Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
May 22, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 19     (19 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 19     (19 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
May 22, 2009

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2020. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 22, 2009 PAGE 19A Goldberg From page 1A that. After a few minutes, I could see a slight smile on Murray's lips. Fast forward to the Purim party--10 minutes later--and Murray is sitting in the activity room with all the other residents spinning his grogger and wearing a silly hat. From that moment on, Murray participated in all JP activities and welcomed JP volunteers with open arms." Goldberg says of the Pavil- ion residents: "They are our morns and dads that we would go to when we had hurts and now that they're old we have to go to them and heal their hurts." Debbie Meitin has known Goldberg for years, and worked with him as a "min- yanaire," a member of the chevra kadisha and a member of Temple Israel. If Goldberg suddenly moved away, she says, "there would be a lot of holes and we probably would have a lot of people that would need to step up. He does everything so selflessly. We'd need a lot more volunteers to take the place of that one person." Rabbi Aaron Rubinger, senior rabbi of Congregation Ohev Shalom, has known Goldberg for at least 15 years. When Rubinger was active in helping organize the first community minyan, "there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to ask Hank to be the gabbai, the ritual president. He has this geniality and he connects so easily with members. People just like him, they're drawn to him and they respect him. He's really a true gentleman, and a great, great mensch." Goldberg, says Rubinger, is "a very loyal member of Temple Israel, but first and foremost he's a member of the Jewish people." "He's also really a peacemaker in the community. Hank is the one who can smooth things over. He gets along with everyone, with every single rabbi, with everyone in the minyan." In the early days, Orlando's minyans alternated between Congregation Ohev Shalom and Temple Israel. Rubinger says, "My very first time that I walked into the minyan at Temple Israel when I was say- ing Kaddish for my father, I got awarm'Hank' handshake and a hug and, 'Rabbi Rubinger, how lovely it is to see you.' Hank does that to everybody." Goldberg grew up Con- servative, as a "middle of the road" compromise between his "Modern Orthodox" father and his Reform mother. His mother, Bessie, and her own mother were not born Jewish, but"went to the mikvah" and formally converted together when Bessie was a child. He credits Bessie with giving him his sense of social action and striving for social justice. Goldberg and his wife, Joan, came to Orlando in 1964,"pre- Disney," but the company that had brought them here went out of business six months later. The young couple, who eventually had five children, struggled financially foryears, until Goldberg established a successful home building inspection business, which he sold two years ago. He had taken exams for state of Florida licenses in both funeral directing and build- ing inspection, and vowed to go into whichever line of work sent back an acceptance first: Thus was born Certified Building Inspectors, Inc., a Maitland stalwart still in operation. His personal Jewish jour- ney has actually been "one of guilt." In those early strug- gling years, "I had to spend time working in positions I didn't really want to work in and that took me away from Judaism." He only started to become deeply involved in the community in about the late 1970s, after "I began to have a few coins" and "felt I could repay my obligations." One of Goldberg's pas- sions is promoting free re- ligious instruction for chil- dren: "Hebrew education should be free at all syna- gogues." When he served on the board of Temple Israd, he was instrumental i~ passing the resolution that led to the synagogue provid- ing free religious school f6r members' children in pre-K through fifth grade. No0- members may attend free for one year. "That's the Jewish way," says Goldberg. "It's called tzedakah." He feels that unaffordable tuition at synagogues has "lost a whole generation of children." Rabbi David Kay, assistant rabbi at Congregation Ohev Shalom, has worked closely for years with Goldberg, both at the community minyan and at the chevra kadisha. "The chevra kadisha," explains Kay, is so important that it's one of the things that tradi- tionally you try to set up first in a new Jewish community, even before you establish a synagogue." "The ideal person to be involved with the chevra kadisha is someone who is not interested in being recognized," says Kay. The families of the deceased don't know the identities of those who assist them in this way. "I've done a number of taha- rot [ritual preparations for burial] with Hank, and he's extremely dedicated, very compassionate, and very re- spectful" in performing this "righteous deed that you do knowing that no one