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June 15, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 15, 2018 PAGE 15A From page IA two breakfasts at the Maitland Chamber of commerce--one for Israel Independence Day and one for Purim. We just signed up to host a breakfast for the high holidays. We are know for fabulous food and fun holiday parties." Not only is Ludin the CEO overseeing 400 volunteers, she counts herself as one of those volunteers, and she is currently the senior resource specialist of the Pavilion's Orlando Senior Help Desk. If there is a need that must be met, she will fill that need whether is it fund raising, marketing and event plan- ning. "It takes Nancy Ludin's patience, caring and passion to make sure that the mission is fulfilled," another nomina- tion shared with Orlando Magazine. In celebration of the award, The Orlando Magazine has invited all the ladies (and two guests) to a brunch at the Alfond Inn on June 21. From page 1A well as a past president, of Temple Ahavat Shalom. She holds an MBA from New York University and a BA from Brandeis University. ' Weiss follows Socash, whose six-year leadership propelled the Foundation from $35m assets under management to close to $50m. Socash brought the Life & Legacy program to TOP, which secured close to 500 legacy gifts with an estimated future value of $15m. Now, Socash will focus on her role as the executive director of the Jewish Fed- eration of Pinellas and Pasco Counties. With a portfolio ofoyer 600 donor-advised, endowment and institutional funds, TOP Jewish Foundation serves hundreds of individuals, families~ and organizations. TOP was founded with the original intention of serv- ing the Jewish commu- nity in central Florida. More recently, the Foundation recognized the need for its unique services well beyond the three-community region and now works closely with donors and organizations throughout Florida and a handful of other states. TOP's unique anti-terror and pro- Israel investment policy as well as its focus on providing white-glove philanthropic consulting service resonates with donors who collectively aim to ensure the financial strength of our Jewish com- munities. For more information on TOP Jewish Foundation, please visit www.topjewish- or call 813- 961-9090. From page IA terrorism. Hamas has proved that they have no humanity; not just toward human beings, but also toward animals and natural resources," reported the Jerusalem Post. To date, 265 fires have been observed since the arson kite phenomenon was introduced by Gaza rioters, burning close to 700 acres of JNF forests. Ofer Liberman, the general manager ofNir Am's farming operation, said the kibbutz has sustained dozens of kite attacks over the past month, in addition to rocket and mortar attacks that have set fire to the kibbutz wheat fields in recent years. He said the attacks have cost the kib- butz more than NIS I million in economic damages, but added that the challenge here is far greater than dollars and cents. "Look at this field," he told TPS while surveying the damage from the latest at- tack. "They burned about 50 dunams--that's about NIS 25,000 shekels in economic losses. But that can be made up with one shipment of wheat from Europe or the United States. "The far more serious is- sue is the notion of Israel's sovereignty here. That's why the most important thing I do every morning is to raise the Israeli flag onto the tractors. I want the Palestinians to know and understand thatwe aren't going anywhere." Despite the threat posed by burning kites, the com- munity's steadfast commit- ment to developing the area cannot be shaken, with Nir Am currently building 45 new housing units. Liberman said the new homes have been completely taken by young families seeking membership in the kibbutz, meaning they see a long-term future here. Still, kite terror is unlike the challenge that border communities have faced from cross-border missiles since the year 2000, for the simple fact that it appears to be undetectable until it is too late to stop the fires. Standing in the commu- nity's garage, just 500 meters from the wheat field, there was no indication of an attack until Liberman looked over the road and saw a plume of black smoke rising. When we arrived less than five minutes later, the fieldwas half-burned. Ten minutes later the thriving wheat crop had turned to ash. From page 3A conspiratorial bias where none may exist." He added that a "laser-like focus on individual headlines or even stories misses the sweep and breadth of a news organiza- tion's ongoing coverage of people, places and events," which taken together give a more accurate picture of an outlet's approach. "Such groups don't really understand how news orga- nizations work," Abbey said. "Media operations are more haphazard, sloppy and impro- visatory than self-proclaimed watchdogs understand or believe." Baden agreed, noting that there is a "perceptual bias" in how we read the news. Dubbed the "hostile media phenom- enon" by researchers, this bias manifests itself in how news consumers view reportage of divergent viewpoints. Baden explained that people tend to equate reporting of their opponents' positions with an endorsement ofthosepositions. One foreign correspondent who covered the clashes from the Gaza side of the fence and asked to remain anonymous agreed, telling JTA that he thought that many people follow news coverage in search of reinforcement of their preconceived viewpoints. His role, as he sees it, is to do his "best to be a witness on the ground, to explain what I see, to explain what I don't see, to try to present the different perspectives." "I'll often see parts of my reporting weaponized by dif- ferent sides, taken out of con- text, or parts of a story will be quoted to support a narrative or to make an accusation of bias," this correspondent said. "I can't help that, but I really try to keep the white noise in the background. "It's not about my opinion. I see my role as trying to gather as many reports and facts and people's sentiments and present them, and I think my audience is smart enough to read it and draw their own conclusions." While Hamas did want journalists to tell the story of a tragic clash between peaceful protesters and trigger-happy soldiers, the reality on the groundwas more complicated than that simple narrative, the correspondent said, not- ing that participants had a range of motivations for joining the protests. "The situation is always more complicated and that's the value of having someone on the ground," he said. "I'd like people to know that jour- nalists in Gaza are working their asses off. It doesn't just come to you. It takes many hours and