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June 30, 2017     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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June 30, 2017

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 30, 2017 PAGE 11A lsraeli-Druze young people on the Green Horizons camping trip. By Aquila Mendez-Valdez Israel is home to approxi- mately~140,000 members of the Druze faith, but today there's a dozen or so young students waiting patiently for me as I pa~,k my car next to the Shrine of the Prophet Bha'a Aldeen, a local Druze holy site. By this point, I have. spent several months in Israel and have only heard whisperings about the Druze community. They remain sbmething of a mystery to the outsideworld, with terms llke "secret religion" and "~idden in plain sight', used attimes to describe them. But Green Horizons, a Jewish National Fund orgam/zation that offers outdoor educa- tional activities to Israeli youth, is hoping to shed new light on their fascinating world by connecting Druze youth with nature, and Is- rael, as a whole. , For today's adventure, I'm joining a group of mostly 8th and 9th graders led by Mo- hammad Hamid. Everyone is from Beit Jann, a small village nestled high in the hills of Israel's Upper Gali- lee. Mohammad tells me we are going to hike up Mount Ha'Ari, meaning "lion" in He- brew and named so because locals say lions lived in the area thousands of years ago. For the modern day Druze youth, iPhones and Insta- gram have connected them to the outside world, but these hiking excursions are one way to renew their relationship with the land. Most of the kids speak both Hebrew and Arabic, and are currently learning English in school, so they're excited to practice their language skills with this American that's joined the group. "We get together once a week and we have a lot of fun/" Ravea Nafaa, the most outgoing of the bunch, tells me. "We go camping all around this area, and even though we go to the same school, Green Horizons has brought us closer together." After a few icebreaker games, we settle into a circle for mint tea and generous servings of manakeesh, a tra- ditional pizza-like snack that the parents have prepared, have friends from the com- Each of us got to choose munity," Zamora told me, our preferred topping--a explaining the uniqueness tomato sauce or thyme, plus of Israel's Druze population. awholetomato or cucumber Young women, however, do for a side dish. I confess that not serve in the military, but I've never eaten a tomato or they still have ambitions to cucumber whole like that become doctors, teachers, before, and the hilarity of my and explore the world outside awkward attempt at trying their village. to is not lost in translation. Green Horizons aims to Mohammad also assigns prepare each of them for each member of the group a their journeys with chal- task so that clean-up is done lenging excursions, all of quickly. L~-:~ which are ledby experienced Beit Jann~has one high counselors, likeMohammad.: school with around 200 kids Standing at the edge of a i in each grade, so the weekly scenic lookout, Mohammad Green Horizons meetings says Beit Jann is known as are a breath of fresh air and the "Switzerland of Israel," a unique learning experi- drawing tourists who come ence for the students. "For for the horseback riding and many years, I dreamt of stunning panoramic views. expanding our programs "Parents enroll their kids for Druze youth, and I am in this program in the hopes very happy that this year that it will get them outside we have successfully opened and interacting with the en- three groups," Lavi Zamora, vironment around them.And CEO of Green Horizons, told it does," he says. Zamoraalso me before my visit. "While explains that the program we count Jewish National helpsDruzeyouthmeettheir~ Fund-USA as a partner, we Jewish counterparts from hope to continue to raise the nearby communities. "They resources necessary to give travel and learn together, every Druze kid the chance and it's in this way that they to be apart of this important understand how intertwined program." their communities are to "We learn how to make each other and to the State fires, survive in the wild, of Israel." andit'salwaysanadventure," Looking out across the says Jana Shaheen, one of land, the kids call out the the younger participants in names of the cities dotting the program. I was also told the landscape below us, and how after graduation, the pointtothehighwaythatwill boys will go to the army, take me home. Green Hori- while the girls will be off zons may inspire them to to university. Although the take that road to far offlands Druze are part of Israel's and make a difference in the Arab minority, they have a world, or they may come back long and proud history of to Beit Jann to lead a group serving in the Israel Defense of their own someday. No Forces. "The Druze corn- matterwhichpaththeytake, munity is an integral part of one thing is certain: They Israeli society. I have fought will not only know how to alongside and commanded survive, but they will thrive many Druze soldiers, and and be successful. ~'.~/$~~'6-~ .. -~ , Custom Print Marketing Irrcrta~ns & Ar~otaw~rnents Digital & Offset Printing Brochures & Booklets Direct Mail Services Forms & Lette~ E eJo s 407-767-711.0 ~.