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April 13, 2012

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 13, 2012 Keeping Holocaust memory alive00and sacred continues to be read on Tisha b&apos;Av. This is as it should be. Even though itis a far more recent hor- ror, the Holocau.t was no less a national Jewish catastropte than the destruction of the first and second Temples. Yom HaShoah, designated as the official Jewish day of remembrance for the millions annihilated by Nazi Germany and its multinational accomplices, is as ritually significant and divinely inspired as Tisha b'Av. This year, Yore HaShoah falls on April 19. The preservation and transmission of our parents' and granlparents' memories is the most critical mison to which the children and grandchildrel of survivors must dedi- cate themselves t) ensure meaningful and authentic Holocatst remembrance in future By Menachem Z. Rosensaft NEW YORK (JTA)--The destruction of Solomon's Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE was the first great national tragedy in Jewish history. During the subsequent exile, four fast days commemorating the calamitous event were added to the Jewish calendar: the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, when the siege of Jerusalem began; the 17th of Tammuz, when the walls of J.e- rusalem were breached; the 3rd of Tishri, marking the assassination of the Gedaliah, governor of Jerusalem; and Tisha b'Av, the 9th of Av, when the Temple was destroyed. For more than 2,500 years these fast days have remained on the Jewish religious calendar, and the Book of Lamentations French lessons murdered soldiers were targeted because they were black or Muslim. But, Schofield assured readers, the absence of a motive was not fatal to the hypothesis: "This does not rule out that he is a far-right fanatic, of course. He may arso have a grudge against the armed forces" Not all the mdia were so convinced. The French right-wing daily Le Figaro compiled a list of attacks on Jews in France over the previous 30 years, which testifies to a wider Islamist threat to Jews. A week before the Toulouse shootings, a gang of Arab and North African youths assaulted two Jewish high school students as they left a sports field on theedge of Paris. In 2002, a group armed with iron barsand wearing Palestinian scarves to mask their faces attacked 14 adolescent Jewish soccer players on the playing field. In Toulouse in 2009, a car was driven into the gates of a synagogue and set alight with a Molotov cocktail; the police treated the incident as a response to the war in Gaza. Absent from Le Figaro's list was the most notorious anti-Semitic attack of the previous decade: the murder of Ilan Halimi in 2006. Halimi had accompanied a North African girl back to her apartment after what he thought was a date. There, a group of Muslim-African immigrants known as the "Barbarians" tortured him for several days before leaving him to die, naked and bleeding profusely, near a railway line. In this sequence of chillingly frequent attacks, the neo-Nazi theme is conspicu- ously absent. None of this history was enough to ex- culpate the French right in the eyes of the left-wing press. Before the murderer was identified, both Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, and President Nicolas Sarkozy were blamed for encouraging attacks on minorities with anti-immigrant rhetoric. Now they are blamed for inflaming tensions and creating resentment among minorities. The fact remains, however, that French Jews do not lie awake at night worrying about whether they will be gunned down by President Sarkozy. Parisian Jews do not cover their yarmuikes with caps on their way to synagogue because they are afraid of being beaten to a pulp by white French- men. This is not: Vichy France; the threat today comes nott from Nazis but Muslim radicals. PretenLding otherwise will not make it go away. Simon Gordon is a Tikvah Fellow at Jewish Ideas Daily. This article was first published by Jewish Ideas Daily <www.> and is reprinted with permission. By Simon Gordon Jewish Ideas Daily The saga that captured headlines around the world two weeks ago came to an end when Muhammad Merah--who had murdered four people, including three children, at the Ozer Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, France--was shot dead byFrench police. Before his death, Merah told police negotia- tors that he was a member of al-Qaida. He was on a French government watch list and an American no-fly list, and he allegedly spent time in NATO custody in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, the fact that the murderer turned out to be a violent Islamist came as a surprise to most of the media. Just after the Jewish school was at- tacked, the police confirmed that the same killer had murdered three French soldiers the previous week, two of them of North African origin and the third black. The press adopted the working assumption that the killer must be a right-wing white supremacist. That