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June 7, 2013

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PAGE 16A By Moira Schneider CAPE TOWN, South Africa (JTA)--Cyril Karabus stepped into the arrivals hall at Cape Town International Airport to a rapturous welcome. A multiracial crowd num- bering in the hundreds had turned out to greet him. A minstrel troupe was singing "Hevenu Shalom Aieichem." And a rabbi stepped forward to recite the priestly blessing. The arrival two weeks ago capped a nine-month saga in which Karabus, 78, was jailed in the United Arab Emirates on charges of manslaughter and fraud. Unbeknownst to the retired pediatric oncologist, he had been convicted in absentia in connection with the death of a 3-year-61d leukemia patient he had treated in 2002 during a six-week stint at Sheikh Khalifa Medical Center in Abu Dhabi. While in transit in Dubai during his return from his son's wedding in Toronto, he HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 7, 2013 After nine months of captivity, Jewish doctor'returns tohero's welcome going on," Bagraim recalled. "I imagined it was some sort of traffic offense. I said, 'Don't worry, I'll sort it out and we'll get him back here in a few days.' [I] told the others to get on to an airplane and come back. I slightly underes- timated the situation." For the bulk of his incar- ceration, Karabus was held at the Al Wathba prison, sharing a medical ward for a time with two brothers accused of mur- der. Karabus, who suffers from a heart condition, passed the time playing chess with one of the accused, a 26-year-old Cambridge University student who Karabus describes as "a nice guy." Without a chess set in the ward, the student fashioned one from a checkers board, drawing the pieces on paper and attaching them to the checkers. "It wasn't the greatest chess set but I played with him," Karabus said. A diary entry from the time reads: "Hot as hell, waiting on wrists and ankles. Sitting in a 15 square-metre waiting room with 40 other prisoners. No word yet." Meanwhile, back in South Africa, Bagraim was cam- paigning for the doctor's release and keeping the story alive' in the media. For the past six months, Bagraim said, he has done "absolutely nothing else." Karabus was finally ac- quitted of all charges in March, but the saga didn't end there. Several administrative bungles and delays kept him in the country for another two months. His Jewishness was not a factor in his treatment by au- thoritiegin the UAE, Karabus said, but maintaining his reli- gious obligations in a Muslim country was not always easy. At Passover, he stopped eating bread for aweek. He watched a seder and his grandson's brit over Skype. In jail over Yom Kippur, he eschewed food and drink for the duration of the holiday. ever did," he said. His retrial wasn't nearly as easy. Karabus endured more than a dozen court post- ponements while authorities searched for a medical report that would have exonerated him. And though he never feared for his safety--UAE authorities even provided him with medication for his heart condition--at points he feared his ordeal would never end. "It just went on," Karabus said. "You just schlepped along to court and stood there and nothing happened, or you weren't told what hap- pened. You had to read in the newspaper the next day what had transpired, but they only translated very small amounts of the court discussion. You really had no idea what was happening." Karabus adds that the judge, a Moroccan, "never said a word to me." Support poured in from around the world. Letters arrived from doctors, many by police in front of his wife, daughter, son-in-law and two small grandchildren. I was "totally bloody shocked," Karabus said of his arrest in Dubai in August. Thus began the ordeal dur- ingwhich hewas incarcerated in three jails for 57 nights and forbidden to leave the UAE. Checking in for his flight in Toronto, Karabus had an inklingsomethingwas amiss: He was informed by the staff of Emirates Airlines that there was a security alert under his name. But following further investigation, he was told there was no problem and he could board. "They were complicit in having me arrested, so they're not a bloody airline, they're a police force," Karabus said. Representatives of Emirate Airlines did not respond to JTA requests for comment. Following his arrest, the family called their SouthAfri- can lawyer, Michael Bagraim, at his home for advice. It was 3a.m. nection to Karabus but were moved by his plight. "At one time I got about 100 emails from members of the American College of Medical Science and also from the Bangladesh Community of Science," Karabus said. "I tried to answer most of them." While out on $24,000 bail, Karabus stayed with a fellow South African doctor, Elwin Buchel, in Abu Dhabi. Fearful that his communications were being monitored, Karabus refrained from speaking out. Instead, he read and went for walks. "I discovered where the nearest bottle store was, which nobody seemed to know about," Karabus said. "You've got to find it because it's not advertised, obviously." Karabus said he may some- day write a book about his experience. But for the mo- ment, he's content to enjoy just being at home. "I'm trying to find my feet again," Karabus said. "I don't even remember where things was shackled and detained "I didn't know what was out in the sun with shackles "That was the easiest fast I ofwhom had no personal con- are in the house." Rahm's big brother