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July 23, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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July 23, 2004

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JEWISH NEWS, JULY 23, 2004 PAGE 11 E. Berger --Jew - ig new :federal money to d be tar- attacks. protec - in- Congress, are and local to obtain funds for se- allo- ;200,000 for Jewish sites t is also the home )rogram to provide for security SYnagogues. have shown attacks, nited States and as the federal llocates money Jew- are hoping to ay the of protecting Home- last insti- for part of in grants from Office of reparedness. The to states and municipalities for distribution for security measures, both for law enforcement and for the protection of public and private facilities. That ruling came as some states were already preparing to give money to Jewish sites, and serves as a clarification, officials said. To avoid crossing the line separating church and state, money is distributed to intermediaries, who monitor the security Upgrades and reimburse the sites after the work is completed. For example, the Baltimore Jewish Council, a local com- munity relations council, is overseeing security improve- ments to two Jewish commu- nity centers in its region. Maryland Gov. Robert Eh- rlich has earmarked $97,900 for the project. The commu- nity centers worked with law enforcement and emergency management officials to deter- mine what security upgrades were needed. "After 9/11, the government must act proactively and in partnership with communi- ties to ensure all our citizens' safety," Ehrlich said. Invoices will be submitted to the Baltimore council as work is completed, and they will be sent to the government for reimbursement. The funds are used for se- curity upgrades such as bul- letproof glass, access cards for secure areas, security cameras, alarm systems and concrete planters to protect against explosives-laden cars driving into the facilities. Baltimore Jewish officials say securing Jewish sites is a good investment for the government. "Certainly, it's the govern- ment's obligation to provide for the security of its citizens," said David Conn, director of gov- ernment relations and public policy for the Baltimore Jewish Council. "What this money is doing is lowering the burden on the government to secure these facilities." Conn said secure Jewish fa- cilities will mean less of a risk for the general community and therefore will require less law enforcement services. The community has become keenly aware of the possibility of Jewish sites being targeted since last October, when a Saudi national was caught videotaping the campus of a girls' yeshiva in a Baltimore suburb. The United Jewish Commu- nities, the umbrella organiza- tion of federations, will work with federations and other Jewish institutions across the country, educating them on how to seek funds from their states and municipalities. Charles Konigsberg, UJC's vice president for public policy, said he believed there ts was great potential for Jewish sites around the country to garner Homeland Security dollars. David Pollock, associate executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, said his group, in conjunction with the UJA-Federation of New York, is in consultation with the state about homeland security dollars. But he also said he is concerned about competing for funds from the same pot directly with the New York City Police Department, which he said is doing good work in protecting Jewish sites. In Maryland, the governor has expressed interest in help- ing to secure houses of worship with the money as well. Through grants, Ehrlich has earmarked an additional $30,000 to the Baltimore Jewish Council to help secure a synagogue, whose name is not yet public. These funds mark the first time a house of worship is receiving federal funds for security. But elsewhere in the region, there is some reluctance to use the money directly for synagogues. Ron. Halber, executive director of the Jewish Com- munity Council of Greater Washington, which includes some Maryland suburbs, said that while his group has no problem securing a Maryland day school with $98,000 allo- cated from the state, they are not yet willing to take money to secure local synagogues. "We want to make sure that if we accept the money, it does not assist in the erosion of the wall between church and state," Halber said. "The con- cern occurs once you make the leap" from a non-religious but religiously affiliated orga- nization to a house of worship, he said. The Washington council will investigate the implica- tions of taking the money for synagogues in the next few weeks. "Just because money is there, doesn't mean you always take it," Halber said. "Sometimes, there are other issues at stake." While Jewish organiza- tions pursue the money to upgrade security, lobbyists are continuing to push for a separate pool of money that Congress is consider- ing that would allocate funds specifically for the security of high- risk non-profit in- stitutions. That legislation, which would authorize $100 mil- lion for non-profits, has broad support in Congress, the UJC's Konigsberg said. It has been included as part of the Homeland Secu- rity appropriations bill, which currently is being held up in Congress. It is not clear if and when it will come to a vote. Microsoft Word Flexible schedule. 8-20 hours per week. Perfect for college students. Contact Jeff Gaeser at 407-834-8787. not while time, a new here will fuer for Jewish text Isen leader SUpported by of Jews in School for Weiden. introduc- Ger- with a tom - kosher llnation, b- general Speed the and step mission- a chance to among the Council, Umbrella Purchase of 6,000 out -page made it press conference, kosher food and Jewish cuisine are described in a simple, direct manner. "According to Jewish regulations of kashrut, one cannot eat milk and meat together," begins one text, followed by an exercise in which the reader separates meat, dairy and pareve foods in a refrigerator. "Cholent is a Sabbath meal. It can cook slowly on the stove," begins a selection in which stu- dents are asked to pen shop- ping lists for Beila Nudman and her son, Jakov. Though fictitious names are used, one photo in the chapter is unmistakably that of Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal, a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi in Berlin. Here, however, he is "Rabbi Rosen," explaining the laws of kashrut to"Michail Kogan." As Germany's Jewish population has tripled to more than 105,000 since 1989 due to the arrival of Jews from the former Soviet Union, it's about time such a text was available, Kramer said. "It's the first such textbook for a language course with a focus on religious matters," Kramer said. "It combines the important task of learn- ing the German language with promoting Jewish ba- sics. Language and religion are our major challenges in terms of integration." The project shows that the Central Council is interested in "the future of small communities," Gabrielle Brenner, a vice president of the Weiden Jew- ish community, said. Brenner oversaw the Jewish content, while the adult education college oversaw the secular material. In many ways, the Jewish community of Weiden, popu- lation 42,000, reflects general Jewish trends in Germany At the end of the 1980s, the Jewish congregation had only 26 members. By 1994, the first group of Russian-speak- ing Jewish immigrants had arrived. Many were housed initially in former U.S. Army barracks. Most ended up leav- ing Weiden because of the lack of jobs. But the congregation grew and today has 300 members. An additional 150 non-Jewish relatives have attended vari- ous classes. Integration has proved both a challenge and a boon. Many new immigrants arrive with little feeling of connection to Judaism, but those who do pursue the Jewish connec- tion have enriched the com- munity, Brenner said. The book promises to be a useful tool, she said. In a recent pilot study of the text with 18 Jewish adults, "they all became involved in the Jewish community," she said. When newcomers show up for help in practical matters, like jobs and language, "it's the job of the Jewish com- munity to make them feel welcome," said Ederberg, who was ordained in New York by the Conservative movement!s Jewish Theo- logical Seminary. And, she said, the Jewish community in Germany has an obligation "to offer them--even if they haven't asked for it--an encounter with their own Jewish iden- tity, an invitation to experi- ence Judaism in a way that is personally relevant." 00 FDN makes it easy and affordable to keep your business on the cutting edge of technology with a variety of product packages, premier calling features, con- solidated billing and outstanding cus- tomer service. From voice to Internet, FDN has everything your business needs to keep you communicating! COMMUNICATIONS Call today to find out how we can save you 20-40% off your current local, long distance, and Internet services! " 407.835.0332