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May 7, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 7, 2004

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MAY 7, 2004 PAGE 15 erance Krdt (JTA)--"The has a new mis- intolerance ie-hero- flifornia-governor, came Israel's new Mu- Tolerance, a $200 the Simon Center. Yisrael Chai," proclaimed d in Jerusa- a groundbreaking cer- for the new presence in Jerusalem ,whose fa- another sign of t todis- legacy of Austria. The Cali- gOVernor ~lso laid a at the Yad Vashem SAFE ROOF CLEANING HOME MAINTENANCE SERVICES SOUTH By I~, B. Solomont (JTA)--Jay ]iftofLife 'registry, Feinberg for organ do- would disagree ,Feinberg, 35, re- Charles br the Jew- do wonder- the Jewish world ronfrnan ! story "really hit a said. "How a real life- chose prize, which of their prize perpetuate to hu- to the Jewish receive unite to de- doesn't killing Is- solve the e East. months after minis- lines them, sit down JOurnalist to interview "It is far sit down and said. "It is a your YOur people And Holocaust Memorial and met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "I was born in Austria," Schwarzenegger said, "a place where intolerance and igno- rance led to tragedy and heart- ache. "Because of this I want to do what I can to promote toler- ance around the world," he said. Schwarzenegger's es- tranged father joined the Nazi Party during World War II, and Schwarzenegger himself told an interviewer 25 years ago that he admired Hitler's rise to power from humble origins, though he disavowed what Hitler did with his power. Schwarzenegger repeatedly has disavowed support for his father's political views and has given a lot of money to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, officials there have said. He also has lectured on behalf of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. $100,000, most ofwhich he plans to donate to Gift of Life, which is funded by private donations and grants, mostly from Jewish or- ganizations. Gift of Life is a bone-marrow registry geared specifically for Jews. The genetic make-up of all body tissue--including bone marrow--is an inherited char- acteristic, and Gift of Life offers Jews from similar ethnic back- grounds better odds of finding a viable donor. Like other small ethnic groups, Jews are under-repre- sented in the nearly 50 world- wide bone marrow registries. They face an added challenge because so many Jewish blood- lines were severed in the Holo- caust. Gift of Life grew out of Feinberg's own search to find a donor after he was diagnosed with leukemia in 1991. During the four years until he found a donor, nearly 60,000 people we re tested--andsome matchedwith other needy patients--thanks to an organization of family, friends and volunteers then known as Friends of Jay Feinberg. Following his recovery, Feinberg created Gift of Life to expand the registry as a %ray of giving back," he said. it keeps on going like that." But Mahathir still had plenty of criti- cism for the Israelis. "Israel is nota friendly coun- try and we shouldn't do busi- ness with Israel," the former Malaysian prime minister said. He also called Israel's killing of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin "an act of terror." Mahathir used the interview opportunity to dispute his be- ing labeled as anti-Semitic. Mahathir caused a stir with his seemingly anti-Jewish com- ments during last year's meet- ing of the Organization of Is- lamic Countries, which took place just before Mahathir re- tired after 22 years as the leader of Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country. "They mustnever think they are the chosen people who can- not be criticized at all," Mahathir said of the Jews. In the interview with Israeli television, Mahathir said,"I feel that I have a right to explain The center's Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem is scheduled to be completed by 2007. Among those attending the groundbreaking ceremony Sunday were the. building's architect, Frank Gehry. Schwarzenegger, standing in front of a backdrop of the de- sign of the sprawling struc- ture--a grand mix of glass and stone facades and rounded and angular walls--joked about the collaboration of the world renowned Gehry and Rabbi Martin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Cen- ter. "It is amazing what an ar- chitect and a rabbi can dream," he said, adding that he was moved by the planned museum's "stone, the light, the openness and hope.". Or- ganizers hope the Jerusalem museum will become a major tourist attraction and an edu- cational center where Israelis and visitors will be able to learn "A hero saved my life," Feinberg said. "I can think of no greater thing to do with mine." During the past decade, the organization has registered another 75,000 people as po- tential donors. Nearly 1,000 donations of bone marrow and peripheral blood cells already have taken place. Feinberg said he hoped to announce a new cord-blood registry--blood from the um- bilical cord, rich with imma- ture stem cells, also is effective in bone marrow