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April 12, 2013

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PAGE 4A ....  .......... ood  By David Bornstetn The year of understanding Many, many years ago a dear friend sent me a story in the mail. This was before he advent of email or text messages. It was old style, hard copy, stapled and folded and sent in an envelope. She worked in New York City at the Atlantic Monthly. My wife and I had moved to Orlando, so the gap was great, and where we had once carpooled together into work in Detroit, now we talked occasionally and saw one another less and less frequently. Today we are barely in touch at all, but for some reason I recently found the story in a pile of old writing materials and read it for the first time. The story, by Ethan Canin, is called"The Year of Getting to Know Us," and in the top right hand corner she wrote a note. "What a pleasure--love, Ani." What a pleasure, I read, and so I plunged in, expecting a good read, and a pleasurable one, a gentle romance, a thoughtful memoir, a bittersweet coming of age story. What I got, instead, was a well-written, tough story about a father and son--a father who can't love, who is obsessed with golf to the detriment of his family, who is having an affair and no longer loves his wife, finally abandoning her and his son, his only child. And now he is dying and his son is trying to make sense of things--who he is, what his father's connection to him is, and why he can't express his emotions, love in particular. When I was done I put the story down, turned to my wife, described it and asked, "Why did Ani say [hat was a pleasure? I'd call it many things, but pleasure isn't one of them." I've sent her an email and asked her that ques- p Another Holocaust in the making? By Ed Ziegler A major reason for observing Holocaust Re- membrance Day is to recognize when a Holocaust is in the making. With the.drastic escalation of' anti-Semitism in the world, history could be repeating itself. Many Jews fought in the German army dur- ing the First World War. And doing so they felt a strong allegiance to Germany. However, once in power, Hitler moved quickly to endGerman de- mocracy andwas permitted tosuspendfreedoms of the press, speech and assembly. Presently in many countries throughout Europe, in Canada ihd,'particulafly, in the Middle East, reedom of speech i outlawed and prohibits speaking ill of any religion. Islamiccountries brutally enforce blasphemy laws andseekworldwide enforcement. In 1933, the Nazis began to put into practice their racial ideology. They saw Jews as an inferior race and a biological threat to the purity of the German (Aryan) Race, which they called the master race. Similarly many Islamic people consider non-Muslims inferior. Jews, who numbered about 525,000 in Germany (less than one percent of the total population in 1933) were the principal target of Nazi hatred. The Nazis identified Jews as an inferior race. The Nazis spewed hate-mongering propaganda that unfairly blamed Jews for all of Germany's problems, the economic depression and even the country's defeat in World War I. . In 1933, new German laws forced Jews out of their civil service jobs, university and law court positions and other areas of public life. In April 1933,the Nuremberg laws proclaimed Jews as second-class citizens. Jews were persecuted and attacked while walking in the street. Between 1937 and 1939, new anti-Jewish regulations segregated Jews further and made daily life very difficult for them. Jews could not attend public school; go to theaters, or vacation resorts or reside or even walk in certain sections of German cities. Also between 1937 and 1939, Jews increasingly were forced from Germany's economic life. The Nazis either seized Jewish businesses and proper- ties outright or forced Jews to sell them at bargain prices. On Nov. 9, 1938, the Nazis organized a pogrom, known as Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass). This attack against Jews included destruction of synagogues fnd Jewish-owned stores, the arrest of Jewish men, the destruction of homes and the murder of individuals. Fast forward to the present. The 2012 ADL survey of 10 European countries found that anti-Semitism has significantly increased. In Span 53% of the population are ant-Semitic. In France there was a 58 percent increase. The report, called 2012 "a year of unprecedented violence against Jews in France." The Mayor of Malmo, Sweden, blames the Jews for the rise in anti-Semitism. The Jews of Malm6, are living through a new form of'anti=Semitism. Ths kind does fiq stem fr6 m neoNazis or right- wing extremists, but comes from immigrahts from North Africa and the Middle East. Danish officials say they're alarmed by the frequency of anti-Semitic attacks. Claus Bentow and his family can only wear their skullcaps and feel secure in their apartment. Outside they are forced to hide their religious identity. Like other Jewish families, they've been advised not to send their children to public schools In the United States anti-Semitism has increased. ADL found that 15 percent of the population hold deeply anti-Semiticviews. The 15 percent represents a3-point rise from a2009 poll. In February 2013 the Human Rights subcom- mittee of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Com- mittee heard 12 