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May 7, 2004

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PAGE 4 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH MAY By David Bornstein I feel the presence I got the most interesting email this week. Our rabbi sent the following: "Friends, I am working on a sermon this week on the theme of holiness-- being aware that one is in the pres- ence of GOd. I'd like your help. Could you give me one example in an everyday activity where you felt or remembered that you were in the presence of God? Some examples: Spoke posi- tively about Judaism to some non-Jews. Didn't lose your temper although seriously tempted. Said or did something that made you feel ashamed. Wish you had done something in a better way. Just some possibilities. Much rather have those that are unique. Thanks. But don't delay, lneedto have sermon done before Thurs- day eve. Thanks, Rabbi.' He sent it out to 70 people. His criteria for selection were simple. He asked those email By Carl Alpert Is it a dream? HAIFA--Terror and violence still dominate enedArab leadership emergewhichwiil beable in the relations between Jews and Palestinians to convince its people of the desirability of the in the Middle East, but possible solutions, no program? With such leadership, international matter how improbable they may seem at the support, both political and economic, could be moment, are still lurking. The idea that Jor- counted on. dan, today ruled by a Hashemite dynasty, be The whole idea may be sound and even recognized as the Palestine state has once logical theoretically say some critics, but the again been placed on the agenda. Israel's dis- atmosphere is not conducive. Since 1948 the tinguished intellectual journal on politics and Arabs have turned down every proposal for a the arts, Nativ, devotes more than a dozen peaceful understandingwithIsrael, aiwayspre- pages in its latest issue to a frank discussion of ferring terror and violence. Possibly the ideal the subject, with advocates and critics airing may be achieved only after an open, outright their views, war which will prove decisive, and leave the The idea has been proposed and repeated for Arabs with no alternative. many years, but has never received serious Obviously there would be many problems to consideration. Benny Elon, a rightist leader overcome in the period leading up to fulfill- and Minister of Tourism in the Sharon cabinet, ment of the goal. Will there be open coopera- renews the discussion in Nativ. tion from the Hashemite dynasty that is today As point of departure, he acknowledges that dominant in Jordan? A previous attempt by the the limited Palestine state now proposed to be Palestinians to stage a revolt in Jordan was put established in parts of the West Bank can never down with a strong and bloody hand. Yet the be a solution. Geographically, its areas are not Palestinian majority in the country continues contiguous. Economically, it has no grounds to grow. A confrontation seems inevitable. for existence, and will require constant finan- Historically, the recognitionofaJewishstate cial aid from without. It will be a perpetual and a Palestinian state alongside each other welfare state. The result will be a hotbed of would be fulfillment of a partition of the origi- continued dissatisfaction and terrorism. An- nal area long known as Palestine. While Israel other solution must be found, would be located along the coast, by far the' Jordan is, in effect, already a Palestinian larger area would be under Palestinian sover- state in all but name. A majority of its popula- eignty. There had once been serious talk of an tion is Palestinian. Because of its size and agreementbetweenIsraelandJordangranting potential, advocates of the plan say, it provides the latter access to the sea at Haifa. a logical and feasible answer to the problem of The present situation cannot continue. Is- absorption of the Palestinian refugees. Critics raelis must realize that some millions of Pales- reply that despite its size it does not have ~he tinians do exist. They are not going to vanish. necessary resources. They have national aspirations, parallel to Jordan and Israel, which have a peace treaty, those of the Jews. At the same time, the Arabs share a long, common border and have been must give up their frequently repeated goal of able to maintain peace and quiet on that bor- destroying Israel, and must reach a peaceful der. How quiet would that border be if the agreement for mutual co-existence. A move- Palestine state should choose hostility? ment of Arab moderates must convince their Israel is ready and willing to cooperate in an people that violence will not bring peace. Can economic relationship to the mutual advan- that be expected? Israelis, too, must not yield to tage of both countries. While the West Bank in their own extremists. its entirety would be absorbed by Israel, the Is all this beyond reach? Can the vision of Palestinians living there could, if they wished, two states, Israel and Palestine, located along- elect to become citizens of the new Palestine side each other in peace and friendship, yet be state and vote in its elections, though they realized? Is it a dream? Can one expect that a reside on the other side of the Jordan River, new generation ofpeace-lovingArabswillarise under the Israeli flag. who will be good neighbors? Should we recall Undoubtedly a long period of education what Herzl said: "If you will it, it is no dream"? would be required to change the present mood Alas, there are no indications that our pro- and approach of the Arabs. Can a new, enlight- posed neighbors are willing. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. O : CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE 0 O ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 36 Press Awards ORIDA HERITAGE Florida Jewish News ( ISN 0199~0721 ) is published weekly for $34.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($41.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL32730. 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. Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Msistamt Editor Gene Starn Lyn Payne MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 -FAX (407) 831-0507 email: Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria ousha Elaine Schooping Account Exocutives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Carl Alpert Michael Gamson Tim Boxer David Bomstein Gail Simons Production Department David Lehman Teri Marks Allison 1 [ Berkowitz addresses he had on his laptop at home, and only those he recognized so, as he told us in shul, "Sorry, Bigbear 77. I couldn't use you because I didn't know who you were." Out of 70 people, an amazing 50 responded, and when he read the responses as part of his sermon, in such categories as Work, Family, Nature, Reli- gion, and Charity, I was, as he was, moved, impressed and provoked to deeper thought by the sensitivity, wisdom, and compassion of my fellow c0ngregants. As he told us, "This week instead of giving my congregation a sermon, my congregation gave a sermon to me." It was the best exercise in writing and religious ex- pression I have undergone in years. I challenge you all to try it. And now, here are some examples of when I feel the presence of God in my daily life. These are no better than anyone else's, but they're mine, and as I think about it again, I realize there are hundreds more where they came from. I feel the presence of Godwhen my 13=year- old son asks his four-year-old brother to play with him, and they disappear for an hour, the only sign of their presence at home the laugh- ter that filters down from upstairs. I feel the presence of God when I'm driving down a brick street beneath a canopy of oak trees, fingers of leaf and bark stretching across the sky. I feel the presence of God when I step outside on a cold morning and see my breath. I feel the presence of God when I stop to appreciate a gravel driveway, the way Spanish moss moves in a breeze, a ladybug on my arm. I feel the presence of God when my wife asks me to drive carefully so I come home safely. Her love is a gift of God. I feel the presence of God when my daughter smiles while she's horseback riding, at one with herself, the horse, and the world. I feel the presence of God when my dog wags her tail at the smallest word I utter. 9 By Jonathan S. Tobin It isn't very likely that anything Lakhdar Brahimi would say would ever be a presiden- tial-campaign issue in this country. But maybe it should be. Brahimi, the Algerian who is special envoy of the United Nations to Iraq, recently volun- teered his opinion to the press that the greatest obstacle to creating a new Iraqi government is, believe it or not, the State of Israel, which he termed the "great poison" in the region. When later asked to back off from these incendiary remarks, Brahimi would have none of it, and told ABC news on Sunday: "I think that there is unanimity in the Arab world, and indeed in much of the rest of the world, that the Israeli policy is wrong, that Israeli policy is brutal, repressive, and that they are not inter- ested in peace, no matter what you seem to believe in America." It is no surprise that a former high official of the Arab League or a former foreign minister of Algeria would spew hatred of Israel. But it is equally unsurprising for somebody representing the United Nations to be doing it either. The irony is that Brahimi was appointed to the post with the blessings of Washington and, in particular, President Bush, who is eager to get some U.N. participation in the recovery of Iraq. Tar him with the brush. Bush has been widely accused of running a "cowboy" foreign policy that ignores world opinion. But if Brahimi's first days on the job are an indicator, Bush has, at least on this point, been too multilateral. This provided the president's Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry, a perfect opportunity to tar Bush with the Brahimi brush, and to point out the folly of America farming its foreign- policy troubles out to a world body that has little interest in creating a new democracy in Iraq or in bringing out about peace in the Mideast. But anyone waiting for Kerry to do this hasn't been paying attention. In fact, the key- note of Kerry's foreign-policy platform appears to be a hymn to the United Nations, and a drive to get it even more involved in the ongoing battles against terrorists in both Iraq and Is- rael. Indeed, Kerry pledged this month on NBC's "Meet the Press" that %vithin weeks of being inaugurated, I will return to the U.N and I will literally, formally rejoin the community of nations." Kerry believes Bush's distrust of the "community of nations" is a grievous fault. But I feel the presence of Go i~a~er Torah when I sing I feel the presence of God in a good wine, a great piece of pie, aj laugh so hard I cry, a painting so catch my breath. I feel the presence of God hiking Appalachian Trail and looking out mountain I feel the night, under my roof, with my near me under the same roof. I feel the ID morning and make breakfast for my Feeding them and helping is, for me, a regular miracle. I feel the presence of God when I give to charities. Not only do I have a s of satisfaction and humility when I help l in need, poor when I cut the check. I feel the presence of God when as estate developer, I think of savin ing land as I develo[ tance of trees, greenbelts, wildlife and conservation of our of which are God's gifts to us. Finally, I feel the presence of God think that in some small way, I perhaps made a small difference, a contribution to the world. If I've ever you question, think, or take action with God. I look forward to work, and to helping m~ whatever ways I can. Shalom. The opinions expressed in thi the writer's, any other Jewish organization. word until next week. Write the Heritage, mail your comments, critiques, to 'real in the opinions of those European ments and U.N. bureaucrats that Kerry isl ingly eager to embrace, the worst fault Bush administration is its support for] Kerry has been careful to allow no between his positions on Israel and Bush. He is right to do so, but Israel a be the glaring exception to multilateralist foreign-polic> For men like Kerry and fellow Rep. Joseph Hoeffel, who will be the nominee for the U.S. Senate in the world body is still an essential poliCY for American interests. Echoing Kerry's stand, "these institutions are not perfect, but I ! it is the height of recklessness for the administration to be so disparaging they created 60 years ago." The has proved useful in some sions, but you have to question the a Democratic campaign to the organization's reputation. anything, recent events have shown Brahimi incident is just one of many that just how corrupt and fundamentall to democratic principles the United has become. Not an exception. A case in scandal over the United Nations' program, which was supposed to feed reign. Instead, it funneled billions of into Saddam's pockets, as well as those French, German and Russian busineg ners. Among those ing here is the son of U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan. Why anyone would believe that the zation so busy helping to swindle Iraqis a year ago would now be capable of aiding defies reason. Nor is Iraq the only or misbehavior on the part of the tions; the United Nations Relief Agency" for Palestine Refugees has ongoing scandal for more than 50 posedly set up to help Arabs who after its founding, it has instead served ! Arab regimes keel: also turned a blind eye toward allowed itself to become a the Arab world's unrelenting ence of Israel. See "Tobin" on page 17