Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
March 22, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 4     (4 of 64 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 4     (4 of 64 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
March 22, 2013

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2020. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 22, 2013 I I By Helen Brook bring in the matzot, carefully covered. The fascinating story ofredemptionwould be told in To all those who lived to see America, avery low voice, out of the neighbors' earshot. In fondmemory ofallthose who didn't. As we listene~d, the whole narrative came The train was sliding forward, softly and alive, every detail of it. Amazingly, what was noiselessly. A train is one of those few places being said about "the old times," we saw where you are mostly left alone, to sleep or unfolding daily, right before our eyes--here meditate or lazily watch the changing sta- in Russia, in 1965. We knew exactly what the tions and faces outside. You are usually too ancient Egyptians looked like: My cousin's sleepy in the morning or tootired after work classmates who pushed him down the stair- to interact, and the whole crowd around you well were "Egyptians." Nick living next door is as sleepy or as tired as you are, strangely who called my daddy a kike was definitely an united by that slow synchronized motion, Egyptian.Andofcourseweknewonlytoowell in that familiar state of dreamy hibernation, what the Pharaoh looked like: He was on the Nothing in life is as thought provoking as a TV all the time. New York City subway car. Even after their escape from Egypt, Grandpa "Morn, what is freedom?" The voice jerked said, theJewishpeoplehadtostayinthedesert me awake. Across from me, the big bold word for 40 yearsmso that former slaves should in a poster stared me straight in the face. A die off completely--before they were ready warm fire was burning there, and in the fore- for freedom. ground in front of it there were three sheets "But why?" we wondered. of matzah. "Get a Taste of Freedom!" said the "Because slavery is a moral concept." He thickletters.The matzotwere smalland round, slowly glanced around the room, "It doesn't andsomehowbrown-yellowish, very much like come just from the outside--it lives inside the ones my grandmother had baked, you. It destroys the soul, from within. Did ****** you know that there were many slaves who Both March and April are cold months in wanted to stay?" Another glance around the the northwest of Russia, with chilling winds table. Didn't we know? and sometirnes snow. My grandparents would "If you have the soul of a slave, it will fgllow set the table together in their only room. They you wherever you go. If vou want to be free, wouldpourthewine, andthenGrandmawould you have to stamp out the slave inside you. Letter from Israel Not a Swiss watch By Ira Sharkansky Politics does not operate like a Swiss watch. The image is outdated but remains useful. The overwhelming majority of watches are electronic, run by batteries and tiny programs rather than by springs and cog wheels made and assembled by skilled craftsmen in Swiss villages, Word is that more and more people are doing without watches as well as cameras, and relying on telephones that do those jobs and many others. However, the image of something that ticks along in orderly fashion and does its job with modest efficiency is useful in order to describe, by contrast, what politics is not. We need no better demonstrations of the messy realities than Israel's new govern- ment, and--next door and in some places right among us--Palestinian preparations for Barack Obama's visit. The Swiss watch image of an orderly govern- ment is that of Ministries, each housed in its own building, responsible for a fixed portion of governmental functions that fit together, and headed by a political appointee who rep- resents its needs to the collective government, legislature and the public. The newest Israeli r~ality is a collection of "Ministries" cobbled together from dispa- rate functions, much more for the purpose of keeping as many politicians as happy as possible than for anything having to do with orderly administration. That part of me under the heading of profes- sor of public administration is about to stutter in embarrassment. That part of me under the heading of profes- sor of political science is excited by the prospect of explaining the creativity of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the prospect offollowin~what happens into the near future. Some of the Ministries are, at least pa(tly, conventional. They include Defense, Finance, Health, Justice, Housing, Welfare, Commu- nications, Domestic Security (i.e., police), Transportation, Industry and Trade, Educa- tion, Environmental Protection, Agriculture, Science, Tourism and Immigrant Absorption. What gets interesting, and hard to decide how they will operate is a Ministry assembled to include Water, Energy, Development of the Negev and Galilee, and Regional Cooperation. It is not clear if Regional Cooperation refers to the Middle East. If it does, there wont be much work in the case of most neighbors who would rather cooperate with Satan than with Israel.