Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
Lyft
March 30, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 26     (26 of 28 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 26     (26 of 28 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
March 30, 2012
 

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.




PAGE 26A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 30, 201 Beinart calls for 'Zionist BDS,' but he's not finding many taker, By Ron Kampeas he depicted as an Israeli slide Israel"andIsraelisettlementsas Halber said he did not think iis--that's a great accomplisl WASHINGTON (JTA)-- Should Jews shun other Jews? And should they shun Jews who call on Jews to shun other Jews? Peter Beinart's call in the March 19 New York Times for a boycott of goods manufactured in West Bank settlements re- ignited a debate not just about whatworks and doesn'twhen it comes to advancingatwo-state solution, but also about what should and should not be said during the debate. Beinart, a journalist and es- sayist whose book "The Crisis of Zionism" is about to come out, tried to cast his call in pro-Israel terms. "If Israel makes the occupa= tion permanent and Zionism ceases to be a democratic project, Israel's foeswilleventu- ally overthrow Zionism itself," he wrote. Beinart referred to his boycott proposal as "Zionist BDS"--aplay on the pro-Pales- tinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting all of Israel, which Beinart firmly condemned in his Times essay as an effort to dismantle the Jewish state. The pushback was immedi- ate and came from multiple camps in the Israel debate: those who rejected B.einart's ByJasonMiller NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (JTA)--When she took the stage recently before an audi- ence of 400 Jewish camping enthusiasts, Lenore Skenazy wasted no time in addressing why she is known as "America's Worst Mom." The author of a 2008 column in The New York Times describ- ing how she let her 9-year-old son ride the subway home alone just to see if he could do it, Skenazy has been the subject of sharp criticism for her parent- ing philosophy. But Skenazy is fighting back, waging war against what she describes as overzealous andanxiety-ridden helicopter parents who hover over their children rather than letting them be "free-range kids," affording them the free- dom to make mistakes. She evenwrote abook on the subject: "Free-Range Kids: Giv- ing Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry." "Sending your kids to camp is a fantastic way to give kids back their freedom," Skenazy said at the Foundation for Jew- ish Camp's recent Leaders Center for American Progress via Creative Commons Peter Beinart, shown in a February 2009 address to the liberal Center for American Progress, stirred controversy last week with his call for a boycott of goods made in Israeli settlements. thesis but sought to engage" him and those who think his latest call places him beyond the pale. More pushback came from advocates of a broader boycott movement targeting all of Israel. Beinart has been a high- profile figure in the debates overJrael ever since he penned a much-discussed 2010 essay in The New York Review of Books suggesting that what away from democratic values would alienate American Jew- ish youth. The essay won him plaudits from the pro-Israel left. Beinart was scheduled to be a featured speaker at last week's J Street national con- ference. But even the dovish J Street was cool to his boycott proposal. Its president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, said that boycotting settlements was unlikely to yield positive results. "We favor a border not a boycott--we want to get the- political process going to arrive at a border," he said. Ben-Ami hastened to note, however, that the idea of boy- cotting settlementswas not out of place in the Israeli discourse. Another J Street conference keynoter, he noted, was Amos Oz, the widely respected Israeli novelist who has signed onto a letter supporting Israeli artists who refuse to perform in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. "It's alegitimate pointofview that a lot of passionate two- state Zionists share," Ben-Ami said. "And Peter is within the mainstream in Israel." Seth Mandel, writing on the Contentions blog at the conser- vative Commentary magazine, assailed Beinart's boycott proposal as well as his labeling of Israel proper as "democratic "nondemocratic Israel."Mandel called these arguments "both morally reprehensible and a dangerous slippery slope." "The slippery slope, of course, is that the 'legitimate' vs. 'illegitimate' argument will immediatelybe applied to those, anywhere and anytime, who voice any support for the Jews Beinart says to stay away from," Mandel wrote. Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for The Atlantic who also has harshly criticized the West Bank settlement enterprise, chose the path of engagement, parrying with Beinart in a muchwatched exchange on Twitter. "What's your alternative for stopping the settlement growth that dooms Israeli democracy?" Beinart asked Goldberg. Goldberg replied: "Longer discussion, but int'lboycottwill only make mainstream Israelis more sympathetic to settlers, not less" Centrist Jewish groups were critical of Beinart's proposal. "I don't think a JCRC would support any organization that would support any kind of activ- ity that would bring any harm to asegment ofIsrael,"said Ronald Halber, executivedirectorofthe Jewish Community Relations C.ouncilofGreaterWashington. Beinart would become a pariah in the Jewish community, ar- guing that it "sounds like he wrote the piece more to start a discussion than advance the proposal." "I find it a less than seri- ous proposal from a person I consider thoughtful," he said. David Harris, the American Jewish Committee's executive director, said that questions of whether Beinart was in or out of the discussion were rendered moot by the welcome Beinart received in venues like the pages ' of The New York Times--and that meant he would continue to score speaking gigs from Jewish groups. "Peter Beinart is not knock- ing at a proverbial tent; Peter lgeinart has been let in by the New York Times," he said. "I only wish he were as open to some of the ideas of the hosting Jewish institutions as they are to hearing his thoughts." Abraham Foxman, the Anti- Defamation League'snational director, said that Beinart's proposal would alienate Israelis and so violated a basic tenet of first heedingwhatanother Jew- ish communitywas considering before recommending action. "We don't have the Palestin- ians. and with a campaign like this you won't have the Israe- Parents find new benefit to Jewish camp: Freedom from themselves Assembly in this central New Jersey city. "Homesickness is a good thing. It shows they ap- preciate their home. So, thank God for camp." Summer camp has emerged as one of the most promis- ing tools in the struggle to ensure Jewish continuity in an era when Jews face more choice and fewer barriers to assimilation. A recent study by the sociologist Steven M. Cohen commissioned by the FJC shows that campers grow up to be connected to Jewish life and identify p.roudlywithin the Jewish community as adults. "The analysis indicates that they bring, first of all, an in- creased inclination to practice Jewish behaviors in their lives, from Shabbat candle lighting to using Jewish websites, and to appreciate; the value of Jew- ish charity,"-Cohen concludes in the study. "Secondly, they bring an increased inclination to value and seek out the expe- rience of Jewish community, whether in the immediate sense of joining other Jews in prayer or in the more abstract sense of identifying with fellow Jews in Israel" Since its launch 13 years ago, the foundation has raised approximately $90 million to strengthen Jewish camps and, -more recently, to encourage the growth of so-called Jewish specialty camps--those that focus on sports, art or outdoor adventures--in an attempt to siphon off some of the Jewish campers who might be drawn to non-Jewish camps focusing on specialty areas. But the focus on identity building has obscured what some say is another, less-touted benefit of the camp experience that should also be a draw for Jewish parents: affording their kids a measure of freedom from intensive parenting. "Ids go to camp and gain independence," said Nancy Lub- lin, the founder of the nonprofits Dress for Success and DoSome- thing.org, and another speaker at the conference. "That's why we need camp. It.'s about the fun, tradition and independence. Go get dirty, get lice, sprain some- thing. Parents will see that they don't come homewith their nose pierced, purple hair or worship- ing the devil. It's OK." Helicopter parenting, a term used to refer to parents that hover over their children and pay exceedingly close attention to their every activity--some- times to a degree that borders on smothering--is hardly a Jewish phenomenon. It has been the subje:t of numerous books and articles, and of late has sparked its own backlash. But Jewish parents, and par- ticularly the much-maligned stereotypical Jewish mother, may be more susceptible to such impulses than most. "We Jewish parents are definitely overprotective ofo kids. and it's tough to send them to overnight camp," Lublin said. "But we all know it's the right thing to do. It's just what Jews do." For some parents, however. summer camp may not be a cure-all. Paren still call and write their kids and, with the proliferation of new communi- cations technologies, they can remain involved to a degree that parents of a previous generation were not. "Even when the children are away at camp, the parents will still be hovering," said Michael Salamon, a psychologist in New Yorkwho has fingered overpar- enting as one of the reasons behind the so-called shidduch crisis, in which a glut of young unmarried adults mainly in the Orthodox community struggle to find suitable mates. "I met with parents in a re- cent session who were so over- protective of their child that it was hindering the child's abil- ity to perform well in school." Salamon said. "They told me they felt it was important to send their child to camp this summer to encourage indepen- dence, but really what I noticed is that they were looking for a vacation for themselves. They work so hard at parenting that they need a break." For parents like these, sum- mer camp is away to loosen the reins a little but in a way that still feels relatively safe. Stephanie Steiner of Spring- field, N.J., describes her own parenting style as "somewhat overprotective." Still, every summer she ships off her kids to Camp Harlam, a Reform move- ment camp in Pennsylvania. They've demonstrated more independence as a result, which makes the experience and the expense--worth it. "We feel very comfortable with the camp and who is run- ning it and how it is run, so it ment towards peace," Foxma said sarcastically. One Jewish group, hov ever, has taken a similar lit toBeinart.Americans for Pea Now, which is a member, the Conference of Presiden of Major American Jewis Organizations, announced i' backing for settlement boycot last July. The debate is sure to col tinue, if only because Beina: was stoking it at the virtu; meeting place he hosts at tl- Daily Beast/Newsweek. Tl newly launched blog, calle Zion Square, has assembled a array of prominent contribt tors, predominantly hailin from the left of the potitic spectrum. One of Zion Square'swriter Raphael Magarik, chided tbo., who said Jews boycotting Je should be out of bounds, an noted that such actions ha been commonplace thmugt out Jewish history. "To cut from our playboo the best tactic Jews have fc censuring other Jews. a tacti that dates at least to the Ta mud and has as its targets th likes of Leon Trotsky, the fir., Lubavitcher Rebbe. and Baruc Spinozanwell. that's what call painful and unnatural he wrote. makes it easier." Steiner sak "The camp's motto is 'Whet friends become family,' and w know our kids are so happy a their home away from home. Whatever the benefits c Jewish camping, there's littl sign that enthusiasm for it i on the wane. The Jim Josepl Foundation and the Avi Cha Foundation have put up $8.q million in grant money to brinl more Jewish children into th camping world by focusing ol their specialized hobbies. "Camp gives kids the permis sion to be themselves. Parent trust that camp is a positiw place for building seif-esteen and self-confidence." sai Jeremy Fingerman, the CE( of the Foundation for. Jewisl Camp. "Jewish camp bring that and an even stronger sens, of community." Rabbi Jason Miller is an en trepreneur, blogger and socia media expert. He's presiden of Michigan-based Acces. Computer Technology andwcL voted by the National Jewis) Outreach Program as one o the top 10 Jewish Influencers He blogs at http://blog.rab bijason.com and is on Twitte. @rabbijason. Egypt From page 6A Should the Israelites take in the Egyptian firstborn? This works very well as a simple drama. Choose some one to be a door; he or she simply stands in the middle of the room with arms out- stretched parallel to the floor. Ask a few people to stand on one side of the door and play the part of the Egyptian mothers begging to save the lives of their firstborn. Ask others to be on the other side of the door and play the role of Israelites. Since Israelites don't always agree with one another, some should argue for and others against letting in the Egyptians. If you have lots of people at your seder, you can either let people participate in the drama from the "audience" or ask anyone with something to say to join the drama on one side of the door or the other. Remind everyone that these are matters of life and death, so amplifying the drama and emotion are fine. Arguments based on any historical periods are welcome. Feel free to allow questions about the morality of the last plague. Also remember that Exodus 12:22 says that the Israelites should not leave their homes until morning. The Bible says nothing about whether or not to let others in or to keep the door closed. When the drama has ended, ask your group to vote: Are you letting in the Egyptians or not? Now share the following midrash (Exodus Rabbah 18:2) with the group. It was written down about a thousand years ago, but is probably based on a more ancient source. Before reading the short text, you might ask your guests to vote again about whether they think that in the midrash the Israelites take in the Egyptians or not, When the Egyptians heard that God would strike down their firstborn, some were afraid and some were not. Those who were afraid brought their firstborn toan Israelite andsaid, "Please allow him to pass this night with you." At midnight, God smote all the firstborn. As for those who took asylum in the houses of the Israelites, God passed between the Israelites and the Egyptians, killing the Egyptians and leaving Israelites alive. Upon waking at midnight, the Jews found the Egyptians dead among thei r surviving firstborn. The. midrash seems to sug- gest that independent of what- ever divine plan may ultimately unfold, on earth we have a re- sponsibility to act in accordance with Jauman moral codes that stress the importance of saving human lives. In this light you might want to consider these questions: Have we stood idly by the blood of our neighbors (Leviticus 19:16)? Have we remembered to "know the heart of the stranger becaus [we] were strangers in Egypt (Exodus 23:9)? Have we use our memories of sufferinl and persecution--in Egyp and elsewhere--to nurturq vengeance or to remembe our responsibility to create better world? DavidArnow is the author o "Creating Lively Passover Sed ers, 2nd Edition: A Sourceboo) of Engaging Tales, Texts d Activities and co-editor of"Mz People's Passover Haggadah Traditional Texts, Moderz Commentaries," both pub lished by Jewish Lights