interviews and double checking. I'm always thinking 'how can I explain about this with all its complex- ity to people who just want to know and aren't just trying to seek confirmation of their own opinions?' I've been very impressed with my colleagues' coverage. You can find a lot of important nuance." Following the Gaza clashes, reporters asked why thou- sands of mostly unarmed people had been hit by live fire and if it was necessary or disproportionate. At times the IDF provided reporters with detailed breakdowns of casualties, listing their affiliations and the actions that led to their deaths, but other times reporters were brushed off. However, the foreign cor- respondent said, he and many of his colleagues also were careful to cover Israel's security concerns. "You talk to all sides who have an interest and who are involved," he said. "Of course, I would talk to an Israeli and also talk to a Palestinian about a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, which is elementary." One flastpoint in the media war vas the death of Gazan piotojournalist Yaser Murhja, who was shot while veering a flak jacket markd "press" while photographilg the clashes. The Foreign'ress Associa- tion, which epresents the internatioral media in Israel, immdiately issued a statement ~rging the IDF to "show resraint in areas where jourmlists are oper- ating and to;onduct a fast and open invstigation into this incidenf' It warned its members to exercise cau- tion. Palestifians claimed that the phoographer had been intentimally targeted. Israel toot several days Spencer Platt/Getty Images Palestinians protest at the border fence with Israel in Gaza City, May 14, 2018. to respond, when Defense Minister Avigdor Liber- man told reporters that Murtaja, who sold photos to numerous international outlets, was also a member of Hamas who was using his media business as cover to obtain drone footage of IDF positions. The Washington Post, meanwhile, said that Murtaja had recently been vetted and approved for a U.S. government grant. According to Baden, the fight over media coverage isn't new, but the participa- tion of the broader public in what was once an elite discourse certainly is. One of the consequences of this shift is that the views of journalists have come under increasing scrutiny, especially by those posting on social platforms such as Twitter. One correspondent, an American based in Lebanon who likewise asked to remain anonymous, was pilloried by Israelis after a series of tweets expressing her displeasure with the death toll in Gaza. These posts, she told JTA, were held up as an example of a more generalized media bias, which she found ironic given that she is also regularly dubbed a"a Mossad spy and an Israeli stooge almost daily" for her coverage of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah. "I firmly believe that good journalists should be able to put aside their opinions when theywork, and I try my best to do so--with success, I believe. I follow all the rules I learned at Columbia Journalism School. I make sure to include avariety of perspectives in my stories and present them as objectively as possible," this correspondent said. "But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not my beat, therefore I felt comfortable tweeting per- sonal opinions on the events in Gaza knowing they would not color my coverage." Meanwhile, the debate over the infant Layla Ghandour goes on. Last week, Gaza's Hamas-run Health Ministry said she had been taken off a list of Palestinians killed in the Gaza border clashes, saying they are awaiting results of a pathologist's report. From page 14A to Sizomu, said the decision represented its stance on the Ugandan Jewish community, not just the applicant, Kibita Yosef. Sizomu, who leads the community of approximately 2,000, urged Israel to give Ugandan Jews the same rights afforded to Jews worldwide. "We as a Jewish community need to be treated like any other Jewish community in the Diaspora," he told JTA from Kampala, where he serves as a member of the Ugandan parliament. Israel's Law of Return gives anyone who has at least one Jewish grandparent, is mar- ried to a Jew or has converted to Judaism the right to move there. Yosef, who is staying at a kibbutz in southern Israel, is the first Ugandan Jew to try to immigrate to Israel, according to Sizomu. Sizomu emphasized that his community was not look- ing to immigrate to Israel en masse and that the deci- sion would not change their practices. "We are not Jewish for purposes of immigration," he said. "We are Jewish because that is who weare, and we will never change that, whether they recogni~ us or not." The Ugardan commu- nity, also caled the Abayu- daya, traces [s roots to the early 20th c~tury, when a former leaderread the Bible and embraced Judaism. Most members w~re converted under the atspices of U.S. Conservative rabbis in the early 2000s and thus are not recognized as Jewish by Is- raers mostly haredi Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. In 2016, the Jewish Agency for Israel recognized the com- munity for the purposes of the Law of Return, seemingly opening a path for its mem- bers to immigrate to Israel. However, the Abayudaya have struggled to obtain govern- ment recognition to do so. In December, Israel deniedavisa application by another mem- ber of the community to study at a yeshiva in Israel, leading to accusations of racism. Today the community, which is based in the rural town of Mbale, has sev- en synagogues--including a 7,000-square-foot center that opened in 2016--a mik- vah and two Jewish schools. "We feel like we have an es- tablished Jewish community that deserves to be recognized by Israel," Sizomu said. On Friday, Rabbi Julie Schonfeid, who leads the Con- servative movement's Rab- binical Assembly, called the Israeli decision "unlawful." "This is completely incon- sistent with more than two decades of Israeli practice of Conservative converts--who are by the way halachically converted to Judaism under our auspices--who had been recognized as Jewish for the purposes of the Law of Return," she told JTA, using a phrase meaning that some- thing was done in accordance with Jewish law, or halachah. Schonfeld said that the movement and its allies were planning "to use all means at our disposal to see that this is reversed." Sizomu said that despite the latest decision, he remained hopeful about his community gaining status in Israel. In Au- gust, 40 young Ugandan Jews will travel to the Jewish state on a trip organized by Birthright, an organization that provides free trips to Israel to young Jews around the world. It is the first time that Ugandan Jews will participate in such a trip.