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August 10, 2012

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PAGE 18A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 10, 2012 Raisman From page 1A Last Tuesday, two Israeli medal hopefuls were faring well in windsurfing. Lee Ko- rzits was in second place in the women's eight-day long RS:X event while Shahar Tzuberi was in 10th in the men's competition. The Israeli judo team was expected to do well after winning four medals in re- cen't European matches, but judoka Alice Schlesingerwas eliminated from competition early this week. Political differences be- tween Israel and its Arab neighbors came to London when the Lebanese judo team refused to practice next to the Israeli team. The Lebanese even erected a makeshift barrier to split their gym into two halves, according to the Times of Israel. Meanwhile. even before the start of the Games. Iranian judo athlete Javad Mahjbob withdrew from the competi- tion last weelL citing ' critical digestive system infection," according to the Washington - Post. That led to widespread speculation that Iran was maintaining a longstanding policy of not allowing its athletes to compete against Israelis. At the Games. the American swimmers led all ,the way in the men's 4xl00-meter relay until YannickAgnel of France pulled ahead of Ryan Lochte in the final lap. France fin- ished first in 3 minutes 9.93 seconds, ahead of the United States (3:10.38) and Russia (3:11.41). The French turned the tide on the Americans from four years ago in Beijing, when Lezak overtook the French world record-holder Alain Bernard in the final 25 meters despite being nearly a full body length behind him in the stretch. It was the fastest 100-meter freestyle split in history by nearly six-tenths of a second, and earned vic- tory for. the U.S. and kept alive Michael Phelps' drive for a record-setting eight gold medals. Lezak. ttiough he did not swim in the relay on Sunday night, had helped his team- mates Lochte and Phelps qualify in the morning pre- liminaries. "The coaches had a tough decision to make with so many tale.nted 100 freestylers and then the two best all-around swimmers in the world." Lezak told late Sunday via email. "Of course, I would have liked to be a part of the final. If you asked any of us who swam prelims they would have answered it the same." While he has not specifi- cally said he would return for another Summer Games, Lezak, who was inducted into the National Jewish Hall of Fame in 2010, is the oldest member of the U.S. men's swim team. "As the body gets older, sometimes the mind vants to go hard for a lot longer. But I've learned over the course of the last several years how many laps is enough, how many is too much," he told the Los Angeles Times. Since his historic comeback at the Beijing Olympics, Lezak has participated in Israel's Maccabiah Games. winning four gold medals last summer, and taught swimming clinics for neighborhood kids at the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County in Southern California. He has two children and is an active member of Temple Isaiah in Newport Beach. Calif. "It's something for me to . get in touch more with Jew- ish kids and hopefully inspire them." he said in 2009. "I really didn't have anyone like that growing up." Raisman scored 15.300 in the floor exercise to win the event, performing her routine to a string-heavy version of "Hava Nagila" as she did on Sunday. Raisman also had performed to "Hava Nagila" when she gained a berth on the U.S. team last year. She is trained by Mihai and Sylvia Brestyan, the Ro- manian couple who coached the Israeli national team in the early 1990s. The coaches and her mother selected "Hava Nagila" after several exhaustive late-night online searches, they told JTA last year. She is proud to be using the Jewish song "because there aren't too many Jewish elites out there," Raisman told JTA last year. And. she added, "I like how the crowd can clap to it." Raisman is a recipient of the Pearl D. Mazor Outstanding Female Jewish High School Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award given out by the Jew- ish Sports Hall of Fame in New York. Other notable perfor- mances of Jewish athletes included U.S. fencer Timothy Morhouse. who lost to Italy's Diego OcchiOzzi in the quar- terfinals. In tennis, Israel's $hahar Peer was eliminated by Rus- sia's Maria Sharapova, one of the top-ranked players in the world. Peer is winless against Sharapova in seven matches. In men's gymnastics, Is- rael's Alex Shatilov qualified for the finals of the floor exercise after finishing fourth overall. He also qualified for Wednesday's all-around in- dividual final after finishing 12th overall. In men's rowing, David Banks Of the U.S. team fin- ished first in the preliminaries and qualified for the finals. Editors note: Aly Raisman takes a gold and bronze-- August 7. Aly Raisman won a goM medal in the floor exercise as well as a bronze on