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June 28, 2013

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 28, 2013 Protest Erdogan, the head of the conservative Muslim AKP From page 1A party, has ordered authorities to crack down on the protest- among the few governments ers. Last week, police arrested able to broker relationships hundredsofjournalists, medics between Israel and its Arab who were treating protesters adversaries. Turkey and Israel and even localshop ownerswho also have been engaged in haveaidedthedemonstrations. reconciliation talks over the Though these protests may past three months, weaken Erdogan within Tur- With other states in the key, they're unlikely to affect region enmeshed in civil war, Israeli-Turkish negotiations messy political transitions or because Erdogan is unlikely otherformsofpoliticalturmoil, to lose his grip on power, ac- adding Turkey to the list of cording to Alan Liel, a former volatilestateswouidmeaneven Israeli ambassador to Turkey. more uncertainty for Israel. "They can't get rid of him," '.'We say this is great, he Liel said. "I don't think there berated us, but we don't will be any implication He's know who will come after the same person at the head him," Efrat Aviv, an expert of the same party." on Turkish politics at Bar- But Aviv says a loss of do- IlanUniversity'sBegin-Sadat mestic power could prompt Center for Strategic Studies, Erdogan to improve foreign saidofErdogan."We know his relations and "make him get strengthsandweaknesses.We closer to Israel." know how to deal with him. It Turkeyand Israelhadastrong would be hardifsomeone new alliance a decade ago, but their came in who we didn't know." tiesbegantodeterioratenotlong Protests in Istanbui's Tak- after Erdogan came to power. sim Square, which began on Thenadircamein2010,whenIs- May 28, initially opposed a raeli naval commandos stopped city construction plan slated a pro-Palestinian flotilla intent to replace a park. But since on breaking Israel's maritime then the protests have spread blockade of Hamas-controlled throughout the country and Gaza. A violent confrontation morphed into a broader con- aboard one of the boats, the detonation of Erdogan, who Mavi Marmara, left nine Turk- has led Turkey for 10 years ish nationals dead, incensing and plans to run for president Erdogan. next year. Turkey recalled its ambas- sador from Israel and subse- quently downgraded diplo- matic ties with Jerusalem. During his visit to Israel in March, President Obama orchestrated a phone call in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formal- ly apologized to Erdogan for the Mavi Marmara incident, sparking reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey that are ongoing. One regional leader who may benefit from the turmoil in Tur- key is embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to Liel. Erdogan's government has been aidingSyrian rebels and has taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, so a blow to Erdogan could be good news for the Syria- - Iran-Hezbollah axis--and bad news for Israel. Gallia Lindenstrauss, a research fellow at Tel Aviv Uni- versity's Institute for National Security Studies, says that while the protests mayweaken Erdogan's government, they demonstrate that Turkey is a still a democracy--a good thing in a region filled mostly with autocracies. "They show in the long term that civil society is expand- ing and flowering," she said. "There have been a lot of bad things happening, but in the long term they show that Turkey is democratic." Protester stands on top of a barricade June "11 during Square in lstanbui, Turkey. A mass protest June 15 in Taksim Lam Yik Fei/Getty a demonstration near Taksim Square in Istanbul. Creative Commons Kentucky From page 1A Naomi Eisenberger, a past president of B'nai Israel, co- comfort zones, away from ordinates the whole effort as their homes, to another part executivedirectorofthe Good of the United States. People Fund, a nearly $1 mil- "Every congregation raises lion tzedakah collective she money and is invested in has run out of her Millburn tzedakah programs in their home since 2008. communities," he said. "We After a few false starts in all support organizations in other communities, B'nai Israelandsome support other Israel, with the help of GPF, causes and organizations by settled on McRoberts. If the sending money. But when town is foreign to his con- we focus on what is nearby gregants, it is not exactly out or easy we lose an important of Bayar's own comfort zone. lesson--that there are those Although he spent his early in need all over and that years in Monsey, N.Y., Bayar's creating ongoing personal family moved to Charlottes- relationships are as important ville, Va., when he was in high to us as to them." school. Although it is a college Development Corporation for Israel Israel Bonds 2600 South Belcher Road, Suite ~ 01A I SRA~ L!~'i BONDS ; .................. Largo, Florida 33773 Reva Pearlstein Mohica DiGiovanni Ass~stent Director Regist~rc, d Representative 727-539-6445 i 800-622-8017 tampa@~sr www.israetbond$,com town, Charlottesville contains pockets of rural poverty. "There were kids who didn't come to school in the winter when it snowed because they didn'thave shoes," he recalled. Bayar believes strongly in mitzvah projects that become ongoing relationships. "It's easy to go once and feel good and then forget who was there," h~ said. However, a long-term commitment "creates responsibility and relationship. We are now beginning to know the people well and, because of that, they are beginning to ask us to help in ways we never envisioned. Whowould have thought that they need special educators to meet with parents? We would never have thought of it--and yet, it may be the most lasting impact we have had." The initiative is also more complicated than a one-time mitzvah day. "More than anything else it gives perspective," he said. "It's hard to return from Ap- palachia and worry about my air-conditioning breaking down (which it did). It teaches me the meaning of resilience. The residents we workwith are my teachers in life." During their two-and-a- half days in Kentucky, the volunteers divided into three groups. The largest would work on Saundra Hall's home, a doublewide trailer in Seco, near McRoberts, across from what was originally the coal mine's company store. Hall, divorced and the mother of four grown children, is raising her eldest son's three daugh- ters, Shayla, 10; Kennedi, 6; and Charleigh Beth, 5. Their father was sucked under by drugs; the landscape is dotted with the remains of trailers that were once crystal meth labs. Hall's ex had raised that son; she raised the rest of the clan. Amanda and Johnny Hall, Saundra's oldest daughter and youngest son (her third son still works in the coal mines), were eager to help the crew as they got busy changing light fixt/Jres, spackling, taping, and painting three rooms. Later, new carpet would be laid in four rooms. In each case, one of the volunteers with expertise took the lead and would serve as foreman. Another group of the New Jerseyans consisted of education specialist Sara Wasserman of Livingston and two graduate students. Wasserman, who runs her own consulting company for special and typical education and coordinates professional development at Golda Och Academy's upper school, is an instructor of inclusive early childhood education at Montclair State University. She and the students spent their time at storefront serv- ing as a community center in Neon, just w st of McRoberts, providing tr tining, tips, and materials to educators and families of children and teens with autism. They also taught rescue workers how to identify and manage the challenges autistic children can present in an emergency situation. On day one,, only two people showed up. "I was disappointed and frustrated, to come all this way for one or two people," said Wasserman. And those who came were "dubious," and "almost angry," she said. Theywere"uncertainwhether to trust us." But by day three, eight peo- ple came, and later, others who wanted to take part but could not attend for various reasons contacted Wassernian. "Mostly, they needed some- one educated in the field to come in and say they were doing the right things," said Wasserman. "They have to travel six hours just to get a diagnosis, and there is no psychiatrist around. These are parents who are as involved, engaged and active as any par- ents I've ever known. But they are parents without resources who can't get their kids the help they need." Asked if she would return, she said, "I think I have to." This article is the first in- stallment in a two-part series. Next: Hard choices, and the value of tzedakah. Johanna Ginsberg is a staff writer for the New Jersey Jewish News, from which this article was reprinted by permission. Flexible schedule. 5-10 hours per week. Contact Jeff Gaeser at 407-834-8787.