experts of varying religions and countries urge the U.S. Congress to speak out against hate speech and anti- Semitism through- out the world. They heard that anti-Semitism assumes the form of viral hate messages on the Internet, property damage to Jewish institu- tions, violent crimes to people. Many speakers directly linked acts of anti-Semitism to the rise of Islamism. The next Jewish Holo'caust won't emanate from only one country, but from around the world, unless we counteract the trend. Now is the time that all people must learn fro m history (the Ho- locaust). We need to unite and speak out--time and time again--against the preponderance of lies and distortions being generated around the world about Jews and Israel. Ed Ziegler is past president of the New Jewish Congregation's botherhood. He can be reached at THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT.   CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE   ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 41 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Mike Etzkin Kim Fischer HERITAGE Florida Jewish News ( ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- Society Editor Bookkeeping dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage Account Executives paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. Barbara do Carmo . Marci Gaeser POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Contributing Columnists Fern Park, FL32730. Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky Tim Boxer David Bornsteis Terri Fine Ed Ziegler MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Production Department Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 83i-0507 David Lehman David Gaudio Teri Marks email: Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosky Caroline Pope I tion. But in the meantime I've asked it of myself. Was it a pleasure? What did I get out of it? And why was I so struck by her tiny, handwritten comment? The easy answer is that I was taken aback, surprised by an outcome that didn't meet my expectations. But that is superficial at best. The real answer, I think as I delve a little deeper, is that the short story was pleasurable, just in a way that I was unprepared for, because the pleasure I got out ofitwas born out of the pain of understanding who my parents and I really are. Now I'm not going to go into details here. Those are best kept private, as some secrets and stories should be known only with in closed family circles. What I will say is that it relates as much, if not more, to me than it does to either my mother or father, because one of the last building blocks of maturity finally comes when you start to see yourself as clearly as you see them--the warts, the failures, the flaws as well as the achievements and successes we so ardently express. I listen to the praise of my own children, their own inflated sense of who I am, how much I know and am capable of, andwonderwhat itwillbe like for them when, in their eyes, I fall back down to earth. I know it has been a challenge for me, for in seeing my parents' limitations I must admit my Letter from Israel HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 12, 2013 own. And as I write I look around and see draw- ings of me done by family and friends, their own interpretation of who I was, and 1 know I am all of those things and none of those things, dust and dreams and figments of the imagination, and they are gone from me, separated from me, lost to time and distance as I am left with who I am--someone who has tried to be success- ful, to do good, to live up to his personal goals and dreams, succeeding occasionally, failing as often as not. Every year we are asked and expected to light yahrzeit candles for family who have passed away, to create light to remember them by. My father's death, occurring as it did on my birthday, is now a time when I look at myself as well as remember him, and both pictures are filled with holes and cracks. And as I patch the holes and seal the cracks I think perhaps I understand a bit of what Ani meant, withoOt meaning to, about the unspoken pleasure, painful as it is, of coming to terms with a deeper understanding. And that's the good word. The opinions expressed in this column are the writer's, and not those of the Heritage or any other Jewish organization. Write the Heritage, 6r email your comments, critiques, and concerns to dsb328@ I It could be worse By Ira Sharkansky The news reminds me of a Kingston Trio ballad that begins with They're rioting in Africa, They're starving in Spain. There's hurricanes in Florida, And Texas needs rain The whole world is festering With unhappy souls. Take your pick for what is most festering this week: The North Korean threatto bombard the United States, and maybe South Korea and Japan with nuclear weapons. Pundits are doubting the real- ity, but worryingabout a repeat of what Barbara Tuchman described in The Guns'of August, i.e., a move toward catastrophe that none of the participants wanted or expected. Continued carnage in Syria, and the increasing likelihood that the resultwill be another extremist and chaotic Islamic regime resembling the worst of the Afghan model. Palestinian leaderships divided and competing for local nd international support, encouraging the restive youth to a moderate level of violence against