the balance beam at the London Olympics. Raisman took the gold Tuesday with a score of 15.6 to edge Catalina Ponor of Ro- mania and Aliya Mustafina of Russia, the silver and- bronze medalists. Earlier in the day, Raisman won the bronze on the balance beam after the U.S. lodged a protest against the original result. She had finished fourth behind Ponor. Following the Americans' protest, the rescoring put the two gym- nasts in a tie. Under the tie- breaking procedure, Raisman took the bronze with a higher execution score. She had lost a bronze in the all-around on the same tie-breaker. Raisman had helped Team USA take the women's team gold -- the first Olympic gold medal for the U.S. gymnastics squad since the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Raisman won the floor exercise in the team competition while performing her routine to a s tring-heavy version of "Hava Nagila.'" Great From page 1A jets. The event featured Gil Tamary, Israeli TVNews icon, as a keynote speaker. Every- one m attendance enjoyed this evening and is buzzing about how to make next year bigger and better. " The final JFGO.award honoring an outstanding community member is the - Jewish Communal Profes- sional Award. The Federation created this award to acknowl- edge an outsf t)d g J.ewish Daf Yom From p ge 2A and the Jews' survival and re- ligious resurrection since the Nazis was a recurrent theme throughout the evening. But the night's official theme was Jewish unity, something one speaker tl'ied to hammer home with a re- mark about the lure of the Daf Yomifor all Jews: those with black hats, shtreimels, knit yarmulkes and even baseball caps, he said. That description, of course. left out a few slices of the Jew- ish community, evenifit cov- ered pretty much everyohe at the July I celebration (except the few thousand women relegated to an upper tier). Yet despite the challenges Sudoku solution communal professional who has advanced the mission of his/her respective agenc y and has promoted harmony, understanding and education among professionals and among agencies, synagogues, organizations and the Federa- tion. This year the honor will be bestowed upon Eric Geboff. His tireless efforts and selfless devotion over the years is one of the many reasons the com- munity honors him. Geboff is currently the executive director at Jew- of doing" the Daf Yomi-- moving at a relentless pace through thousands of pages of dense argumentation cov- ering complex Jewish legal matters and odd tales nar- rated withoiJt punctuation in an arcane language daily Talmud study is spreading beyond the confines of those categorized by Orthodox headgear. In some cases it's happening in very unortho- dox ways. New York native Ilana Kurshan. who now lives in Jerusalem and works for a small literary agencY there. got into the Daf Yomi while studying at Jerusalem's Con- servative yeshiva six years ago. She soon began writing limericks about each page from page 7 7923815.46 14859 6237 3 6 .5 4 7 2 1 .8 9 48623 7951 931645728 52781 9364 273164895 65972 81.495 8413 3672 ish Family Services. which works to enhance family life and to meet the human -service needs of individuals and families residing in the Greater Orlando community. JFS provides critical services to Central Florida families. "It's exciting to have Eric back working in our Jewish community because of his dedication to building a bet- ter Jewish world," said Lisa Sholk; Beit Hamidrash direc- tor at the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando. of Gemarah (a synonym for Talmud) and posting them on her blog, , in an effort to better retain what she was learning. After completing folio 5a of Tractate Niddah. which deals with laws of ritual purity and women's menstruation. Kurshan wrote: Just before and just after the sex The couple performs body checks. It is never in vain There could yet be a stain Says one rabbi. Ketina objects. "The Talmud, for someone who has a diverse range of interests, is the most in- credible text because it has everything in it," Kurshan told JTA. "There's nothing as exciting as the'next page of Gemarah because it's so discursive. There could be a wild tale. For me that's so exhilarating. Every daf is uncharted territory." Kurshan also writes essays about her studies, including reflections on how the dafs correspond with her life like a horoscope, she says. When she was pregnant, Kurshan ruminated on how her baby's upcoming journey through the birth canal was paralleled by a Talmudic discussion of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt through the "birth canal" of the Red Sea. "My interest in learn- ing has nothing to do with halachah," Kurshan said, using the Hebrew term for Jewish law. "For me, what's In addition to his work at JFS, Geboff teaches Sunday School at Congregation Ohev Shalom. He also has signed up to teach at Beit Hami- drash, Community Hebrew High School this year. Eric and his wife Amy have three daughters who each have been instilled with the impor- tance of Jewish community. They are all walking in their parents' footsteps to create a life filled with Jewish Values 4or themselves and those around them. "Eric has set exciting is that the debates were not resolved. You have everybody's opinion, they're all fighting with each other. It's just a thrilling intellec- tual experience." For Yedidah Koren. who is working toward a master's degree in Talmud at Tel Aviv University, Daf Yomi study has provided a harbor of stability in a life filled with constant change. "It's been the most steady thing in my life for the last 10 years.'