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April 18, 2014

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 18, 2014 , nOW By Ben Sales an apartment in central Tel Petersburg high school. She eager to discuss their meeting the ascent topower, there was said. "He was a kid. Now he's Aviv. moved to Israel several years nine years ago, when Putin onethingthathadn'tchanged big.Iwasayoungteacher.Now TEL AVIV (JTA)-.- When Yuditskaya, 93, has been later, and now he's one of the visited Jerusalem to mark the about Putin: he remained a I am old. I didn't think I was Mina Yuditskaya describes thrust into the spotlight in world's most powerful men. 60th anniversary of the end of good listener. During most of seeing a president. I thought, Vladimir Putin, circa 1969, Israel as her former pupil has The teenage Putin skipped World War II. Russian govern- the conversation, she talked it'stoughtoseeakidwhonow andVladmirPutin, circa2005, annexed Crimeain one of Eu- homework assignments to at- mentofficialsknewYuditskaya about ideas, philosophy and is an old man, and bald." it'sasifshe'stalkingabouttwo rope's tensest conflicts since tendjudopractice, sheremem- lived in Tel Aviv, and Putin history, while he sat, nodded Yuditskaya wouldn't com- different people, the Cold War. Sitting in the bers, thoughsheknowsheliked invited her to meet him at the and asked questions. As they ment on Putin's politics-- in Oneisaquiet, studious boy, living room ofthe apartment herclass:Sheoncecaughthim King David. What followed, parted, Putingaveherawatch Crimea or elsewhere. She clearly smart and diligent, Putin gave her, a 10-minute writing German sentences in she recalls, was a warm and commemorating the war'sseemedmoreinterestedinthe but not loud or remarkable walkfromthebeach, shestops his chemistry notebook,lighthearted conversation. 60th anniversary, man than the politician, and in any way. our conversationas asegment "Hewas like everyone else," "He said, 'Israel is very good The meeting was pleasant, looking back on the day they The other is the charis- featuring her --filmed that she said. "He was serious. He butvery hot,'" she recounted. Yuditskayasaid, butitalsoleft met in Jerusalem, Yuditskaya maticleader of Russia, aman morning-- airs on Israel's wouldn't mess around. He "I said, 'How do you remember her feeling sad, realizing how thinks of Putin as the student able:to invite her for tea and Russian TV channel, would do what I said. He was me?' I thought he'd say I was much time had passed, even of whom she's most proud. cakes during a ceremonyYuditskaya taught Putinquiet a lot and thought a lot. beautiful, but he said I was though the interveningyears "Why is he important to at the King David Hotel in German when he was a He did everything well." serious." had been good to" she asked. "He remem- Jerusalem, then to buy her 17-year-old student in a St. Yuditskayawas much moreShe noticed that despite "Time doesbadthings,"she bers me." Grassroots From page 1A to examine our leaflets and material, and ask questions." At that point, according to Duncanson, those on the fence often reject BDS. SFI now has a regular turnout of at least 30 people outside Ecostream, rising to about 70 for its foodie initiatives. BDS, by contrast, has advertised parades in Brighton that have failed to get off the ground. "At the beginning of March, they had a march which consisted of just eight people," says Dun- canson. "They had another [recently] which at[racted only two people, young Libyan women. We said that they had two marches in March which weren't marches." SFI's model of undermining the BDS crowd with humor and education is attracting attention from all over Britain. "So far," says Duncanson, "we have had inquiries from Inverness, Canterbury, Oxford, Hertfordshire, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, and north London." While SFI is a grassroots organization, the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland (ZF) is a vener- able Anglo-Jewish institution established in 1899, but it too is heavily invested in fighting the boycotters. ZF's chairman, South African-born Paul Char- ney, says the group is starting to understand BDS--and how to deal with it--better. "There is at least one cat- egory of protesters that is anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic, and we know we can't change their minds," he says. "But we can negate the lies, and these people don't get a free ride, they don't getan unchallenged voice. We also have a role in educating those people who are willing to listen, particu- larly within the Jewish com- munity." Charney describes the ZF's most difficult area as "actu- ally educating Jewish youth and trying to rid them of the perception that because we are challenging boycotters, we are right-wing." "We are not [right-wing]," he says. "We are negating false- hoods and putting forward positive stories about Israel, in medical developments, inven- tions, research, etc. We feel we have