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June 6, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 6, 2014 Roth From page 2A American Judaism. Eisen noted his admiration for the Roth novels that examined the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora, such as "The Counterlife" and "Operation Shylock," as well as works that explored the American scene, like "The Human Stain" and "Ameri- can Pastoral." "We are a community that treasures someone who holds up such a penetrating and insightful mirror to who we are and reveals the dilemmas and contradictions and aspi- rations of the community," Eisen said. "We are grateful for the mirror even if not ev- erything you see in it is easy." Elisa Albert, a fiction writer and the author of an epistolary short story in which her alter ego offers to have a baby with Roth, called the JTS recogni- tion"asmall honorary justice." "I'd imagine it's an ir- resistible offering: a major institution of the very com- munity that once upon a time so narrow-mindedly shunned him and his work now honors him, decades later," she wrote in an email. Pope From page 2A erected in 2002 to prevent terror infiltrations into Jewish population centers. He prayed in front of graffiti that read "Free Palestine" and (in bro- ken English) "Bethlehem look like Warsaw Ghetto," leading to widely distributed photos. Ehrenberg said the photo- op in front of the Israeli secu- rity fence "can be interpreted as some kind of a PR coup for the Palestinians," but that Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu addressed the issue when he spoke to the pope "and explained that the fence was built particularly to prevent the acts of terror that the international community is so against." "It's not because Israel wanted to build it there," Ehrenberg said of the fence. "It was forced upon Israel by terrorist attacks. [Netanyahu] showed the pope the plaque remembering the horrific terrorist attacks that were perpetrated [at the AMIAJew- ish center] in Buenos Aires, which the pope knows only all too well." Platania said, "This pope is coming across as very charis- matic, very people-oriented. Some people think that's great. Other people think he has an agenda. Praying at the security wall was a sign of peace, but I wonder if he wanted to come across as exposing the wall and Israeli policy." Even "the best of our friends, eventually even with the best intentions, may want to use that friendliness, the diplomatic efforts, smiles, and phone calls to rabbis to help promote their own agendas," Platania explained. A longer-term issue be- tween Israel and the Vatican relates to valuable Jewish artifacts dating back to the period of the First Temple in Jerusalem and believed to be held in Vatican archives that have been off-limits to Jewish leaders. "The issue of artifacts is a big deal," Platania said. "Many people have asked to visit the archive, and have been denied. It is believed that there are a lot of items that belong to Jewish heritage on all levels--things that could potentially be from the Temple, but even if they are not, still belong to the Jewish people, and could be given back." Returning the items, ac- cording to Platania, would be an "amazing act of reconcili- ation and friendship." Yet the Israeli government appears patient on the arti- facts issue, and is hopeful that there is much to be gained by improving relations with the Vatican. Peres and Pal- estinian Authority President MahmoudAbbas, meanwhile, accepted an invitation from the pope to pray for peace at the Vatican. That gathering is scheduled for June 6. "The relationships cer- tainly will continue and will deepen," said Ehrenberg. "Shimon Peres is going tovisit the pope in two weeks, so let's see where that leads." XPrize From page 6A Its navigation system will double as a camera and its steering thrusters will guide its landing. "Instead of taking a bulky radar system, we're taking cameras with us, so the best thing is to reuse those cameras," Bash said. "If I can just write more code for my camera, code doesn't weigh anything." Bash hadn't even consid- ered entering the competition until 2010. He pushed through government bureaucracy to register SpaceIL as a non- profit and entered the race on Dec. 31, 2010, the last day of registration. Yonatan Wine- traub, another of the project's co-founders, connected with Israel Space Agency head Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, who gave the group three minutes on stage at a space technology convention in Tel Aviv. It was enough to convince philanthropists atthe conven- tion to give SpaceIL its seed money and lure Ben Yisrael to join the group's board. Spa- ceiL has since received sup- port from Rona Ramon, the widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who gave $16.4 million. "They're young people with a lot of vision, with Israeli initiative," Ben Yisrael said. "If the government sends a craft to space, that's OK. But when there's a group of young people that takes on a project that looks like science fiction, to