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. L.+. ..... PAGE 22A Push From page 12A Congress, and for a mass rally in New York on Sept. 24 to protest Ahmadinejad&apos;s speech. Lawmakers have held back on tougher sanctions in part because they also are watching the post-election fallout and because legislation usually does not move in summer months. The most recent legislation, advanced by Reps. Brad Sher- man (D-Calif.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), would withdraw loan guarantees from companies that deal with Iran's energy sector. Other enhancements could target Iran's central bank and its import of refined petroleum. Rep. Howard Berman (D- Calif.), the chairman of the House of Representatives For- eign Relations Committee and a key to advancing legislation, is said to be concerned that punishing Iranians when they are seeking to replace a tyr- anny may not be opportune. AIPAC has a powerful ally, however, in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who in a recent letter to Obama suggested that con- fronting Iron trumped other Middle East issues. "I believe that resolving the problem of Iran's nuclear pro- gram will help facilitate the Arab-Israeli peace process," Reid wrote. Speakers on the Presidents Conference call emphasized the need for volume--they expect 300 to 500 Jewish communal leaders to attend the Washing- ton Day--and breadth. "Get local chapters to reach out to non-Jewish counter- parts all across the eastern seaboard and through the Midwest," Hoenlein said, HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 17, 2009 referring to plans for the New York rally, adding that he hoped to draw Muslim and Christian speakers. The effort will confront a residual reluctance to as- sume a more militant pos- ture, particularly one that could culminate in a strike. Mullen enumerated sev- eral reasons why the United States was still committed to diplomacy and wary of confrontation--"the vulner- abilities of regional countries that are friends of ours." Does a strike, he asked, "get contained or does it expand response in other parts of the world?" Mullen said the very fluidity of the situation gave him pause. "We're not very good at predicting what's going to happen, where it's going to happen," he said. "And not just we--lots of countries in the world." Sephardic From page 13A "In America there was 'Fiddler on the Roof' and gefilte fish and Orthodox and Conservative and Reform Judaism," says Rabbi Daniel Bouskila of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in Los Angeles. The various non-Ashkenazic groups ,'had every desire to be American when it came to living their lives, but in terms of their Judaism, they didn't have much interest in as- similating into the American Jewish community." That's why Sephardim formed their own synagogues like Tifereth Israel (founded by a small group of Sephardic, Ladino-speaking immigrants in 1920) or more recently the Sephardic Cultural Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., both with congregants from com- munities such as Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Brazil and Israel. Bouskila believes that a Sephardic resurgence in Israel has fueled a wider movement in America and around the world. "Once upon a time there was one definition of being Israeli--the prototypical Sabra being from Europe had blond hair and listened to a particular kind of music--I think that's changed in Is- rael," he says, citing the pop stars Sarit Hadad, Eyal Golan and Israel's first "Idol" winner, Maya Bouskila (no relation). "There's a unique sense of cultural identity through music and even names"-- people don't Hebraicize their Sephardic names as much. It has "spilled over" to America, Bouskila adds. "I think people feel more secure in their identity today than they did a long time ago," he says. For some artists, exploring + Together From page 15A evangelicals in the room "re- ally understood" that while sharing their faith was an essential component of their spiritual lives, it couldbe prob- lematic for Jews. He was one of several participants who noted how open and intense both the formal and informal discussions were throughout the conference. In addition to exchanging thoughts on issues, others said they learned that the two faith traditions have some important similarities. "The concerns we have as people of faith are much closer than I had realized,', said Rabbi Jack Moline, a pulpit rabbi in Alexandria, Va.; and director of public policy for the Conservative movement's Rabbinical As- sembly. Members of both faiths are attempting to follow their religious tradi- Sephardic culture is a way to explore their own Jewish identity. Sephardim account for 3 percent to 4 percent of the Jewish population in the United States. "The communities that people lived in before were so much more closed, and you were only defined by one thing," says Vanessa Paloma, a singer and scholar who spe- cializes in Sephardicwomen's songs like "Mose de Salio de Misrayim" < com/watch?v=mMlqeR- NV30&feature=related>, a Ladino song about the burn- ing bush and Moses' journey from Egypt, which women would sing at Passover. For Paloma, being Ameri- can means having many different identities--actor, writer, yogi, etc. "It's like we're hungry for some kind of deeper meaning and these roots are where we came from," she says. Now Paloma is living in Morocco, where she can in- vestigate her past. "What did my grandmother sing? What kind of smells did she smell?" she wonders. "If I know more about that, I know more about my ancestors and know more about myself." Others want to preserve a culture they fear might be lost. "I just thought about writ- ing my family story--it's a very eccentric, eclectic fam- ily," novelist Gina Nahai says of the beginning of her journey writing fiction based on the Persian Jewish community in Iron and Los Angeles. When she began her seven years of research for her first novel, "Cry of the Peacock," she saw thattherewas barely anything written about the community or its history. Iranian Jews make up "the oldest Jewish community in the Diaspora and no one had recorded their stories," she says. "And it didn't look like people were going to survive." Many artists may be teach- ing their culture to their own people. Jennifer Abadi, author of the cookbook-memoir "Fist- ful of Lentils: Syrian-Jew- ish Recipes From Grandma Fritzie's Kitchen" (Harvard Common Press 2007), was surprised to find that many students in her classes were Syrian women who grew up eating food prepared by their mothers and housekeepers but had not learned to cook it. "All of a sudden they get married to Syrian men, and it's expected [for them to cook Syrian food] and they have to go to their mothers and aunts,"Abadi says, adding later, "so the book does provide a service." She says her audi- ence also is Ashkenazi women "who like what they consider 'better' Jewish food." That's why many artists are mining Sephardic culture-- because they like it. Majadrah (rice with lentils) might be better than kugel, and De- Leon "might be cooler than klezmer," jokes Jacob Harris, the chief operating officer of JDub records, which produces both DeLeon and "Songs From The Garden Of Eden." JDub wasn't seeking out Sephardic artists per se, Har- ris says, but wanted "to pro- mote authentic Jewish culture within the mainstream." And the mainstream likes world music. "I don't think it's an ac- cident that it's become so popular riow--we are be- coming more global, seeing Jewish history in a broader way," says llan Stavans, edi- tor of"The Schocken Book of Modern Sephardic Literature" (Schocken, 2005), an anthol- ogy that includes fiction, tions while also being a part of contemporary society, and trying to "walk both paths find unique chal- lenges." Moline added that the process by which Jews and evangelicals apply their faiths to contemporary issues also is similar, as both examine their "faith values" to see which ones apply to a particular situation. Neff and Poupko said it wasn't clear why clergy lead- ers of the two faiths hadn't sat down for such discus- sions previously--there were some efforts involving mostly academics in the 1980s--but speculated that part of the rea- son was that the two groups don't cross paths frequently in everyday life. Poupko noted that Jews and evangelicals simply live in different places, with Jews traditionally concentrated more in urban settings and evangelicals frequently lo- cated outside of cities and in areas of the country where Jews are not as populous. That won't be an obstacle anymore. Hunter said that if he has any question about how a certain issue involving Israel should be approached, he won't hesitate to call one of the rabbis he met and ask, "How does this sound to you?" Similarly, Gutow said he had met Hunter a few times in the past, but now "picking up the phone and calling him is a no-brainer." "My Rolodex is tremen- dously expanded," said Neff, "not just in the sense of hav- ing more names and phone numbers,', but "with people I know." In addition to all those informal contacts, organizers said they hope to schedule another formal meeting next year. memoirs essays and poetry from 28writers over 150 years, including a short story by Cuban-Jewish writer Ruth Behar titled "Never Marry a Man Who Doesn't Beat You." "The Jewish community is increasingly heterogeneous, not only politically but ethni- cally. People come from differ- ent parts of the world through immigration and mixed mar- riages, and they are pushing the collective identity in different ways," Stavans says, including contributions from Asian and Hispanic cultures. "The need to understand the Sephardim is to understand a very important part of Jewish history." No longer does Jewish iden- tity have to be "the standard flagpoles of Israel, the Holo- caust and the shtetl," he says. Yet even the term "Sep- hardic Renaissance" can be seen as Ashkenazi-centric; after all, these cultures have been