offers up family secrets By Johanna Ginsberg New Jersey Jewish News if you happen to be a Jewish parent, is: How do I get my kids to grow up like those Emanuel boys? You know: Ari, the wealthy L.A. talent agent who inspired an iconic sitcom character; Ezekiel, the bioethicist at The Hastings Center; and Rahm, former right-hand man to a president - OK, let's face it. One of the burning questions of the day, HELP WANTED Part-time assistant editor Approximately 22 hours per week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, from I - 5 p.m. Wednesday 11- 5 p.m. Responsibilities will include editing, writing, page layout, photography and some misc. clerical. Knowledge of the Jewish community and computer experience helpful. Please send resume to : jeff@orlandoheritage.corn or call Jeff at 407-834-8787. and now mayor of Chicago. Hurry to your local inde- pendent bookstore. Ezekiel has provided a how-to guide, Sort of. Don't get too excited. "The Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Fam- ily" offers plenty of family his- tory and insight, but following the guide is going to require some reading between the lines. That became apparent at a recent talk he gave at Maplewood's Words Book- store, owned by his buddy, Jonah Zimiles. The pair met at Amherst College and have been friends ever since. His talk focused on how "average" he and his broth- ers were, the three sons of a Jerusalem-born pediatrician dad and a psychiatric social worker morn. For one thing, youngest brother Ari had the "deadly combination" of ADD and dyslexia. "people wrote him off," said Zeke Emanuel, but those "people" didn't include his mother. (Rule number one for creating an Emanuel brother: Have a strong mother.) The New York Times Magazine once described how Marsha Emanuel took her sons to cultural events every Sunday and insisted they came to dinner prepared "for political conversation. Then there was Rahm. "He was middling, and had not-so-great SATs," accord- ing to Zeke. "When my eldest daughter took the SATs, she did really well. I suggested she call her uncles and tell them. She did and when she reached Uncle Rahm, he said, 'Wow. That first score was like mine combined!'" As for Zeke, the "smart" brother, he did "pretty well" but was "by no means first in the class" nor did he have "perfect scores" on standard- ized tests. He said he went to medical school because he had no plan B, and even took time off for an internship at The New Republic. "No one looked at us and said, 'Those Emanuel boys are destined for success.' We were just average." Johanna Ginsberg Ezekiel Emanuel Well, maybe. When a physi- cian in the crowd suggested he was selling himself short, another college buddy in the audience announced himself and revealed that Zeke "was one of the most brilliant students at Amherst," and, moreover, he was modest even then. Emanuel wasn't shy about discussing the ways in which religion was integrated into their lives. Their father, Benja- min, born in British Mandate Palestine, eventually came to the United States for his medi- cal residency after attending medical school in France. (Rule two: Have a brilliant, risk-taking dad who enters medical school in France despite knowing no French.) Benjamin settled in Chi- cago and married. Although they did belong to a Conserva- tive synagogue, the Emanuels were not a religious family. The children were, however, raised to be Zionists. "Israel was much more important than being Jewish," said Emanuel. "My father did not have a spiritual bone in his body. He was Israeli! He was interested in people. He was endlessly fascinated with peo- ple. But the big philosophical questions were of no interest to him." As teenagers, the boys spent unstructured summers in Is- rael. "We weren't really a camp or activities kind of family. We spent all day on the beach or 4b playing soccer," he said. The brothers "slept in the same room. We only had each other, so it was great for bonding." (Rule three: No helicopter parenting. Give children op- portunities for being bored and making their own fun.) When it came time for his bar mitzvah, Emanuel said he "rebelled"--but not against Judaism; rather, he disliked the required rote memorization with little understanding. His parents agreed to hire a tutor named Danny Siegel, a poet, educator and wetl-known champion of grassroots tzedaka. The two studied every day before Zeke's swim practice. (Rule four: Teach to the child's strength, even if that means waking up before dawn.) Emanuel calls that year "transformative." Today he keeps kosher and belongs not to a synagogue, but to a rabbi-less minyan. "Hierarchy is not something that was ever good for us," he quipped. But he offers his own conundrum. While religion plays a big role in his life, he said, "I'm a practicing atheist. I don't believe in God, I just do all the practices. That creates a lot of problems for other people, but not for me." And his children? Of his three daughters, two are strictly kosher and shomer Shabbat. So Jewish parents, take heart. Ezekiel Emanuel's message isn't so different from what generations of Jewish mothers have told their sons and daughters: "One part hard work--there was plenty of that; lots of energy--we got that from our-dad; and persistence." And be prepared for disap- pointment. "My mother wanted a doc- tor," said Emanuel. "Instead she got a bioethicist!" Johanna Ginsberg is a staff writer for the New Jer- sey Jewish News, from which this article was reprinted by permission.