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June 19, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 19, 2009
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 19, 2009 PAGE 13A Experts: Islamic and right-wing extremism are both threats By Eric Fingerhut WASHINGTON (JTA)--Af- ter years of worrying about the threat posed by Muslim terror- ists, is the June 10 shooting attack on the U.S~ Holocaust Memorial Museum coming soon after the murder of a prominent abortion doctor-- a signal that the Jewish com- munity should be ratcheting up its concern about right- wing extremism? Those who track extremism and security threats in the Jewish community say that a variety of current factors such as the poor economy, the first black president and in- creased immigration make the prospect of terror attacks from the right something to watch carefully. But, they stress, the Jewish community should be concerned about threats from extremists of all kinds. "The real threat is lone wolves with extremist views from the right or left," said Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Secure Com- munity Network, an initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Or- ganizations. Goldenberg said the com- mon denominator is that they all target the Jewish community. In recent months, a Jewish Wesleyan University student allegedly was killed by a man who was carrying a copy of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," four Muslim men were arrested for plotting at- tacks on Bronx synagogues; and a Muslim man. who was charged with killing a soldier and injuring another at a military recruiting center in Arkansas. was found to have been researching Jewish sites. Also, in April, a Pittsburgh man who allegedly shot and killed three police officers was found to have been a frequent poster on extremist right-wing Web sites. Goldenberg, who also noted the situation in the Middle East as a motivating factor. said such lone wolves inde- pendently "react to the news media or the current situation in the geopolitical environ- ment" and carry out attacks on their own. Jack Levin, a Northeastern University criminologist, made a similar point in an interview June 10 with CNN. "Jews and blacks in the White House--that's threat- ening to someone who be- lieves that blacks are subhu- man and Jews are the children of the devil,~ Levin said. "The Obama effect," he added, has "generated a back- lash of white supremacy." Kenneth Stern. director on anti-Semitism and extremism for the American Jewish Com- miftee, said that while lone wolves are a major concern. he had yet to see a major up- tick in organized right-wing extremism such as during the mid-1990s, when the citizen militia movement grew in the Midwest. Stern noted that many of the prominent lead- ers in the movement over the last 10 to 15 years have died or are in jail. Some media outlets and advocacy groups have been linking the June 10 museum attack with last week's mur- der of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. describing them as two specific recent examples of right-wing ex- tremism. The National Council of Jewish Women. for instance, issued a statement June 11 deploring the "latest episode of hate violence." "Following so soon after the murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in his church during Sunday services, this latest attack cries out not only for condemnation by public officials, but a commitment to do everything in their power to prevent such incidents from multiplying, including common-sense gun regula- tions." said NCJW President Nancy Ratzan. But others in the Jewish community said the attack on the Holocaust museum and Tiller's shooting should not be isolated from the others, and that a wider net needs to be cast. Stern said that while there are places where the anti- abortion extremists and neo-Nazis "intersect." he also said that activists in the two groups are motivated by significantly different world- views and the two crimes should not necessarily be seen as having a particular link. "There are hateful ideolo- gies that come from a variety of directions," Stern said. "We should be concerned about them all." National Jewish burial society tries to stem increased cremation "I can't tell you the number" of times people who have had close relatives cremated come to me and say it's as if they just disappeared." Kelman said. "There's no closure for them." Many also brought up the burning of Jewish bodies during the Holocaust as a compelling argument never to engage in such a practice voluntarily. Kavod v'Nichum's execu- tive director, David Zinner, hoped