knows who is doing it." Goldberg says he loves his workwith the chevra kadisha. His first experience perform- ing a tahara was when his grandfather died. Young Hank was just over bar mitzvah age, and his Orthodox cousins showed him how to help with tying their "zeyde's" fingers, closing the eyes, washing and dressing the body. "The zeyde couldn't say thanks for the job, for what you're doing," so it was the ultimate act of anonymous iovingkindness. Goldberg has done many taharot for people he's known, including for other members of the chevra kadisha them- selves. Is that hard? "It's beau- tiful. The soul of your friend is parting and he thanks you and you want to kibbitz with him, say 'Keep a good spot for me, we'll play gin together.'" And respect, he says, "is so important." "Do you want to be just thrown into a box and put into the ground?" says Goldberg. "Or would you want someone to wash you, put on clean garments and say prayers over you as you are being put away? We are brought into the world to become human beings and to live as human beings, and as we die, we are to die as human beings and not be put away as animals." "If there's a Jewish com- munalproject he's not involved in," says Kay of Goldberg, "he's definitely aware of it." Goldberg keeps the community run- ning, says Kay: The low-profile but essential things he does are "parts of Jewish communal life that everyone just assumes are going to be there, and kind of expects to be there when they need it, but don't necessarily fully appreciate how much effort goes into it." On the Shabbat of Shavuot this year, Congregation Ohev Shalom will honor several dedicatedvolunteers who have kept the community minyan going, including Goldberg. Goldberg and his wife Joan, also a Jewish Pavilion volun- teer, will celebrate their 50th anniversary in October. Four of their five children are now doctors and engineers, and four of them live in Central Florida. "A person like Hank is very, very rare to find in a Jewish community," says Rabbi Rub- inger. "There's a legend about 36 hidden righteous people upon whom the world stands, and these are very humble people and they're not in the limelight and they're the ones who keep things in existence. I wouldn't be surprised if Hank were one of those people." Trial From page 1A Sarna, 17."Shabbat is not at all voluntary and not something you can compromise on." The 27-member Mai- monides team, of which eight competed in the tournament, learned about the Shabbat conflict in early April, not long after itwon the Massachusetts state mock trial champion- ship qualifying them for the national event. Maimonides hoped that instead of having to compete in the customary two trials on Friday and two trials on Satur- day, the mock trial organiza- tionwould make an exception for the school and move its Saturday trials to Thursday, when all the competitors already are in attendance and practicing at the competition site, or add additional trials for Maimonides on Friday. The organization argued that altering the schedule affected the fairness of the competition because match- Abrams From page 12A elheaded. What keeps you grounded? JJA: Whenever I need a reminder that I'm just a lucky schmuck who gets to make movies, my wife is there to nudge me or slap the back of my head. Rabbis From page 18A with people who have years of experience," said Hample, who had been optimistic about the two callbacks from the initial 10 interviews he did and another one at a non- denominational synagogue. "Why would anyone hire me rather than them?" He's especially worried because he doesn't fit into the box--he's older than the ups in later rounds are de- termined by the results from earlier rounds. The results, its officials said, cannot be uti- lized properly if Maimonides is participating in its fourth trial while nearly all the other squads have participated in only two. There was precedent for the request: In 2005, the local sponsoring organization for the competition, the North Carolina Trial Lawyers As- sociation, made a similar re- scheduling to accommodate a New Jersey Jewish day school, the Torah Academy of Bergen County. Pressured by the lawyers' group, the mock trial organization acquiesced after initially refusing the request, then passed a resolution say- ing it would not allow similar accommodations for Sabbath observers in the future. As a result of that decision, the New Jersey and North Carolina mock trial groups resigned from the national organization and formed their own group that does not hold competitions on Shabbat. So Jeff Kosowsky, Michael's father, and Daniel Edelman, a Maimonides alumnuswhowas familiarwith the issue because his wife is an English teacher at the Torah Academy of Bergen County, enlisted Washington lawyers Nathan and Alyza Lewin, who specialize in re- ligious discrimination cases. Working pro bono, the Lewins got the Justice Depart- ment to issue a letter to the administrator of the Georgia courts, warning that entities that receive federal funds cannot administer programs that discriminate on the basis of religion. The competition was