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April 26, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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April 26, 2013
 

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PAGE 12A By Adam Nicky The Media Line AMMAN, Jordan--The death of a Jordanian tourism, policeman killed while guard- ing visiting Israelis have evoked threats by members of the victim's tribe to abduct or kill Israeli tourists unless the government opens an ndependent probe into the incident. "Any Israeli could find himself the target of a kid- napping or other measures," Mohammed Jarah, brother of Sgt. Ibrahim Jarah, told The Media Line by telephone from his home in the town of Mazar, 110 miles south of Amman. "We want to know what happened to my brother. 'The government must open an independent investigation and announce the result in public," he threatened. Jarah warned that his tribe By Cnaan Liphshiz BUDAPEST, Hungary (JTA)--On a corner in the heart of the former Jewish ghetto here, David Popovits sits down for some matzah ball- soup and super-sized dump- lings at his newly opened HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 26, 2013 Death of Jordanian policeman killed guarding lsraelis fuels threats will kill 10 Israelis in retalia- tion for his brother's death. Jordanian police have de- termined that Jarah drowned in a pool at the Maeen Hot Springs in Madaba in the south of Jordan, where he visited with the Israeli tour- ists earlier this month. His family, though, is accusing the authorities of a cover up, insisting the cause of death was not drowning but rather that he was killed by the Israelis. "New evidence points to the fact that my brother was killed. He did not drown, but the government cannot handle the political repercus- sions of bringing Israeli citi- zens to justice," Mohammed Jarah charged. He insisted that, "Ibrahim was a good swimmer. They teach them in the police how to rescue people from water." Due to the involvement of Israelis, contact with whom is problemafic because of rejection of "normalization" with the Jewish state, a point evident from the text of the Statement issued by the Jarahs' tribe. In part, it said, "This is not a normal killing; the dignity of a na- tion is at stake. We need the support of all human rights groups and parties to support our cause," before s.etting a deadline of week's end for the government to begin its investigation. The ultimatum followed several days of clashes be- tween protesters and police that erupted in Mazar im- mediately after Jarah's death was announced. According to Mohammed Jarah, suspicions of family and friends that the true facts were not revealed became aroused bythe behavior of the government when it released the Israeli tourists prior to the announcement of Ibrahim's death; and by what they saw as inconsistencies in the medical reports. Citing a report attrib - uted to a civil defense source, they believe that Mohammed was killed and dumped into the water, their"proof" being that because "his lung was full of air, [it means] he died outside the water," according to Jarah. The po!ice, however, de- clared the death to be ac- cidental, ruling out any criminal charges against the tourists. A police source not authorized to speak to me- dia confirmed to The Media Line that the autopsy report indicated the policeman died after drow.ning in the pool. "We only released the tourists after it was evident to investigators that he died of natural causes. We cannot hold foreigners unless they are officially indicted," the source explained. The Israeli media reported that the tourists were only briefly held by Jordanian po- lice after showing up at King Hussein Bridge without their police escort. The tourists, according to reports, said the police officer was left behind "after a visit to.the falls." The dispute over the cir- cumstances of Jarah's death touched a sensitive nerve in Jordan, where anti-Israeli sentiment runs high, despite the fact that there are of- ficially diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries. Many organiza- tions including trade unions and professional associations rigorously oppose "normal- ization" with the neighbor- ing Jewish state despite the existence of the historic 1994 peace treaty. Dozens of such anti-normalization Matzah Soldier draws trendy clientele with fresh take on Grandma's cooking It wasn't the memories but the location that convinced Popovits to gut the place and reopen it two months ago under the name Macesz Huszar, or Matzah Soldier a gastronomic temple of Hun- garian Jewish cuisine. Planted in the now fash- kosher-style restaurant. A burly, 40-year-old Hun- "garian Jewish businessman, Popovits used to eat in the restaurant as a boy, when its former owners ran a "dirty little place that smelled like oil but had good Wiener schnitzel," as Popovits puts it. FIRST WE LISTEN... THEN WE DELIVER! LET MY 41 YEARS OF INSURANCE EXPERIENCE REVIEW YOUR COVERAGES AND DESIGN A PACKAGE THAT PROTECTS YOUR BUSINESS BY MEETING YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS! All Forms of Insurance Products for Business Retailers, Manufacturers, Contractors, Service Industries, Restaurants, Child Care, Physicians, Attorneys Call Today To Schedule An Appointment At Your Convenience Marshall L. 