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August 8, 2003

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PAGE 4 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 8, David To my son on the eve of his mitzvah Dear Ethan: I've held onto some of the thoughts I'm putting down for nearly 13 years, since your birth and my father's death. Just thinking about your bar mitzvah, I am flooded with epiphanies and tears. First (and I believe you already know this), I am very proud of you, and hope you are equally proud of yourself. You've grown beautifully and quickly into a young man, a wonderful teenage combination of intelligence and goofi- ness, seriousness and comic relief, compassion and rage. I admire all your extremes, thein- tense way you attack and absorb the world. You have balanced commitments to your Judaism, your family, and your extracurricular activities without sacrificing who you are. Core to you, I'm convinced, are your Jewish roots. A bar mitzvah is a coming of age. That doesn't mean you are"ofage" yet. It means that our sages and teachers, many years ago in their deepest wisdom, recognized, as cultures havi: recognized for millennia, that this transitional time is truly a turning point in life. Growing up is hard. Your emotions and hormones will continue to go crazy for awhile. You'll feel like a little boy who needs a hug one second, a self- assured man who can't imagine asking for help the next. The only advice I can give you there is that it's always all right to ask for help and a By Carl Alpert hug. We need them both, for people don't exist in a vacuum and can't make it alone forever. Choices you make from here on outwill have great impact, not on who you become, for you will always be in a state of becoming, but on how well you travel the road of becoming. Drugs, sex, following the wrong crowd or mak- ing the right call- it's more up to you now than ever before. Life doesn't get any easier. You'll move from worrying about your friends to your girlfriends to someday, if it's meant to be, your family and children. Let me tell you, concern for your spouse and children feels more like a tidal wave of responsibility than anything you will ever face in life, and with it comes levels of joy and astonishment, growth and change unlike any- thing else you will ever experience. I have learned more from watching you grow up, from being your dad and your friend and your teacher and your coach and yes, sometimes your despot and dictator, than all my years of schooling combined. I know you will be up to the task of adulthood. I also know where you can go for help when you r family's not quite big enough - your extended family, your Jewish community. You see, it wasn't that long ago that I ran from my community. In college I avoided say- ing our last name because it sounded so Jew- ish. I never went to services, never visited Hillel. I explored alternative religions and the counterculture of the 70's in an attempt to figure out who I was and who I wasn't. Then an amazing thing happened. Your grandparents gently, casually, led me back to my Jewishness. Perhaps it was the deep sense warmth and security of reciting the High Holy Day services. around the synagogue and realizing thatl was my home base, where my tures and power lunches would be borne. haps it was making friends and building antes through community Perhaps it was faith in a G-d lously created the Jewish people and still area li all the above that made me realize- I had going for me and more hell ever dreamed as I my midd~ age, with children who are up, I understand that you may not fully this now, but I hope you do someday. So my wishes for you are simple and found, infused with my love, my and my port for you. Be kind to yourself some slack. Be patient. The world t rougher as you get older. Look to, your Jewish community, and your Jewish ditions and teachin It's all there if you onb the blessing below that parent recited for generations. Y'va-reh 'ha Adonai v' l Lord bless you and protect you. panav eyle-ha vi-huneka. May the you kindness and be gracious to you. Adonai panav ehle-ha v May the you peace. Amen. Another side of Israel HAIFA--As we have often pointed out, the press headlines and the TV reports provide a distorted picture of what life is like in Israel. The real Israel, as experienced in every day life, can be found in the human interest tales and the anecdotes which go to make up daily exist- ence, with both their positive and their nega- tive elements. For example: Double Identity. Evenings, Leora Kosov is elegantly dressed as she plays the viola with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra and acknowl- edges the applause of the audience. In the morning, before rehearsals, she gets into working clothes and augments her income by serving as a cleaning woman. Many musicians in the orchestra are said to live similar double lives. The People of the Books. No less than 4,000 different b~)oks were published in Israel last year, maintaining an average of several years standing. The titles included new Hebrew works, translations, reprints of classics, text- books and more. Arabs Get Ahead. By virtue of a string of victories, two Arab soccer (known here as foot- ball) teams have been elevated into Israel's national soccer league. They are the teams from Nazareth and Sakhnin, and all eyes will be on their performance when the soccer season opens in the fall. Employment Opportunities. For many years, Israel Aircraft Industries was the largest single employer in the country, outside of the government. First place has now been taken by the Shmira Company, which employs armed guards and contracts them out. A Record Not to Be Proud of. Israel holds first place in the western world with the aver- age number of workers who are on strike at a given time. Most of the strikes are in the public service, rather than in private industry. Israel is followed on the list by Italy, the U.S. and Canada. Life in Israel. Men in Israel live to an average age of 76.3 years, one of the highest rates in the world. The average age of women is 80.9 years, but this falls short of the women's record in several other countries. Of the 20,000 Israelis who are over the age of 90, 12,000 are women and 8,000 men. A Poor Showing to Be Proud of. Ireland heads the list of countries with maximum consumption of alcoholic beverages per popu- lation. It is followed, in diminishing order, by France, Germany, Russia, Italy and the U.S down to twelfth place where Israel holds an honorable, but still too high a position. So What are They Drinking? Between June, 2002 and May, 2003, the sale of bgttled mineral water accounted for 31% of the sale of soft drinks on the market, and cola drinks dropped to 25%. Contributing to the shift was a new awareness of health, and a price war among the mineral water producers. Napoleon in Haifa. It