 7. --R m O __--- _--- < -= x tertwines the sounds, sights, and spirit of Jewish culture and brings together every facet of the Jewish commu- nity-young and old, singles and families, regardless of their religious and cultural background. This year's fes- tival will take place Sunday, April 6, at the News-Journal Center, 221 North Beach Street, Daytona Beach, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Festival-goerswill enjoy na- tionally acclaimed entertain- ment such as the Goldovitz Klezmer Group, Tampa's Mike Eisenstadt Band and head- liner Cantor Bruce Benson; kosher, Israeli and Jewish- style food; Israeli and Judaica artists and vendors; and Jew- ish organization booths. Children's entertainmentwill be available throughout the day including a rock climb- ing wall, matzoh baking, Festival on page 14A By Donna Williams Prize-winning author of 15 books and Emmy Award- winner Simon Schamabrings to life Jewish history and experience in a new five-part documentary series, "The Story of the Jews With Simon Schama," premiering Tues- day, March 25, from 8 to 10 p.m. EST (episodes 1 and 2) and April 1, from 8 to 11 p.m. EST (episodes 3, 4 and 5) on PBS. (Check local listings). The five-hour series follows Schama--who has written and presented 50 documenta- ries on art, literature and his- tory and is a contributing edi- tor of the Financial Times--as he travels from Russiaand the Ukraine to Egypt, Israel and Spain, exploring the imprint that Jewish culture has made on the world and the drama of suffering, resilience and rebirth that has gone with it. The series is at the same time a personal journey for Schama, who has been im- mersed in Jewish history since his post-war childhood; a meditation on its dramatic trajectory; and a macrohis- tory of a people whose mark on the world has been out of Wikipedia Simon Schama all proportion to its modest numbers. "If you were to remove from our collective history," Schama says, "the contribu- tion Jews have made to human culture, our world would be almost unrecognizable. There would be no monotheism, no PBS on page 14A t