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May 10, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 10, 2013

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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS Editorials ................................ 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ................................. 6A Synagogue Directory ............... 7A B'nai Mitzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A Classified ................................ 2B Avishag Shaar Yashuv/Flash90/JTA An Iron Dome anti-missile battery was moved near the northern Israeli town of Haifa in the hours following a second airstrike on Syrian targets, May 5. By Ben Sales Syria attacks suggest Israel can act with impunity TEL AVIV (JTA)--Twice in three days, Israeli warplanes entered Syrian airspace and fired on suspected weap- ons caches bound for Hezbollah--and nothing has happened in response. Some experts are predicting that will continue to be the case following air- strikes near Damascus last Friday and Sunday that are widely believed to be the work of the Israel Defense Forces. Ac- cording to reports, the strikes targeted shipments of long-range, Iranian-made Fateh-110 missiles capable of striking deep into Israel. Israel hasn't commented on the strikes, but the IDF has moved two Iron Dome missile defense batteries to its northern border and Prime Minis- ter Benjamin Netanyahu delayed his departure to China for several hours to convene his security cabinet. Mean- while, Syria's foreign minister told CNN on Sunday that the strikes amounted to a "declaration of war." But such gestures, analysts say, are merely symbolic. Torn by a civil war now in its third year, the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is too beleaguered to fight back. And Hez- bollah, the Lebanese party considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel, is considered too preoccupied propping up its Syrian patron to respond. "Today Israel can act with impunity in Syria," said Hillel Frisch, an expert on Arab politics at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Stud- ies. "The [Syrian] air force isn't func- tioning and there's no defense system. It's very exposed and weak." Syria's civil war augurs a major stra- tegic shift for Israel. The two countries technically have been in a state of war Syria on page 17A The U.S. Holocaust museum at 20: Confronting tough issues By Rafael Medoff When President Bill Clin- ton stepped to the podium at the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., 20 years ago, most V _-- .q m m = --  r,q ..=_ .  " "t of the audience no doubt expected him to offer the usual generalities about the importance of not for- getting the past. Instead, Clinton went much further, delivering the harshest words ever uttered by an American president about our country's response to the Nazi genocide. Clinton made clear that the response of the U.S. to news of the Holocaust was an important part of the events that need to be commemorated and taught. He said on April 22, 1993 that the construction of the museum would "redeem in some small measure the deaths of millions whom our nations did not, or would not, or could not save." He referred to America's lethargic response to the Holocaust as constituting "complicity" in what hap- pened. Moving from general criticism of America's re- sponse to very specific refer- ences to the policies of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration, Clinton continued, "For those of us here today representing the nations of the West, we must live forever with this knowledge--even as our fragmentary awareness of crimes grew into indisput- able facts, far too little was done. Before the war even started, doors to liberty were shut and even after the United States and the Allies attacked Germany, rail lines in the camps within miles of militarily significant tar- gets were left undisturbed." It was the first time an American president had ever explicitly criticized the response of the U.S. gov- ernment to the Holocaust. Many years later, President George W. Bush, viewing an aerial reconnaissance photo of Auschwitz atYad Vashem, remarked, "We should have bombed it." And President Barack Obama said last year that the Nazis were able to carry out the Holocaust in part "because so many oth- ers stood silent." But it was Clinton's spe- cific and detailed com- mentary on the American response that really ce- mented the idea that the U.S. Holocaust museum has an obligation to frankly con- front our own government's record during those years. The museum's 20th an- niversary, which is being marked this spring with a series of commemorative events and exhibitions, is an appropriate time to consider how the museum has met the challenge that Clinton presented. Consider, for example, the story of the refugee ship St. Louis, the infamous "Voyage of the Damned." That episode shines a par- ticularly troubling light on America's response to the plight of the Jews under Hitler. It was therefore very much in keeping with Clinton's mandate that the museum undertook a com- prehensive research project to trace the fate of each of the 937 passengers. The final study, authored by museum staffers Sarah Ogilvie and Scott Miller, was published by the museum in 2006, in a book titled "Ref- uge Denied." It chronicled Issues on page 17A Sherman named Teacher of the Year By Pamela Ruben Special to the Heritage Am erman Seminole County Teacher of the Year Adam Sherman could easily be awarded "Sem- inole County Mensch of the Year," as well. Though only 29, Sherman is a seasoned educator who loves his job teaching English and Lead- ership Development at Lake Brantley High School. Sherman is a leader, him- self, serving as an interim dean in fall 2012, as well as bringing anti-bullying and character building programs to promote toleration of ideas and differences among Lake Brantley High School (LBHS) students. Sherman states, "When I am in the classroom I often think to myself, what would help me if I were in my students' shoes? I try to bring a sense of empathy into my high school classes." Sherman credits his need to help others with his Jewish upbringing. He notes, "My parents and my two older brothers, Michael and Aaron, were always jumping in and helping others. It was a way of life." Sherman was raised in Saginaw, Mich., where his family was part of a small Jew- ish Community. "Our Jewish community was made up of three small towns, Saginaw, Bay City and Midland," Sher- man says. "The community would switch off attending services in each town." While a bar mitzvah stu- dent, Sherman began volun- teering in soup kitchens with the Boy Scouts. He developed tremendous concern for the homeless population, and took on a blanket drive as his bar mitzvah project. Sherman states, "It gets really cold in Michigan. One day my morn and I were in a breezeway by the post office in Saginaw, and a homeless man asked us for Sherman on page 17A Kotel plan loses both sides support By Ben Sales of the Wall," Anat Hoffman, TEL AVIV (JTA)--Follow- ing a court ruling in their favor, leaders of an organi- zation pushing for women's prayer rights at the Western Wall have withdrawn their endorsement of Natan Sharansky's compromise proposal to expand the egalitarian section there. A Jerusalem District Court ruled two weeks ago that Women of the Wall members who pray together in the regular women's sec- tion of the Western Wall are not contravening the law. That was teh ruling at the Heritage deadline. Members of the group have been routinely arrested or detained in recent months for wearing prayer shawls at the wall, a practice that prior to the ruling had been considered a viola- tion of Israeli law requiring respect for "local custom" at the site. The landmark ruling ap- pears to have emboldened Women of the Wall, which has moved away from its earlier embrace of Sharan- sky's proposal as a tolerable, if less than perfect solution. "We have three options: to reject Sharansky's plan, to embrace Sharansky's plan or to say that right now it is not relevant for Women the organization's chair, told JTA. "It's completely not relevant for us. Our victory in court means that our place is safe." Protests over the high- profile arrests of women at the holy site led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tap Sharan- sky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, late last year to formulate a compromise solution. Under Sharansky's plan, an existing egalitarian sec- tion of the wall known as Robinson's Arch would be expanded and a unified en- trance would be built lead- ing to the wall's traditional and egalitarian sections. Initially, the compromise seemed to have worked. Both Hoffman and the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, ex- pressed cautious support. But Rabinowitz also has backtracked from a state: ment indicating that while he didn't like the proposal, he could "live with it." "We must, along with Kotel on page 18A