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June 14, 2013

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 14, 2013 preva" By Israel Hayom ianconflictandIsrael'sviewson Golan" should Israel intervene bar report is questionable. In yet to be delivered to Damas- dor Lieberman (Yisrael Bey- Exclusive to it. Israeli security officials were intheSyriancivilwarormount late May the newspaper quoted cus. Moscow's Interfax news tenu) addressed the European initially convinced that Assad's anattackagainst Syria's missile the Syrian president as suppos- agency reported last week that Union's decision last week not There is a "real possibility" demise was only a matter of systems, edly boasting that his country while Russia is training Syrian to include Hezbollah in its list that Syrian President Bashar time. Last July, then-Israeli "Establishing a front line had already received the first militaryofficersonanti-aircraft of terror organizations, despite al-Assad "could survive Syria's Defense Minister Ehud Barak against Israel in the Golan shipment of Russian-made systems, their training "does the United States and Israel's civil war and even prevail in said the Assad regime was "at [Heights]isaveryseriousthing S-300 anti-aircraft missiles it notincludetheadvancedS-300 efforts to that effect. it" against the rebels trying to the beginning of its end." and it will entail more than was expecting. Assad's office system at this time." "Excluding Hezbollah from topple him, Israeli lnternational Delivering aveiled threat on random artillery fire," Assad itself rolled back that report, Israeli Prime Minister Ben- the EU's terror watch list may Relations and Strategic Affairs Monday, Steinitz said, "It is in was quoted as saying Sunday, sayingthattheSyrianpresident jamin Netanyahu said Sunday make the EU irrelevant to Minister Dr.Yuval Steinitz told Assad's interest not to provoke in an opinionpiecewrittenby a never made that remark, but that Israel would "retaliate Israel," he said. agroupofforeignjournalistsin Israel into a Syrian interven- Jordanianpolitician."Syriawill spoke generally about existing against anyone who threatens Commenting on Austria's derusalem on Monday. tion." have a well-planned response, contracts with the Russians to harm Israel or brings it decisiontopulloutoftheUnited Steinitz's comments reflect Meanwhile, Lebanon's A1- which will have long-lasting being fulfilled, harm." Nations Disengagement Ob- the recent turnaround in Akhbarnewspaper, whichisaf- ramifications," he reportedly TheAl-Akhbarreportwasnot Speaking before the Knes- serverForce(UNDOF)stationed Assad's fortunes, with success filiatedwithHezbollah, quoted said. verified by any Western source, set'sForeignAffairsandDefense inthedemilitarizedzoneinthe on the battlefield thanks to astatement made byAssad to a The op-ed further quoted and although Moscow said it Committee onMonday, Netan- Golan Heights, over the grow- immensemilitaryaidfromHez- visiting Jordanian politician in Assad as saying that Syria's would follow through on the yahu said,"The government is ing violence in Syria, which is bollah, financialaidbyIran, and whichtheSyrianleadersuppos- retaliation will be "similar to arms sale, which was inked in guided by the need to protect edgingclosertotheIsrael-Syria diplomaticcoverbyRussia.The edly said he was "very serious" that waged by Hezbollah in 2010, a spokesman for Russian the public. We are ready for any border, Lieberman said, "We assessment also underscores about his intention to "open southern Lebanon." President Vladimir Putin said scenario." have to realize thatwe have no the changingnature of the Syr- a front against Israel on the ThecredibilityoftheAI-Akh- last week that the system has Committee Chairman Avig- one to rely on but ourselves." Fist person "Well, I don't know," my fact that we were sleeping in a meetings?" I asked my friend "Therejustaren'tthatmanyof looked alittle stricken. No one by Dina Gachman dad drawled. Whenever we church. Lisa, who had hosted a few us anymore." seemed to notice. I watched complained about the long After a few more churchget-togethers with her sisters. Ibowedmyheadbutkeptmy these people I loved and un- (JTA)--The year I unwit- trek to synagogue, my father sleepovers, it started to feel "We hang out and eat and eyeswide open, asifby closing derstood that no matter how tingly decided to become was the onewho reminded us, pretty normal. Of course, my pretty much just talk," Lisa my eyes I would get sucked hard