.' said Koren, 27, who began while a student at a.Jerusalem seminary and continued through her national service, college, a year abroad in Sweden and married life. Sometimes she learns the dafover breakfast, on the bus or during prayer services. She's on her second Daf Yomi cycle. "It's a way to finish Shas a few times' in your lifetime," she said. "And besides that, it really gives you a sense of stability and a strong, emo- tional bond with the Talmud. The more you learn it, the more you connect to it, and 'it's always there for you." Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, who was ordained by the Con- servative movement and co-founded an independent egalitarian yeshiva in New York called Mechon Hadar, says Daf Yomi is beginning to catch on in non-Orthodox circles. "Daf Yorni in particular is a real commitment, a daily commitment for seven-plus years that I think only now is gaining some traction the bar of excellence very high for the rest of us to follow and he serves as an example of a true leader. We appreci- ate his continued dedication to the Jewish community," says Sholk These awards will be given at the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando Annual Meeting on Sunday, Aug. 19, at 9:30 a.m. in the All- Purpose Room of the Jewish Academy of Orlando. The meeting will also feature an update from Gary Gould. outside Orthodoxy in a mean- ingfulway," Kaunfer said. He said, however, that he's not aware of any .non-Orthodox synagogue with a daily Tal- mud class, known in the parlance as a Daf Yomi shiur. Kaunfer says there is grow- ing interest in Talmud study among Jews not steeped in TO - rah scholarship because once they have the intellectual tools to learn Gemarah. they are empowered to access one of Judaism's most difficult and central texts without the filter of another's perspective or ideology. "I think there's something very appealing about opening up a mysterious text, and I think people want to experi- enc, e a text unmediated," he said. "In the Internet age, where everything is open, one of the last things that's uncracked are the sources of Jewish wisdom and culture." Edgar Bronfman, a promi- nent businessman and Jewish philanthropist, convenes a weekly Talmud class in his office taught by rabbis. "The Talmud belongs to all of us," Bronfman said. "Studying Talmud, there's so much wisdom there, and it also gives you a chance to ar- gue, and that's very Jewish." Daf Yomi is not without its critics. Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, says the pace of Daf Yomi is overly focused on getting through th& Talmud rather" than studying it deeply. "The question is how much Regional CEO of the Tampa- Orlando-Pinellas Jewish Federation Alliance. The Alliance is a new initiative aimed at taking advantage of the opportunities that exist to generate additional revenue and share expertise that comes from working together. All members of the community are welcome to attend the annual meeting. Light breakfast will be served. To RSVP or call Karen Cohen at 407- 645 - 5933, ext. 228. depth does one really get into with-a Daf Yomi kind of approach," Wernick said. "It's breadth over depth. The Conservative approach to Jewish study tends to be more depth-oriented." Instead, his movement encourages learning one Mishna per day. Though the Mishna is the foundational text for Talmudic discourse, it's much shorter and simpler: The Mishna is to the Talmud what the Constitution is to constitutional law. Koren. the master's degree student at Tel Aviv University, defended the Daf Yomi ap- proach against the sort of criticism offered by Wernick. "A lot of the Claims against Daf Yomi is that it's not deep and it's not rigorous and you don't really remember what you-learned," she said. "But how many different topics do you come across that if you learn just classic, regular yeshiva T lmud, you'd never come across?" Rabbi Daniel Freelander, senior vice president at the Union for Reform Judaism, says Talmud study is not a priority for his movement, which assigns the same authority to contemporary Reform rabbis as it does to Talmudic sages. "Text study is very im- portant to us, but we focus on the Ur-text, on Torah in particular. Talmud, the Oral Law, is not our core text," he said. It "certainly doesn't rise anywhere to the level of a daily study encouragement for us."