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April 20, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 20, 2018 By Ofra Daniel they hear your side of the Jewsoftheworldwouldmoveyou and present you to the story, and to those with a in with you because you are broader world community, SAN FRANCISCO (J. The very strong sense of justice, I gigantic, sacred and the only stating proudly that we, too, Jewish News of Northern tell them to mind their own home we have. "The Land" areyourchildren.Maybeyour Californiavia JTA)--MyDear business and attend to their is what we call you. As if the diverse human kaleidoscope, Land, It is almost your birth- own backyard. You need to entire world is composed of your endless conflicts, your day. knowthatIdefendyouopenly, water and you are the only multi-religious focal points At 70, you are not a young althoughsometimesitisn'tan piece of land there is. Those and the never-ending argu- country anymore. Some will easy task. of us living in the Bay Area ments of who owned you first consider me a stepdaughter Working my way up as ansay we only came here for a iswhatmakesusseetheworld because I left you, deciding immigrant in the Bay Area, few years, to taste the water, from multiple perspectives, to move an ocean away. I I founded an Israeli theater broaden our possibilities and oftentimesantitheticaloneto left behind me the battles, company, producing plays then return. Gradually, in the the other, yet rich in human the traffic, the heat and the by Israeli playwrights. Your dead of night, we moved our experience. Discovering that politics to become a citizen stepsons and stepdaughters books and poems, our family loving you from afar is just of the world, here are thirsty to connect albumsandchildhoodmemo-as good and just as possible. WheneverIamaskedwhere with you through stage per- ries.Webuilttemporarycom- WeallneedourZion, aplace I am from, I hesitate a minute formance and live theater.We munities that resemble you, that we call home, a place we before I answer, then I care- keepyourlanguage, celebrate pretending we never really long for, defend, belong to, fully monitor the interlocu- your culture and preserve the left. We adjusted to a time move away from, criticize, tor's response. Some have no identity you have given us. zone in which we are kissing come back to, care for, protect ideawhereyouareonthemap. When I am among them, Iyou goodnight while we are and claim as our birthright. Some give me a look that says findmyselfpointingoutyour waking up. We never fully Luckily, you will outlive us, oh, that country again. Some flaws, calling out your awful realized that we have actually age gracefully and be even share with me their observa- mistakes and worrying for moved out. Admitting that is more attractive, while we will tions and opinions of you. I your future. I also make sure also not easy. grow old, and return to die listenwithcuriosity, thinking they do not shut the door to Perhaps it is a mature and be buried on your Land. to myself, don't they realize I others who claim that they process of separation and Your daughter, am still a part of you? love you. You see, loving you individuation that pulled us Ofra First, I need to educate at times is not an easy task. apart. Perhaps the distance Ofra Daniel is the co- them about who you really When I was a little girl, I and perspective has allowed founderandartistic/executive are. Then I need to make sure believed that one day all the us to see you better, support director of the Jewish Circle Cheshiredave Creative Ofra Daniel as the lead character Tirza in her play "Love Sick." Theater. A native of Israel, Ofra is an accomplished play- wright and performed with the Beit Lessin Theatre Corn- pany in TelAviv before moving to the Bay Area. She wrote this piece for J. The Jewish News of Northern California. RyJeffRum There was no ark the night On a recent fly-in mis- of Aug. 26 as a flood of bibli- sion to Houston organized (JNS)--Asachild, Iremem- cal proportions devastated by the Jewish Federations ber hearing the story of Noah Houston--a city that in no of North America and the in Hebrew school. In a class of way could expect Hurricane Jewish Federation of Greater 5-year-olds, we drew pictures Harvey's strength, breadth or Houston, a Jewish mother of of animals walking into the destructive aftermath. Like threerecountedherfearsthat ark two-by-two in an orderly many areas and neighbor- night:"Can I get everyone out fashion. And I remember a hoods, theJewishcommunity of the window and sit on the rainbow, was hit hard. roof until someone comes Beth Shalom Memorial Chapel ProucJJ 43ervin Our Communit; t ror Over 9.5 Years ca' U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel J. Martinez An aerial view of the historic flooding in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. to rescue us? Is the roof too day.Manyarestillintemporary fees for families struggling sloped? How will I hold my housing. Families of five sleep post-storm. They are also twin infants? How can I make in one-roomapartments. This paying for the costs of rebuild- sure to have enough special is not the Jewish community ing facilities. Where will the formula? Can my toddler in strife-ridden Ukraine. This funding come from? swim? And for how long? is Houston2018.Andprobably Despite the overwhelming This young mother put most Concerning, people are difficulties, I see resilience, her children on a boat with movingoutfromthecentersof too. Rabbis from all streams a stranger, who steered them Jewishlife inthe metropolitan of Judaism working together, down their street and docked area to more distant parts of providing each other with at the firehouse. They made the county. The landscape of emotional support, as well it. Thank G-d. Jewish Houston is changing as space for meetings, holi- This story is just one as we speak, day meals, simchas (Jewish of thousands about people Kids today in Houston are celebrations) and services. strandedandprayingfortheir scared when it rains. Will it Families there for each other, lives. Today, while the debris flood again? The post-trau- planningplaydatessoparents is gone from the streets, the matic stress in this commu- can spend hours a day on pain for the Houston corn- nity runs rampant. Parents the phone with insurance munity remains raw. People are trying to hold it together, companies. introduce themselves to one but the tears come outassoon Just after Harvey, the JCC another by how many inches as they talk about that Satur- turned a tennis center into a or feet of water they had in day evening in August when distribution center, and then their home. They are still the skies opened up. How again into a preschool for debating whether to rebuild, does a community find the children tocontinuelearning. raisetheirhome (atapricetag resources to help every family? It was hard. But life went on, of $200,000) or evenleave. It JewishFamilyServicesisnow and the Jewish community will take years before Houston supporting members of the pulled together. will fully recover, community who just months The Jewish Federation of The world may have moved earlierwere significant donors Greater Houston's CEO, Avital on--to Puerto Rico, Parkland, and contributors. Never did Ingber, started her position increased partisanship--but they imagine that they would just weeks following Harvey. the need remains great in be on the receiving end of She noted of the group that Houston, and federal resourc- assistance, participated in the fly-in rais- es for infrastructure alone are The needs in Houston are sion: "Even though the news mired in bureaucracy, overwhelming ,Synagogues cycle moved on long ago, you NearlysixmonthsafterHur- and Jewish agencies are still have shown us the broader ricane Harvey, I met people assessing damage. Some are Jewish community is still here who can no longer send their rebuilding.Othersare making for us and with us." children to Jewish day school, tough decisions to rebuild or That's the headline. Hous- who can'taffordsummer camp not. Day schools and summer thisyear, whoarelivingdayby campsarelookingatreducing Houston on page 15A