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April 4, 2014

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PAGE 14A H~RITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 4, 2014 By Talia Lavin tinguished from"Rabbinic" or "Russia annexed Crimea in "Talmudic" Judaism. the 1700s," Ormeli said, refer- (JTA)--Russia'sannexation For centuries, Karaitesring to Catherine II's initial of Crimea, the strategically have lived alongside main- conquest of the peninsula in criticalpeninsulathatdangles stream Jewish communities 1783. "Then, aCrimeanKara- from Ukraine into the Black invariouscountries.Current- ite intelligentsia appeared. Sea, has drawn international ly, some 30,000 Karaites live There were rich Crimean condemnation, in Israel, with much smaller Karaites, wholivedinMoscow, But for the leader of the communities in the United [St.] Petersburgandworkedin All-Ukrainian Organization States and Eastern Europe, the tobacco industry. This all of CrimeanKaraites--agroup In Crimea, around 800 happened while Crimea was with an unusual heritage Karaites remain, and their Russian." that draws from Jewish tra- housesofworshiparedistinc- Such nostalgia for the ditions--joining Russia is a tive architectural monuments Russian Empire may have welcome development, in several cities, something to do with the "InCrimea, the majority of Unlike other Karaite way Crimean Karaite self- Karaites support annexation groups, the Crimean Kara- conception changed under to Russia, and voted for it," ites (or Karaylar, as they call imperial rule. Vladimir Ormeli, the group's themselves) do not identify In 19th-century Crimea, head, told JTA. "Culture as Jews. Yet they consider Karaites began to distin- and people connect us with the Torah their holy text and guishthemselvesfromJewish Russia, more than Ukraine. keep areligious calendar that groups, sending envoys tothe But this is a complicated includes Rosh Hashanah,czars to plead for exemptions conversation." Passover and Shavuot. from harsh anti-Jewish tegis- Complicated conversations The oldest evidence of lation. These entreaties were are typical for the Crimean Karaite presence in Crimea successful, in large part due Karaites, asmall groupwhose dates back to 1278, and Kara- to the czars' wariness of the ethnic heritage and religious ite gravestones are scattered Talmud, and in 1863 Kara- categorization has been dis- around Ukraine, in Crimeain ites were granted the same puted for hundreds of years, particular.Apastrypioneered rights as their Christian and Not in dispute, however, is by the Karaites--the meat- Tatar neighbors. Exempted their long history in Crimea, stuffed kybyn--is sold all over from the Pale of Settlement, a region they consider their Ukrainewithitscharacteristic which limited the mobility of homeland, braidedtwist, and oftencalled Jewish counterparts, Karaite Karaites, from the He- "Karaite dumplings." communities sprang up in brew word "Kara" (to read), Ormeli's enthusiasm forRussian cities and gave rise to are members of a sect that RussianannexationofCrimea a substantial body of unique adheres to the Torah without stemsfrommemoriesofapre- scholarship. the addition of oral laws--dis- vious eraofKaraite prosperity. The same tactic of distanc- A Karaite house Leonid Dzhepko/Via Wikimedia Commons of worship in Yevpatoria in Crimea. ing themselves from their Asked about the currentsolidate their control over Jewish roots and emphasiz- political situation, Ormeli Crimea, the region's future ing, instead, purportedTurkic described fear of the "law- remains in question. But origins, alsogavetheKaraites lessness" that descended Viktor Zakharovich, a pro- of Crimea an advantage dur- on Kiev during the clashes prietor of the Karaite house ing the Holocaust. While between protesters and Vik- of worship and museum in other Jewish communities tor Yanukovych's now-top- Yevpatoria, Crimea, sounded in Crimea--including the pled government. "We were a note of confidence. Turkic-speaking Krymchak afraid of these wild events," "Our community has lived Jews--werenearlywipedout, Ormeli said. "We were afraid under five or seven different the Karaites survived largely that these would happen in governments in Crimea," he unscathed, considered non- Crimea." said. "But here, we are always Jews by the Nazis. As Russian forces con- in our land." By Danny Danon diversion to placate some of ficult but necessary decision ones' killers being set free. impossiblepossible, thePales- ouralliesabroad, Iwarnedmy that if the final round of the I also knew that the release tinian leadership predictably JERUSALEM (JTA)--It is colleaguesofthedireimplica- prisoner release goes ahead of convicted murders to the held true to its demands for no secret that when Israel's tions these talks would have as planned on March 29, Iwill Palestiniancitiesandvillages full Israeli withdrawal to the government announced this on our security, resign my position as Israel's of Judea and Samaria would 1967 lines while maintaining pastSeptemberthatwewould Though I was extremely deputy defense minister, only encourage terrorists to its historic refusal to recog- be returning to the table to ne- concerned that our govern- It was not a simple matter increase their attacks on in- nize our legitimate right to gotiate with the Palestinians, ment might concede strategi- for me to vocalize my opposi- nocent Israelis. exist as a Jewish state in our Iwas notoptimisticabout the