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May 18, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 18, 2012

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L.+,,+ ............. ...... + ................... u ....... +t .  + + . HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 18, 2012 + + WESH-TV00 'Community Conversation' about race-relations reveals need forfurther-discussion Orlando, FL Seven Cen- tral Florida leaders spoke frankly about race relations in a live one-hour show aired from WESH-TV studios Wednesday evening, April 25. The program, entitled "Race, A Community Conversation" was inspired bythe events and public response to the Trayvon Martin case, but the show's participants discussed race beyond the scope of the con- troversial Sanford shooting WESH-TV news anchors Jim Payne and Syan Rhodes hosted the program. Rhodes said numerous community leaders were asked to partici- pate but that many declined, insisting that race was "too hot a topic." The show's guests were Mi- chael C. Blake, Cocoa mayor; Cynthia Slater, president of the Volusia County NAACP; Allie Braswell, Jr., president and CEO oftheCentral Florida Urban League; Jeff 1Y4plett, Sanford mayor; Rabbi David Kay, assistant rabbi of Congre- gation Ohev Shalom; Marytza Sanz, founder and president/ CEO of Latino Leadership, Inc.; and Glenn Leong, presi- dent/owner of Glenn R. Leong Law Office. Like his fellow panelists, Braswelt praisedWESH-TVfor taking the first step to opening a candid dialogue about this sensitive issue. "This is a con- versation long overdue," said Braswell. "There is a divide... we have to have equal oppor- tunity and equal access." Jim Carter, president and general manager of WESH- Channel 2 and WKCF-Chan- nel 18, said, "The show is an important step. Our company (Hearst Television, Inc.) is totally supportive of the program, and we plan to continue having this con- .versation." Prior to the show's broad- cast, WESH-TV polled 800 Central Floridians across a range of ages, gender, and race about their personal percep- tions of racial relationships. The results of the telephone survey were revealed dur- ing the program, with mor+e ;, than three-quarters of all re- spondents, including whites, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans, agree- ing lhat Central Florida does in fact have a "major" race problem. "We have several ethnic rac- es living in parallel universes," noted Leong, a former presi- dent of the Central Florida Asian-American Chamber of Commerce. "There's also dis- crimination within minority communities." Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, who has been in the spotlight since the February shooting of seventeen-year old Martin by George Zlmmerman, says that the events have opened his eyes to how race is perceived in his community. "I've spent a lot of time hstenmg, and I had no idea what many fe!t," Triplett said. "It's a great opportunity to go and listen. You can't walk in someone else's shoes, but you can walk next to them." Marytza Sanz said that parents have the most im- portant role in creating non- discriminatory attitudes in their children. "When my kids were young- er, and they would tell me about their friends, I would ask them not to mention skin color or ethnic nationality," Sanz said.."Don't describe your friends as black or white, but (rather) as who they are." CocoaMayor Michael Blake, who teaches eighth-grade so- cial studies, says that many of his students were shaken by the Trayvon Martin shooting, and wondered if "they could be next." Like his fellow panel- ists, Blake urged parents and teachers to do+ their part in creating racial harmony for future generations. "Communicate, cooperate, collaborate," said Blake. "All education starts at home." Carter invited viewers to leave comments and sugges- tions at or on the station's Facebook page. Holocaust Center hosts Baha'i Education Under Fire On Sunday, May 20 the Ho- locaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Floridawiil be co-sponsoring a program with local Baha'i representatives in support of the Educati.on Under Fire campaign. The focus is on raising awareness of the Iranian government's continued persecution of the Baha'i community in [ran, and particularly the recent activities to deny educational optortunities to Baha'i stu- dents based solely on their religion. in order to educate their children. Baha'is have set up a secret, accredited Internet- based school system called the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE). After a period of success for the new schooling effort. Iranian authorities raided homes of BIHE leaders, arresting and imprisoning several of them for baseless charges.. The Education Under Fire event will introduce a brief documentary film about the struggle for Baha'i education followed by an open discussion of the issue. The forum begins at noon at the Holocaust Cen- ter (851 N. Maitland Ave. in Maitland). and no admission is charged. The persecution of Baha'i is both a political and religious struggle in Iran, where the supreme leader is a Muslim cleric. Islam is the official re- ligion, with Zoroastrianism, Judaism. and Christianity officially recognized as mi- nority religions. The Baha'i faith has no such recogni- tion even though it is the largest minority religion in that nation. The Baha'i faith developed in the 19th century out of Shi'a Islam and is seen as an immoral deviation from the true faith. Acceptance and safety are also compromised by the close relationship the Baha'i have with Israel. It is headquartered in Haifa and generally has good relations with the Israelis. As a result. Iranian opinion of Baha'is can be greatly influenced by world events, and Bfiha'i individuals are frequently at risk of arrest or harassment as alleged spies for Israel, the United States. Great Britain and other countries. For more information about the program please contact Baha'i Public Infor- mation Officers George and Farideh Via at 321-439-5838 or call the Holocaust Center at 407-628-0555 No one else is doing it + What makes the Jewish Pavilion unique is that "no one else is doing it," says Nancy Ludin, executive director. She adds, "When someone enters long +term care, it is as if they are dropped off the face of the earth.  tn communities across tlC.ed S!ate. synagog+ucS!.;ha, B cho Cholim oees + that visit p eop;i hospitals clinics/ go into a: such asi skille t0ngt/++ e ty uafion g or 'ira no ; where .theJewishPavi icomesin to care.i :S. Pavilion staff and+volunteers visit all the known Jews in long term care m the Orlando area. They go to 50 facilities pro- vidingindivkal visitation, Shabbat an holiday fes- tivities. There im program exatly 14keR in the United' States. Ma communities have a }qsh Home for the Aged butnone visit the 3ewish peolflt who have not elected to ive: the Jewish Home for thAged. Some churches i town provide religious sn'' such as Holy C but hO one other ;tle Jewish Pavi+lin takes the time to sit d with eesidentLS and chat. The Camaraderie is what makes the: Jewish Pavilion experience unique. ish Pnilion_ PAGE 3A The panel from left to right;, Michael C. Blake, mayor of Cocoa; Rabbi David Kay of Congregation Ohev Shalom; Marytza Sanz, president of Latino Leadership; Allie Braswell, president of Central Florida Urban League; Jeff Triplett, mayor of Sanford,. Cynthia Siater, president of Volusia County NAACP; and Glenn Leong, presiden[ of Glenn A" Leong Law Firm. Women to Women Luncheon Back Row (L to R): Cheryl Finkelstein, Maura Weiner, Stacey Soil, Dr. Jennifer Landa, Renee Libow, Dr. Eve Homburger, Gale Milgrim; seated (L to R): Nathalie Toledano Stein- berg, Samntha Gotlib, Miriam Varnagy Stacey Soft, Rend Brent, and new Lion of Judah, Gail Gold 4 JewishFederationg; The tt/++On feature[ Orlando held its:+o "  _iezk, Dr. Wmnen Luncheont Jemi . the generosity of its:  +of tanda, M.D., author of The Judah and Morasha s. Sex Drive Solution for Wom- en addressed the myths affectingwonmnofalhges. ++o- . Chairs, Ren6 Brentand  : Soil coordinated this f2