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Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 13, 1980     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 13, 1980

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Page 4. HERITAGE. Florida Jewish News, June 13. 1980 JEll" 00tor s Desk By Gene Starn, Editor & Publisher Holocaust Media Events Condemned; Created This piece is about two movie projects now in the works, one of which we are strongly opposed to, the other we are anxiously awaiting. The Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies in Los Angeles is involved in both of them. In case you didn't know, the Wiesenthal Center, named for the famous Nazi hunter who survived 14 concentration camps before his liberation from the "death barracks" of Mauthausen, is dedicated in "response of the events of our times, to the needs of our people, and for the betterment of all mankind." The movie project we're against is the CBS production, "Playing for Time," which casts Vanessa Redgrave, a PLO supporter, as Fania Fenelon, an Auschwitz heroine CBS recently postponed the showing of the film, partially because of the Wiesenthal Center's efforts. They still intend showing it possibly this fall, but say they'll invite organizations to preview the film in order to prove its "humanity" and to lay to rest the claim that they were in any way "insensitive" in their decision-making. That's not the point, however. Just havihg a person like Redgrave -- such a staunch, outspoken enemy of Israel and its link with the Holocaust -- is a distortion of the story of Fania and the legacy of the martyred millions. Freedom of the arts be damned, Redgrave isn't the only actress who can play the part. CBS should either recast the role or throw it in the trash can for good. The event we are anxiously awaiting -- and scheduled for readiness this summer -- is the Wiesenthal Center's multi-media production of the Holocaust. Written by Martin Gilbert, Sir Winston Churchill's official biographer, narrated by Elizabeth Taylor and Orson Welles, music scored by Elmer Bernstein, the gigantic production involves more than 6,000 stills and tens of thousand. of feet of film from world archives. It will be the most definitive educational medium on the subject. In sheer theatrical magnitude, the project is enormous. It takes three 16mm film projectors and a unique Cinemascope lens, eighteen 35mm slide projectors and a five-source sound system, all synchronized by a central computer shown on a 40-ft. wide by 23-ft. high arched screen. The Wiesenthal Center hopes to have two-units in operation -- one touring North America, the other permanently housed in Los Angeles -- but they are still short about $600,000 to take delivery of the units. The Wiesenthal Center is asking us to help raise the necessary funds by asking you to organize a parlor meeting in your home to benefit the project. They'll be happy to provide you with the necessary information and technical assistance. Or they'd be happy to receive your contribution. Their address is 9760 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90035. Just think how impressive an addition this would be to the Holocaust conference scheduled for Orlando early next year. Summertime 'Rush' "Welcome, sweet summertime! Can Rosh Hashanah and the synagogue "rush parties" be far behindT' Yes, this is the time of the year that our synagogues traditionally begin thinking of membership parties, coffees, teas, open houses, parlor meetings, breakfasts, just about anything to attract new members to their temple. Just like the fraternities and sororities on college campus, the congregations each go out to look for new members. What better time to get a Jew to join a synagogue than just before the High Holy Days? So the newcomers to Orlando, and even some of the oldtimers, get invited to this or that function, meet all the rabbis, the presidents, the youth leaders, the social and financial chairmen, and then go off to "choose" which synagogue to join. Most of the time, here in Orlando at least, they don't join any of them. Each of the synagogues point to how their membership has grown in past years. But like the spending value of our dollar, it just doesn't keep up with inflation. The inflation in this case, is the rapid growth of our Jewish population, it's growing at a higher rate than synagogue affiliation. Right now, only one family in three or four is a member. It used to be more. As we see it, the answer to increasing affiliation is not the task of individual synagogues, but one that should be tackled by all of our religious institutions in unison. They should work together to make the desire for affiliation more apparent. And it should not necessarily be just a summertime, a pre-High Holy Days campaign, but year round. Only then will we see more taking a much greater part in our congregational activities for a better Jewish Orlando. Controversy More Important Than Decision to Ordain Women Dear Editor: I do not wish to pass judgement on the Rabbinical Assembly for its decision to ordain women, nor on the two letters that have appeared in Heritage in response to that decision. Rather, it is my intention to point out that the controversy