to leave the three-day gathering with a group initia- tive encouraging traditional burial, but that did not prove as easy as he had hoped. "It seems like a simple is- sue, but we can't push people before they are ready," Zinner acknowledged. Most of the 100 participants represented non-Orthodox congregations that are strug- gling with members' rising demand for cremation. While the Orthodox move- ment forbids cremation as a desecration, the Reform permits it and Conserva- tives take a middle ground, strongly advising against the practice but not forbidding rabbis from participating in funerals before the body is actually burned. Rabbi Stephen Pearce of San Francisco's Reform Con- gregation Emanu-E1 said more than 50 percent of the funerals in his congregation involve cremation--a num- ber other participants found extremely high, although they all acknowledged that crema- tion was on the rise in their communities. Dan Brodsky of the New Mount Sinai Cemetery in St. Louis said 19 percent of the burials in his cemetery involve cremains,whereas three years ago the number was in the single digits. Nationally, Rabbi Richard Address, director of Jewish Cremation on page 19A Sue Fishkoff Participants at the North American -Chevra Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference June 8 discuss the pros ahd cons of cremation in Berkeley, Calif. By Sue Fishkoff BERKELEY. Calif. (JTA} With cremation on the rise and more Jewish cemeteries accepting ashes for burial, a national organization of Jew- ish burial societies is trying to promote traditional in-ground burial among liberal Jews. "We're going on the posi- tive offensive rather than the negative 'don't get cremated' route," said Rabbi Stuart Kelman, president of Kavod v'Nichum, a consortium of burial societies. Jewish fu- neral homes and cemeteries. and founding rabbi of Berke- ley's Congregation Netivot Shalom, which hosted the group's seventh national conference June 7-9. Conference organizers brought in rabbinic speakers to present traditional Jewish sources that teach the human body should be returned after death to the dust from which it was created. According to the Orthodox position, that means burying the body in its entirety, in anticipation of the revivification of the dead that wilt take place in the final Messianic Age. Organizers and speakers pointed to the psychological wisdom of Jewish burial ritual. which places limits on the mourning period and forces mourners to face the finality of death by watching their loved ones be lowered into the ground. OBI-. AR ES MARILYN OSHMAN Marilyn Oshman of Cel- ebration, Fla., died on Monday, June 8. She was 64 years old. Ms. Oshman was born on Nov. 17, 1944, in the Bronx, N.Y., to the late Harry and Lillian (nee Dichter) Fischer. She was the owner of a pro- fessional business exhibition company. She is survived by her son, Adam, of Orlando, Fla.; and daughters, Andra Oshman of Celebration and Daria Lapp of La Crosse, Wis. Services were entrusted to Beth Shalom Memorial Chapel, Orlando. MURIEL Z. REVITZ Muriel Z. Revitz of The Villages, Fla., died on Friday, June 5. She was 85 years old. Mrs. Revitz was born on Jan. 19,1924, in Chicago to the late Benjamin and Rose (nee Perlmutter) Zimmerman. She was a homemaker. She and her late husband, Philip Revitz, were married in Chicago and moved first to Miami for many years and later to Oceanside, Calif. They relocated to The Villages in 1988. Mrs. Revitz is survived by her son, Ronald (Cecelia) of Weirsdale, Fla.; daughter, Roberta R. Left of Weirsdale; brothers Howard (Marlene) Zimmerman and Donald (Linda) Zimmerman of Chi- cago; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Fur~eral services were held at Temple Shalom of The Villages on Monday, June 8. Interment followed on Tues- day, June 9 at Mount Nebo Cemetery; Miami. Services were entrusted to Beth Shalom Memorial Chapel, Orlando. ESTHER WEISS Esther Weiss of DeLand, Fla., died on Friday, June 11, 2009. She was 92 years old. Mrs. Weiss was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on March 15, 1917, to the late Jake and Celia Gross. She moved to Central Florida with her husband, Bernard Weiss, in 1976 l~rom Richmond, Va. She is survived "by her son, Fred, of DeLand; three grandchildren; four great ...................... N grandchildren; and two ~!~,*#.. great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her .............. husband and two grandchil- dren. Graveside funeral services were held on Monday, June 15 at Temple Israel Cemetery with Rabbi Arnold Siegel of- ficiating. Services were entrusted to Beth Shalom Memorial Chapel, Orlando.