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March 28, 2003

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PAGE 16 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH MARCH 28, By Debra Rubin Washington Jewish Week WASHINGTON, D.C.--She still can quote his earnest open- ing line. The future Israeli ambassador's first words to the American woman who would later become his wife were "How are relations between America and Israel today?" His question came in the late 1970s when Anne Ayalon was on a fellow- ship studying in Israel. These days she is doing her part to assist her husband, Danny, in strengthening rela- tions between the two allies. "It's a pure joy to help pro- mote Israel here," says Anne Ayalon, an active figure in the JeWish community since the couple came on Washington's diplomatic scene last summer. A private woman, Ayalon, 46, agrees to what she says is only the second interview she has granted an American reporter on condi- tion that it focus on her work as the ambassador's wife. Rather than a piece on her own life and background, she wants one that reflects her passion for Israel. The couple has come full circle since the early years of their marriage when they stud- ied together for MBA degrees at Bowling Green University in Ohio, says the ambassador. '3h/e worked great as a team together," he says, noting they set a precedent by getting per- mission to do a joint disserta- tion, on marketing Israel to an American audience. It's something they're still doing today. Danny Ayalon credits his wife's suggestion that they get their master's degrees in the United States with leading him to the foreign service. It was the early 1980s, and Israel had been at war in Leba- non. Anti-Israel press and activ- ity was common on campus, he recalls. "I felt compelled to rebut," he says, noting he began speak- ing to various groups in Ohio, and also wrote to the local newspaper. "That kind of started the diplomatic bug." Since the couple arrived in Washington's diplomatic com- munity last summer, they are again working as a team. "There's a synergy," says the ambassador. For her part, Anne Ayalon has spent much of her time touting Israel, frequently speak- ing to Jewish groups, thanking them for their support, which she says is vital to Israelis. There's more to Israel than what's on the nightly news, she emphasizes. Although life may be difficult there now, the Jew- ish state boasts a wide range of positive accomplishments, from the high-tech industry, to the arts, to the medical field. Asked what drew her, then a non-Jewish college student from a small town in Ohio to Israel, this Jew-by-choice allows that her family "has always had a love for Israel, an affinity. I was not a stranger to Israel." She also says she had a bit of "travel ust" and al ready had done a good deal of traveling as a teen-ager. "I had a desire for seeing the world, and Israel was part of that," she says. ' Nhen the op- portunity came to go to Israel on a work-study, I jumped at the chance," she says. While there, "I fell in love" - with both the country and the man. She converted to Judaism before her marriage. When it comes to promoting her adopted homeland of more than two decades, children are high on the list, and there are three foundations in particular that she supports. One, Save a Child's Heart, was founded by a Silver Spring physician who had made aliyah, the late Dr.Amran (Ami) Cohen. It provides free heart surgery to children from Third World na- tions, with most of the surgery taking place at Israel's Wolfson Medical Center. "One third of the children who have received treatment are Palestinian," she points out. The organization, she says, "epitomizes what Israel has done in general for the world. We don't have borders, and we don't have limits on who we want to help." A second group is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and its Israeli affili- ate. "Israel with our technology and our bio-medical research development is very involved in findinga cure for this," she says. She's also interested in VSA (Vision, Strength and Artistic expression) - an organization affiliated with The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that creates learning opportu- nities in the arts for people with disabilities. It has an Israeli af- filiate, Akim. "It helps give self-confidence to these teens. It gives them a future as far as being able to market and sell their projects," Ayalon says. "And it's another way for the world to see that Israel is much more than what you see on the news." Her inter- est in Israeli art extends beyond Akim, and she wants tobringan exhibition of post-1948 art on tour in this country, displaying it in small city museums that wouldn't usually have access to Israeli art. She's also beenworkingwith the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum in Bethesda on a children's art project. Children nationally are be- ing invited to submit their vi- sion of a biblical scene; children of non-Abrahamic faiths may submit scenes of peace, accord- ing to Phillip Ratner. 