something to say to normal right-minded people, and we also give [Jewish] people courage by providing a physical presence at some of the nastier protests." Most of those engaged in fighting the boycott campaign acknowledge that the front line is on college campuses. Univer- sity of Oxford student Jonathan Hunter, UK campus direc- tor for the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, says there is a growing tide of delegitimiza- tion of Israel on every campus. "It is very loud, inaccurate, offensive, and intimidating," he says. In fact, the anti-Israel others are too scared to even students. But even on bigger voice is so loud that it is dif- identify as Israeli, given this campusespeopledon'twantto ficult to find students who are motion, and are therefore draw attention to themselves ready to speak out against it. stayingasfarawayaspossible," by opposingwhathas become On March25, only two percent Steinbock says., the majority opinion." of the student body at King's If things are bad for pro-Is- On the horizon are new College, a constituent college raelstudentsatKing's, Hunter challenges for Britain's pro- of the University of London, says an even darker campus Israel activists, such as the voted on a controversial anti- is Sheffield, in the north of recent decision of the Royal Israel motion that pledges England. The Sheffield student Institute of British Architects affiliation to the nationalBDS union's education officer is in (and its separate Scottish campaign.Themotioninitially charge of enforcing its "end counterpart) toboycottthe Is- passed, butwas overturned by the Israeli occupation" policy, raelArchitects'Unionandpush the school's student union on andtherewasarecentattempt for the Jewish state's ejection April 1. to put through a policy that from the International Union Sami Steinbock, president wouldhaveforcedthestudent- of Architects. There are also of the about-to-be-launched led Jewish Society to boycott fights against supermarket Israel Society at King's, has Israel, says Hunter. chains that refuse to stock run a campaign against the "The problemis that people Israeli produce, and against boycotters. He confirms that who are applying to university campaigns to persuade local there is "no institutional dis- are less l ikelytowant toattend authorities not to use Israeli crimination"atKing's, butsays somewhere where there is a inventions--suchasthelatest it is "certainly uncomfortable strong BDS presence, which initiative against Arad Water to be in a campus atmosphere means that there are smaller and its state-of-the-art water that votes on such a divisive Jewish societies on campus meters. The way the Zionist and poisonous [divestment] and less impetus to try to Federation's Charney sees it, motion." overturn the BDS initiative," the stakes are high. "In terms of Israeli students Hunter says. "In [the Scottish "BDS is not a battle that we we have a fair amount, a few city of] Dundee, for example, can win, but it's one we can't participated in our campaign; there are only two Jewish afford to lose," he says. Gamson From page 1A her up and bring her to the game, and then back home again. Recently, Ann Goby left Horizon Bay for rehabili- tation at Life Care Center in Altamonte. Though the senior moved across town, she still receives regular visits from friend Elaine. Gamson has been such a devoted friend to Horizon Bay's Jewish community that she now serves as a volunteer liaison between the Pavilion and the assisted living facil- ity. Recently, she met with Director Beverly Skaggs, and discussedways to make Jewish residents feel more at home in the assisted living setting. Gamson was raised in a close-knit family inWilliston, S.C., where she longed to be part of an active Jewish com- munity. She remains close to her three siblings, Philip (Patti) Gaeser of Richmond, Va., Lana Barth (George Rothman) of Bethesda, Md., and Jeffrey (Marci) Gaeser of Chuluota. Gamson remarked, "We were so attached that if Philip was spanked, I would cry, too." Her parents, Rebecca and Harold Gaeser, were longtime residents of the South, and moved to Williston to open the family business, Harold's Department Store. "I grew up in a small southern town as one of two Jewish families... Monday through Friday I fit in, and was part of the gang, but never on a Sunday. On Sun- days, Williston was prayerful, and I felt lonely and left out," Gamson shared. On the High Holidays the family drove to Charleston to spend time with her father's side of the family. Some of Gamson's fondest memories are "spending time in shul with my father." Passovers were spent with her mother's side, where they "drove 60 miles down country roads" to enjoy the Orthodox-style seder with her maternal grandparents. "I always felt I would leave Williston," Gamson noted. In 1955 she left Williston for Brenau Academy, a boarding school where she would fin- ish her last two years of high school. Rebecca Gaeser hoped the finishing school would offer her daughter