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July 3, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 16A By Edmon J. Rodman LOS ANGELES (JTA)-- Red, white and bluish, and Jewish, the Fourth of July this year falls on Shabbat. Whether you spend the day in synagogue, at the park, with your feet up on a recliner or barbecuing in the yard, you can bring a Jewish spark or two to the day. We know the Jewish words of independence and freedom are inscribed all about us, notably the inscription from Leviticus on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land," and Jewish poet Emma Laza- rus' words on the base of the Statue of Liberty, "Send us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses." But what of the words of Jewish composer Randy New- man or Jewish Marvel comic bookwriterJoe Simon? Where is their patriotic prose and poesy? What are their takes on America? On this day of national unity, what does the siddur have to say about blessing our government? Are there Jewish sacrifices for democracy that have been overlooked? Based on our tradition, are there By Leslie Susser, JTA Like the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly two de- cades ago, the outcome of the post-election unrest in Iran could be of major strategic HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 3, 200 Lighting a Jewish fuse on the Fourth its view of the divine sparks that need to be gathered in order to create tikkun olam, or repair of the world. 4. We all know that Irving Berlin wrote "God Bless America." Randy Newman wrote the satirical "Follow the Flag," as well as "Politi- cal Science," a song in which America drops the "Big One" on just about everyone. 5. To celebrate this day of freedom, thinkaboutwearing a sweatshop-free T-shirt. Jews have a history of working in sweatshops; can't we direct our clothing expenditures elsewhere? Manufacturers such as American Apparel, whose sometimes outrageous CEO Dov Charney is Jewish, pay their workers a living wage. Also, the Progressive Jewish Alliance promotes sweatshop-free garments through a Kosher Clothes campaign in schools, and publishes "No Shvitz: Your One-Stop Guide to Fighting Sweatshops." 6. Many siddurim include a prayer for the government or country based on the prophet Edmon Rodman With the Fourth of July on Shabbat, it's a perfect time to relax with a few Jewish connections to the day. new opportunities to assure that more people benefit from our union? Here are eight Jewish con- nections to our national day of independence. Think about them to light a Jewish fuse this Fourth. 1. Haym Solomon (1740- 1785), a Philadelphia Jew and son of a Polish rabbi and a broker, helped finance the Revolutionary War and sup- ported Washington's army through the sale of Bills of Exchange. He also extended interest-free personal loans to members of Congress, includ- ing James Madison. 2. CaptainAmerica, the red, white and blue Marvel comic book hero, was created by two Jews, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. During World War II this super patriot, dressed in the elements ofa U.S. flag and wielding a shield that can be thrown as a weapon, stands with the Allies in battling the Nazis. 3. A sky full of colored sparks: Are they simply Fourth of July pyrotechnics, or can they be bright reminders of kabbalistic thought? As things are popping around and above, why not let the sparks lift you to the world of the Zohar and Jeremiah's "seek the welfare of the city where I have caused you to be exiled," as well as the Pirkei Avot's advice to "pray for the welfare of the govern- ment."Aversion in Siddur Sire Shalom, based on a text by Louis Ginzberg, reads in part, "Teach them insights for your Torah that they may adminis- ter all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst." Amen to that. 7. Where does that nice cold slice of July 4 watermelon come from? Just think, in Israel from the time of the Ottoman Empire until now, growing watermelons has been an important enterprise. Today, including a seedless va- riety, watermelons are grown primarily for seeds for export. 8. Eighteen Jews are among the 3,400 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Hon- or, the nation's highest honor for military service. The most recent, Tibor Rubin, with whom I spoke recently, re- ceived the honor in 1999 for courageous service during the KoreanWar. Born in Hungary, and a Holocaust survivor, Rubin came to New York and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Iran turmoil likely to benefit Israel significance for the Middle East and for Israel. Israeli analysts see three possible scenarios: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ruling ayatollahs use force to reas- Pat Greany, Ph.D. entomologist, boatJng enthusiast, former proton therapy patient Proton therapy can destroy hard-to-reach tumors in the prostate while producing fewer side effects. The University of Florida's powerful new weapon against cancer attacks tumors with optimum doses of radiation that spare healthy tissue.This reduces the probability of complications and side effects while improving a patient's chances for a successful outcome. To learn more about the only proton therapy center in the Southeast and our effectiveness treating prostate, head and neck lun& brain and pediatric cancers, please visit www.floridaproton.org/prostate, or call us at (877) 686-6009. sert the authority of their regime. Ahmadinejad's presi- dential rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, sweeps to power on a wave of popular sup- port and reforms what still 2015 N.Jefferson St.,Jacksonville, Florida remains an essentially cleri- cal regime. The unrest takes on a dy- namic of its own, driving the ayatollahs from power. In each scenario, Israel stands to benefit. Clearly, regime change in Tehran could alter radically the political landscape of the entire region. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Middle East gradu- ally adopted a new but equally bipolar character: Instead of the Soviet Union and its prox- ies standing against the United States and its allies, Iran has supplanted the Soviet role as the prime adversary. It was Iran that fueled theArab-Israeli conflict through its proxies in Lebanon and GazamHezbollah and Hamas, respectively. If street demonstrations do lead to regime change in Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas could lose their Iranian patron and their major arms supplier, and the prospects for Israeli- Arab accommodation would improve dramatically. A new regime also could put the brakes on the Iranian nuclear threat to Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes even further. "Under a different regime, the peaceful relations we used to have with Iran could be re- established," he declared in an interview with the German Bild newspaper. Israel and Iran had ties until 1979, when the shah was overthrown and exiled. This best-case scenario, however, is also the most unlikely. More likely, Ahmadinejad and the radical ayatollahs led byAli Khameneiwill remain in power. Even if this is the case, however, they will be seen to have rigged the election and then used force to suppress the popular will. The regime will be perceived more widely as brutally suppressive, will lose international legitimacy and, if it persists with its nuclear weapons' program, could face a much tougher sanctions regime than otherwise would have been the case. Iran in the future may need to be more attuned to domestic concerns and spend less on outside forces such as Hezbollah and Hamas. This scenario, too, would be favor- able for Israel. If Mousavi comes to power by forcing and winning a new election, he may be ready for a deal with the West on the nuclear issue. He also is likely to be less virulently anti-Israel thanAhmadinejad, and to pro- vide less support for Hezbollah and Hamas. Some Israeli analysts fear that this will end up being only halfa revolution: Mousavi would come to power, show a more human face of Shiite Islam to the rest of the world, win international plaudits, and defuse criticism and scrutiny of Iran while maintaining the same anti-Israel and nuclear policies as the previous gov- ernment. Under a cloak of respectability, this Iran could be even more dangerous than Ahmadinejad's, analysts fear. Several leading Israeli Iran experts see the showdown in Iran as largely a family quar- rel between members of the same conservative, clerical elite. They argue that there is not a great deal of difference between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei and the only slightly less conservative Mousavi, who is backed by Ayatollah Ali Rafsanjani. Indeed, the protesters seem to be using Mousavi as a ral- lying figure because they have no genuine reformist of stature to back. By the same token Mousavi, who seeks the presi- dency to make minor reforms, is happy to use Iranians who want much more than he is of- fering to build his power base. The big question for Iran, Israel and the Middle East is whether Mousavi is riding a tiger that at some point may usher in a new more demo- cratic era in Iran, and with it "In Korea," he said, "an anti-Semitic sergeant made me a hero." The sergeant sent the S-foot-7, 135-pound Rubin on dangerous rear-guard missions, where he was wounded several times, re- ceiving two Purple Hearts. Though recommended for the Medal of Honor by two superior officers, the anti- Semitic sergeant never did the paperwork. Later in the war, Rubin was captured and repeatedly risked his life by sneaking out of camp to steal food to bring back for his fellow POWs. Years after the war he was still without Medal of Honor salute for his valor. It was only after several Army buddies protested and elected officials intervened, as well as a petition signed by 42,000 Jewish war vet- erans, that the Pentagon belatedly awarded Rubin the medal. In his 80s now, he's not bitter about his earlier treatment. Rubin speaks across the country, want- ing Americans to remember that in times of war, "Jews were there, too." Edmon J. Rodman is a Los Angeles writer and designer. a more malleable and stable Middle East. Here the role of the armed forces could be crucial. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard surely will remain loyal to the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei regime, but what of the rest of the army? If there is to be a real revolution, army units would have to join the popularprotest in relatively large numbers. Although this does not seem likely now, Israeli analysts are not ruling it out. They point out that despite Iran's unprecedented oil revenues over the past few years, the economy is in tatters because of heavy spending on exporting the Iranian revolution rather than on bettering the lives of the Iranian people. Most analysts agree that Israel should not interfere or give any semblance of interfering in Iran, as to do so almost certainly would be counterproductive. Still, both Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres have expressed strong empathy for the Iranian protesters. "It's a regime whose real nature has been unmasked and it's been unmasked by an incredible act of courage by Iran's citizens," Netanyahu told NBC. "Let the young people raise their voice for freedom," Peres declared in a Jewish leadership forum. "Let the Iranianwomen voice their thirst for equality." Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a lightning visit to Cairo to discuss the Iranian situation with Egyptian Presi- dent Hosni Mubarak. In the regional divide be- tween pro-Iranian radicals and pro-Western moderates, Israel and Egypt are on the same side, together with other key countries such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan. A major shake-up in Iran could reshape the regional architecture and perhaps pave the way for far-reaching rapprochement between Is- rael and its neighbors.