'We'll set up a panel of judges from varied walks of life, ecu- menical diplomatic and politi- cal, and display the art in the embassy and then send it to the Sfat museum,"Ayalon says, re- ferring to the Israel Bible Mu- seum. "It will be special for children to feel that their art is being exhibited in the Bible museum in Israel," she says. The Ratner museum alsowill have a section devoted to the children's art work. Ayalon's background is in marketing and the high-tech industry. She held positions at RAD Data Communications as international marketing direc- tor and director of marketing, and in Israel, she had founded Springboard services, which offered integrated marketing services for high-tech compa- nies. She draws upon that back- ground to market Israel to differ- ent audiences, emphasizing to non-Jewish audiences Ameri and Israel's freedom, democra and shared moral values. In diplomatic circles, she's a member of International Club One, one of eight groups counts as members spouses ambassadors, members of ColV gressandtopjournalists,among others. Her club - which the wives of the Egyptian, Jor- danian and French ambassadors - holds programs monthly, ger erally steering clear of politi Asked how they ignore proverbial elephant in the roona, Ayalon points to the differen between to have a political discussiorb These are things that are out with the professionals," slle says.'q'hepurposeofthe spouses is to build bridges of under" standing and to be open." Ne,xt week, she plans to host a Purira lunch, highlighting the story d Esther,"awoman who is coura- geous, and fought for freedom.' "This is the way I pull in out holidays, our tradition and tl~ Jewish community with the dig lomatic and political comma" nity," says Ayaion. lnSl Baby boomers facing the re- the art of caregiving from two sponsibility for caring for an perspectives: Jewish texts and ailing parent will especially ap- personal experiences. preciate That You May Live "The need for a book like LonganewbookfromtheUAHCthis became clear to me as I Press that is filled with both practical advice and spiritual essays. This anthology provides answers and comfort from a Jewish perspective for thosewho struggle with what it means to "honor your father and your mother." Edited by Rabbi Richard F. Address and Rabbi Hara E. Per- son, That You May Live Long is a compilation of essays by twenty-two rabbis, professors, Jewish professionals, and au- thors, each offering insight into My hope is that it will help median age has risen to 48, due other people now." in part to the trend for women The numberofJews nowcop- to have their children at a later ing with the problems associ- age, indicated Address. ated with caring for their aging As he says in the introduc- helped my mother care for parents is rapidly increasing, `ion to the book, "The thai- my grandmother in the three said Address, director of the lenges presented to so many of years leading up to her death," Union's Department of Jewish us in caring for our aging par- Person said. "It was an in- Family Concerns, wh speaks ents test the basic relationships credibly painful experience, and writes frequently on the of parent and child and, if we and there were endless diffi- topic of aging, and is the editor allow it, can open up new path- cult choices we had to make of the newly revisedA Time to ways to meaning and under- along the way. One of the Prepare. standing. These are often mo- things that was helpful to me As the 2001 National Jewish ments that test us. These are in that process was to reach Population Survey found, the also moments in which the into Jewish sources and find Jewish population in the U.S. is mystery of God's presence can out what our tradition could substantially older than that of bepresenttoprovideareservoir teach me about the subject, the total population, with 19 of strength, faith, and spiritual This is the book I wish I could percent over the age of 65. In growth." have given my mother then. the Reform community, the Helping those who are now 0 .O O e PRESENTS Make a donation for 4 tickets & get a 5th ticket FREE! Drawing to be held April 13, 2003 at Congregation of Liberal Judaism Ultimate one weekTimeshare Escape and Mall at Millenia Shopping Spree Weekend Getaway -The Ritz Carlton, Sarasota. Use of a Mercedes Benz E-Class InTown Escapes -Westin Grand Bohemian Hotel & dinner for 2 at Del Frisco's Wyndam Palace Resort & Spa - Includes dinner for 2 at Arthur's 27 Orlando Marriott, Lake Mary - Includes dinner for 2 in the Bistro 1501 LCA i:,@ Mercedes-Benz of Orlando THE WE$TIN ClIEANID I~t[/MIAN 0 Development Inc. * Pat - nx~, Levy Realty Executives Solomon E Schick &Associates Sonny's Franchise Name Address Phone Make check or money order payable to HUM~lIDS and send to: 851 N. 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It can be ordered by contacting the UAHC Press toll-free at 489-UAHC (8242), or the Press Web site Tirne lO Prepare, a workbook to heig prepare for critical illness death, covering topics such power of attorney, ethical wii and how to consolidate formation that will be Press. The Union of American brew tral body North America, than 900 congregations the United States and UAHC programs and include mustc and book cation programs, outreach unaffiliated and Jews, and Center in Washington, DC. Get Connected South Get Connected South brings women of all ages together to socialize and learn about the Jewish corn. muni~]. The next Jewish Federation gathering will be a breakfast at Panera's on Sand Lake road on April2, at 9".30 a.m. Shown here are MICHELE FISCHER (1), who co" chairs the luncheons with Ceil Graham, and her mother, CAROL HAUSER. Number of tickets. .Amount Due $.