land something on the moon, it's different. It's strong." SpaceIL has avoided the expensive and labor-intensive approach of some of the other teams, but it's not the only one to go small. The Penn State Lunar Lion Team, an XPrize team housed at Pennsylvania State University, also is build- ing a small craft that will jump the 500 meters. Team director Michael Paul said small projects like theirs could complement large govern- ment initiatives and broaden the reach of space exploration. "We've created a new model that makes space exploration possible through philanthro- py," Paul said. "I don't know if it's going to be a dominant piece [of space exploration], but it will be an incredibly im- portant piece in the decades to come. NASA isn't going away." SpaceIL hopes to expand the appeal of space explora- tion by spreading its message through Israel's classrooms. The team is investing in a large educational program, lectur- ing about the program in Israeli classrooms and work- ing with Israel's Education Ministry to devise a science curriculum based around space travel.Alongwith reach- ing the moon, the founders hope to imbue Israel's next generation with excitement for science and technology. "We let them know they're capable of building their own spacecraft," said the third co-founder, Kfir Damari. "We want to use the story to show that science and technology is exciting, that you can have a huge impact on the world if you're a scientist and engineer." SpaceIL's team believes it has a good chance of winning. But even if it doesn't, Damari said landing an Israeli craft on the moon will be reward enough. "It's the story of three people who decided one day that they're landing on the moon," he said. "Today it's an Israeli project, but it's [also] three engineers who wanted to land a spacecraft there and it's happening." Kin From page 7A Herman believes that those shown could include his ancestors and hopes that "Seeking Kin" readers can identify some. "I think it's wonderful I was able to connect with a piece of family history I feared was lost," he said. "It's an oppor- tunity to get my daughters involved and more knowledge- able of a part of their family they had no familiarity with. "I don't know a lot of my family history. That's one of the things I'm hoping to find out from the museum. Now I feel I have a much stronger connection to a place and a synagogue I didn't have any connection to before." Please email Hillel Kuttler at if you can identify those shown in this group photograph or have ancestral connections to the Eldridge Street Synagogue. If would like "Seeking Kin" to write about your search for long-lost relatives and friends, please include the principal facts and your contact information in a brief email. "Seeking Kin" is sponsored by Bryna Shuchat and Joshua Landes and fam- ily in loving memory of their mother and grandmother, Miriam Shuchat, a lifelong uniter of the Jewish people. Roth, however, has not ex- actly been a communal pariah over his long career. Three of his books were honored with the American Jewish Book Award, and in 1998 he won the Jewish Book Council's Lifetime Literary Achieve- ment Award. The JTS honor seems to have elicited little contro- versy. Though Roth has faced criticism from feminists over his depictions of women, a query from Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg to the listserv for female Conservative rabbis soliciting reactions to the honorary doctorate yielded no responses. The president of the Philip Roth Society, Aimee Pozorski, said that Roth and JTS are not so different in their values. "Ultimately, for the last 50 years, and despite opinions to the contrary, they have fought for the same ideals all along," Pozorski added. "From the very beginning of his career, he has been deeply invested in representing the lives and fates of Jewish youth." Roth, however, has de- murred when it is suggested that he should be defined as an American Jewish writer. "I did not want to, did not intend to, and was not able to speak for American Jews; I surely did not deny, and no one questioned the fact, that I spoke to them, and I hope to others as well," Roth wrote in his essay "Writing About Jews." At JTS, though, apprecia- tion abounded for Roth's con- tributions to the Jewish world. "If the Western world views itself through the lens of the modern Jewish experience, it is in large measure due to the novels, novellas and short stories of Philip Roth," wrote David Roskies, a JTS Jewish literature professor, in a note to the class of 2014. PAGE 15A He added that Roth "has done more than anyone to further the literary explora- tion of the Holocaust, in his own writings, and by promot- ing great works and writers throughout the world." At the JTS commence- ment, the honorary doc- torate recipients received their hoods, tribute to their various services to the Jew- ish people: Ruth Calderon, Knesset member and Talmud teacher; Rabbi David Ellens- on, chancellor and former president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; and Stanley Fischer, former governor of the Bank of Israel. When Roth was given his hood, he received a sustained standing ovation. And atthe ceremony's end, Roth walked off stage in the final procession, barehead- ed among the kippah-clad crowd. 