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April 5, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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April 5, 2013
 

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Editorials ................................ 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ................................. 6A Synagogue Directory ............... 7A B'nai Mitzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A Classified ................................ 2B By Johanna Ginsberg New Jersey Jewish News Avi Ohayon/GPO/JTA Yityish Aynaw, shown meeting President Obama during his visit to Israel, is among several Israeli figures hoping to use their fame to improve the standing of African-Israelis. By Ben Sales TELAVIV (JTA)--WhenYityishAynaw immigrated from Ethiopia to Israel at age 12, she was thrust into an Israeli class- room. An orphan lacking Hebrew skills, Aynaw says she relied on other kids and her own sheer ambition to get through. Ten years later Aynaw, 22, is the first Ethiopian-Israeli to be crowned Miss Israel--a title she hopes to use to showcase Israel's diversity. "Israel really accepts everybody," she told JTA. "That I was chosen proves it." Ethiopian and other African-Israelis have historically struggled with pov- erty and integration. But recently, several African-Israeli women have made a pop culture splash. Along with Aynaw, Ethiopian-Israeli actress Ester Rada, 28, has just re- leased her first solo rock record to positive reviews. And Ahtaliyah Pierce, a 17-year-old Black Hebrew Israeli, reached the semifinals on Israel's edition of "The Voice," a reality show in which emerging singers compete. into Israeli society. "It's hard for Ethiopians to adapt, but they should be who they are, be the best that they can be," said Rada, who was born in Jerusalem to Ethiopian parents who spoke Amharic at home. "Don't let others keep you down or make you feel like we don't belong." Rada's parents stayed close to their Ethiopian roots, eating traditional foods and listening to traditional Though their personal stories di- music. But Radarebeiled. She refused verge, each woman has experienced to speak Amharic and failed to un- challenges as an African immigrant derstand why she should feel tied to a and wants to use her fame to help other African immigrants better integrate Image on page 14A By Rafael Medoff JNS.org A national anthem written more than 50 years before the birth of the state for which it was composed, "Hatikvah" has served as a source of hope and inspiration for Jews who have found themselves in the most dire of circumstances. During the darkest hours of the Holocaust, Jews defied their tormentors by sing- ing the song's powerful lyrics. Filip Muller was a Sonderkommando in Aus- chwitz--a Jewish slave la- borer who was kept alive be- cause he helped take corpses from the gas chambers to the crematoria. One of the very few Sonderkommandos to survive the Holocaust, Muller later described the remarkable behavior of one group of Czech Jews who were being marched towards the gas chambers and were told what was about to happen: "Their voices grew subdued and tense, their movements forced, their eyes stared as though they had been hyp- notized... Suddenly a voice began to sing. Others joined in, and the sound swelled into a mighty choir. They sang first the Czechoslovak national Imperial War Museum The liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945, a day on which Holocaust survivors sang "Hatikvah," Israel's national anthem. anthem and then the Hebrew song 'Hatikvah." Enraged SS men tried to halt the singing by beating the Jews into submission, Muller wrote. "It was as if they regarded the singing as a last kind of protest which they were determined to stifle if they could." But the SS was unable to stop them. "To be allowed to die together IIatikvah on page 14A Growing up in Montclair, N.J., Jason Klein found a role model in Rabbi Perry Rank of Congregation Shomrei Emunah. "He really had a way that was very charismatic and warm and connected with children and adults," said Klein. "I always looked forward to events at the synagogue." Now a rabbi himself, Klein is thinking a lot about role models these days. Earlier this month, he was elected presi- dent of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, mak- ing him the public face of the youngest of Judaism's four main denominations. Klein is also the first gay man (although not the first LGBT person), as well as the first Hillel director, to take on the presidency. "I think that people find connections and role models in many forms," he said, speaking with NJJN from the RRA conference in New Orleans shortly after being elected. "It's great when role models look and act like us and have certain common experiences, values and ideals. It can be helpful, especially for some who still feel they are on the margins rather than in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association Rabbi Jason Klein hopes to change the metrics of success of rabbis from synagogue membership to communal influence. forefront of leadership." Klein, who is executive di- rector of Hillel at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will hold the lay position for two years. "I'm very excited, honored and humbled. I'm looking forward to doing great work over the next few years," he said. At the top of Klein's agenda for the RRA is cultivating new definitions, and metrics, of success for rabbis. Klein on page 15A N 0O WINTER PARK The City of Winter Park and the Mul- tifaith Education Project announced the 10th annual Trees for Peace Interfaith Tree Planting Project, Tuesday, April 9, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 1050 W. Morse Blvd. Mayor Kenneth Bradley will begin the ceremony at 11:30 a.m. and the program will be led by Louise Franklin Shee- hy, director of the Multifaith Education Project. Over 100 Christian, Jewish and Muslim students and faculty, representing The Geneva Christian School, The Jewish Academy and The Leaders Preparatory School, will join together to plant trees for peace. In recogni- tion of their commitment to work together in the spirit of unity, the students will plant 10 trees and bless them in traditional manner accord- ing to each faith. They will then celebrate the occasion with a picnic on the lawn of the park. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park was chosen as the loca- tion for the 10th anniversary event based upon his legacy of peace and justice. According to Dr. King, "Men often fear each other because they don't they are separated." The City of Winter Park's Urban Forestry Management Division will supervise the students in planting the trees, one for each year of the "Trees for Peace" initiative, including an apple tree to symbolize Dr. King's dedication to peace among people of diverse backgrounds. Dr. King once said, "Even if I knew that to- morrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." In addition, the division will donate a tree to each school so the students can hold a planting ceremony on their school property to remind them of this event for years to come. This unique tree-planting project represents a con- tinuing effort to encourage children to appreciate diver- sity while building positive relationships with people of other faiths. The "Trees for Peace" project is also dedi- cated to teaching students to be "stewards of the earth" by learning lessons about envi- ronmental responsibility from each faith and sharing them with one another. know each other because they cannot communicate; they cann°tc°mmunicatebecause 6 5 .....