cally important territory or tiontotheseprisonerreteases Despite my strong protests ancient homeland. prospects of this latest round relinquishpartsofourhistoric whentheywerefirstagreedto, last fall, the Cabinet voted to If this were simply a mat- of talks, homeland, what angered me Both Prime Minister Benja- support the prime minister's ter of watching with proven I knew that as much as we most was the Palestinian de- rain Netanyahu and Defense initiative. The murderers' skepticism as this charade desire peace and normalcy mand as a precursor to even Minister Moshe Yaalon fully prison doors swung open of diplomacy was allowed to for this region, our Palestin- coming to the table that we endorsed the release, claim- while Israelis looked on in unravel, I too would likely inn counterparts have never release more than a hundred ing thatitwould enhance our disgust at this injustice, have been ambivalent, but tired in making demands of their prisoners--men and geopolitical standing.Flash forward nine months. I wouldn't necessarily have without any corresponding women with blood on their While I respect my govern- Despite our constant desire been angry. The ultimate dis- willingness to offer conces- hands. In essence, thedemand ment colleagues, I could not tofindapeacefulsolution, itis grace, though, was that after sions and prove themselves wasthatwesetmurderersfree remainsilentamidthecallsof nowapparenttoeveryonethat a complete arid utter failure, as real negotiating partners, for the privilege of negotiat- mothersandfathersofvictims these negotiations have failed, where the two sides are clearly While many Israelis viewed ing peace, of terror who were horrified As much as our American no closer to the resolution of these talks as a harmless Last week, I made the dif- by the notion of their loved friends wanted to make the the conflict than we were a year ago, we are again being asked to release Palestinian Shmita prisoners a volunteer who would step This is a farce that I am not From page 1A forward and talk about a debt willing to accept. everyone see if they could add they had from such a situa- I have done my utmost to up in their heads how much tion. One woman, Lisa Nico- serve in my role as deputy debt to the world they had losi Balter, who is the owner defense minister with pride created by taking advantage and operator of ShanTea, an and distinction, and I had of others in the past year. organic tea company, raised looked forward to continuing Shethenaskediftherewas her hand and spoke about a to do so for the duration of Handy man and General Maintenance Air Conditioning Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960 time she ran away from home as a teenager and the pain and suffering it caused for her fam- ily. Roseanne asked her how big of a debt she thought she owed for that, and the woman answered "a billion dollars." Roseanne told the woman not to be unrealistic, because she clearly didn't have a billion dollars. She asked her how much she did have that she could use to pay back the debt. After a small back-and-forth, the woman offered that she had $5,000. Roseanne told her that she should release herself from her debt to the world by using the $5,000 to help others in need. The woman agreed. Roseanne is pretty powerful in that way. Roseanne then asked"Who in this room needs $5,0007" A number of people raised their hands, including three strug- gling female artists. Roseanne came over and spoke to them, heard their stories, and then responded, "I'm going to go get that woman and bring her over here to introduce' you. She's going to give the three of you $5,000, and I'm going to match it." And, following a teaching about shmita and shared re- sources, in the course of about ten minutes, Roseanne had actively redistributed wealth in the room, with two people who had money to give (both the woman and Roseanne) releasing part of their debts to the world by helping three women in need, among them one Jew, one Muslim, and one Christian, all of whom at this point were in tears. It was an incredibly pow- erful moment, all inspired by the concept of shmita, as championed by Hazon, and the creativity and strength of a woman who continues to turn concepts and issues into real life action. This Purim, at a retreat center in Connecticut, Rose- anne Barr invoked ancient Jewish tradition in a modern framework and changed three women's lives in a profound and important way. 83259 51 734 46981 74 168 39612 28597 92375 67843 1 5.426 the current government. At the same time, I have come to the conclusion that I can- not, and will not, represent a government that ignores the will of its people and kowtows to international opinion even when we know that doing so is harmful to our interests. If it comes to it, I will respectfully inform the prime minister of my resignation at the very moment that first prison door is unlocked, continuing to serve my nation instead as a dedicated member of Knesset. The prime minister and the relevant parties still have the time and opportunity to recognize the danger of this planned release, and I hope that they will make the nec- essary decision to protect our national interest. But if they do not, I will not stand idly by as the State of Israel further denigrates itself and harms the security of its people. Danny Danon is Israel's deputy defense minister and the author of"Israek The Will to Prevail." 7461 6982 2357 3529 5874 4136 1648 9215 8793