-evw. ele~anqo6ndng, net - MerfaonThis Ad and Receive 18% Discount ---~ Orlando Weekday Morning Minyan (Conservative/Egalitarian), services Monday- Friday 7:45 a.m. (9 a.m.--national holidays); 2nd floor Chapel--Jewish Academy of Orlando; 851 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland. For information call 407-298-4650. Celebration Jewish Congregation (R), services and holiday schedules shown at www.; 407-566-9792. 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Congregation Bet Chaim (R), 301 West State Road 434, Unit 319, Winter Springs, 407-830-7211;; Shabbat services: Friday, 8 p.m. Congregation Beth Am (C), 3899 Sand Lake Road, Longwood, 407-862-3505; www.; Shabbat services: Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. Congregation Beth El (C),2185 Meadowlane Ave., West Melbourne, 321-779-0740; Shabbat services, 1st & 3rd Friday, 8 p.m.; 2nd & 4th Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. Congregation Beth Emeth (R), 2205 Blue Sapphire Circle, Orlando, 407-855-0772; Shabbat service: monthly, 8 p.m. Congregation Beth Israel (Rec), Collins Resource Center, Suite 303, 9401 S.R. 200, Ocala, 352-237-8277;; Shabbat service, second Friday of the month, 8 p.m. Congregation Beth Sholom (R-C), 315 North 13th St., Leesburg, 352-326-3692; www.; schedule of services on website. Congregation Beth Shalom (Progressive Conservative), Orange City congregation holds services at 1308 E. Normandy Blvd., Deltona; 386-804-8283; www.mybethshalom. corn; Shabbat services: Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, lOa.m. Congregation B'nai Torah (C), 403 N. Nova Rd., Ormond Beach, 32174, 386-672-1174;; Shabbat services: Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. Congregation Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Daytona (O), 1079 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach, 386-672-9300; Shabbat services Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. Congregation of Reform Judaism (R), 928 Malone Dr., Orlando, 407-645-0444; Shabbat services, 7 p.m. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Fridays; 6 p.m., 4th and 5th Fridays; Saturday: 10 a.m. Congregation Mateh Chaim (R), P.O. Box 060847, Palm Bay, 32906, 321 768-6722. Congregation Ohev Shalom (C), 613 Concourse Parkway South, Maitland, 407-298- 4650; www,; Shabbat service, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. Congregation OrChayim (Rec), Leesburg, 352-326-8745;; services 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month at Providence Independence of Wildwood. Congregation Shalom Aleichem (R), 3501 Oak Pointe Blvd., Kissimmee, 407-935- 0064;; Shabbat service, 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month, 8 p.m. Congregation Shomer Ysrael (C), 5382 Hoffner Ave., Orlando, 407-227-1258, call for services and holiday schedules. Congregation Sinai (C/R), 303A S.R. 27, Minneola; 352-243-5353; congregation-; services: every Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Shabbat Service evert Saturday, 10 a.m. Orlando Torah Center (O), 8591 Banyan Blvd., Orlando; 347-456-6485; Shacharis- Shabbos 9 a.m.; Mon.--Thurs. 6:45 a,m.; Sun. and Legal Holidays 8a.m.; Mincha/Maariv Please call for times. Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation/Ohalei Rivka (C), 11200 S. Apopka- Vineland Rd., Orlando, 407-239- 5444; Shabbat service, Friday, 7:3O p.m.; Saturday, 9:3O a.m. Temple Beth El (R), 579 N. Nova Rd., Ormond Beach, 386-677-2484. Temple Beth Shalom (R), P.O. Box 031233, Winter Haven, 813-324-2882. Temple Beth Shalom (C), 40 Wellington Drive, Palm Coast, 386-445-3006; Shabbat service, Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. Temple Beth Sholom (C), 5995 N. Wickham Rd. Melbourne, 321-254-6333; www.; Shabbat services: Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday: 9:30 a.m. Minyan, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m,; Thursday, 10:00 a.m. Temple Beth Shalom (R), 1109 N.E. 8th Ave., Ocala, 352-629-3587; Shabbat services: Friday, 8 p.m.; Torah study: Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Temple B'nai Darom (R), 49 Banyan Course, Ocala, 352-624-0380; Friday Services 8 p.m. Temple Israel (C), 50 S. Moss Rd., Winter Springs, 407-647-3055;; Shabbat services: Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday 9:00 a.m. Temple Israel (R), 7350 Lake Andrew Drive, Melbourne, 321-631-9494. Temple Israel (C), 579 N. Nova Road, Ormond Beach, 386-252-3097; Shabbat service, Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday: 10:30 a.m. Temple Israel of DeLand (R), 1001 E. New York Ave., DeLand, 386-736-1646; www.; Friday Shabbat service, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. followed by Torah study. Temple Shalom (formerly New Jewish Congregation) (R), 1 563 Country Road 101, Oxford, 352-748-1800;; Shabbat services: Friday, 7 last Saturday of the month, 9:30 a.m. Temple Shalom of Deltona (R/C), 1785 Elkcam Blvd., Deltona, 386-789-2202; www. shalomdeltona,org; Shabbat service; Saturday: 10 a.m. Temple Shir Shalom (R) Services held at Temple Israel, 50 S. Moss Rd., Winter Springs, 407-366-3556,; Shabbat services: three Fridays each month, 7:30 p.m. Traditional Congregation of Mount Dora (T) Mount Dora, 352-735-4774; www.; Shabbat services: Saturday, 9:30 a.m. sharp. (R) Reform (C) Conservative (O) Orthodox (Rec) Reconstructionist (T) Mehitsa