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August 2, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 2, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 2, 2013 For a former wallflower, a date with her Jewish past First person by Alice Feiring NEW YORK (JTA)--When I received the Evite to my yeshiva high school's 40th reunion; I reverted from an East Village-based traveling wine writer to the awkward, alienated high school stri- dent I once was. Back then, the others wanted to go to Israel, but I longed for New York City. They wanted religion, but I longed to drop acid. They wanted to have babies, but I longed for books. I was lone- ly, rebellious and filled with nearly unbearabte needs. Shabbos felt claustrophobic, and so were the rabbis, who couldn't understand that I wasn!t being rebellious: I simply had goals other than making a good Jewish home for a husband and family. As I stared at the screen I wondered, did I really have to revisit the witnesses to my torrid discontent? Couldn't I just go forward without making the mistakes of Lot's wife, looking'back? Like her, curiosity gotto me. I wanted to find out if I had grown out of my shyness and fear enough to assess my past with healthy distance. Weeks later I responded yes. I Googled my former classmates: We'd been a Modern Orthodox group, but most of the girls had gone super-frum. The class beauty married a rabbi and birthed 11 children in Israel. The son of a classmate had married Ivanka Trump--of course she converted. There -was no mention of Nathan anywhere, the kid who was my only date in high school. In our senior year, we sparked during lunch one afternoon. I smiled all week when he asked me, the loner wallflower, to a movie. Na- than showed up after Shab- bos with a plan: We were to head west to theGreen Acres drive-in. I was no dummy. Even though I was inexperi- enced, I suspected what was on the evening menu. We rolled into our spot. His hand inched for my face. Our souls didn't collide, our bodies did, kissing and embracing. He delivered me home a changed girl, lips sore from the workout. "I'll call you," he said. I believed him. But when the phone didn't ring, I found out that he, like my father, had been two-timing. A friend told me that Nathan's girlfriend was so religious, even hand holding was off limits. Ah, I understood. I was the "exotic" one, the Modern Orthodox girl who yearned to be a hippie, who wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam War, who read forbidden books like "Catcher in the Rye." Nathan thought he was go- ing to get lucky. This was only a few months after my father left home for another woman, a huge shanda in the neighborhood. I kept my parents' upcoming divorce a secret, but I felt this first rejection by a boy so soon after my father's more deeply than he could have imagined. As it turned out, Nathan wasn't merely my only high school date, but my only Jew- ish date--ever.. Considering my 12 years in yeshiva, be- ing raised by a mother who couldn't comprehend that I could ever talk with a non- Jewish man let alone be with one, this was profound. Yet it seemed that as much as f tried, Jewish men and I were treif to each other. My college boyfriend was a Prot- estant from the New York City suburb of Islip, Long Island. MY first love and the only man to ask me to marry him--a Boston Catholic. But if I did, my mother would sit shiva for me, so I declined. It went on from there. I had love. I had life. I had my independence and happiness. Or so I thought. As I stood before the Long Island mini- mansion of the reunion host- ess, I felt my own Elizabeth Street tub-in-the-kitchen walkup was dwarfed in com- parison-and so was my life. Was I going to be the only Israel nixing WestBank projects with EU JERUSALEM (JTA)--Israel will refuse to cooperate with the European Union in West Bank areas under Israeli con- . trol in retaliation for the EU's new guidelines concerning the occupied territories. Under the orders of Is- raeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, the Israel Defense Forces' civil administration will stop cooperating with the European Union on joint proj- ects to benefit the Palestinians. The decision to cease coop- eration with the EU in Area C of the West Bank was first reported on Hebrew news websites in Israel on July 25 and confirmed by The Jeru- salem Post the following day. Under the orders, no travel documents will be issted or renewed for EU personnel to travel to the West Bank or Gaza. Projects that will suffer include a program to train Palestinian Authority police officers as well as a waste removal program, according to The Jerusalem Post. Maja Kocijancic, a spokes- woman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told Reuters that the EU has not received any "official com- munication" from Israel regarding the orders. The orders come less than two weeks after the European Commission announced new guidelines making Israeli en- tities and activities in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights ineligible for EU grants and prizes. The guidelines are a follow- up to a decision made by the foreign ministers of EU member states at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Dec. 10 in which they said that "all agreements be- tween the State of Israel and the European Union must 'unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip." 