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August 8, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 8, 2003

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PAGE 12 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST & Facing lity of Jews in Germany, Zionist arm's indirect a By Toby Axelrod high-level delegation to visit Jewish communities across BERLIN (JTA)--It's a bitter Germany. pill for some to swallow: In The message is that the first 2002, more Jews from the priority, even ahead of aliyah, former Soviet republics immi- should be supporting Jewish grated to Germany than to Is- life in Germany, delegation rael. members told JTA. But the Jewish Agency for While the ultimate goal re- Israei, which handles immi- mains convincing German gration and absorption in Jews to move to Israel, theJew- the Jewish state, appears to ish Agency Task Force on Get- be partially swallowing that many reflects a new approach, pill. Jewish Agency officials say. The immigration numbersThe argument is that -- about 19,000 to Germany strengthening Jewish identity versus 18,000 to Israel--have in Germany will lead to in- sent a message to the Jewish creased Zionism, Shai- Agency, which recently sent a Hermesh, treasureroftheJew- HANDI-MAN & PAINTER Ken Laker PROFESSIONAL HANDI-MAN & PAINTER ~x Pressure & Chemical Cleaning Interior & Exterior Painting Roofing-Siding-Trim-Gutter Repair Damaged Wood & Stucco Repair Ceramic Tile-Marble-Granite-Grout Dry Wall & Texture Repair Screen Repair 407-769-1348 0 All Repairs, Improvements & Odd Jobs, Large or Small ]~ Ask Larry The Computer Guy About your computer headaches/ Need software or hardware updates? ~ Computer acting weird? Virus? Systems locking-up or strange errors? -,~ Interuet or Email not working? Slow? PC and laptop repairs and upgrades. Larry Gutter (407) 375-7430 ishAgencyandheadofthetaskstrengthen Jewish life and force, told JTA in a telephone identity; it is very positive." interview. "As a true Zionist, I think the "We have two major tasks: to place for Jews is Israel, but I keep Jewish life, and, secondly, think we also have to live with to create Jewish Zionist activ- the reality that there are Jews ity," Hermesh added. "At the in Germany and Jews in end of the day, Israel is the AmerieaandEngland, notjust answerforZionists."SomeJew- Israel," said Israel's former ish Agency officials are upset ambassadorto Germany, Avi that Germany's attractive ab- Primor, who now is vice presi- sorptionpackage--farbeyond dent of Tel Aviv University. what Israel can afford -- is He said the recent drop in luring Jews, particularly from immigrationtoIsraeihasmore the former Soviet Union. to do with the intifada than But the Jewish Agency is not anything else. about to try to convince Ger- Meanwhile, the Jewish corn- many to stop accepting Jewish munity in Germany has grown immigrants, threefold since 1990. Instead, from July 14 to 18, The Jewish Agency is by no the task force traveled through means the first Jewish organi- Germany, visiting seven Jew- zation to recognize the chal- ish communities of varying lenge and potential in sizes. Germany's growing Jewish The new task force aims to community. In recent years, work with existing communal several rabbinicaltrainingpro- structures to "encourage Jew- grams have sprung up here, ish roots and Jewish Zionist started by the Central Council education"among Jews in Ger- for Jews in Germany, the World many, in order to "create the Union for Progressive Judaism opportunity that at least the andtwoAmerieanimports:the youngergenerationwillbelieve Ronald S. Lauder yeshiva and that their place is in Israel, not Chabad-Lubavitch. in Germany." With that in All are driven in part by the mind, the agency is planning fact that there are fewer than to create new positions here to 30 rabbis available to serve 83 augment its current staff of Jewish communities in the one and to increase the empha- country. sis on Jewish education and Germany also has become a religious life. favorite stop forAmerican Jew- "We must find the best posi- ish organizations and rabbinic tive way to have contact with groups who want to see Jewish Jews in Germany," Hermesh life here for themselves. This said. growing popularity is encour- Though he didn't want to aged -- and partly supported comment on the task force, he --by the German government. said that "it is always good to But this apparently is the Family Owned Since 1954 Open Sundays 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Mon-Sat 7:30 a.m. 6 m. Polaris. Same Day Service