that has arisen seems more important than the actual decision, if only because it exemplifies one of the worst problems of the American Jewish community. Simply put, that problem is a failure or unwillingness to understand the basis for a particular viewpoint. The role of fundamental philosophic disagreements will be judged by history; but" villification can have none save, as in the Midrash, the destruction of the Jewish people. To condemn an action because it violates the principle of tradition or change explains nothing. What must be done -- and the process must begin with the rabbis and other leaders -- in order to understand a situation is to first examine not the appearance, but the underlying reason. We must investigate the motivations of the originators, in their terms, and then be honest about our own. The ordination of women may indeed violate tradition, which may or may not be related to what is morally right. Certain terms need to be defined. What is "'traditionT" What is "moralT' And what prompted the rabbis of old not to ordain women? To claim that they were sexist, that the society of the time did not allow, or any other excuse avoids the issue, for these phrases speak from our viewpoint, not theirs. The basis on which the rabbis made this, or any other decision must be our first question. Then we can ask, is that understanding of reality still valid, if so, why, if not, why not? And personal whim or desire ought not be a reason for support or condemnation of a position. Only when we have agreed on the meanings of words and perceived the thought processes of our predecessors are we in a position to speak for or against them. DAVID KAUFMANN Or/ando Welcoming Cuban Refugees Dear Editor: We thank God that the people of Florida and Cuba have known and loved each other for so long. We especially appreciate the volunteers who welcomed our new refugees with good food and hospitality. I am writing to respectfully suggest that we AmeriCans enlarge upon the sweet Spirit of Tolerance and Truth which has blended our northern and southern people in harmony before. Let us share our laughter and our tears, everybody learning what each one knows, soothing and forgiving each other in love. Until we meet face to face, let us citizens and refugees write, building together a new bond of mutual understanding. Children would be particLilarly helpful if they would become pen pals this summer. Our friendships will raise and strengthen us individually and further unite our beloved Country. CI-IARLO-FI-E N. TRAINOR F'('llh )f}l. (',Ilif. bnel another VIEW "anolher Vl EW" invites readers to lubml! their opinions and view subject of Jewish Interest, local or national. preferably typewritten double*spaced, mldsubmltted h 742, Fern Park, FL 32730. To Be a Jew by Alvin Gamson Executive Director, Jewish Family Service "Baruch atah adonay sheasani Yisrael ...'" Thank you God, for having made me a Jew. It is a blessing to be part of a people who taught the world the most important of all teachings: that there is one God and therefore one humanity, and it is our task not to destroy each other, but to live together as brothers. To be a Jew is to be part of a people who have given the world a vision and a hope for a better future, a Messianic era when people will live together in peace. To be a Jew is to celebrate a harvest festival called Sukkot, which inspired the creation of the holiday of Thanksgiving in America, and who taught that liberty should be proclaimed throughout the land and to all of the inhabitants thereof. To be a Jew is to be part of a people whose very existence is miracle, whose continued survival teaches mankind that if we could survive despite adversity, deprivation, discrimination and attempted annihalation, then any people can survive if they but have the will, the spirit, and the determination to do so. To be a Jew is to be part of a people who have suffered more than any other people because in every we have refused to faith regardless oppressor about when a were being held Entebbe. Akiva the hosta( to have his t'filin his briefcase a morning and prayed and then tallit and t'filin to ! person who wished 1 When Shabbat Jews were several problems -- { to determine Sabbath began in and the women candles but They tried using there were not around. Suddenly I looked out and saw I tropical sun slowly disappear beyond The women be( blessing ... shabbal ... "Thank for the light of Sabbath" ... and the rain chamocahah like the Lord. 4 To a miracle, of a maintain their faith terror which Baruch atah .shea.sani God, each da' and the miracle Jew. Influencing 2 t.000 Jewish readers each week in the Orlando. Daytona Beach and Space Coast cities of Florida. Published by Heritage Central Inc., 207 O'Brien Rd., Fern Park. Fla. 2nd class at Fern Park and other mailing offices. Subscriptions: S I 1.00 ($1.00 more to the rest of the U.S.) and pro-rated thereafter. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 742. Fern Park. GENE STARN, Editor & Publisher . EDITORIAL: l]rt),la C(,n'on-Rr)ll'l. A,','hlh, I dil,)r: ( PRODUCTION: Elaine ,larn. Rachel Scott ADVERTISING: ,lr,,h,i ttVman "'" Phones: (305) 834-878 Members: American, Jewish Telegraphic Agency Religious News Senolces