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August 10, 2018

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 10, 2018 memories By Cnaan Liphshiz DEVENTER, Netherlands (JTA)--Four years ago, Tom Furstenberg proudly carried into his synagogue its first To- rah scroll since the Holocaust, when local Nazis destroyed the building's interior. The scroll's introductionin 2014 was an important mo- ment for the Beth Shoshana Masorti community that Furstenberg helped establish in 2010 in this city of nearly 100,000 residents located 60 miles east of the capital Amsterdam. After all, it was proof that Jewish life had finally re- turned to a place where it had been uprooted and destroyed. "I felt that this was it, noth- ing could reverse our presence as part of this city," Fursten- berg, a 49-year-old teacher and chairman of Deventer's Jewish community, told JTA on Monday. Furstenberg had been overly optimistic. On Monday, he and a dozen other members of their con- gregation of 35 had to take away the scroll and all the other ritual possessions and load them into a white van. The building housing the Great Synagogue of Deventer was sold in January by the church that had owned it for decades. The developers, a Dutch-Turkish restaurant owner and his associate, then evicted the congregants amid a legal fight over the owners' plan to turn the place into an eatery. For Deventer, the eviction meant "the end of a Jewish presence in this city," Sanne Terlouw, a founding member of Beth Shoshana and a nowned author, told JTA with tears in her eyes on the day of the move. But for many other Dutch Jews, the demise of the Great Synagogue of Deventer sig- nals a broader demographic shift: Jewish life and heritage are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain outside Amsterdam, where most Dutch Jews live, because of secularization and the echo- ing losses of the Holocaust. "Of course it's sad, we're losing a piece of our history," said Esther Voet, editor in chief of the NIWJewishweekly in Amsterdam. "But the real- ity is that this small Jewish community cannot afford to stay in that huge synagogue. That's just the way it is." With no synagogue of its own, Beth Shoshanawill move to the nearby municipality of Raalte, where it will share space with an existing congre- gation. Voet says she finds this "a reasonable solution" born out of a "regrettable reality." But in Deventer and be- yond, the evicted congregants appeared less resigned to the change than Voet. On Monday, the congrega- tion gathered one last time for a snack in the building they had just emptied of its pos- sessions. Sipping black coffee and eating prune cake, they sang in passionate Hebrew "Am Yisrael Chai" and "Kol Ha'Olam Kulo"--"The People of Israel Live" and "The World is a Narrow Bridge." Some of the congregants cried; others tried to console them. 'This was our home for a long period," Ehud Post- humos, 79, a retired Royal Netherlands Air Force of- ricer, told JTA. "On winter nights, we'd gather here in the cold--we never heated mm m 1 2 3 R A P 14 I G O 17 GOT 20 I R E 24 D A N 32 33 B R I 40 R E A 43 S O L 50 51 52 M A G 57 A S E 62 R O N 66 C U R 69 S L E m 6 I R I 21 S H I 35 A G 44 O .ER T n 7 M I L 22 K I 27 S 31S T C H R A A T 59 T O M O 67 A L 7O N A m m m 11 12 13 E S T L I A A N S T A T E T E Ill 37 38 39 O A D I T S ll 54 55 56 O P T N O R O L Y U K S S A -r 572869431 8964 1 3527 413725986 731246859 265398714 948571263 659187342 1 84932675 327654 1 98 the place properly to save on utilities--and although outside it turned very dark early in the afternoon, here inside we had a great source of light. And now it feels like losing a home." Maurice Swirc, the former editor in chief of NIW, called the synagogue's sale "a scan- dal" and found it "very pain- ful." Dutch authorities, he said, "were partially respon- sible for the fact that Deventer does not have enough Jews to maintain she synagogue. The least they could do is help preserve it." The affair prompted intense interest internationally. JTA's video report of the community leaving the shul has been viewed more than 200,000 times on Facebook. Ronny Naftaniel, a founder of The Hague Jewish Heri- tage group, said the syna- gogue's sale is unusual "for a city such as Deventer, where authorities have a high awareness for heritage." De- venter, where wealthy Jewish cattle dealers left an indelible mark and where a part of Naftaniel's family lived before the Holocaust, "could have set aside this space," he said. Until recently, Fursten- berg's community was able to hold on to its synagogue thanks to the Christian Re- formed Churches group. It bought the building in 1951 from the severely depleted Jewish community of De- venter and turned the struc- ture into a church, complete with a massive pipe organ that the group installed. In 2010, Furstenberg and other Jews from the area began convening at a nearby Jewish club and asked the church's permission to re- establish a synagogue in the hall, which they began renting from the church at a subsi- dized rate. But the church had to sell the building this year. The highest bidder was Ayhan Sahin, the Dutch-Turkish developer, and his associate, Carlus Lenferink. Missies From page IA must defend--longer-range systems like David's Sling and Arrow can defend the entire country from almost anywhere. In recent days, an older and well-known air-defense system, the Patriot, also made headlines after it shot down a Syrian fighter jet that intruded into Israeli airspace. The Patriot and David's Sling will work together in similar altitudes, dividing up tasks between them. However, as time goes by, the Patriot is likely to focus more on "traditional" anti-aircraft tasks, while David's Sling takes over the anti-missile missions at the intermedi- ate range. The Stunner interceptor is even more advanced than its Patriot counterpart and can deal with maneuvering threats better. David's Sling fires a highly advanced interceptor missile, called Stunner, which uses a "range of sensors" to lock on and strike threats, explained Tom Furstenberg, right, and a fellow congregant carry the Synagogue of Deventer, July 