~ Another Ministry will deal with Intelligence and International Strategy, some of which had been within the realms of Foreign Affairs or Defense, and leads again to the question about the meaning of Regional Cooperation. The Housing Ministry will not have within it the Israel Lands Authority. Thatis assigned to someone else, which means that the mar- riage between decisions about land for housing and the construction of housing may not be a happy one. Homeland Defense has been coupled with Communications, even though it would seem to fit betterwith Defense or Domestid Security. Also in the same portfolio with Communica- tions is responsibility for the International CamlSaign against Iran's Nuclear Weapons. An orderly mind would have put that in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is a Ministry of Sport and Culture, even though people who are concerned with one tend not to bother about the other, or even look down their noses at those concerned with the other. A Ministry of Pensioners is not likely to do more than distribute ID cards when aging Israelis reach the point of being entitled to discounts on public transportation, cinema tickets and a few other goodies. The new Minister of Pensioners may feel that it is his task to complain about insufficient benefits for older Israelis, but then he might be step- Watch on page 22A rilE VIEWS EXPRI~SSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ISSN 0199-0721 CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE Winner of 41 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Mike Etzkin Kim Fischer HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, lnc;, 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 emaih Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Richard Ries Contributing Columnists Jim Shil~ley Ira Sharkansky Tim Boxer David Bornstein Terri Fine Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman * David Gaudio * Teri Marks Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosky Caroline Pope Slowly and painfully, bit by bit, this is how you become free. It takes years; it may take a lifetime, a whole generation. Or more." ',But how did free people turn into slaves?" I remember asking. "Of their own free will, of course. This is how you become a slave--by betraying your ideals, one by one, giving up your identity, religion, abandoning your culture, out of greed or fear. But nobody can make you a slave if you don't want to be one, no matter what they do to you." Both my father and my uncle nodded and said nothing. Every morning they would get . up early and go to work, but my cousin and I suddenly knew that all our fathers were doing was building pyramids. Behind closed doors, we would turn on the radio, very quietly, and the "Voice of America" would fill the small roomwith barely audible sounds. Not only did Freedom have a taste, parched-dry and bland; it also had a ~)oice, no matter how muffled and indistinct. Here therewere neither candles nor kipas, kosher food was something unheard of, and boundless freezing lands lay in every direction, snow gleaming in the moonlight. But did you really need much? With a legacy so enormous, do you need much? Fifty cen- turies of history give you quite a perspective: -Pharaohs come and go, empires emerge and collapse, a~d what remains is knowledge, wisdom, and an unbending spirit of freedom, handed down from generation to generation, no matter what. And a simple meal of flour and water, to remind you of self-respect and dignity, as plain and natural as freedom itself. Grandma had used a fork to perforate the matzot. Behind a locked door. " My cousin was a big boy and he was always the first to ask '!those" questions. "Grandpa, do By Gary Rosenblatt New York Jewish Week I was relieved and not at all disappointed last month when neither of the Israeli entries for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards came home with the prize. I felt badly that t~e two films representing Israel, "The Gatekeep- ers" and "5 Broken Cameras," cinematically c()mpelling as they were, took aim at the coun- try's alleged faults rather than its miraculous accomplishments, sending a skewed message around the world. "The Gatekeepers" explores why the six liv- ing former heads of the Shin Bet are critical of Israeli policy, or lack of one, on the Palestin- ian front. The men are of different ages and personalities, but they agree that successive Israeli prime ministers approached the issue tactically rather than strategically, leaving the viewer with the impression that it is largely Israel's fault that peace has not been achieved. I thought of it as a full-length "trigger film," an opening for subsequent conversation and debate about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, particularly in Israel, where it is known all too well. But I worried about the film's impact on American and worldwide audiences who know little of the history and context of the issues seen and discussed on screen. Even more so for "5 Broken Cameras," directed by Emad Burnat, a Palestinianwho of- fers a personal and activist take on the conflict showing alleged abuses by the Israeli army in the occupied territories. (Guy David, an Israeli, joined the project and co-directed the film.) One can either applaud Israel for its level of democracy and cultural openness in present- ing (and partially funding) these unflinch- ing films, or cringe at witnessing two more examples of the Jewish state portrayed in a harsh light. But even as that debate continues, I am hopeful that three documentary film proj ects, still in the works, will help balance Israel's image with their inspiring stories of heroism and love o.f Zion. 