'Very serious territorial concessions' a possibility (JTA)--Israel is prepared to make "very serious territorial concessions" if the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel's Jewish character, senior Is- raeli minister Yuval Steinitz told a British newspaper. In an interview published July 25 in The Daily Telegraph, Steinitz, Israel's international relations minister, told The Daily Telegraph, "We are ready for a two states for two people solution. "Both sides will have to make very significant con- cessions and very difficult concessions.Wewill probably have to make very serious ter- ritorial concessions," he said in the July 25 interview. But Steinitz also said that "the Palestinians will have to make also both territorial concessions, because there Will be settlement blocks, but more important still they will have to recognize the very existence of the Jewish people and the Jewish state." Steinitz added that the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war also would have to abandon the "right of return" to their homes. On Jerusalem, the minister was uncompromisingand said the "status quo was the only option." Steinitz told The Telegraph that while Israel is "ready" for the two-state solution, it would hold a referendum before ending the onflict, which the Cabinet approved on Sunday. He added that a "demilitarized" Palestinian state was the "only possible solution" to the conflict. Peace talks are expected to resume this week in the United States following a three-year disconnect. On July 25, Regional Coop- eration Minister Silvan Sha- lom arrived in Jericho for the first visit by a high-ranking Israeli official to Area A of the West Bank in more than four years, The Jerusalem Post reported. "We hope that the talks will begin next week in Wash- ington between Israeli and Palestinian representatives," Shalom said. pants-wearing, skin-showing single woman with no family pictures on my smartphbne? I was also going to be the only one with two books published and a passport crammed with stamps, but reminding myself of this still didn't help. I sucked in a breath and passed through the rich, im- maculate rooms down to the Formica den, just as if it were a sweet 16. The festivities were well under way. "Your hair is still red!""You haven't changedI .... You're famous!" Beneath the sheiteis and the yarmulkes, they were still the old classmates, lovely people. No one judged me for living the secular life. I sur- veyed the room, thankful the person I had come to confront was missing. Sometime after the d'var Torah and kosher sushi, a fit, short, confident man with wiry hair walked in, causing quite the stir. I never realized he had been so liked by all. He wasn't really handsome, but he had that spark. This was the time for a Bloody Mary, but there was not even a drop of Manischewitz in sight. Full of fake confidence, I bounded over to the guy who broke my ten heart. Instead of asking him why he didn't call, I went cool and asked, "So what have you turned into?" Nathan looked at me blank- ly. Was it possible he didn't remember me? "Alice," I reminded him. "A father, a husband and a dentist, but not a boring one. And you?" he asked so politely, "he clearly still had no idea who I was. PAGE 11A Alice Feiring "A wine writer," and added, "but not a boring one." As I was summoning up my nerve to tell him how hurtI was after our date and how he was the last Jew I went out with, he was spirited away. I waved to him on my way out and he stunned me with three familiar words: "I'll call you." I stifled a laugh. I wanted to exclaim, "You're still read- ing from the same scriptF' I understood he wouldn't call me. And as a married man with a wife and kids, I didn't want him to call. I left the mini-mansion eager to head back to the city, where I belonged. I had the chutzpah to look into my past and didn't turn into a pillar of salt. Finally home, I kissed my mezuzah, walked past my threshold and felt in my bones there were no regrets. Alice Feiring is a James Beard Award-winning wine writer, author of the books "Naked Wine" and "The Battle for Wine and Love,"and "a newsletter for organic, bio- dynamic and natural wines. Dedicated To Serving Our Jewish 00Community Call on Central Florida's Exclusively Jewish Funeral Home for Details Regarding: Traditional Jewish Funerals Non-Traditio.nal.Services Interstate Shipping Pre-Arranged Funerals (Shalom Assurance Plan) Headstone, Grave Markers (Cardinal Memorials) 407-599-1180 640 Lee Rd. Orlando, Florida W.E. "Manny" Adams, LFD Samuel P. (Sammy)Goldstein, Executive Director