3#, 2018. Cnaan Liphshiz Torah ark out of the Great This summer, the entrepre- neurs announced their plan to turn the synagogue into a restaurant. Furstenberg objected and the city declined to approve the plan. Amid negotiations with the Jewish community, Sahin was quoted as saying: "If need be, I'll turn it into a mosque," according to De Stentor regional daily. He later said he would allow the Jewish community to stay, "but only if they pay full rent"--an un- likely prospect for the small congregation, which has no sources of income and could barely afford maintenance fees when it rented the shul at a subsidized price from the church. Maarten-Jan Stuurman, a spokesman for the Deventer municipality, told De Sten- tor that the city tried to help the Jewish community stay, but ultimately "it is not the city's task to buy religious properties it does not use." The issue of rent, eh said, "is at the discretion of the owner." Losing the synagogue is "a failure and a major step back for the city," Furstenberg said, his voice echoing in the tall and now empty space where his congregationwould gather once every three weeks and on Jewish holidays. "Once again, the city is looking on as its synagogue is being destroyed." Furstenberg's j'accuse, spoken in Dutch in the pres- ence of local reporters, was a reference to the unusual and painful wartime history of the building. Unlike most Dutch synagogues, the one in Deventer was not confiscated in the orderly and methodical Nazi manner. Instead it was ransacked by a rabble belong- ing to the Dutch Nazi party, NSB, on July 25, 1941. Under the gaze of local police officers, they smashed the furniture, hacked open the Torah ark, tore up the scroll, pulled down the chandeliers and dislodged the bimah of the building, which was built in 1892. But that violence paled in comparison to the deporta- tions of the congregants the next summer. Of the 590 people registered as Jews in Deventer in 1942, the Nazis murdered 401. It was a typical statistic in a country where the Nazis and local collaborators were responsible for killing at least 75 percent of Jews--the highest death rate in Nazi- occupied Western Europe. Dutch Jewry, which num- bered 140,000 before the Holocaust, never came close to replenishing its numbers. Today, Holland has about 45,000 Jews, according to the European Jewish Congress. The Deventer synagogue played a role in the survival of at least two Jews. Simon van Spiegel, his brother, Bubi, and Meier de Leeuw hid in the building's attic for a while. Bubi was caught by the Germans after they received an anonymous tip. His brother and de Leeuw escaped. Simon's daugh- ter, Liesje Tesler-Van Spiegel, who lives in Israel, visited her father's hiding place for the first time last month. "I remember all of them," Roelof de Vries, 86, a carpen- ter whose family worked as caretakers at the synagogue before the Holocaust. "Even if this place becomes a restaurant, I'll never forget my friend Bubi, whom they gassed along with so many others," he said, weeping. Referring to the genocide, Furstenberg said "This is the reason there are not enough Jews to afford this place." In the cool interior of the Great Synagogue--a tall building in the neo- Moorish style--he added: "This is not just a story about a dwindling faith community, like all those churches that get turned into a discotheques. This is an aftereffect of the Holocaust." Rubin. "The point of the whole missile is to put itself in the right place so that the attacking missile hits it," he added. "It's a very advanced missile." Currently, Rafael and Ray- theon are working to integrate the Stunner interception missile with the American Patriot systems, creating a new air-defense package for sale on the international defense market. 'They are setting new rules of the game' Brig. Gen. (ret.) Ephraim Segoli, a former commander of two Israeli Air Force he- licopter squadrons, stressed that there is no such thing as fully hermetical air defense. "But the fact is that the defense has improved signifi- cantly," said S egoli, who today heads the Airpower Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya. David's Sling overlaps with the other two systems: Iron Dome and Arrow, he ex- plained. That overlap certain- ly improves the defense since a lack of overlap means that threats "can fall in between," said Segoli. He echoed Rubin's assess- ment about the resUlt of the first use of David's Sling, say- ing there was no need to get carried away because it did not succeed the first time. "This was its first use. Now they will be learning, inves- tigating and making fixes," he said. Firing interceptors at spo- radic missiles is one thing, but defending the skies during a full-scale war--when the skies would be flooded with incoming threats--is quite another. Segoli noted that if Hez- bollah and Israel ended up in a conflict, Israel would not rely only on its air-defense capabilities. "There would be a com- bined offense-defense use of force," he said. "Intelligence collectionwould play abig role here. If the day comes when this happens, [Hezbollah's] weapons would be attacked. We know that the heavier and more sophisticated the projectiles are, the harder they are to hide. "But the citizens [in Israel] must know: There is no her- metical defense." Asked to provide an as- sessment on recent events on the Syrian-lsraeli border, Segoli replied, saying "this entire phase is about check- ing limitations. Every side is checking the other. They are setting new rules of the game. A new system is taking shape." With the Assad regime and its backers completing their takeover of Syria, a volatile stage is under way in which "every side does something, and the other side responds or initiates," said the former commander. Israel is making clear that it is unwilling to accept an Iranian military presence anywhere in Syria, and has so far been able to transmit its red lines without being dragged into a major escala- tion. "No one knows if this can continue," said Segoli, "but those who make these decisions are setting the red lines, and if they see that someone has crossed them, they attack."