Available On Pumps * Filters Heaters Weekly Pool Service Equipment Repair Automatic Pool Cleaners Pool Supplies Chlorine Generators I on any I service I call I expires 8131/03 lllllllllll III I BaGk By Popular Demand[ 631 N. Ave (17-92) Maitland first time that an Israeli orga- larger established nization is stepping into the ties in Berlin, Munich mix. It marks a major change Frankfurt, theGerman in official Israeli attitudes to- ment, in agreement with ward immigration to Ger- Central Council, has many, formerly seen as a ta- uted the newcomers boo topic. But the trends and of communities acroSS figures hardly can be ignored country. anymore. Representatives of the t The task force consists of tral Council could Jewish Agency professionals reached for comment. and board members: BennyWhile many Navon, Israel's former ambas- reestablishment sador to Germany; Benni Bloch here -- even in cities of the Central Welfare Council no Jewish communit of Jews in Germany, and Rabbi the Nazi era-- Jewish Josh Spinner, director of the say it is a major Ronald S. Lauder Foundation meet the immigrants' r in Berlin. The newcomers The teamwillpresent its rec- guage and j, ommendations the agency build new lives, andmanY chairman, Sallai Meridor. little or no knowledge "The Jewish Agency has ex- Judaism, pressed interest in Germany ligious suppression in before, but never before has former Soviet Union. the board of governors created such a task force to present nity are tenuous at best. findings," Spinner said."In some places, a The agency is planning to rives once in three send a new liaison for Jewish Hermesh said. students, a representative of how to the Maccabi sports organiza- it will go on in this tion and other "emissaries of because they are all kinds," Hermesh said. can't create a Jewish life The Jewish Agency's repre- 160 families." The sentative in Germany, Anat "came to study the Kagan, said that on its recent and I tried to show them visit the task force met with ity," said Bioch, head Jewish community leaders, Frankfurt-based new immigrants and Jewish fare Council."And I hope students, it will lead to p They did not meet with rep- eration." "The fact that I resentatives of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, a changing attitude in the main Jewish umbrellahe added. Bloch group, whose board was in Is- the group on much of t rael at the time. But they did trip. "They talk to leaders of both Reform Jewish community and Orthodox Jewish commu- third largest in Europe, nities here, including repre- said. sentatives of Chabad and the l"They said from Lauder program, ning The delegation noted the iso- ing to Israel, but aboUtl lation of many small Jewish proving life in communities across Germany JanaVimensky, 27, head and the lack of Jewish educa- Berlin Jewish Student tion and religious leaders in those areas, Kagan said. who met with the groUP Since the fall of the Berlin July 15. Wall in 1989, immigration from Students had met the former Soviet Union has with Jewish tripledGermany'sJewishcom- tatives and munity to more than 100,000. not surt To prevent the absorption she added that burden from falling solely on would "finally do .I "KNOCKS YOUR SOCKS 0FF! A HIGHLY ENJOYABLE, SLAP-HAPPy NIGHT!" - I.iz Smith TICK Tg: 407.514. 1qq GIRL'9 NIGi T OUT: Group I0+ Special Group flatesAvailable ,WS OSStSL IMP . eUl" i0X T. r,m,s --'The New York At Tke DARDEN ADVENTURE TUE TRE ORLANDO gClENCE The Jewish Community The play opens Center of Greater Orlando Oct. 30, Center Players will be holding auditionsfortheirfallproduc- and Sunday tionof"God's Favorite"byNeii through Nov. 9. Simon, on Monday Aug. 18, 7 Needed are: -10 p.m. and Tuesday Aug. 19, 1 male50s-60s, 8 - 10 p.m. in the JCC Senior I male 30s-50s, Lounge, 851 North Maitland 1 female 50s, Ave. 2 men 20s, Each person auditioning lfemale20s, should prepare a two-minute lmaleAfrican monologue and be prepared l femaleAfrieanArneriC~ to read from the script. The 50 play will be directed by AI For more Krulick - the JCC's new The- please call Al Krulick ati atre/Cultural Arts director. 645-5933, ext. 314. The Brandeis University regular fiction National Women's Commit- onl tee of Fiagler/Volusia ends Library, their popular Summer Mys- tery Book Group on Thursday the Flagler Aug. 21, with Straw Men by groups meet at 10 a.m. Martin J. Smith. This discus- For more informatiO~ sion will be held at the City the fiction series, Island Library. 386-322-8470 or on the The Summer Mystery Se- fiction series call Lenaat ries has come to an end but the 447-6650.