I tried I wouldn't be the Christian started innocently "Therejustaren'tthatmanyof sisters and I still made the said."It'snondenominational, into a vortex of baptisms and same as them--and I didn't enough, us Jews anymore." drive on Wednesday nights you should totally come!" Of confessional booths. My stom- want to be. I was different. I "There's a sleepover at When I was young, I hadn't to Hebrew school, but I was course I wanted to go. It was ach cramped in guilt. As they clenchedmysmileandnodded First Methodist on Friday and noticed that everyone headed most excited to do the church- the thing to do. I could also passionately belted out the aionguntilIcouldfinallyleave everyone is going," I said to to St. Anne's on Sunday while related things that were the hang out with Chad. In the Doobie Brothers song "Jesus and go home. my parents. I was in the sixth we ate gefilte fish and listened heartbeatofourpreteensocial sixth grade, that's about as IsJustAlright,"I imaginedmy The next week at school, grade, oneofthreeJewsinclass to dinner table stories about scene, glamorous as it gets. grandparents looking down Lisa walked up to me in the at our Texas public school.We ruthless Cossacks. But now Eventually I started going The next week I went toat me, reminding me of the hall after class. "Are you com- livedinanareawheretherewas I'd come to realize that nearly to church with friends. It's the meeting with Lisa, and at Cossacks. I could just see my ing to the meeting tonight?" at least one church on every every social event involved what everyone I knew did on first I felt right at home. We grandfather, BigPapa, wearing she asked. "It's at Ashley's block. It took us 45 minutes some sort of church sleepover Sundays. I didn't catch much had cookies and orange juice the powder blue suit that he house and her mom's making to get across town to temple, or church youth group, and I of the service since m~ friends and sat around talking about refused to throw away, saying, s'mores, plustheyhaveapool." where we attended Hebrew wanted in. usually found excuse~ for us important sixth-grade topics: "My parents escaped Russia I loved s'mores, andPknew school once a week. "It's at the church?" my dad to "go to the bathroom," i.e., whatclotheswelovedandwhat and fought for their lives so Chad would be doing perfect "So, can I go? Please?! I'll asked me."What do you do all toiterinthehallschewinggum classes we hated, There was their great-granddaughter cannonballs off the diving die if I don't go!" I begged, night?" trying to seem cool. some covert, subtle flirting, could sing about Jesus?" board in his swimsuit. But I'd neglecting to mention that I wasn't sure what they did SinceIwasn'tcominghome too, along the lines of: Maybe hanging out at a have to see him and the rest missing a social event where all night at a church, but I holding rosary beads or hand- ChadWilliams:"You'retan." churchyouthgroupwasn'tjust of my friends at the mall, at Chad Williams was holding answered, "Play games and ing out The Watchtower pam- Me: "You're tan, too." abouttalkingtoChadabouthis the movies, at McDonald's, court was the real reason, watch movies and eat pizza." phlets at the dinner table, my The end. amazing tan. because I wasn't going to go Inthisverynon-Jewisharea After some thought, he parents saw this as a harmless Then it happened. When they finally finished to any church activities again. of Texas, where we devoured relented. "Well, OK. Just be social diversion. And it was. "OK, everyone! Let's gather singing, I exhaled. I hadn't "I don't think so," I said. jalapeno poppers and matzah careful," he said. UntilJesusenteredthepicture. around and hold hands!" said realized I had been holding "Have fun though." ballsoupwith equal gusto, my Thatsleepoveratchurchwas Everyone in school seemed Lisa's older sister, who was my breath for so long. Every- Deep down I knew my dad motheralwaysunderstoodthe pretty much as I'd imagined: tobewhisperingandlaughing running the meeting. Weone around me was clapping wasright:Therejustaren'tthat social dynamics we were up We really did eat pizza and sit about this secret Christian gathered around and held and smiling, as if they'd just many of us anymore. against. Her genera| motto for aroundandogleChadWilliams youth group that had weekly hands. Everyone bowed their experienced the best concert Dina Gachman's writing her four daughters (I was the before they separated the girls meetings at people's houses, head. They started singing a of