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June 27, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 27, 2014 PAGE 15A Sharkansky From page 4A mer Hebrew School teacher who has for some time com- pared Israel's actions to those of Nazi Germany, that Israelis should notbe more concerned about the boys than about the victims of violence in Nigeria, Syria and elsewhere. He may be an extremist, and not dissimilar from some Israeli Jews expressing similar ideas, but his notes to me reflect an underlying cultural distance between Israeli Jews and those of the United States that once was apparent in pre- Holocaust anti-Zionism, and has emerged again since 1967, or perhaps the Lebanon War that began in 1982. The assimilation to Ameri- can culture and concerns over the course of four or more generations since migration, mostly from central and east- ern Europe, and the origins and experiences of Israelis help to explain an ongoing phenomenon of drifting apart. Half or more of Israeli Jews trace their families in whole or part (there are lots of in- termarriages) to the Middle East, and many with North American or European roots have become become Middle Eastern, at least to a degree. Israel is integrated eco- nomically and cooperates with the countries of Europe and North America, along with Japan, China, and India. Israel's market is small, but it is a significant producer of technology, medicine, and science, and must be taken account of militarily. Yet its Jews differ from western popu- lations (and many western Jews) in a wariness toward Muslims, non-Jews generally, and western governments with respect to policies deal- ing with Palestine and Iran. We are seeing in Israel's response to the kidnapping of three young men some sharpening of those cultural tensions. There is also the manifesta- tion of a sentiment attributed by some to Rahm Emanuel, and before him to Winston Churchill; Never let a crisis go to waste. The Netanyahu govern- ment is using this crisis not only to find the boys, but also to settle things with Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas for his alli- ance with Hamas, and with John Kerry for his support of that alliance and his more general naivete with respect to Israel and the Palestinians. There have mass arrests, especially of Hamas and Ji- hadist politicians and other activists throughout Judea and Samaria, including those released under previ- ous deals. There have been closures of Hebron and other Judean and Samarian towns, house to house searches, and some ca- sualties among Palestinians resisting Israeli personnel. IDF commanders have been speaking of more extensive operations. Politicians have proposed exiling Hamas activists to Gaza, seizing the property of Hamas activists, re-arresting all of the Pales- tinians released from prison in order to free Gilad Shalit and begin peace negotiations, closing off Hamas' sources of funding, and the liquidation of senior Hamas personnel in Gaza. The actions directed at lo- cales and individuals thought likely to have information may be narrowly concerned with the kidnappers, but others are meant to pressure Palestinians generally until some useful information comes from those who have had enough. There is also an explicit intention to punish and weaken Hamas, and to signal other Palestinians of the folly involved in allying with that organization. The closing of Israel to a hundred thousand Palestin- ians with permits for daily work is meant not only to limit the possibilities of the kidnappers, but to pressure Judea and Samaria economi- cally. Political and military per- sonnel have emphasized that the search and related opera- tions will take some time, and caution patience. The media have turned to other interna- tional and domestic issues. Reports that searchers are going to the numerous caves and old pits carved into the rocks of Judea and Samaria to preserve water suggests a lessening of hope to find the boys alive. The commanding general of the IDF has cautioned the thousands of personnel work- ing throughout Judea and Sa- maria that most Palestinians are not terrorists, and may not support terror. He urges the troops to act with decency as they search homes, stop cars and pedestrians, and question Palestinians. Ramadan is on the hori- zon, along with Israeli hints that re-established barriers to Judea and Samaria move- ment may affect a month- long holiday that involves a great deal of travel to prayer and family feasts. Hamas has responded by reminding Israel of the mis- siles it has capable of reaching Israel's centers of population. So far Israeli officials are not threatening what the IDF can do to Gaza in response. Ira Sharkansky is a pro- fessor (Emeritus) of the Department of Political Sci- ence, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rivlin From page 6A The year 1989 is a long time ago. And Rivlin has hopefully learned a few things. Let's hope that he has learned that Judaism is not a monolithic faith. We are and have been throughout our his- tory a pluralistic people. The rabbis of the midrash taught that this diversity began with the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who, they suggest, embraced differing concepts of God. Fast forward to the Ameri- can Jewish experience. Our community has flourished because we embraced a diver- sity of thought reflected in the teachings of Rabbis Isaac Mayer Wise, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Mordecai Kaplan and Joseph Soloveitchik, to mention a few who helped