scheduled to be held in the Fulton County Courthouse, which receives federal funds. The Lewins, Kosowsky and Edelman also tried to con- vince the local host sponsor, the Georgia Bar Association, to take action, but the as- socation said that while it was sympathetic, claimed its contract with the national mock trial organization tied its hands. The Maimonides' backers also alerted the media, with articles appearing on the situation in a major Atlanta legal publication and The New York Times. It worked. On May 6, after one mem- ber of the Georgia Bar had resigned in protest, Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Doris Downs told event organizers that thdy would not be able to use the Fulton County Courthouse for the competition unless they made accommodations for the Maimonides team. The organizers then decided to schedule a Thursday trial and three Friday trials for the Bostonians. Michael Kosowsky said the three trials on Friday were "a little tiring," but the team was pleased where it finished, considering it was its first trip to the national championship. J J: I don't want to make any assumptions--because being Jewish in Hollywood means lots of different things--so I'll just ask why people think you're Jewish. JJA: My name is Jeffrey Jacob Abrams--it's a tough one to get around. My family wasn't very religious, but I'm very proud of my heritage. My wife is Irish Catholic and it's a fascinating thing having married someone who's of a different religion, because you get to understand and see and respect another way of growing up and believing. That to me is interesting and healthy. I do consider myself Jewish, and . I I take my kids o services on hohdays because that is something really im- portant to me. Danielle Berrin is a staff writer for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. other ordinees, and gay. But, he notes, classmates who are young and straight are also still unemployed. He's expanded his search, looking to chaplaincy in prisons or hospitals, admin- istrative jobs at Jewish orga- nizations, overseas pulpits or freelance writing on Jewish topics. That kind of broadmind- edness might be a blessing, according to Rabbi Richard Levy, director of the School of Rabbinic Studies at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. He said stu- dents are reaching for more, and local congregations have responded optimistically to a call to find more job openings for new rabbis. "Crises often bring out the best in a person, and I think here it's brought out the re- sourcefulness of our students and the resourcefulness of our colleagues," Levy said. "I have always told the students that placement is like the call to being a rabbi in the first place--God's hand is in this, and often unexpected oppor- tunities open up thatwe didn't think about earlier on." Hample hopes so. "I don't regret my journey, not for a moment," he said, "although I don't know where that journey is going from here." Julie Gruenbaum Fax is a senior writer for The Jed~- ish Journal of Greater LOs Angeles. The schedule change was popular among the other teams in Atlanta, as well. Michael Kosowsky said that on the day the Maimonides team arrived, a number of competitors noticed their kipot and told them, "We're really hopeful you get the accommodations." The other teams were "very, very supportive," Sarna said. "It really meant a lot to us." Both said it made perfect sense that their fellow mock trial competitors would be so interested in their plight. "It's a competition about the legal system," Sarna said. "They're the type of people who would care about this." Those involved in the mock trial effort say they hope that the mock trial organization will make a permanent Shabbat accom- modation policy, either by changing the days of the week that the tournament is held or, minimally, having a rescheduling option when Sabbath observers--Jewish or Muslim--qualify for the competition. The mock trial group doesn't appear ready to change: On its Web site, the 20th-place finish o~ Mai- monides is accompanied by an asterisk that notes th~ team's "deviation from typical team advancement." Dishes From page 13A 11/2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed, peeled, cooked just until tender 1/2 lb. sugar snap peas, trimmed and cooked until tender 2 cups frozen peas, thawed and drained 4 cups watercress leaves In a small bowl whisk dressing ingredients until well com- bined. Cut asparagus on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths. CUt snap peas on the diagonal in half. In alarge bowl combine asparagus, snap peas and peas with dressing. Toss in the watercress. Salt and pepper to taste. Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto, Calif., cooking teacher, author and the co-author of "Jewish Holiday Cooking." Her columns appear in j. the jewish news weekly of northern california from which this article was reprinted by permission. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to HANDYMAN SERVICE Handy man and General Maintenance Air Conditioning Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960