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March 24, 2017     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 24, 2017

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 24, 2017 Rabbi Ethan Tucker, Hadar's co-founder, speaking with in New York City, March 1, 2017. rabbis Ben Sales during a seminar at Hadar By Ben Sales day, every weekday in the toOrthodoxonesthateschew building, studying Jewish full gender equality. NEWYORK (JTA)--In the text and observing strict The two groups illustrate upstairs sanctuary of a Man- Jewish law in a gender-equal the dual mission of Mechon hattan synagogue, a group of environment. The rabbis, by Hadar, a Jewish study insti- rabbisisstudyingJewishtexts contrast, leave the building tute now celebrating its 10th on pluralism and community, that afternoon and return to anniversary. As opposed to One floor below, 22 students their communities across the other Jewish schools offering are sittinginpairs poringover country, which range from college degrees or rabbinicor- the book of Exodus. Reform synagogues that don't dination, Hadar hopes instead The students spend all observe traditional Jewish law to forman educated, egalitar- ianJewishlaityandencourage andTuckerearnedhisdoctor- "[It's] a place in which you rigorous Torah study across ate in Talmud and rabbinics can be your full Jewish self Jewish institutions, there, Hadar--like Kehilat without compromising on On one hand, it has taught Hadar, theManhattanminyan questions ofvalues and gender and trained cohorts of adult out of which it developed--is that is in line with tradition students who live the lifestyle a product of the movement and really continuing that," it promotes--intensively of independent minyanim,Kaunfer said. "Being a place learning Torah and observ- or Jewish prayer groups that other people can point ing Jewish law without dis- unaffiliated with traditional to and say, 'Oh yeah, the kind criminating based on gender synagogues or denomina- of Jewish life that I believein identity or sexual preference, tions. It offers resources on exists, and here it is.'" But more recently, Hadar has Jewish prayer and taught its Core to that Jewish life spreaditsnetfurther, offering first summer session of 18 are its groups of full-time classes and programs for Jew- fellows in 2007. students, who spend either ish professionals who don't In the decade since, Ha-a summer or academic year necessarily share its Jewish dar has had 500 full-time doing what was once almost worldview, students in summer and exclusively the province of "We would like to impact yearlong programs, as well Orthodox men: learning over the Jewish community both as 1,500 others who have at- pages of Talmud, Bible and from the bottom up and from tended shorter seminars for philosophy from morning to thetop down,"saidRabbi Shai rabbis, college students or night.The students also teach Held, one of Hadar's three co- other Jewish professionals, part-timeacrosstheNewYork founders. "I no longer believe Its Jewish study resources City area and engagein social in you just train rabbis and have been downloaded more service. they change the world. You than a million times in the "It's fascinating and really need rabbis, forsure, butyou past two years--coveringimportanttooursocietytoday also need to inspire people to everything from the weekly to have this in-depth explora- be responsible." Torah portion to podcasts tion of all sides of issues, of Hadarwas founded in 2006 on Jewish ritual like how to opinions you ultimately end by Held and two other rab- celebrate a girl's birth. And its up rejecting or disagreeing bis, Ethan Tucker and Elie co-presidents have published with, hearing allvoices," said Kaunfer. Although Kaunfer books on prayer groups, Jew- Johanna Press, one of this and Held were ordained at ish law and gender equality, year's fellows, who came to the Conservativemovement's and Rabbi Abraham Joshua JewishTheologicalSeminary, Heschel. At 10 on page 15A By James Lowenthal However, I was never raised groups as teens or with their to think of myself as Jewish, parents, and those like me, "Are you Jewish?," the butratherJew-ish, justalittle who may have been making hopeful Chabad rabbi asks bit Jewish. Jewish enough to this trip as more of a whim, me as I walk past the weekly pepper in some Yiddish slang and those who, like myself Mitzvah "Tank" on the corner and Seinfeld references but as well, were questioning if of William andWall St. on my not Jewish enough to attend Birthrightwasinfactforthem way to work. It's considered a synagogue or to have had a in the first place. good deed in Chabad to help bar mitzvah. Flash forwardto seven days other Jews, including those So when my equally un- later of the tastes, sights, unaffiliated withthe religion, Jewish roommate suggested sounds and people of Israel. to perform a quick ritual. I we attend a Birthright Israel I am standing on stone steps can never pass by these guys trip together, I wondered if I of the Old City in Jerusalem without them asking me this was in fact Jewish enough to outside of Al-Aqsa Mosque question. I guess I"look"Jew- be taking advantage of a free choking up as I recite my bar ish, ormaybetheysenseinmy trip to Israel. We decided on mitzvah speech in front of furtivesidewaysglancesasort the 7-Day Culinary trip by my new friends who are also of curiosity, something other Israel Experts. We had heard balling. What I had thought than the typical New Yorker that this trip in particular would be nothing more than defense mechanisms to street would be diverse and inclu- a tourist's novelty, my bar solicitation, sive, and also who doesn't mitzvah in Jerusalem had "Are you Jewish?" I've held like food? become an intimate moment this question for alongtime. When we met our group of personal affirmation. I I am one of many unaffiliated of 38 other travelers at the shared my family's stories Jews living in the U.S. I have airport it became clear rela- of why the hardships of