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FLORIDA JEW ISH NEWS L Editorials ................................ 4A Op-Ed ..................................... 5A Calendar ................................. 6A Synagogue Directory ............... 7A B'nai Mitzvah .......................... 8A Scene Around ......................... 9A Classified ................................ 2B Observing Tisha b'Av together Noam Moskowitz/Flash90/JTA Israeli President Shimon Peres, seated second from right, with his country's Olympic delegation for the London Games, July 9. To London from the U.S.-- By Ben Sales via Israel's Olympic team TEL AVIV (JTA)--Growing up out- side of Chicago, Jillian Schwartz never expected that one day she would be an Israeli citizen. Now the hardest part of her immigrant experience is leaving Tel Aviv--with her roughly 17-feet-long Olympic equipment. "Trying to get out of here with poles is very difficult," said Schwartz, a pole vaulter and one of two Americans on Israel's Olympic team for this month's Summer Games in London. "The first time I flew ut of here it was 4 in the morning. They were going to bring me to the airport 3 1/2 hours early, and I barely made it onto the plane" because of the special luggage requirements of the poles. Schwartz, 32, a U.S. Olympian in 2004 who became an Israeli citizen two years ago, will be joined on the Is- raeli squad by fellow American-turned- Israeli Donald Sanford, a runner in the 400 meters. Both athletes took unconventional routes to Israeli citizenship. Schwartz's family was involved in its local synagogue during her childhood, but her Jewish involvement reached a new height when she moved to Jones- boro, Ark., to train with coach Earl Bell. Schwartz connected with the small Jewish community near her training center, and made competing in the Israel- hosted 2009 Maccabiah Games a priority. Olympic on page 18A Claims Conference marks 60 years of reparations By Uriel Heilman Kagan, 89, who participated in WASHINGTON (JTA)-- When representatives of Israel, Germany and the newly created Conference on Jewish Mate- rial Claims Against Germany met 60 years ago in Europe to hammer out a reparations agreement for the crimes of Nazi Germany, some Holocaust survivors were still living in Displaced Persons camps on the continent. The mood at the negotiating table was solemn, recalled Saul ,q the negotiations andwent on to lead the Claims Conference for more than four decades. "There were no handshakes, therewas no banter or anything else," Kagan said in avideo mes- sage on the evening of July 10 at an event at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum here mark- ing the 60th anniversary of the first reparations agreement. "We somehow had the feel- ing that we were not alone in this room," he said. "Somehow we felt that the spirits of those who couldn't be there were there with us." Six decades on, much has followed from that first docu- ment signed in 1952, known as the Luxembourg Agreement. Germany has paidthe equiv- alent of more than $70 billion to survivors and programs that aid survivors. Israel and Germany have become close allies. Germany has made Holocaust education a center- piece of its identity, creating school curricula, building Holocaust museums and fund- ing anti-Semitism eradication programs. Last week, Germany took the additional step of changing its funding criteria to add an estimated 80,000 more Nazi victims to those it provides with one-time payments of about $3,150 from the Hard- ship Fund, which is designated for Jews who fled the Nazis as Marty Katz/washingtonphotographer.com Speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on July 10, Werner Gatzer, state secretary of the German Finance Ministry, said negotiations with the Claims Conference over Holocaust restitution are marked by a "spirit of cooperation and trust." they swept eastward through Europe. The change, which is expected to affect mostly sur- vivors in Russia and Ukraine, opens the door to funding for the last major groupofNazivic- tims who have never received money from Germany. Claims Conference repre- sentatives hailed the move as a historic breakthrough. "This agreement ensures that virtually every Holocaust survivor will be covered," Stu- art Eizenstat, a former U.S. undersecretary of state who represents the Claims Con- ference in negotiations with the Germans over Holocaust restitution, told JTA."It's really a major upgrading of the whole relationship. It's the first time since 1952 that Germany has negotiated a new agreement." In his speech at the anniver- sary event, Eizenstat said that "It is a testimony to Germany that we are now negotiating with a third generation of Ger- man leaders after World War II, supported by the German people,thathave acknowledged theirhistorical responsibilityto the Jewish people." In addition to agreeing to expand the Hardship Fund to ex-Soviet countries that are not in the European Union, Germany agreed to equalize the monthly pensions it sends to Claims on page 19A Rabbi Rick Sherwin Aunique partnership contin- ues to evolve between Congrega- tion Beth Am in Longwood and the Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation (SOJC)in Orlando bringing the Southwestand the Northeast together. This has re- sulted in the two congregations jointly observing Tisha b'Av at SOJC at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 28. The service will be conducted by Rabbi Hillel Skolnik of SOJC and by Rabbi Rick Sherwin of BethAm. Cantor DougRamsay of SOJC will lead the Ma'ariv service. On Tisha b'Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, Jews remember with sadness the destruction of both Jerusalem Temples. The firstwas destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the second by the Romans in CE 70. The rabbis of the Talmud say it was decreed on the ninth day of Av, in addition to the destruction of the Sanc- tuaries, that the Israelites who had left Egypt would not enter the Promised Land. On Tisha b'Av in 1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella issued the edict of expulsion forcing Jews to con- vertortoleaveSpain. Thetheme of the day is destruction, yet it culminates with expressions of hope and the commitment to rebuild. Since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, the day has become a day of hope as well, re- minding the Jewish people that devastations can be rebuilt. We celebrate the rebuilding of our spiritual center with "Hatikva" and other songs of hope. Rabbi Hillel Skolnik Rabbi Rick of Beth Am says, "The partnership between Beth Am and SOJC offers a special significance. The observance of Tisha b'Av is an expression of sadness for Churban ha-Bayit (the destruction of the Temple), yet it always ends on a note of hope for the restoration of the Jewish spirit. "What betterwaytoovercome destruction than by two con- gregations joining together?" Rabbi Rick added, "The message of the joint observance is that competition must give way to collaboration, and singularity must yield to the strength of plurality." Skolnik, spiritual leader of SOJC, agrees with the need for a stronger and unified Jewish community, and he is enthusi- astic about the partnership with Beth Am. He is looking forward to continuing the relationship when BethAmwill hostthejoint Selichot service ushering in the High Holy Days in September. Ramsay said he is delighted to be working with both rabbis. With his strength of voice and spirit, he is enthusiastic to be the musical bridge connecting the two congregations. The Jewish community is encouraged to join the con- gregational families of Beth Am and SOJC and participate in this moving observance of destruction and building, memory and hope. The service begins at 9 p.m. July 28 at SOJC, 11200 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando. 1 medical miracle in Israel By Chicago Jewish News It's hard to describe it as anything but a miracle. One that took place in Israel, a land that has seen a miracle or two in its time.A miracle involv- ing a rabbi from one of Israel's most prestigious yeshivas. A rabbi suffering from ALS whose speech was becoming increasingly difficult to under- stand and who was confined to a wheelchair. And who was told by the Mayo Clinic that he had between two and four years to live. A rabbi who, thanks to a new treatment at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, is now walking unassisted, talking clearly and is the first ALS patient ever anywhere who has been cured of the devastating, and previously untreatable, disease. As reported in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and trans- lated by the website Jewish- Mom.com: What took place this past month at Hadassah Hospital's Miracle on page 19A