'Ida' From page 3A in the presence of her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), a worldly and cynical Commu- nist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parentswere murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelation triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of the repressed past, evoking the haunting legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism. In this beautifully directed film, Pawlikowski returns to his native Poland for the first time in his career to confront some of the more contentious issues in the history of his birthplace. Powerfullywritten and eloquently shot, "Ida" a masterly evocation of a time, a dilemma, and a defining historical moment; "Ida" is also personal, intimate, and human. The weight of his- tory is everywhere, but the scale falls within the scope of a young woman learning about the secrets of her own past. This intersection of the personal with momentous historic events makes for what is surely one of the most powerful and affecting films of the year. "One of the best films of the year. Not to be missed." - George Robinson, The Jew- ish Week "It haunted me. I can't wait to see it again." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times "Exquisite." - Joe Morgen- stern, Wall Street Journal "Riveting. Sublime."- Kar- in Badt, Huffington Post For showtimes visit: www. Cohen From page 4A In that same piece, I ac- knowledged that another re- ality prevails: anti-Semitism is rife in Iraq, which means that an honest reckoning of the fate of its Jewish com- munity simply isn't pos- sible-certainly not in the way that Germany has faced up to its responsibility for the Holocaust. Sadly, that same reality has been confirmed by the much-discussed new Anti-Defamation League sur- vey of anti-Semitism in 100 countries around the world. Ambassador Faily said of the archive May 14 that it is important for Iraq "to recover this precious piece of our cultural heritage that documents an era of our country's history." But save for the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and Gaza, anti- Semitic sentiments are more entrenched in Iraq than in any other country on earth. Sev- enty percent of Iraqis believe that "Jews are responsible for most of the world's wars," while 81 percent think that "People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave." Eradicating this poison is an immense task, certainly not one that can be resolved by placing the archive on display in a country that loathes the community it portrays. Not to mention the very credible fear that the archive could be lost or destroyed, given Iraq's perilous security situation. The conclusion, then, is ob- vious, but I'll state it anyway. Keep the Iraqi Jewish Archive here: where it's respected, where it's avidly studied, and where it's safe. Ben Cohen is the Shill- man analyst for and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Haaretz, and other publica- tions. His book, "Some Of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Cen- tury Antisemitism" (Edition Critic, 2014), is now available through Amazon. Kiev From page 10A meetings with high-level of- ficials is that however much they'd like to protect potential Jewish targets, they are over- stretched, understaffed and simply not up to the task," he said. "They basically told us to take steps to defend ourselves." Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, a chief rabbi of Ukraine who leads the Great Choral Synagogue, gave the green light several weeks ago to the formation of the self-defense unit under Arieli's command. The unit, its members say, has the backing of Ukrainian police. "We have a direct line to police top brass in case any of our members are detained by police," Arieli said. The men are licensed to car- ry their personal handguns for self-defense purposes. They also have five bulletproof vests that Arieli, a soft-spoken former emissary to Kiev of the Bnei Akiva Zionist youth movement, obtained from donors in Israel. The team also has baseball bats to wield as clubs, but no helmets or proper first-aid kits. Arieli is working to raise additional funds on Facebook to buy gear for prospective new members. At the schoolyard, the men practice running for cover as their comrades fire imaginary shots at an abstract enemy, shouting "barn, barn, barn" while pulling the triggers of their empty firearms. They are all friends in their 20s to 40s, but there is little joking around. They go over the moves again and again, taking care to hug walls as they turn corners with their firearms extended until they secure the entire space. Staggering under the weight of the 40-pound ce- ramic vest, Gedaliah shakes his head and says, "This is going to take some getting used 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