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August 15, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 15, 2014
 

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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS Inside... Roth JCC Fall Program Guide Capt. Isaac Bencowitz Corporal Rouben Sami, deputy director of the Offenbach Archives Depot, with two of his assistants working with him, Miss Clauss, librarian (in the corner), and Miss Schiil, secretary. One of the Monuments Men in our midst By Christine DeSouza Assistant Editor Corporal Rouben Samiwas attendinga Passover Seder in Benghazi, Libya, where he was stationed building bridges during World War II. He was far from his family in Palestine and homesick. Beside him sat Capt.SeymoU Pomrenze, a member of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's staff, who happened to notice how well Sami spoke Hebrew. "You really know your Hebrew," Pom- renze said in English to Sami. "Do you read it fluently as well?" "Yes," Sami replied, mentioning that it was his "native tongue." Originally born in the Bronx, N.Y. and an American citizen, Sami's family moved to Palestine via Greece during the depression when he was 10 years old. "How would you like to come with me to Germany?" Pomrenze asked. He told Sami thathewas involved in a new project in Germany--the Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives project and thought because of Sami's excellent Hebrew, he would be a good recruit. Two weeks later, Sami found himself stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, work- ing at the Offenbach Collecting Point, also known as the Offenbach Archival Depot (OAD), as deputy director under the new director, Capt. Isaac Bencowitz. It was May 1946. The war was over, but the work was just beginning for the men and women of the MFAA who would spend the next seven months receiving, sorting, restoring and returning more than 2,500,000 books, over 600 Torah scrolls, and countless paintings to their countries of origin. Rouben Sami had become a "Monu- ments Men," and he lives here in Maitland with his wife of 67 years, Lee, and his daughter, Rene. Born in the Bronx, his family moved to Greece where they were originally from, and then in 1933 moved to Israel, which at that time was called Palestine. He attended the American University of Beirut, where he fully intended to become a doctor because his uncle was a doctor. That uncle paid him avisit about seven months later and asked Sami what he was studying to become. "A doctor like you," Sami told him. "Oh no you're not!" his uncle replied. "I don't make any money! No one has money to pay me!" So Sami became a civil engineer. That Monuments on page 15A IDF mission complete in Gaza, focus turns to Cairo talks By Lilach Shoval Israel Hayom Staff and Reuters Twenty-nine days after Operation Protective Edge was launched and two and a co -"- O -=- 3 ._- u.l - ,x .'.') n = ! mk) " -i half weeks after Israeli ground troops entered Gaza, the IDF declared Tuesday that it had successfully completed neu- tralizing the terror tunnels threatening southern Israeli communities. "We have neutralized all the tunnels known to the IDF and we have undermined Hamas tunnel infrastructure," GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman said. "Hamas spent tens of mil- lions [of dollars] on its tunnel infrastructure and on other assets, and all of that has been destroyed. The operation has significantly damaged Hamas' capabilities." According to Turgeman, "The operation was complex and involved urban warfare and underground fighting.We found entire buildings--en- tire streets--booby-trapped. We encountered anti-tank, mortar and sniper fire, and we engaged the enemy at very short range. "Wherever we operated, our troops were able to over- come and defeat the enemy, overpower it and neutralize Israeli soldiers leave Gaza on Aug. 5, 2014. its abilities. IDF troops met their operational objectives successfully. Our soldiers deserve all praise. Israel can be proud of its soldiers, who demonstrated fighting spirit, as well as true heroism. I be- lieve the public has also shown its strength, demonstrating mutual guarantees and the willingness to support the troops on the ground, which is truly commendable. "This mission was accomplished thanks to the commanders AFP and soldiers who sacrificed their lives for it. Our hearts go out to the bereaved families and we will continue to look after them. We also wish a speedy recovery to those who were wounded," he concluded. Military data indicates that between 750 and 1,000 terrorists were killed in the month-long Gaza campaign, and at least 253 of them were Hamas operatives. IDF on page 14A Katz well-versed in judicial issues By Christine DeSouza Assistant Editor Norberto Katz has been all around the bench, and now he would like to fill a seat. He has worked in the judicial system for more than 16 years. He understands how the system works more so than having only been "on the other side of the bench" as a representing lawyer. He brings multi-faceted experi- ence, an understanding of the nature of the practice of law and the stress involved. This is why he is running for the position of Circuit Court Judge, Group 10 in the Ninth Judicial Court of Orange and Osceola Counties. After serving as a law- yer-practicing family law, juvenile law, guardianship and some probate--for 14 years, Katz was appointed by the chief judge to be an ad- ministrative hearing officer for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court assigned to the Child Support Division, a position he has held for 16 years. As a hearing officer, Katz leads a team of eight in the Child Support Hearing Office. He conducts hearings with participants in child-support Norberto Katz cases. He takes evidence and findings, makes a recommen- dation to the judges about what the outcome of the case should be. He resigned this position so there would be no conflict of interest after filing his intent to run for judicial office. He is also a special magis- trate for the Truancy Board, a position he holds pro bono. In fact, with the support of the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Orange County Clerk of Court and under the Katz on page 14A Geboff makes impact in Jewish education This August, the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando is recognizing outstanding leaders who have made an impact in Jewish Orlando this past year. The awards presentation will be made on Aug. 24 at the JFGO Annual Meeting. Awards are given out in recognition of fantastic individuals who devote their time to make our community a better place. The Federation created the Outstanding Jewish Com- munal Professional Award to acknowledge an outstanding Jewish communal profes- sional who has advanced the mission of his/her respective agency and has promoted harmony, understanding and education among profession- als and between agencies, synagogues, organizations and the Federation. This year the honor will be bestowed upon Amy Geboff, whose tireless efforts and selfless devotion over the years is one of the many reasons the Federation is honoring her. Geboff became the Reli- gious School administrator at Congregation Ohev Shalom in May 1996, and in 2002 she accepted the position of director of Youth and Family Education. In this capacity, in addition to directing the school, she supervises all programs of the COS youth groups and teens as well as Amy Geboff family programming. Un- der Geboff's tenure at Ohev Shalom, programs that en- gage and connect children, teens and families were cre- ated including MACHANEH OHEV, Shabbatonim for all ages, an annual Jewish youth play, teacher retreat, and a Madrichim program that this year has enrolled 62 teens. In addition, she re- energized the USY programs, leading the COSUSY chapter to winning the National Geboff on page 14A 6 IIII!!I!III!II!!!!IUIIII