hypothesis informed an "exclusive" story on the website of the weekly magazine Le Point, which revealed that French police were looking for three men who had served in the same regiment as two of the murdered soldiers but were dismissed from the French army in 2008 for having neo-Nazi sympathies. One might have wondered why these mn should have waited for four years after their dismissal to go on their killing spree, but Le Point did not wonder. The police were "persuaded," the magazine said, "that the culprit is a soldier, whether or not currently on active duty," because of "his modus operandi, the way that he gets around, and the way he handles his gun--namely his ability to aim and fire from 10 meters away." And Le Point offered its own some- what counterintuitive argument to support this hypothesis: "The fact that his weapon jammed could also corroborate the fact that he is a former soldier." Other media outlets were eager to pick up the story. The left-wing daily Libera- tion ran this headline: "The Killer on the Scooter: Former Soldier, Lunatic, Neo- Nazi?" Across the channel, the BBC's Hugh Schofield offered an even more expansive analysis. Under the subhead "Deranged Far-Rightwinger," Schofield summarized the prevailing theory: "The killer has a clear affinity with guns. Could he be a neo-Nazi type--maybe an ex-soldier or a member of the criminal underworld--with a hatred of all minorities, Jews and Muslims?" Schofield did note a problem with his theory: There was no evidence that the ITHE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. i f   CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE  x Editor/Publisher ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 40 Press Awards HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email$ Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Mike ECzkin Kim Fischer Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky Tim Boxer David Bomstein Terri Fine Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman David Gaudio Teri Marks Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosky generations. As the ranks of those who suffered alongside the murdered victims of the Holocaust steadily dwindle, the task becomes ever more urgent. In his keynote address at the First.Interna- tional Conference of Children of Holocaust Survivors in 1984, Elie Wiesel mandated us to do what the survivors "have tried to do--and more: to keep our tale alive--and sacred." "You have screened Yourself off with a cloud, so that no prayer can pass through," we read in Lamentations. And yet it is told that Reb Azriel David Fastag, a disciple of the Chasidic rebbe of Modzhitz, spontane- ously composed and began to sing what has become the best-known melody to Maimonides' 12th Principle of Jewish Faith while in a cattle car from the WarsawGhetto to the Treblinka death camp: "Ant ma'amin be'emuna sh'leima, b'viat hamashiach; v'af al pi she'yismameya, im kol zeh, achakeh lo b'chol yom she'yavo" -- "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and even though he may tarry, neverthe- less I will wait every day for him to come." A young Jew managed to escape from the Treblinka-bound train, taking with him the niggun, the melody, of Fastag's "Ant Ma'amin." Eventually the melody reached the Modzhitzer rebbe, who is said to have exclaimed, "With this niggun, the Jewish people went to the gas chambers, and with this niggun, the Jews will march to greet Moshiach." My mother, who had survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, died in 1997 hours after the end of Rosh Hashanah. Six months later I took our daughter, Jodi, then a college sophomore, to Poland for the first_time. She and my mother had been very close and spent a great deal of time together as Jodi was growing up. We went to Warsaw and Krakow, and then to Auschwitz. On a gray day with a constant drizzle, I showed Jodi Block 11--the death block at Auschwitz where my father was tortured for months. Then we went to Birkenau, where we walked in silence past the decaying wooden barracks. After 15 or 20 minutes, Jodi turned to me and said, "You know, it looks exactly the way Dassah [which is what she called mymother, Hadassah]--it looks exactly the way Dassah described it." I realized that a transfer of memory had taken place. My daughter, born 33 years after the Holocaust, had recognized Birkenau through my mother's eyes, through my mother's memories tl-mt Jodi had absorbed into her consciousness. For the past several years, grandchildren of survivors at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City have described their grand- parents' experiences as a core element of what is evolving asour Yom HaShoah lit- urgy. Thus deportations, separations from parents and Siblings, selections for the gas chambers, desperate escapes, nighttime ambushes of Nazi troops by partisan units, and avoiding death in secret hiding spaces and on forged identity papers cease to be abstract concepts. As family histories merge with haunting songs