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At a time of mounting concern over the rise of Hun- gary's far-right Jobbik party, Popovits sees the restaurant's promisingstart asatestament to Hungarian Jewry's return to normalcy after long years of communist repression, when Jewish cooking and culture was the sole province of the elderly and the hard-core religious. Popovits intended Matzah" Soldier "to occupy a unique niche." Budapest, he says, has several kosher restaurants that serve the city's small Orthodox community and kosher tourists. And there's Rosenstein, which is some- thing of an institution for Hungarian Jewry even though it serves pork. "There was nowhere for people like me: nonreligious, kosher-conscious Jews with a bit of money, a refined taste and appreciation for tradi- tion," Popovits says. The mix of old and new is a strong element of the bistro's aesthetic, which marries the coziness of a living room with an attentive and professional staff, wireless Internet and other features that contribute to a business-lunch atmo- sphere. Since the fall of com- munism, Hungary has seen a cultural revival driven by people like Popovits who are in sync with contemporary cultural trends yet still want to carry on the Jewish traditions of their grandparents. The group is key to the success of Limmud Hungary, a Jewish learning event that draws hundreds every year, and a bewildering array of other Jewish cultural and social offerings serving Budapest's estimated 80,000 Jews. "There are five synagogues activists who advocate ending Jordanian-Israeli diplomatic relations altogether attended a meeting about the incident held by the tribal alliance. The chorus of condemna- tion of the government's handling of the incident was also joined by members of parliament and opposition leaders from left-wing and Islamic groups; while Deputy Mohammad Salim Sharman of the legislature's lower house has threatened to bring the matter to the attention of the prime minister on the floor of the parliament. "I will question the prime minister under the parlia- ment dome. The truth must come out and justice must be achieved," Sharman told The Media Line. "The government has not been clear about the circumstances of the death; they announced it two days after it happened. Why?" ii;!  Cnaan Liphshiz David Popovits, owner of the Matzah Soldier, sits down for a meal at his upscale restaurant in Budapest. within halfa mile of us," Popo- vits says. "Those synagogues used to be rather empty but are now .packed thanks to people like me, who are not religious but are connected to tradition. It showed me a business like Matzah Soldier could take off." The name Macesz Huszar-- an antiquated taunt meaning something like "little Jew boy"--was chosen as a symbol of the modern Hungarian Jew. "It has one leg planted in the Huzars, the 19th century Austro-Hungarian cavalry- men, and another in that most Jewishof foods and traditions, the matzah," Pop0vits says. Some patrons come for nostalgic reasons. "I eat pork, no problem," says Regina Szabo. "I came here because my brother told me the matzah ball soup tastes like our grandmother used to make it." Others, like Zsoltan Nagy, don't even notice the words "Jewish bistro" emblazoned on the large window. "Now that you mention it I see it, but I come here for business meetings cause it's a cool place," he told JTA. But the Jewish element was not lost on local and even international media. Earlier this month, Time magazine opened an article about Hungarian Jewry with a scene from Macesz Huszar, which the publication described as "delicious proof of the re- naissance of Hungary's once vibrant Jewish culture." And the Nepszabadsag daily's food critic praised the restaurant for"reinventing simple Jewish foods as delicacies." The daily was critiquing the stuffed goose neck, the duck breast filled with chopped liver and creamy cholent. But Popo- vits is most proud of the mat- zah ball soup and the brisket, which is smoked especially for the restaurant according to an old Eastern European Jewish recipe, unavailable commer- cially anywhere in Hungary, according to Popovits. "[We] try to reinvent the otd recipes without depart- ing from the tradition upon which they were based," says Popovits, who operates two bars in addition to Matzah Sol- dier. "I often just buy a fresh piece of lamb, bring it to the kitchen and then we begin to experiment while consulting the old recipes until we get it just right." The next step for Popovits is compiling a cookbook of his own', which he says he may well name after the restaurant. "Writing thins bookwould be making a statement, reaching a milestone that says this is where we are," Popovits says. "I would like to stake that claim: This is the place that Jewish East European food occupies right now, in the great culinary democracy of our times."