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July 19, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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July 19, 2013

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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS Editorials ................................ 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ................................. 6A Synagogue Directory ............... 7A B'nai Mitzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A Classified ................................ 2B Odando, Florida Single Copy 75 Heritage Human Service Award goes to Nina Oppenheim By Mike Etzkin Associate Editor Nina Oppenheim There are some people who just can't say no to a challenge. Nina Oppenheim, the Heri- tage Human Service Award Peter Burg Heritage Florida Jewish News, is awarded to those in Central Florida's Jewish community who perform acts of tikun olam--making the world a better place--selflessly and without thought of reward winner for 2013, is one of or recognition. Gaeser will them. present her with the award at 7 The Heritage Human Ser- p.m.Aug.21attheJewishFed- vice Award, says Jeff Gaeser, eration of Greater Orlando's editor and publisher of the annual meeting at the Roth JCC in Maitland. "Someone once said to me: If I didn't do it, it's not going to get done," Oppenheim says. Take, for instance, the expansion of the Federation complex in Maitland. While she was president of the Hebrew Day School, Oppenheim spearheaded a development campaign and secured the initial land con- tract, which became the first step of the project. One person who nominated her for the award said, "With- out this critical first step, the expansion would have never gotten off the ground." Oppenheim's love of chal- lenges has led her to serve on numerous boards. Among them are the board at Congregation Ohev Shalom (2010-present), where she is currently vice president of re- source development; Central Florida Hillel (2000-present), where she was president from 2000-2003 and again from 2009-2011; the Jewish Acad- emy of Orlando (1989-2011), where she was president from 1998-2000; the Jewish Fed- eration of Greater Orlando (2002-2007), where she was secretary; the board of Edge- water high school crew team, where she was vice president; and the executive board of Medical Alliance. Each organization present- ed a challenge. For instance, Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland needed some help fundraising. As a member of Sisterhood, she managed sev- eral fundraising efforts such as sales of ads, directories and Passover wine. "I have worked to help keep the synagogue on a sound financial footing by plan- ning successful fundraising projects," says Oppenheim, a temple trustee from 2010- 2011. "My present goal is to broaden the involvement of more Ohev members in planning and executing our programs." The work has been appreci- ated by Ohev officials. Sara Stern, president of Congregation Ohev Shalom, says, "I have known Nina since 1987. I don't know how she accomplishes all that she does--she must not sleep." She probably didn't get much sleep when she was considering the challenge presented to her by Hillel in 2000. "I was asked to be the first president of the Hillel board by Dr. Edward Zissman and Marc Katzen," says Oppenheim. "I think they knew that I was experienced from my term as president of the board of the Hebrew Day School (now the Jewish Academy of Orlando). I accepted the position be- cause I welcomed the new challenge." Dermer brings as envoy loyalty to Netanyahu, history of abrasiveness By Ron Kampeas WASHINGTON (JTA)--"I was with him when" Ron Dermer laced his address to the 2009 American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference. Dermer used the phrase five times in the first five minutes of the speech--the "him" be- ing Benjamin Netanyahu. "I can shed a little insight into the mind of the Israeli prime minister," Dermer told the crowd, "because on that I'm something of an expert." Two element of the ad- t .7.. *  r t'.q e z N 0 dress, made just weeks after Netanyahu assumed office, explain Dermer's ascension last week to the country's most important diplomatic post, the ambassadorship to Washington. Dermer has a closeness to Netanyahu so steadfast that it does not inhibit his brash- ness in boasting about it. And Dermer utterly buys into Netanyahu's most cherished notion about himself--that he has been right when others have been wrong. "He's a man of basic core convictions who has time af- ter time been willing to stand against the current when it was not popular," Dermer told AIPAC. Born to a family of conserva- tive Democrats in Miami--his father and brother are both former Miami Beach may- ors--Dermer, 41, served as Netanyahu's top adviser from his assumption of office in March 2009 until his new term began in March of this year. But Dermer is known for more than just loyalty to his boss. His reputation is as a brash political player dismis- sive of those with whom he disagrees. He is rumored to be the one responsible for news stories about Obama's supposed snub of Netanyahu during his 2010 White House visit.And Obama administration officials believe he was behind Netanyahu's Miriam Alster/Flash90/JTA Ron Dermer, Israel's next ambassador to the U.S., speaking at a 2009 conven- tion for Jewish bloggers in Jerusalem. perceived tilt toward Mitt Rom- ney in last year's presidential election. "To me, it's not an ideal choice as he's seen as extremely political and as someone who has repeatedly gone to the press with negative stories," a former Obama administration official told JTA. "You want someone trusted and discreet to be your ambassador." Dermer's reputation raised eyebrows when his name first surfaced earlier this year as a possible replacement for Michael Oren, the historian turned diplomatwho will wind down his tenure in Washington this fall. But leaders of main- stream Jewish groups, which lavishly praised the pick July 9, said those muddied waters were under the bridge. "He's coming here as am- bassador to the United states, not to get involved in partisan politics," David Harris, the American Jewish Commit- tee director, told JTA. "The prime minister knows it. He knows it." Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League's national director, noted that Dan Shapiro, Obama's envoy to Israel, once was closely identi- fied with positions that upset the Netanyahu government. In his previous position, as the top Middle East official on the National Security Council, Shapiro took the lead in press- ing Israel to freeze settlement expansion. "The relationship is bigger than political nuance," said Foxman, who added that since Obama's successful March visit to Israel, the tensions that once divided the governments have passed. Passed, perhaps, but diffi- cult to forget. Unlike Shapiro and other functionaries turned ambassadors, Dermer made the case for his boss in an abra- sive tone. In 2011, he declined a New York Times request for an Op-Ed in a letter that was later Dermer on page 17A That challenge was to program for more than 4,000 Jewish college students with one part-time director. During her second term, she concentrated on raising funds for increased staff and programming for almost 6,000 Jewish students. She is still on the Hillel board as immediate past president. Her work with Hillel now is getting more students involved. "She almost never takes no for an answer either for herself or anyone else," says Susie Bierman, who is on the H!llel board with Oppenheim. "Woe be to anyone who does not understand or appreciate her devotion to Jewish causes. She is tenacious in getting things done, and she does. As one who has been encouraged by Nina more than once to join her--and has--I think our community has been well served by her dedication." Dedication would be the word that would describe Oppenheim's effort at secur- ing the land contract that al- lowed for the expansion of the Hebrew Day School as well as the entire Jewish Federation complex. 'longwith being Federation Oppenheim on page 17A Fingerhut named HiUel pres iden t WASHINGTON--Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life announced that Eric Fingerhut will serve as its president and CEO. The appointment was approved unanimously on Sunday by the Hillel Board of Directors, who met in New York. "Eric is an ideal fit for Hillel at this important time in our history," said Sidney Pertnoy, Chairman of Hillel's Board of Directors. "He has a passion for Hillel's mission and a proven innovative record of successes in both the public and private arena. We are con- fident Eric will be an excellent leader so we can better engage the Jewish world's most precious resource--over 400,000 Jewish students on college campuses in North America and the hundreds of thousands of Jewish students and young adults in com- munities around the globe." Hillel, with more than 550 locations at colleges, univer- sities and in communities in North America, Israel, the former Soviet Union, Europe and Latin America, is enter- ing its 90th year. Its goal is to enrich the lives of Jewish students, connect them to opportunities for social action and service, inspire them to lead and promote activities which help them engage with, learn about and support Israel. "I am honored to be join- ing such an esteemed and important organization," said Fingerhut. "Everything in my life has led to this mo- ment-my public service, my work on campuses and research centers across Ohio, and my lifelong devotion to Israel and the Jewish people. And so I couldn't be more thrilled." Fingerhut will assume daily leadership responsibili- ties later this summer. Randall Kaplan, Chairman of Hillel's International Board of Governors adds; "We be- lieve that Eric's public service and history of leadership in higher education as well as his entrepreneurial spirit and creative energy, uniquely Eric Fingerhut qualify him for the role. We are confident Eric will help strengthen Jewish life on campus in countless ways." Fingerhut's career in edu- cation and public service spans more than three de- cades. As Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents from early 2007 to 2011, Fingerhut led Ohio's system of public universities and colleges. In that role, Chancellor Fing- erhut earned a reputation as an innovative leader and ardent advocate of the value of higher education. Most recently, he was cor- porate vice president of Edu- cation and STEM Learning business at Battelle. Battelle, based in Columbus, is the world's largest independent research and development organization. From 1997 to 2006, Fing- erhut served as an Ohio state senator, where he worked on initiatives ranging from higher education to hu- man services and economic development. From 1993 to 1994, he represented Ohio's 19th congressional district in the U.S. Congress and in 2004, he was the Democratic Party's candidate for U.S. Senate. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and received a law degree from Stanford University.