and melodies that were sung in the ghettos and camps, we are reminded that these firsthand, personal accounts that together chronicle the enormity of the Holocaust must enter our theology just as the testimonies of the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel became part of our Scripture. At the Passover seder we recite "B'chol dor vador chayav adam lir'ot et atzmo ke-ilu hu yaza mi-mitzrayim'--'In each genera- tion it is incumbent on each of us to see ourselves as if we had come out of Egypt." We have been entrusted with a precious and fragile inheritance that ultimately belongs to the entire Jewish people and to humankind. In the aftermath of the Holo- caust, each of us, and our children and our children's children, must also see ourselves as if we had emerged from Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and all the other ghettos and camps, the forests and secret hiding places of Nazi Europe. To do so, all of us, and our children and our children's children, must discover the past by immersing ourselves as best we can in the survivors' memories until they become a part of us. Menachem Z. Rosensaft is vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Ho- locaust Survivors and Their Descendants. He teaches about the law of genocide and World War II war crimes trials at the law schools of Columbia, Cornell and Syracuse universities. from Israel By Noam E. Marans NEW YORK (JTA)--=As Christians and Jews gather during their respect'ive Easter and Passover holidays;we should recall all that Jews and liberal Protestants in America share and have accomplished together. But pride in the past should not blind us to the danger that this relationship could be de- railed by pernicious responses to the Arab- Israeli conflict within certain churches. Hard-earned goodwill between quintes- sentially American religious groups may be undermined in a fleeting moment when unbalanced--and ultimately meaning- tess--divestment resolutions and overtures depicting Israel as perpetrating apartheid are introduced for a vote at national meet- ings of church bodies. At this time American Jews should turn to their Methodist and Presbyterian neighbors and communicate how central Israel is to their Jewish identity. They should explain how hurtful it is that, yet again, some lead- ers in the United Methodist ChUrch--at their general conference in April--and Presbyterian Church (USA)--at their gen- eral assembly in July--wilt be calling for divestment and demonizing Israel. Divestment movements will not bring the desired Arab-Israeli peace. Moreover, boy- cotts, as well as divestment and sanctions, remind Jews of a long history of discrimina- tion against them. In short, divestment is an attempt to demonize Israel and is understood by many Jews as crossing a line. Calls for divestment encourage extrem- ists who argue that the world is against Israel no matter what it does. The action of divestment supporters assures Palestinian leadership that they do not need to return to the negotiating table. This conflict can only move to resolution when both parties come back to the negotiations without preconditions. People of good will among diverse faiths recognize that the goal is two states for two peoples, Jewish and Palestin- tan, living side by side in peace and security. Unfortunately, some of the most extreme voices instigating divestment resolutions also have tried to turn the clock back on Christian-Jewish relations. In rationalizing their support for divestment, they use dis- credited anti-Jewish tropes to characterize the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And they maliciously compare Israel to apartheid South Africa. For these reasons, American rabbis across denominational lines are joining in calling on American churches to reject those who choose divestment as a tool for resolving the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. During this holiday season when family, community and reconciliation are paramount, urge your rabbi to contact his or her Methodist and Presbyterian minister friends to express the collective Jewish community's dismay. Turn to your own Methodist and presbyterian neighbors with whom you chat about all things, profound and mundane, and with whom you have built a model civic community. Tell them that you are concerned about their denomina- tions' resolutions and hope they are, too. There is enough suffering in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict on both sides. We do not need to add to it by expanding the dispute ' to Christians and Jews in America. Rather, we need to do everything in our power to champion conversation, negotiation and coexistence in the troubled waters of the Middle East. These values have been the hallmarks of the modern era of Christian- Jewish relations in America. We dare not turn back the clock on that achievement. Rabbi Noam E. Marans is the American Jewish Committee's director of interreli- gious and intergroup relations. J Oppose church divestment