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Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
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May 30, 1980     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 30, 1980
 

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Page 12. HERITAGE, Florida Jewish News. May 30, 1980 by William Pages (Copyright 1980, JTA, Inc.) May 10th marked 40 years since I saw my first German soldier. True, before that, there had been other Germans who came to our city, people with whom my parents were acquainted, businesswise or socially; there was a headwaiter" I remember who was German, and there were some show people who had come straight from the Berlin Wintergarten with wonderful ads, and we got to know them, my parents and I, because of my father's professional interests, and they looked okay to me. rather glamorous and exciting and quite worldly but not unlike other people in that line of business who hailed from different parts of the world, dispensers of fun and adventure, miracle workers, all. By the time I was 12-years- old, I had already seen more dancers, acrobats and magicians than now make up an entire season in Las Vegas, and as I've said, many of them were Germans. Frankly, I could see no difference. Then one morning, our doorbell rang, very early, while the entire family was still asleep. My dad went out on the balcony to see who was there, and after a time I followed and we both stood there in our pajamas, looking down at my cousin Mendel. seven-years- older than I, first violinist with the city's Philharmonic, a very handsome boy who knew of evil what I know about nuclear physics. Jewish Heroism: The Other Definition I "They're here," he called up, and kept repeating the words with increasing insistence. "They're here." My father and I looked down and at each other, and my dad frowned and looked down again, and all my cousin kept saying was: "They're here." I remember the scene very well. Finally, my father asked: "'Who? Who's hereT" And Mendel said: "The Germans." People who write for a living are often suspected -- and I am ready to concede that it is a suspicion often well founded -- of tampering with reality; not out of malice, and not necessarily for the sake of semantic trickery, in order, say, to make a piece more effective, more readable; just as it is presumed, and that too is often justified, that writers (and we're talking about honest ones) suffer unwit- tingly from the inability to draw a sharp line between truth and fantasy, that the process of conjuring up images carries with it a built-in lie, a little poem that really wasn't there to begin with, but that came into being at a later point, when colorless shutters at the summer house suddenly acquired a green coat of paint -- if only in the mind's eye, but with sufficient stubbornness and tenaciousness so that after a while, the unreal is the real. It happens to writers, and sometimes to ordinary story- tellers on park benches, old men who like to share reminiscences with other old men, and who like telling young people how things that never were really were, then. It happens all the time. but especially to writers. Only not, repeat, not in this instance. There were -- probably still are, why not? -- three bridges in our town, one over a shallow, skinny river and the other two simply serving as spans over valley land, and we saw our first Germans at one of these bridges. The men were working with wire, stringing it around the girders in intricate patterns, and my father wasn't able to tell me what it was they were doing. He didn't know, honestly. Where was he to have picked up such knowledge anyway? He knew what he knew and that was that. He knew about perfume and could distinguish between the most subtle fragrances the way wine tasters know their stuff; he knew about perfume HERITAGE reaches 21,000 Jewish readers each week. 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Because Marriott s Sunday  -'' '''_l Brunch is only $5.95 for grownups. And _ -!liili 30 e per year of age up to I0. At our ,.,li1l Marrnalade Tre Restaurant every / ,l  Sunday, I 1:30 am - 2:30 pm. [IX\\;' " Orlando -'- .00arriott Inn i. Who n Marri()tl does it, 6700 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32809 lheydo it fighl.  (305) 351-2420 I I I and about cremes and lotions and a vast assortment of other glamorizing products, and he spent his days with such things, so that when he came home, in the evening, what preceded him, invariably, was the mingled scent of a dozen grooming aids. He dealt, after all. in elixirs of eternal youth. So I ask now: should he have known about detonating devices, remote control explosives, nitrogly- cerine, dynamite, timer- activated grenades? Had he completed, ever, some special basic training course to equip him for future heroism, perchance as a Warsaw Ghetto fighter? No. He was like all the others of his generation, like his cronies -- the textile men, the department store owners, the lawyers, the doctors and the unskilled laborers. They were European Jews: that's what they were: Jews. Most, let me tell you, were heroes in their own right; of a different brand, perhaps, but heroes just the same. So they couldn't tell the barrel of a submachinegun from the trigger. So what? They made a Jiving, they fed their families, they managed to give their children a better education than they them- defeated: in leather rifles Iookin( and at Anyway. cousin we city and toOkt the new selves had received, and they looked did it by working hard, by uniforms --i making sacrifices, by caring, here, setting yes by caring. And that -- as there. your grandmother (but not this mine, because mine spoke no up English at all. good or bad) posters. might have said " "and that shot." by you is not heroismT' "Papa, Today, presumably for the sake of the children, and big parade in t Jewish children still unborn, the West we have produced our own and all that definition of heroism. The for the people of Israel have made it march easy for us by giving us to they did. prototype; more than a third of a century after the fact, we As have reached a point where we to the sound 0 make a clear distinction clad boots between those who went Someone quietly, or at best mumbling pointed ani some last, long-learned prayer "'There. that, to the God of Israel, to take s e e ? their showers; and those of Himmler." whom we now say (it's the "Papa, latest entry in the Jewish Himmler?" lexicon) that They Chose Life. What am How cruel, how heartless, about How un-.Jewish. For the sake all. I am ofthechildren?Forthesakeof am I not? pride? Of dignity? Call it a misapplied Mitzvah. Yes, that's Even those lavishly the sound produced coffee table books Menders have ganged up to depict one other six kind, the bearded ones with voices I their soulful eyes, red:rimmed miss them from too much Torah study in And bad light, shoulders hunched, bellyaching Story of Jewish Prophet Transformed to Rock Theatre The story of the prophet Ezekiel from the Old Testament has been transformed into a multi- media stage production intertwining music, lights, singing, dance and theatre that will premiere this weekend, May 30-31, at Valencia Community College's new performing arts complex located on the east campus. "Ezekiel--a Rock- Theatre Event," created by composer-lyricist George Atwell of Bee Jay Recording Studios, will include a wide-variety of electronic and accoustic instruments, a 12-member choral section, nine dancers and four lead vocalists who have appeared on nationally distributed record labels. Cher Stempler of Dimensions 4000, a local production company she created with husband David, was chosen to direct and choreograph "'Ezekiel." She has had 23 years of Sweetheart, this joint's great CHER STEMPLER and GEORGE dance experience and has been entertaining central Florida for the past four years with plays, musicals and revue-convention format shows. Curtain time will be 8 p.m. with a 2 on May 31. $6.50 and may be major the Valencia office. ELEB DELLY NEW YORK STYLE Discover why people prefer us. Conveniently open Sundays and evening. Over 60 giant New York sandwiches. Lunch specials every day. Mon-Thurs: 8-8 Fri: 8-10 'Sun: 8-2