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June 6, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 6, 2014 Shaken by Ukraine's turmoil, Kiev Jews E,00'm self-defense force By Cnaan Liphshiz KIEV, Ukraine (JTA)--At an empty Chabad school near the banks of the Dnieper River here in Ukraine's capital city, six uniformed Jews with hand- guns and bulletproof vests are practicing urban warfare. Leading the training last week is a brawny man who at irregular intervals barks Hebrew-language commands at the men to test their drilled responses to different sce- narios, including "ma'atzor" (firearm malfunction) and "mekhabel" (terrorist). The men, who belong to Kiev's newly formed Jewish Self-Defense Force, all have some combat skills from the Israeli or Ukrainian armies or background in martial arts, but they are clearly rusty. Liv- ing in a country that had been at peace since World War II, they hadn't expected to have to use their skills to defend their local Jewish community. But that changed with the recent turmoil in the country. Amid the months of upheaval, there have been scattered at- tempts to torch synagogues, as well as assaults on Jews. Two rabbis were stabbed near Kiev's Great Choral Synagogue, in January and in March. Such incidents led to the creation and deployment of the self-defense force around some of Kiev's Jewish institu- tions ahead of the country's May 25 elections. "We were naive, I guess. We had thought this conflict would not affect the Jewish community, but now we know we areatarget,"saidTzviArieli, the group's founderandtrainer in techniques he mastered in the Israel Defense Forces. "Honestly, we should have formed this force months ago." Ariel i and his team are wor- ried that their community has become a pawn in the fight that pro-Russian separat- ists have waged against the Ukrainian government since the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in February. "The separatists are on a mission to portray the Ukrai- nians as anti-Semites, and to do that they are targeting the Jewish community," said Gedaliah, another prominent member of the eight-man Jew- ish force who requested that only his first name be used. "Failing that, they'd love to illustrate how the Ukrainian government is helpless to protect the country's Jews and harm its legitimacy." But that helplessness is real enough, according to Gedaliah. "The message we got from Kiev on page 15A Holocaust Center honors Harris Rosen for generosity Burg Photographix (L-r) Louis Supowitz, Dinner co-chair; Harris Rosen; Michelle Feinberg, Dinner co-chair; Pam Kancher, Holocaust Center executive eirector; and Jeffrey Miller, Holocaust Center board president. Burg Photographix (L-r) Jeffrey Miller, Holocaust Center board president; Bruce Gould, board member; Har- ris Rosen; Michele Brennan, Holocaust Center board member and Jim Shapiro, Holocaust Center board member. Brion Price Photography (L-r) Myrna and Dr. Marvin Newman, Barbara Chasnov and Diane Salt. Brion Price Photography (L-r) Armand Marchesano, Rhonda Forest, Sonja Marchesano, Bruce Gould, and Norman and Jean Gould. t m 3'our corner. Burg Photographix Harriett Lake and Phyllis Englander. The Holocaust Center hon- ored Harris Rosen, president and CO0 of Rosen Hotels and Resorts at its annual Dinner of Tribute. The event raised more than $290,000 to support the Center, and its Holocaust Education and anti-bullying programs. Pam Kancher, executive director, said that honoring Rosen was a "natural fit" for the Center and its work to build a more compassionate world. "He has long supported the Holocaust Center and a number of other causes," she said. "His projects in Tangelo Park and in Haiti, his healthcare outreach for his employees, his wonderful support for the University of Central Florida and the Jewish Community Center's Jack and Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando Campus, all speak to his abil- ity to identify with the needs of others. We often use the Hebrew phrase, tikun olam, which means 'repairing the world.' That is clearly what Harris Rosen does with his generosity." For more information about the Holocaust Center visit www.holocaustedu.org.