'Above And Beyond' Nancy Spielberg, a New York-based pro- ducer, is at work on a full-length documentary called "Above And Beyond," which tells how the Israeli Air Force came to be in 1948. It's a remarkable,.little-known story tl~at highlights the commitment made by Jews from the dias- pora in risking their-lives for Israel's survival. A seven-minute clip, widely viewed on the Internet, features interviews with several American Jews, former World War II fighter pilots, now in their 80s and 90s, who recall being recruited in early 1948 to come and help the fledgling state defend itself against five Arab armies ( you think the Soviet Union will soon collapse?" Dad flicks me a warning glance from his end of the table: If you ever ask that question aloud, anywhere .... No worry, Daddy. I know. "We may not even live to see it," Grandpa says hesitantly. "But eventually--do you think it will?'~ He is silent for a while, a tired old man, examining his empty wineglass, turning it over in his stiff fingers, probably wondering if we are old enough for all this. We are waiting. "I give you my word." He says finally. The train was slowing down and the people began waking up, one by one. Faces of all shapes and colors, were smiling, blinking, yawning all around me. Weird smells and sounds of strange languages filled the hot air. I suddenly wanted to hug them all at once. It was time to stand up, though, so I glanced at the poster for the last time. "Get a Taste of Freedom!" it said. The matzot were small and round, exactly like my grandmother's. Helen Brook works as medical coordinator at a hospital in New York City; she lives in Staten Island with her husband and two grown sons. She has written an immigration-themed murder mystery, "Birthright," and recently launched a project, "Wandering Stars," to represent Jewish actors, musicians and vocal- ists who had to leave their countries of birth. 2012 HIAS. This story first appeared in "HIAS @ 130:1+30, the Best of MyStory," and is reprinted by permission. Please visit http:// book/to purchase a copy of this book, which includes one poem and 30 stories written by Russian-speaking Jewish refugees who came to this country to start new lives in freedom. - Their plain-spoken explanations ofwhy they left the safety of the U.S. to fly a few makeshift, untested airplanes made from spare parts, in the face of well-trained Arab squadrons, tanks and artillery, underscores a sense of Jewish peoplehood and shared destiny that transcends logic. "Nothing was going to stop me," recalled Navy airman Leon Frankel of North Dakota. "I couldn't live with myself if I didn't go." On May 29, 1948, with the Egyptian army on the march only 20 miles from Tel" Aviv, the fliers from Machal, the volunteers from abroad, attacked and "stopped the Egyptians cold," said Coleman Goldstein, one of the American airmen. George Lichter of the Army Air Force noted: "I was born to be there at that moment in his- tory to contribute to Israel's survival." David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime min- ister, said the Machal forces, which I suspect most American Jews have never heard of, were "the diaspora's most important contribution to the .State of Israel." And Yitzchak Rabin said simply, "They were all we had." Spielberg, whose brother Steven has become a legend in filmmaking, said she became aware of and intrigued by the story of the Machal forces on reading the 2011 obituary of A1 Schwimmer, the New York aerospace engineer and pilot who helped smuggle war planes to Israel and recruit pilots during Israel's War of Independence, forming the nucleus of the. Israeli Air Force. In 1950, after he returned to the U.S., he was convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts for his actions. He lost his voting rights and benefits and was fined $10,000. Schwimmer was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2000, and received The Israel Prize in 2006. Nancy Spielberg said she was moved by the story and felt that even most Israelis don't know how their air force was born. Though she said she has stayed out of the film business because, given her name, "the bar is so high," she felt this story "has my name on it." With her brother's blessings, she set out to produce the film, which she hopes will be completed in about a year. 'Toldot Yisraer For the last five years Eric Halivni (formerly Weisberg) has been working on an .ambitious effort to document on film firsthand accounts of the birth of the State of Israel, bringing a generation's quiet heroism to life. When I first interviewed him in the spring of 2008, the former New Yorker had left his job to singlehandedly launch Toldot Yisrael (the Generations of Israel), a nonprofit organiza- Picture on page 22A