their lives. They ate more has been featured in Glamour, oldest)was,"I'dratheryougirls and the boys and we rolled out It was starting to become the song about Jesus. Suddenly I cookies, and settled around on Forbes and the Los Angeles be social than sit at home like our sleeping bags and drifted center of our school's social imagined my dad's head float- chairs and on the floor like a Times. ShelivesinLosAngeles wallflowers," so her immediate offtosleep.Therewas nothing life. ing above our prayer circle, cozy little tribe. I sat, too, but and can be found on Twitter@ response was, "Sure!" religious about it--except the "What doyou guys do at the lookingdownatmeandsaying, instead of looking elated, I TheElf26. By Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA)--Israel's plans to move ahead with the funding of non-Orthodox rab- bis appeared to be a landmark achievement for Reform and Conservative leaders, who have long chafed at their second- class treatment by the Israeli government. But even as they welcomed last week's news that the Min- istry of Religious Services was revamping its policies to permit non-Orthodox rabbis to receive government-funded salaries, Reform and Conservative lead- ers were cautious in their optimism--and perhaps with good reason. Lastyear, Miri Gold, aReform rabbi from the rural Kibbutz Gezer, won a Supreme Court case entitling her to a state sal- ary. A year later, she has yet to see her first paycheck. "I'll believe it when I see Facebook Miri Gold, an Israeli Re- form rabbi who won a Su- preme Court case entitling her to a state salary, has yet to receive a paycheck a year later. it," said Rabbi Levi Weiman- Kelman,who leads a 300 -family Reform synagogue in Jerusa- lem. "We're a long way from it happening. I'm certainly not going to put in additional spend- ing money yet" The ministry's intentions were made public on June 6 in the response by the state's attor- ney to a Supreme Court petition filed in January by Conservative and Reform leaders. The peti- tion accused the government of discrimination for funding only Orthodox rabbis in city neighborhoods. "The intention here is to create criteria that will set ap- propriate standards for funding communal rabbis without ask- ing which denomination the relevant congregation belongs to," the response said. According to the state's at- torney, the ministry intends within six months to reform the current system, which grants the Orthodox a monopoly over state-funded rabbinic posts. In Jerusalem, all 157 state- appointed neighborhood rabbis are Orthodox. Instead, the ministry would Flash 90/JTA Israeli Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett, right, and Deputy Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan unveil- ing a series of reforms in religious services in Israel at a news conference in Jerusalem. fund any city congregational rabbi--Orthodox or not-- should the congregation meet certain yet-be-defined criteria. But the leaders of Israel's menting the policy change lies non-Orthodox movements withReligiousServicesMinister fear a repeat of what happened NaftaliBennett, chairman of the with Gold, where criteria were right-wing Jewish Home party. established that made it nearly Sincetakingoffice, Bennett has impossible for her to receive shown a penchant for effecting a state salary as the Supreme change quickly, enacting a trio Court intended, of religious reforms two weeks "Thebigquestionisifthiswill ago andpushingabillto change be implemented in a way that's elections for chief rabbi. really equal," said Yizhar Hess, Those reforms were more CEO of the Israeli Conservative about process than substance. movement. "It's too early to say This change could threaten an what the criteria will be, when anchor of Orthodoxy's domi- they will come up or whether nance of Jewish institutions in they will be equal." Israel--a move that could upset TheReligiousServicesMinis- Bennett's Modern Orthodox tryofferednoinformationabout base and rally the haredi Or- thecriteriabeingformulated, or thodox opposition. even when the standards would For now, however, Reform be decided, and Conservative leaders re- "Now I can't tell you any- main hopeful that change is thing about the criteria," said on the way--even if it's a long Idit Druyan, spokeswoman way off. for Deputy Religious Services "We just have to keep up the Minister Eli Ben Dahan."I have vigil," Gold said. "I don't think no schedule." anybody's going to give up on The responsibility for imple- this."