an oppor- tunity to become educated in the arts and to become part of a larger Jewish community. Gamson remarked that while she received a well-rounded education at Brenau, she would not become part of an established Jewish com- munity until she attended the University of Georgia and joined Delta Phi Epsilon soror- ity. She graduated in 1961 with a degree in psychology and later earned a teacher's certification from "Georgia State. Gamson's first job was in social work. "I always felt like I was a social worker at heart," she said, and credits her educational background as a force behind her activism. She also worked as a travel consultant for 10 years and holds a real estate license. In 1963, she married Bob Gamson, and last December they celebrated their 50th an- niversary. The couple moved to Orlando in 1965, where they were welcomed into the Jewish community with open arms, and Gamson found a place where she could fit in all week long. "Two to three days after we moved, I attended my first Hadassah meeting. Almost immediately they asked me to become chapter vice- president," she shared. Gam- son and her mother became lifetime members, and have held their memberships for almost half a century. Elaine and Bob joined congregation Ohev Shalom in 1966, and later they joined the ranks of leadership. The Gamsons were the first "first team" at Ohev. While Bob was president of the synagogue, Elaine was simultaneously sisterhood president. In the past 50 years Gamson has shown her support for almost every Jewish agency in town. The Gamsons were founding members of the JCC, and Elaine served on the committee that helped found the JCC Camp. She was also nity involvement, including and has attended the "Second active in the Jewish Alliance, her work with the Pavilion. Tuesday Book Club" for the a pre-cursor to today's Jewish Gamson stated, "There is past "15 or 16 years" at the Federation of Greater Orlan- nothing like seeing elderly invitation of her friend, the do. Later, she became a Lion people smile, which is only one late Harriet Ginsburg. This of Judah with the women's of the benefits of volunteer- month she will be ensconced division of the federation, as ing... I will be elderly before with the Florida Film Festi- well as co-chair of Choices. long. And I hope my children val, where this 74-year-old In addition, the Gamsons realize, one day, they will be grandmother continues her supporttheHolocaustCenter elderly, too. Spending time pursuit of life-long learning andattendtheirannualevent, with the senior community is andcommunityparticipation. Elaine became involved in a reward in itself, and I hope The Jewish Pavilion's an- the Jewish Pavilion in 2007, they can see that. When you nual "Spring into Fashion" and joined the board in 2013. volunteer, you get back so show will be held at Hutton Their three adult sons,much more than you give." on Park Avenue, 329 N. Park Stephen of Miami, and Jordy Gamson is deeply invested Ave., Suite 105, in Winter (Andrea) andBarryofAtlanta, in many other local interests Park, May 1 at 9:30 a.m. (to Ga., grew up in a household andactivities.SheandBobare allow for parking). There will in Maitland where giving avid collectors of modern art. be goody bags for all who at- back to the community was Son Stephen, a noted Miami tend. Covert is $25, general second nature. Son, Jordy, artist, has helped curate their admission; $50, fashionista; and wife, Andrea, have given collection, and eye-popping and $100, couture, which the Gamsons two belovedworks create a gallery-like includes front row seats and grandchildren, Will (12) and effectthroughouttheirLong- entry into gift drawings from Ella (11), who carry on fam- wood home. Gamson was Hutton. Please RSVP online ily traditions at the Solomon an active member in a stock at or Schecter School in Atlanta. purchasing club for 43 years, call 407-678-9363. She is very proud of her boys, and feels they have benefitted from theirparent'scommu- 6 4 7 5 3 2 8 9 1 SOJC 3 9 5 1 7 8 4 6 2 From page 1A vor who displays how her love of music saved her during the two years she spent in Terezin. "I have lived through many wars and have lost everything many times-- including my husband, my mother and my beloved son. Yet, life is beauti- ful, and I have so much to learn and enjoy. I have no space nor time for pessimism and hate," she said in an interview. Herz-Sommer passed away at the age of 110 on Feb. 23, just before the awards cer- emony. "We the Jewish people have the responsibility to keep alive the memories of all those lost during the Holocaust. Our annual com- memoration ofYom Hashoah is an incredibly important and powerful experience," said Rabbi Hillel Skolnik, spiritual leader of SOJC, who along with Cantor Doug Ramsaywill conductamemo- rial service that will conclude the commemoration. Members of the public are encouraged to attend. For more information visit www. or call 407-239-5444. 821946573 932867145 578421936 4 16395728 259783614 164259387 783614259