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June 6, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 6, 2014

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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 6, 2014 American synagogue to be dedicated after 113 years The Sons of Israel Synagogue then (in hand-heM photo) and now, the Silver Hawks team The former Sons of Israel Synagogue now sits inside the boundaries of the Four Winds storethe only one of its Mnd in an American ballpark. Field ballpark. South Bend, Indiana-- Representatives from Indi- ana Landmarks, the North- ern Indiana Center for His- tory and the City of South Bend will joined dozens of leaders from the local Jew- ish community on Friday, May 16, for the ceremonial unveiling of a permanent plaque commemorating the National Register of Historic Places status that has been bestowed upon the region's oldest synagogue--a syna- gogue which happens to reside inside the confines of a professional minor league baseball stadium. The 113)year-old building is lo- cated approximately 120 feet over the left-field wall at Four Winds Field where the South Bend Silver Hawks, a Class A minor league team affiliated with the Arizona Diamond- backs, play in downtown South Bend. 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  Fastest Growing Synagogue  F "  In Central lorida  " i A New Synagogue in Clermont, FL Looking for a Reform/Conservative RABBI I CANTOR If interested, please reply by phone ASAP 352-242-6135 Please like us on Facebook Built in 1901 for the Sons of Israel congregation, the Sons of Israel Synagogue was the first permanent synagogue in the city of South Bend. It later became home to the B'nai Yisrael Reconstructionist Congregation before closing its doors in 1990. The building was saved from demolition several times over the past couple of decades as Indiana Landmarks and former congregation mem- bers like Mendel Piser and his nephew David of South Bend fought to protect it. David Piser, who is president of the Michiana Jewish Historical Society, spoke at the event on behalf of the community, in- cluding his uncle who passed away in 2007. Before Mendel Piser died at the age of 88, he was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying "I only hope they'll put up a historic marker on the building telling the story that it used to be a synagogue. I like to think that a hundred years from now someone will see that plaque and say: 'What do you know, there used to be Jews here.'" In 2011, when Chicago- native Andrew Berlin bought the South Bend Silver Hawks team, he planned to build a modern new team store from the ground up. Instead, he fell in love with the old synagogue sitting in the shadows outside the stadium walls and put a million dollars into renovat- ing and bringing it inside the boundaries of the ballpark itself. Today, it's the new team storethe only one of its kind in an American ballpark. In the summer of 2013, the building was recognized both by the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indianaand the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historical Building. On its outside, the Hebrew script in the stonework and the Star of David on both sides of the roof's ornamenta- tion identify the synagogue's original purpose. The interior architecture remains mostly intact as the restoration proj- ect succeeded in keeping that which hadn't been damaged or dilapidated. "One of the things about this building that just as- tounds me is that it still exists," said Randy Ray, execu- tive director of the Northern Indiana Center for History. "It's defied the odds that it's been around so long. When you walk into it, everyone stops talking. It has a way of captivating you; it's got grandeur to it." Palestinian women making strides on campus By Abdullah H. Erakat The Media Line BIRZEIT UNIVERSITY, SAMARIA--Aya A1 Hindy's redveil matches perfectlywith her long red dress.Athird-year student majoring in ethics and nutrition, she says women on campus feel more and more at home. "When you look at the past and where we are today, we have grown. But we are still in the growth stage," Ai Hindy told The Media Line. "We have not yet achieved our goals-- that is, we have yet to be like developed states." Birzeit University is just a 10-minute drive from Ramal- lah, the Palestinians' financial and political capital. Some 70 percent of the students are women. Some are veiled, others wear jeans. While tra- ditional Palestinian society frowns on women smoking, women here on campus smoke openly. "We respect all of our stu- dents but particularly female students, Birzeit University President Khalil S. Hindi told The Media Line. "We try to enable themwith a"get up and go" mentality and we succeed in that. This university places a great deal of emphasis on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Khalid A! Labadi, an accounting major, says he believes that women should have the same rights as men to work and play a major role in society. But not everyone is ready to accept this. "Even (Palestinian) society is split into different parts. In some parts, you can see people accepting it and in other parts, people may not accept it in the same way as others," he said. AI Hindy says she feels com- fortable talking to male stu- dents as well as other women. "You have come to a uni- versity, not a village. They are not open-minded there. The girls are not allowed to get an education. There, Iwouldn't be able to talk to you, but here I can even hold a door open for you," she said laughing. Friendships between un- married men and women are considered inappropri- ate. Once married, women are watched carefully. Any suspected extramarital ac- tivity can be punished with an "honor killing," in which family members murder the woman to preserve their fam- ily's honor. The United Nations has voiced concern over the rising number of these attacks. Last year, 20 women were reported murdered by family members, and other incidents may have gone unreported. Some of the female students on campus say any change in society will come slowly. "We live in a patriarchal society which comes from our traditions, religion, and what we believe in as a society," said Nadia Tadros, who studies business and marketing. "We believe that men are stronger and they have more rights. Until we believe the opposite, we won't be unable to do more as women and as society in gen- eral," she told The Media Line. Education is one weapon to empower women and educate men to pave theway for change. "Since the women don't have such a voice or a weight in society, the whole sector is a bit neglected. But of course there are wonderful people and efforts going on which provide wonderful education opportu- nities for women, by women," Katrin Denys, the regional director of the German Adult EducationAssociation told The Media Line. "Women are most influ- enced by poverty so if they have a small business, they can be taken out of poverty, and they can give better education to their children," says Middle East Business Magazine & News CEO Amal Daraghmeh Al Masri. She owns three businesses, and two magazines with her partner and husband KhaledAl Masri, and appears in the 'Top Ten Influential Arab Women working in Public Relations in the Arab world.' She says the law needs to be reexamined and rewritten to expand women's rights and more has to be done to stop honor killings. "If you are a woman in a ru- ral area in a difficult situation, and your life is threatened, how can you help your children to advance their lives? How can you go to do business? AI Masri, a mother of three asked. She grew up in avillage near Nablus, one of nine daughters. "My father is conservative, although he is a big believer in assuring a good education for all his nine daughters," she said. She decided to leave Sa- maria when the first intifada, a violent conflict with Israel, broke out in the late 1980s. Katrin Denys says that there a lot of very strong women tak- ing responsibilities in public life like Daraghmeh A1Masri but it remains to be seen "how far that really changes the situation for any average girl and women in the family, on the ground, in the schools, in society." Some men and women believe that having more Pal- estinian women take political positions could help. But many say change will come slowly as attitudes toward women first need to change. "I think the more the number of educated women increases, there will be more confidence among them and I think the confidence of the men towards the educated woman will grow as well," Ghadeer Fannoun Abu Ghar- bieh, the head of the non- formal education department in the Ministry of Education told The Media Line. Meanwhile back on the Birzeit University campus, A1 Hindy says it's hard to predict what she will do after gradua- tion. She says she is attracted to the field of human rights and women's rights. "When there are women present in the political arena, it guarantees my rights. We live in a man's world and when you find a woman, it's a guarantee that she will defend you," she said, before running off to class.