Israelis, hoping they won't get so much out of hand as to produce another response from Israel that will destroy what has been built since the last time. Continued frustrations about Iranian nuclear intentions, the likely timetable of moving toward weapons, along with a lack of response to outside demands, against the background of the inabil- ity of the US and others to limit North Korea's ambitions. At a much lower level of threat, but the nonethe- less discomforting, is Europeans' efforts to hold the Euro zone together against the resistance to reforms heard now from Cyprus, and now from Greece, with Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and France at varying levels of worry and the rich Germans tired of the whole process. Of even less profundity than continued Euro crises--except for those who support the complaints--is another effort of non-Orthodox religious extremists to decide where along the Western Wall women will pray in the style that Orthodox Jews reserve for men. On top of the more serious of these is the United States, bothered by some of its own problems (guns, violence, unemployment, illegal immigra- tion, government debt, and political stalemate at the summit), as well as some nastiness from competing sources of power (Russia, China, Iran), and unable to control or perhaps understand all of the overseas issues that demand its involvement. No doubt the people in all of these unhappy places deserve our greatest expression of sympa- thy. However, political scientists, activists, and observers may be forgiven if they also sympathize with office holders who are dealing with these problems. No doubt some of them deserve the labels of charlatan, egoist, ignorant, thief, and/ or clown. But at least some of them seem to be concerned with their constituents and their own place in history. Ifthe portions ofour sympathyincrease propor- tionately with the extent of responsibilities, then the policymakers of the United States are first in line. Their efforts and failures are moreprominent than their successes, perhaps only because their efforts and failures get more attention from the media. If the most to be expected from a regime currently at the top of the heap is to keep things from getting worse, then the US has not done too badly. Sure, North Korea, Pakistan and India, and perhaps Iran demonstrate that the nuclear genie has escaped from the bottle that the US and others have sought to keep closed. At least partly to the US credit, however, is that none of those weapons has yet been used, and Israel has avoided (or been kept) from taking dramatic action that could trigger who knows what. Syria is perhaps the worst case as measured by the current rate of deaths, and Washington has not moved to control things. Curse the White House ifyouwill, but its present occupant deserves some praise for keeping his distahce:fr0manother venture like Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which show more clearlyAmerica's folly than its wisdom.' Israel demonstrates the situation of a small country, with limited but serious power, whose leaders' tasks are to show primary concern for their own people, but also to accept U.S. and western European leadership, but not to such an extent as to risk their local concerns. This requires sensi- tive, difficult, and contentious balancing, made more difficult by the history of enmity from its Middle Eastern neighbors and the present cam- paign ofPalestinians and leftists (Israeli, overseas Jewish, European, and American) to portray the Israel-Palestine issue as equivalent to Goliath vs David, along with contentious claims about international law. Many words have already been written about who and what is at fault for our little conflict, and how much it is responsible or marginal to other problems in the region. Among the elements of the impasse that most impress me are: Palestinian refusal to recognize changing realities Israeli settlements that may have rendered impractical a "two state" solution, especially in the context of Israeli distrust of Palestinians and the limited prospect of withdrawing any but the tiniest of settlements that are beyond the security barriers It is difficult to avoid ridiculing continued American efforts to "jump start" a peace process between Israel and Palestinian leaders who have demonstrated time and again their weakness and their lack of legitimacy among Palestinians. Yet those American efforts may best be compared to continued American efforts to contain Iran's "nuclear program while saying that "all options on the table," against its lack of success with North Korea. Cautioning against the temptation to ridicule is the continued quiet in our little corner of the region. Palestinians' low level of violence produces occasional tragedies, but less than the incidence of traffic accidents here or the gun deaths often in the headlines of the American media. It's far from perfect, not even ideal, but it could be worse, and it owes something to U.S. efforts as well as Israeli pressure, restraint, and coping skills. It's all too complex for a Kingston Trio ballad, but it is the life we have. So far so good may be the best attainable amidst insoluble problems. Ira Sharkansky is professor emeritus, Depart- ment of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He may be reached at irashark@