has been authenti- cated that the Parochet (Torah curtain) located in the Haifa Museum was indeed made from a cloak which Napoleon gave to a rabbi in Smolensk, during the emperor's retreat from Russia in 1812. Undercutting. As a result of repeated com- plaints by women in the Israel armed forces that the underpants issued to them are too large, it has now been decided to cut them down in size to body-hugging dimensions. Getting*Even. When the well known the- ater critic of a popular Israel daily wrote a not very complimentary review of a new play pre- sented by the Habimnah Theater, the actors reacted and published a manifesto attesting that they had seen him doze off for prolonged periods during the performance and even dur- ing moments of crucial importance to the development of the plot. Merchandising at its Best. IKEA, a large merchandising outlet, knows how to obtain maximum publicity for its big sales. From time to time it announces huge mark down sales, which usually draw large crowds. On the day preceding the commencement of the sale, journalists and other special guests are invited to a preview at which they have the opportunity to get the pick of the bargains. Coffee is served, too. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. [ O O O CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE O O Ct ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 36 Press Awards ~ORIDA Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Gene Stare Kim Fischer HERITAGE Florida Jewish News ( ISN 0199-0721 ) is published weekly for $34.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($41.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite I01, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 emaih Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Elaine Schoopmg Circulation Rachel Hughes Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Sara Crusade Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Carl Afpert Michael Gamson Tim Boxer David Bornstein Gail Simons Production Department David Lehman Teri Marks By Morris J. Amitay Back in late 1969, when I first went to work on Capitol Hill for a liberal House member from Wisconsin and later for five years as Legislative Assistant for a well-known Demo- cratic Senator, Israel's "best friends" in Con- gress were invariably of the Democratic per- suasion. They were personified by Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota whose pas- sionate advocacy for Israel was rooted in his generation's knowledge of the Nazi extermina- tion of European Jewry. Conservative Republi- cans, on the other hand, were largely uninvolved, as their country club backgrounds did not predispose them to much sympathy with Jewish concerns. The notable exceptions were some Cold Warriors who saw the Jewish state as a bulwark against Communism. Today, however, times have changed in the U.S. Con- gress. If one were asked to identify Israel's "shtarkers" (i.e. strongest supporters) on Capi- tol Hill today names that immediately come to mind are Senators Brownback of Kansas, Kyl of Arizona, McConnell of Kentucky, and Smith of Oregon, among others. In the House, Majority Leader Tom DeLay stands out. There are no ifs, ands, or buts here when it comes to unqualified support for the Sharon Government. A great deal nowadays also depends on the definition of"pro-Israel." If support for a cred- ible national defense and approval Of going to war in Iraq are considered to be in Israel's interest, then the number of Congressional Democra~ who could fit this description are reduced - even counting Jewish members. Using these new criteria, Senators Lieberman of Connecticut and Bayh of Indiana would be included. Butveteran supporters like Carl Levin of Michigan, Dan Inouye of Hawaii, and a number of others who opposed going to war could not. As it turns out, Israel's number one nemesis in the Senate, by acclamation, would be 85-year old Democrat Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia. The voluble Byrd along with 81- year old fellow Democrat, Fritz Hollings of South Carolina were the only two votes against a Senate Resolution expressing solidarity with Israel back in May 2002. And while veteran Democrats like Pat Leahy of Vermont and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico rarely join in pro- Israel initiatives, important Committee Chair- men like John Warner of Virginia and Ted Stevens of Alaska have been instrumental in strengthening US-Israel defense ties. The strong GOP support in the Senate is offset somewhat by the Chairman of the For- eign Relations Committee, Dick Lugar of Indi- ana, who is compulsively even-handed in his approach. The Ranking Member, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska (who can frequently be seen on the Sunday morning television shows) has been largely negative, along with Committee new- comer ing in the footsteps of his late On the whole, however, both the and the House of Representatives considered bastions of bipartisan support Israel, with a realistic view of Israel's security while Democrats often engaging ful thinking. On the House side the partisan split! more pronounced with a core twenty Democrats (and only licans) who can be considered unfriendly, another twenty best to the Jewish state. Most notable the unfriendlies are Ranking bers John Dingell (Energy & Commerce Conyers (Judiciary), with David Obey priations) helpful at times, but a critic of Israel. Other notables on this include Presidential aspirant, of Ohio, the ethicall Virginia (who faces a primary fight next Jim McDermott of Washington and visit fame, and veterans Nick Jq Virginia, Pete Stark of California, Pete of Oregon, Don Payne Woolsey of California. Req! prevent citing the entire list. In the version of the solidarity out of 49 nay or "present votes", 43 of these votes came from disproportionate number of Aft Representatives were also among though efforts are being made to situation. Acknowledging this disparity in Israel, Democratic House Whi Maryland, to his credit, is taking 28 Democrats to visit Israel in August. along with Democratic Congressional paign Committee Chair Bob Matsui nia, are making a concerted effort to GOP inroads into the pro-Israel This kind of competition is a the continued political clout of Israel's porters in Washington and reflects the ments of the American public opinion. Much of the credit for the Republican Israel tilt in the House must go to Speaker Newt Gingrich (who recently ated the State Department), and Tom Texas. DeLay, who personifies gelical support for Israel, has emerged leading force on behalf of Israel's securil going so far as to criticize his tion for not being sufficiently tough on tinian terrorism. Before P.M. Sharon's visit here, Mr. DeLay, who has publicly Arafat a terrorist, stated that, "Israel's tion from Palestinian corn See "Amitay" on page 5 ~