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June 27, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 27, 2014

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N Editorials .................. . ............. 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ................................. 6A Synagogue Directory ............... 7A B'nai Mitzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A I Emely Katz As many as could squeeze in, stood for a group photo after the vigil, showing the Orlando Jewish community's support for Eyal, Naftali and Gilad and their families. (Pictures on 15A). By Chris DeSouza Assistant Editor "Hine(y) ma tov u'ma- nayim, Shevet ach-im gam ya-chad," reads the first verse of Psalms 133. '"'Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" As American Jews across the country joined together in solidarity to express concern for the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped on June 13, the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando and the Greater Orlando Board of Rab- bis organized a #BringBack- OurBoys solidarity vigil for Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah on Thursday evening, June 19. Before a packed JCC audito- rium, Ina Porth, chairwoman of the Community Relations Council, opened the vigil with words from Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet refusnik who was held captive for nine years. Sharansky visited with two of the boys' families and told them that he stayed strong because he knew world Jewry stood with him. David and Cathy Swerd- low, who were in the au- dience, feel a very close connection to these young men, explaining the reason for coming to this vigil was because they have two daughters living in Israel. "We support the boys and hope they come home," said Cathy. "This is so very close to our hearts," David added. Jeanne Silberstein also has a daughter in Israel. She lives near Jerusalem and calls home everyday. In fact, Silberstein said her daughter called her to say"Don'tworry, I'll be careful hitchhiking," before the news broke in the U.S. about the kidnapping. Having relatives in Israel isn't the only reason people came to express solidarity. Shana Medel and her mother, Lynell, were there because they feel a"strong connection to Israel." "...and this is the closest we can get," said Shana. Others, like Celia Bonhagen and Bob Rabideau, said they believe in the power of prayer and want to support the fami- lies of the boys. Congregation Ohev Sha- lom, Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation, Temple Israel and Chabadwere repre- sented, but this vigil was not about Conservative, Orthodox or Reform groups. ~It was a gathering of Jewish people, standing together in support of their Jewish family in Israel. "We are united in heart, soul and with our People in Israel, the world and the Holy One," said Rabbi Aaron Rubinger, senior rabbi of COS. "We should remain unified as a people -- not just now, but loving and caring for each other with respect always," he added. Debbie Meitin, cantorial soloist for Temple Israel, sang in a beautiful soprano voice the words of Psalms 121, which in part says, "Behold the Guardian of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." Rabbi Sholom Dubov of Chabad of Greater Orlando, led the responsive reading of Psalms 130. "Israel, hope to the Lord, for kindness is with the Lord and much redemp tion is with Him." JCC Summer Camp Israeli emissaries Mayaan Zaig and Noa Neumann with Jewish Academy of Orlando 2014 graduate Estrella Varnagy led the group in a prayer for the State of Israel, followed by Spiritual Leader Beth Schafer of Temple Shir Shalom, who led the audience in "Acheinu," which translated reads, "As for our brothers, the whole house of Israel, who are given over to trouble or captivity, whether they abide on the sea or on the dry land; May the All-present have mercy upon them, and bring them forth from trouble to enlargement, from darkness to light, and from subjection to redemp- tion, now speedily and at a near time..." Rabbi Hillel Skolnik of SOJC closed the vigil with words of encouragement to "use our voices to support the State of Israel." "No one is going to shout for us," he stated. "We must shout for ourselves and for others." Some ways to show support right here are: Like and share the Bring Back Our Boys Facebook page. Tweet with the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys and #EyalGiladNaftali on Twitter. Sign the Letter of Unity to the families on www.bring- Keep informed by visiting the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of Israel to the U.S., and IDF Facebook pages. Then inform friends and family of the situation. Pray and recite Psalms (such as were mentioned in this article) for the missing boys. Light an extra candle on Friday night and have in mind the names of these young men. By Uriel Heilman NEW YORK (JTA) - The Reform movement posted a prayer. Chabad asked fol- lowers to pledge to do a mitz- yah. The Jewish Federations of North America set up a Web page to express solidarity. The disappearance of three Israeli teens in Judea and Samaria last week is being taken as a call to action uniting many disparate elements of the American Jewish community. At synagogues across America spanning the major denominations, Jews re- cited psalms or offered special prayers for the safe return of the teens, echoing a prayer rally held Sunday at the West- ern Wall in Jerusalem. On Monday, demonstrators held a rally in New York opposite the Israeli Consulate. "I have a 16-year-old my- self," Steven Levine of Brook- lyn told JTA at the rally. "It could have been any of us. They're my brothers, they're my children. That's why I'm here." The missing teens-- Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19 -- were last seen at a hitch- hiking post near Gush Etzion, a Jewish settlement bloc in Miriam Moster/JTA Demonstrators rally outside the Israeli consulate in Man- hattan to express solidarity with three Israeli teens who were abducted in Judea, June 16, 2014. Judea. Shaar and Frenkel were on their way home from Mekor Chaim, an in-residence yeshiva high school in Kfar Etzion run by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. Yifrach, who met up with them at the hitch- hiking post, was on his way home from a pre-army yeshiva program near Hebron. Israeli Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu has blamed Hamas for kidnapping the teens and said he was hold- ing the Palestinian Authority responsible. AmongAmerican Jews, the focus has been on supporting the teens' families, largely through prayer. On New York's Upper West Side on Monday evening, the Manhattan Day School orga- nized a prayer vigil that drew Teens on page 14A The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, ar- rived last Tuesday June 24, on a diplomatic visit to the United States of America for what was his final foreign trip as the president of the State of Israel after a 7-year term in office and over 65 years of public service. During the visit President Peres met with President Obama at the White House and received the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony attended by House Speaker John Boehner, Sen- ate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Republic Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. President Peres is the first sitting president of the State of Israel to receive the award. The bill, which passed the Senate and the House, in- cludes the following among its recommendations, "Shimon Peres has honorably served Israel for over 70 years, dur- ing which he has significantly contributed to United States interests and has played a pivotal role in forging the strong and unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel." President Peres was also the guest of honor at an event to championU.S.-Israel relations hosted by Israel's ambassador Wikipedia Shimon Peres to the United States, Ron Dermer. The event was at- tended by leading figures of the American administration in- cluding senators, members of congress and opinion leaders. Traveling to New York, President Peres took part in a special event to say farewell to the Jewish community in New York and use the visit to conduct a series of diplomatic meetings including one with the U.N. Secretary General. 61111!!!!!ll!!!!!lllls