flourishing for centuries, even if invisible to Ashke- nazim. "We live our religion-- there is no resurgence," says Sheila Schweky, the program chair for the Sephardic Com- munity Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., a JCC-like institution that serves 50,000 to 70,000 Jews--mostly Syrian, but also Egyptian, Iraqi, Moroccan and others. Schweky cites the strong family ties and tight-knit community for preserving the Syrian Jewish heritage. "As far as our traditions and customs, they're basically the same as when our fathers came here," she says, so the idea ofa"renaissance" doesn't apply. "We don't turn around and say we have to teach our children our heritage--they live it." Many tight-knit Sep- hardic communities that have thrived, but remained nearly invisible to the rest of the world, are learning that art can sometimes show less than positive por- trayals. The Syrian Jewish community, for example, was not happy with David Adjmi's "Stunning," a recent Off-Off-Broadway play that The New York Times called "a stinging portrait of an insular Syrian Jewish com- munity in contemporary Brooklyn." "Smaller communities think that everyone is going to judge everyone by that one play," the novelist Nahai says, "People overreact--it's not like every time you meet a Greek person you think of 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding.' ' On the one hand, people like seeing their community portrayed. "So many young people write to me and tell me fi- nally I can understand why my family is the way they are," Nahai says. Others, however, become upset at some of the issues she raises, such as the treat- ment of women in the Persian Jewish community or how the rabbis were not always just. "All novelists need to tell the truth, It doesn't mean it's the only reality, it doesn't mean I 'm trying to capture the entire population," Nahai says. "Tell- ing the truth is the only thing I have a responsibility to do. The rest a publicist needs to do." Perhaps the Sephardic communities will become accustomed to the spotlight-- and the good and bad lights shone on them. "It's interesting that this is happening now," Stavans says. "It's because the Ashkenazi community is really solid, and it can look into other aspects of Jewish life without feeling threatened." What they are seeing from Sephardic culture, in all its multiplicity and history, is that Sephardim "are more ethnic and more attractive in close-knit families that traveled across time and kept their identity," he says. "At a time when it's very easy to lose one's identity, you admire their ability to keep their identity across time and space," Stavans says. "You feel an allure to Sephardic culture." Berg From page 17A by white actors, the former realistically portrayed urban Jewish life. Every morning, Kempner says, Berg went down to the Lower East Side with a notepad to gather mate- rial. In 1933, she conductedan entire seder on the air. In 1949, Berg adapted her show for television, creat- ing the sitcom that brought her to the peak of her fame. Despite the show's obscurity today, the image of aproned Molly Goldberg kibitzing in the window--and, often as not, trying to sell the televi- sion audience vitamins or knives--has become iconic. "The apartmentwith people constantly coming in and out, the product placement, are industry standards now," Kempner said. She pointed to "Seinfeld" and "Friends" as shows that employ the former; as for the latter, Berg wasn't just marketing instant coffee but also her own lines of dresses, toys, comic books and cookbooks. "She had a media empire," screenwriter Margaret Nagle says in the film. "She was the Oprah of her day." The show lasted until 1955 when, according to Kempner, two things did it in: suburban- ization and the blacklist. The show's final season took place in the suburbs--the Goldbergs had risen indeed, but in the process lost the trappings of tenement life that made the show what it was. More tragic, Philip Loeb, who played Jacob Goldberg, was blacklisted. Berg fought back, but ultimately the showwas dropped by its sponsor and forced to switch networks; it never recovered from the loss of both Loeb and its prime slot. Loeb committed suicide; Berg continued feverishly working the spotlight until her death in 1966, but her career never completely recovered. The main reason "The Goldbergs,' isn't on the air today, though, is frustratingly banal: Like othervery early TV shows, Kempner said, it was never syndicated. "A couple years back I was at a party, and there was 'The Nanny'!" Kempner recalled. "I told her I was making a documentary about Gertrude Berg. And she says to me, 'Who's that?'" But long before Fran Dre- scher, there was the unsink- able Molly Goldberg, hollering sweetly out her tenement window to the neighbors. Reprinted from Tabletmag. corn, a new read on Jewish life. mollygoldbergfilm,org The Goldbergs was the most popular radio and television show of its day, paving the way for the sitcoms that would follow.