transplants. Cord blood often is a more vi- able donation than bone mar- row or blood stem cells, but it can cost around $1,000 for the first year and $100 each year after that to store. Feinberg's organization is expected to partner with Hillel this fall to mobilize college stu- dents for the cause. To determine if two people match, doctors look at the pro- teins on the surface of each person's white blood cells. A "perfect match" occurs when 10 human antigens match up. The closer the match, the less chance there is of graft-versus- host disease, an ailment simi- lar to organ rejection follow- ing an organ donation. myself to the world and to the Israelis because I find myself being misinterpreted all the time, labeled as anti-Jew." "When we talk about the Jews, principally we think of those Jews who are very supportive of Israeli intransigence, not all Jews. Because we know there are Jews living in Muslim coun- tries---even in Iran they still have Jews. These people are not supporting the kind of at- tacks mounted by Israelis." Mahathir said Israel should not use the Holocaust as an excuse for aggression against others. "You cannot use that as an excuse to attack other people or to kill other people or that people should not criticize Is- rael simply because in the past there had been this Holocaust." Mahathir granted the interview in an office on the 41st floor of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. When asked about trade be- tween Malaysia and Israel, about human dignity and re- sponsibility. Schwarzenegger spoke of the museum as an example of Israel going forward into a better future and moving be- yond current daily strife and terrorism. "The world should know we are not building a bunker," Schwarzenegger said. "We're building something that breathes with life, just as God breathed life into us." "We look past the suicide bombers, the terrorists, past the blood," he said. "We look ahead to the time people can live side by side." The museum grounds, adjacent to Jerusalem's Inde- pendence Park, will include a theater complex, international conference center, library, gallery, lecture hall and gar- dens. It is located just steps away from the Old City and downtown Jerusalem. Israeli President Moshe Katsav, Israeli Cabinet minis- ters and the U.S. ambassador to Feinberg's match was Becky Faibisoff of Milwaukee. In order to accept Faibisoff's bone marrow, Feinberg's im- mune system was completely destroyed through total body irradiation and chemotherapy. Then, over two hours, the new marrow was infused, fol- lowed by a grueling recovery that lasted nearly two years. Since the 1995 procedure, science has progressed, as have Feinberg's efforts to keep his registry up to date. Today, he said, doctors choosewhether theywant their patients to receive blood stem cells or marrow. Cord blood increasingly is harvested and stored for future transplants. Already, Feinberg has at- tracted the attention of fami- lies whose relatives he has helped. "There are nearly a thou- sand people alive and well to- day because of his efforts," Warren Spector wrote in a let- ter endorsing Feinberg's nomi- nation for the Bronfman Prize. "By his existence as a trans- plant survivor, Jay is a com- forting presence. His own sur- vival offers patients hope in their darkest hours." t which according to Israel amounted to $300 million dur- ing 2003, Mahathir said, "We don't trade directly with Israel. We export a lot of our products to Singapore and Singapore then sells these products to other countries. In our figures of trade there is not a single dollar that is coming from trade with Israel." Malaysia and Is- rael do not have diplomatic ties. But Mahathir said that estab- lishing relations between the two countries would be pos- sible once Israel resolves its problem with the Palestinians. "Malaysia is a trading nation we are always looking for mar- kets. Israel has got a lot of knowledge in technology and agriculture," he said. At the end of the interview, Mahathir said, ''We wish the Is- raelipeopleandthe Jewish people peace, hopefully in their lifetime, but to have peace they should also think of the other people's problems, not only their own." Israel, Daniel Kurtzer. all at- tended the ceremony Sunday. On Saturday evening, Schwarzenegger met with Is- raeli business leaders and an- nounced a job creation ven- ture with several Israeli com- panies to expand their busi- nesses in California. Schwarzenegger was greeted with gushing enthu- siasm, cheered by Israelis at nearly every step of his brief stay in the country. The gov- ernor planned to fly to Jordan on Monday for a meeting with King Abdullah II. The former actor ended his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony with his trademark line. He promised Israelis:"I'll be back." photo by Brian Hender/JTA California Gov. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER waves to the crowd as he stands with members of a Jewish youth choir during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, Sunday May 2. 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