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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 8, 2003 PAGE 11 like these last for- s the view ATID, KOACH i who corn- Reconnect, the organization United Synagogue of ~vative Judaism. For more than a year, lect, through www.project has been re- Jewish , involved youth and young adult United Syna- has always been a r passion of the Project who made aliyah 12 years ago. "Rabbi Paul" serves as the international liaison for Project Reconnect and is the director of Israel outreach for USCJ. As a teenager, he was the first USY national president and later served as the international director of youth activities, a position he held for 24 years. As one alum put it, "Rabbi Paul will have a lot of'recon- necting' to do himself." Alumni of all ages -- includ- ing many Jewish profession- als and lay leaders -- have described the influence Rabbi Freedman has had on their i. Accord- lives. Indeed, the Freedmans , on May 3, 2004, more .600 alumni, family, lives of many Jews ofallages fiends will embark on ISsion to Israel. Once hey will be greeted the hundreds of alumni who dur- .last 50 years have s Will be both an emo- a spiritual home- of our they reconnect not one another but Eretz Yisrael, the the people" says Freedman. alumni have noted one of the most exciting moments of them will be "re- ecting, with Rabbi his wife Nina, continue to influence the by inviting them to their home to enjoy a unique blend of personal warmth and hos- pitality. Prior to leaving for Israel, participants in the Kesher L'Yisrael mission will have the opportunity to study on the Internet (via the United Synagogue website: www.uscj.org) with some of the most notable rabbis in the Conservative Movement. Teachers will include Rabbis Elliot Dorff, Bradley Shavit Artson, Ed Feinstein, Ron Shulman, Joel Roth, Alan Silverstein, Vernon Kurtz, and Jack Moline. During the mission, there will be opportunities to learn from outstanding Israeli scholars such as Rabbi Daniel Gordis. Participants may also choose to study at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. The educational programs of Kesher L' Yisrael are under the direc- tion of Rabbi Charles Savenor, Assistant Dean of the School of Rabbinic Stud- ies at the Jewish Theologi- cal Seminary. Jackie Saltz, Project Re- connect International Chair, says that she is most excited about the professional net- working component of the trip: "The professional net- working between us and our Israeli peers will not only contribute to a deeper un- derstanding of Israeli soci- ety but also will build a bridge between us that will be on- going. Professionals- includ- ing people in law, medicine, business, finance, high-tech, science, education, and so- cial welfare - will have the opportunity to meet face to face and dialogue with their Israeli counterparts. We are already laying the ground- work for the continuation of that kind of discourse upon our return to North America." The opening gala for the Mission will be a concert fea- turing Shlomo Gronich and the Sheba Choir. "Reconnectniks" will be students research Holocaust By Pavia Kozakova the Jewish Museum archive, tion Center for the Holocaust )--A project raging Czech school- to document the fate the World War so popular that projects n Europe. Who Dis- project was the Jewish Mu- rague three years -'nagers from dozens involved in :t have uncovered undocumented on the Holo- to interviews SUrvivors and wit- as well as detailed through local ar- W.ork has inspired a tn Slovakia to start Lr program, and the kmunity in Croatia launch its own "Neighbors Who .~d" next year. ech project also has Scope, largely due of film Drazilova, interested after some of the contacted the and helped Litomysl, in produce a ry film Neighbors -- Search for L Fellow-Citi- is working documentary from a school in western documentaries into one 30- which will be documentary to schools added to along with 10 hours of un- used material. Drazilova said the docu- mentary has technical limi- tations because the students did the filming themselves, but said that more impor- tant issues than cinematog- raphy are at stake. "The most important thing is to get the children inter- ested in the subject," Drazilova said. "Thanks to this, they will get closer to Jewish history. It is an alter- native way ,to get them to think about the fates of Jews in their region." One student, 13-year-old Stepan Kotyza of Litomysl, Whose group produced a glossy 80-page booklet on the fate of Jews in its region, said the project was an interest- ing way of approaching such an important historical mo- ment. He followed the lives of a mother and daughter who spent years in Auschwitz and other concentration camps, but survived. "I was lucky because my story had a happy ending," he said. The Czech project is being watched closely by groups in Slovakia and Croatia, who discussed the program re- cently during a seminar on contemporary Holocaust is- sues in Prague. Slovakia's version, which started last October, is still in its infancy, having in- volved only a handful of stu- dents so far. "We are currently trying to find an umbrella organi- ration that would support the project," said Adriana Matykova, of the Banska Stavnica museum, which is providing advice and guid- ance to students. The Zagreb Jewish Community's Documenta- hopes to launch "Neighbors Who Disappeared" in Croatia by January 2004. "I think it is wonderful; it is one of the best ways for kids to learn," said Lea Siijak, an official from the center. "The idea is to teach non- Jews about Jews and about the community that once existed and is lost today." But Siljak said she believes there may be obstacles to per- suading students and teach- ers to accept the concept. "People in Croatia are un- fortunately still very closed to the past and present fates of minorities," she said. Nevertheless, she said she was optimistic about the project's success--- even if it might mean including other minorities in the subject matter. Marta Vancurova, coordi- nator of the Czech project, said "Neighbors Who Disap- peared" was unique to each participating nation. "Each country has to cre- ate its own project design to its specific conditions. We can only act as an inspiration for them," she said. Some of the Czech stu- dents' research, including in- terviews with Holocaust sur- vivors and witnesses, is avail- able in English at http:// zmizeli.sousede.cz/ aindex.htm. In their introduction, 14- and 15-year-old students. from Usti had Labem wrote: "We were confident that this project would help us find the answers to our questions. As a matter of fact, the opix site happened. The more we understood, the more ques- tions we had. We are coming round to the opinion that the most important question (i.e. how is it possible?) will re- main unanswered. Neverthe- less, we will continue to ask." joined by IDF soldiers for an evening of singing and danc- ing. A Town Hall panel dis- cussion on the Israel-Arab conflict will take place, mod- erated by a well-known jour- nalist. The group will tour many historic and cultural sites and will engage in a variety of social action projects before their return home. The trip will conclude with a private reception at the Knesset. Natan Sharansky, Minis- ter of Diaspora Relations, and ing Jews from around the world with each other, and with the Jews here in Israel, is one of the most important imperatives of our genera- tion. Initiatives like Project Reconnect are central to this effort, since the links be- tween individuals are as criti- cal as those between the Jew- ish institutions of the world. I strongly support the project and am confident it will serve as an important force for both Jewish unity and Israel." John Ruskay, executive his staffare cooperatingwith vice-presidentoftheUJAFed- Freedman and Saltz in plan- eration of New York and a ning the Mission. The minis- USY alumnus, will co-chair ter will address participants the Mission. during the Mission. Accord- For further information, ing to Sharansky: "Connect- contact Rabbi Paul Freedman at nina f@netvision.net.il or Jackie Saltz at jbsaltz@aol.com. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the United Synagogue, founded in 1913 by Dr. Solomon Schechter. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism pro- motes the role of the syna- gogue in Jewish life in order to motivate Conservative Jews to perform mitzvot en- compassing ethical behavior, spirituality, Judaic learning, and ritual observance. Com- bining an awareness of com- munal responsibility with a strong sense of commitment, the United Synagogue is a dynamic force within the Conservative Movement. Art Jewelry Judaica Contemporary Crafts PAT LEVY Full Service Family Relocations (407) 862-9700 / 800-600-1178 Residence (407) 869-0154 Email: Patlevywal@aol.com Testimonials available from my buyers & sellers. 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