shape Reform, Conservative, Reconstruction- ist and Orthodox Judaism respectively. Our Jewish fed- eration movement has thrived Service From page 7A What's your favorite Jew- ish food? If lox counts, I'd go with that or potato knishes. What is the latest book that you read? "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson. [Jobs] was nothing Shtetl From page 12A these sales formed a major part of the landowners' in- come. The tavern also served as a center of village life - for Jews and non-Jews. According to Petrovsky-Shtern, "The tavernwas as important to or- dinary Jews as the synagogue. What Jews could not discuss freely in the synagogue they could easily chat about in the tavern." Business deals and matchmaking are only two of the activities that took place in this environment. That Jews of the periodwere as violent as their neighbors. Petrovsky-Shtern gives ex- amples of how Jews fought when they thought someone was taking advantage of them or attempting to attack them: "During the cataclysmic violence of the 1880s - the pogroms - Jews organized patrols and had groups of up to 300 people armed with because the various streams of Judaism work together and respect each other. Surely Rivlin knows that Israel itself has been built by secularists (Theodor Herzl), socialists (David Ben-Gurion), Orthodox leaders who be- lieved in outreach (Rav Kook), liberal religious leaders (Anat Hoffman) and a vast array of immigrant communities whose beliefs and practices differed dramatically from one another (Yemenites, Ethiopians, Iraqis, Americans and dozens more). Let's hope that Rivlin has learned that calling fellow Jews idol worshippers and describing the practices of Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish religious community in the United States, as "Prot- estant" is demeaning for any Jew, and beneath a member of Knesset. I am hopeful that Rivlin understands that if we are to be strong we must respect our fellow Jews, and if we are to survive, we Jews must be a united people. We have reason to be op- timistic. Speaking shortly after his election victory, Rivlin stated that he would represent "all the citizens of Israel--Jews, Arabs, Druze, rich, poor, religious and less religious. From this moment, I am no longer a party man but everybody's man, a man of all the people." I join with the senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-E1, Douglas Sagal, in extending an invitation to Rivlin, on his first trip as president to the United States, to attend a Shabbat service in Westfield and to address our congrega- tion. Now wouldn't that be a brilliant statement affirming the pluralistic character of the Jewish people? Wouldn't that be a dramatic contribution to the strength and unity of the Jewish people? We promise the president liked I imagined; it was a phenomenal book. What kind of things do you like to do for fun? I love spending time with my friends and family, going to the gym, swimming and playing basketball. The Teen Heroes column is sponsored by the Helen Diller Family Foundation, which is dedicated to celebrating and supporting teens repairing the world. To learn more about the foundation's $36,000 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, visit http://dillerteenawards. org. Please tell us about teens who deserve attention by send- ing an email to clubs.., ready to defend them- selves against the assaulting mobs." Most of these Jews were physically fit due to the hard labor required by their employment. It was only after the economic decline of the shtetl that the government stepped in to prevent the Jews from defending themselves. The Jews willingly used Russian courts to gain justice. Petrovsky-Shtern believes that "the Jews' new trust in Russian jurisprudence paral- leled the growing skepticism of the rabbinic courts, which were unable to implement their own decisions." Court documents show that the Jews were not at any particular dis- advantage in lawsuits against Christians. The author also notes that some Jews were career criminals and gives examples of their crimes and punishments. Other chapters focus on the overwhelming importance of family, the architecture of shtetl homes (including the number of rooms and their uses) and the books found on their shelves. In fact, the amount of detail Petrovsky-Shtern uncovered is aPnazing. In the initial chapters, the material did feel dry and almost overwhelm- ing, but as the author began to discuss the people and their lives - rather than the census of the different towns ahd villages - I found the depth of detail fascinating. The book's combination of history and anthropology worked extremely well. I was tempted not to review "The Golden Age Shtetl" because I've read other works about the shtetl in recent years. However, Petrovsky-Shtern has produced something new and original. Anyone inter- ested in the history of Eastern European Jews would do well to pick up a copy. a warm welcome and a Shab- bat experience that will lift his spirit. Charles A. Kroloff is rabbi emeritus of Temple Emanu-El of Wes tfield and past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. A president of ARZA, the Association of Reform Rabbis of America, he is currently a vice president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. This ar- ticle was originally published by the New Jersey Jewish News. Orlando Jewish community rallies for kidnapped boys Emely Katz Rabbi Aaron Rubinger, Rabbi Sholom Dubov and Rabbi HiUel Skolnik. Rabbi Skolnik and Ina Porth. Emely Katz