the practicing extended family, tivelyquicklythatwewouldbe Holocaustandpersecutionfor I've even met relatives who travelingwithawell-balanced my grandparents' interfaith survived the Holocaust, and group. There were those who marriage had caused us to I enjoy celebrating some had been to Israel before turn away from Judaism, and holidays with my relatives, with their synagogue's youth how experiencing Israel and P Jerusalem for myself had al- lowed me to reconnect. I was able to realize how my family's story of alienation and more complex relationship toward their Jewish identity was and is just as much a part of the Jewish experience as anyone else's more "traditional" nar- rative. It is hard for me to fill in the blanks that come between my skepticism at the beginning of the trip and what for me was its paramount climax. I can only tell you to go see for yourself. You may or may not have a similar experi- ence. In fact, I do not want to overstate the impact my own Birthright trip had on me. I still struggle with the question of whether or not I consider myself Jewish, I still have personal reasons why my relationship to Jewish- ness is complex, but maybe I just feel that little bit more open now. Maybe I no longer see the Chabad who ask me to perform Tefillin as ghosts of my ancestors' alien past but as fellow Brooklyn-ites who have been here since my own family used to live in the James Lowenthal Orthodox community in the Bronx. Friendly neighbors with whom I can and have shared Sabbath dinner since I have come back from Israel. Americans, New Yorkers, like me who have a surprising amount in common despite our differences. Go on Birthright. Keep an open mind. Have fun. You cannot go wrong, because there is no wrong way to experience this trip. No two Birthright trips are the same. Realize that if you are like me at the beginning of the trip it is entirely possible that at the end of it rather than feel more connected to Judaism and Israel you feel further removed. You cannot have a genuine experience if the outcome is already ordained, and that is okay because what is most important is that whatever Birthright ends up being for you, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you simply should not miss out on. To register for a Birthright Israel trip this summer with Israel Experts, log on to www. and explore the many trips and dates being offered. If you have any questions feel free to email info@israel~ or call 1-800- 218-9851. James Lowenthal is an em- bedded systems engineer in Brooklyn, New York. Lowen- thal chose the Israel Experts' 7 Day Culinary Birthright Israel trip because "they say to truly know a place, you have to taste its food and taste I did!" By Gila Green across the country convinced exhaustion. By the time they World Israel News that he or she has had a heart have finished with the classic attack. Many people believe tests, precious hours will have Just one drop of blood can theycanidentifyclassicheart passed, which can lead to un- tell within minutes if a pa- attack symptoms, which necessary heart damageand tient has had a heart attack include chest pain, dizzi- evenheartfailure.Evenbetter thanks to a revolutionary ness, nausea, pain traveling news for heart attack victims kit developed in Israel that is particularly to the left arm, isthatthiskitismoresensitive already saving hospitals time wheezingandextremeanxiety than traditional tests. There andmoney. More important, it similar to apanic attack. In re- have already been numerous cansavelives.Ahealthprofes- ality, these can be symptoms heartattackspickedupbythis sional needs only one drop of of heartburn, but until now, new miniature kit that went blood to let a patient know if in order to find out, a patient undetected by traditional a heart attack has occurred, would have to wait in antesting. The kit is already in If two stripes appear on the emergency room and undergo use in Israeli hospitals and kit, the result is positive and at least six hours of testing, will be in Israeli emergency thepatientmustimmediately including blood tests and an rooms this week. The next receive additional care. The EKG. On the other hand, less step will be making it avail- test is easy, noninvasive and than50percentofheartattack able to consumers, who will takes less than 15 minutes to victims experience classic be able to do the simple test perform, symptoms. Many people have on their own. One in three Israelis ap- atypical symptoms such as This article is courtesty of pears in emergency rooms shoulder or stomach pain or Channel Ten News. Strong pro-lsrael presence on campus chases away activists By Christine DeSouza said that the no-show on the Jewish community, both on last day was because of the and off campus are demand- Standing up non-violently strong response of Jewish ingthat administrators take to anti-Israel activists on and pro-Israel students who actionagainsttheBDSmove- the University of the Witwa- stood up to the demonstra- ment on campus. tersrand (Wits) campus in tors' message of hate every "More than 1,000 emails South Africa had a positive day of IAW. were sent to Wits manage- effect during "Israeli Apart- The Jewish group with- ment calling for repercus- heid Week" (IAW), and BDS stood Hezbollah and Hamas sions against these inci- demonstrators folded up their flags being flown in their dents," Kabilostated. flags and didn't even show up faces as they demonstrated Along with the support of for the last day of the event, against a "die-in." In an at- StandWithUs is the South "We are taking a stand tempt at intimidation, the African Union of Jewish and saying, 'Enough,'" Gilad BDS activists gave the Nazi Students, a nonprofit orga- Kabilo told The Algemeiner salute and goose-steppednization that caters to the reporter Lea Speyer. toward the Jewish students, needs of Jewish students at Kabilo, leader of a group According to The Alge- all South African university sponsored by StandWithUs, meiner, members of the campuses.