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August 16, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 16, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 16, 2013 The Jewish Value Network Dr. Mehmet Oz, right, and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem. By Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA)--Dr. Mehmet Oz sat down to talk with JTA on the Tel Aviv coast last week, but what he really wanted to do was go to the beach. Oz, the surgeon and well- known TV personality, was in Israel for the first time and had a packed itinerary. He traversed the country from the Red Sea to the Golan, lectured Israeli physicians in a northern Israeli hospital and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His host on this whirlwind tour was Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the author and sex- pert who lives in New Jersey, The two met when they were both on an Oprah Winfrey radio program. Boteach re- cently gave Oz an award for being a "champion of Jewish xalues," and the trip was paid for by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, another recipient of the award. A Muslim of Turkish de- scent, Oz delivered a relatively conservative line on Israel in an interview, even cast- ing doubt on the viability of the two-state solution. He also explained why he went to Hebron and Psagot, two controversial Israeli settle- ments deep in the West Bank. JTA: What drove you to The wonderful visit of Oz come to Israel and what has surprised you most about the country? Oz: I come every summer to Istanbul and keep meeting Israeli tourists. What was most surprising was that I knew about the historical sites, I traveled the whole country, and I know now that that's the tip of the iceberg. Wharfs special is the energy of this nation, which was able to build a thriving modern society out of the desert. Israeli-Palestinian nego- tiations restarted recently and it's assumed that any final deal would involve the dismantling of Israeli West Bank settlements. Why did you decide to visit Hebron? Was it problematic for you as a Muslim? I went there especially be- cause I was a Muslim, to the burial place of the patriarch of my religion. Hebron meant connecting to. a place that represents that connection, and to be able to see Islamic writing, Jewish writing, Christian writing and all three [religions] worshiping at the same tomb. I went out of curiosity to see a place that is sacred to me. There will be politi- cal discussions forever, and weshould follow an inner instinct. I went with love in my heart.  In addition to practicing Western medicine, you're a big believer in non-Western cures and you preach the importance of patients hav- ing a positive m indset. In that Groups invited to tell stories of Kristallnacht witnesses United States Holocaust Memorial lluseum Furnishings of the Zeven Synagogue in Germany. The objects were removed to the town square, where they were burned, drawing cheers from people who came to watch the destruction. The Holocaust Center in diariesl letters and accounts Maitland often uses personal of people who could provide stories and eye-witness ac- first-hand stories. The per- more than a dozen venues to do presentations, and more potential participants have been identified. "It's an ideal teaching tool for all kinds of groups," Cof- fin says. "Hosting a perfor- mance of Witness is a great opportunity to have youth participate in a program that's uncomplicated yet interesting, challenging and highly satisfying .... a chance to remind both youth and adults about an important part of history that shouldn't be forgotten. Jack Lowe, one of the au- thors of the drama, explains that the format is a Reader's Theater, so there are no cos- " tumes, no memorizing lines, and no staging. He says it is particularly suited to young actors and young audiences. "Many of the characters who share their Story in the play are young people," he says. "War and political conflicts are devastating for every- one involved. We wanted to include the most innocent victims, the children we put in harm's way." Some of the area groups w.ho have performances planned include the Princess Theater in Sanford and the Of- rice of Diversity Initiatives at UCF as well as several church and community groups. Anyone who would like more information "about how to participate are encouraged to contact Pastor Coffin at 321- 228 -4599 orjim@interfaithfl. org, or contact the Holocaust Center at 407-628-0555. counts as an effective way to share the history of the Shoah. Those individual voices, tell- ing their own experiences, can make that tragic time easier to grasp. Art exhibits, films and speakers at the center's community commemora- tions often use the innocent faces and poignant testimony of victims, survivors, rescuers and liberators to explain the real cost of intolerance. In preparing for the ob- servance of Kristatlnacht last year, the, center decided to stage a unique drama that focused primarily, on the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938. It was then, on the "night of broken glass", that Hitler's ultimate goals became clear. The program was an original theater piece called Witness, which was based on the formance was well-received by the community and left a lasting impression on many in the audience. In planning for this year's Kristallnacht events to mark the 75th anniversary of that night, the center is reviving Witness in a new way. It is sharing the script and the PowerPoint that helps tell the story, making it available to groups who wish to be part of the anniversary observance. The goal is to get 75 groups to present the drama during the last half of the year. Pastor Jim Coffin, execu- tive director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and a me'rnber of the community's Kristallnacht Advisory Board, is coordinating the outreach to interested groups. He says they have already recruited PAGE 3A regard, what's your takeaway from Israeli culture and Jew- ish values? It's difficult to understand the world if you don't under- stand Israel. There's a clear intersection of Jewish values, modern society and coping with the modern world. In a society like Israel, where there's tremendous stress, it is important to remember those deep values. If you don't love yourself you can't love your neighbor. The most important thing in life is to have purpose. If you give your heart a reason to keep beating, it will always keep beating. Because of their will to take on the physical forces of the desert and their neighbors, [Israelis] have a clear purpose to change the world. What has been the most challenging part of the trip? We were driving and I saw workers from South Asia, and I wondered, "Why are South Asians working in these fields when there are workers who live in the West Bank?" We must find a way for people towork together peacefully, There are such wonderful opportunities to work.togeth- er. We should build a bigger pie. Israel is a microcosm for so many problems you have around the world. It's the gold standard of conflict. If we could solve this, it's a toolkit for solving other problems. How has visiting Israel and the West Bank changed your perspective on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict? You learn about the fic- tions you create around solutions. It would be very difficult to pass laws that intersect between people liv- ing next door to each other. It's not as easy as-being for or against it. You realize it's much more difficult. It's much grayer. It's not black and white. The ultimate solution will be driven by financial means. Peace is an imperative for that. When people love their children so much, they'll do whatever it takes to make their future brighter. Taglit-Birthright Israel's Excel Fellowship program 2011-2013 NEW YORK--Ninety students from 37 colleges and universities across the country have successfully completed the 2011-2013 Taglit-Birthright Israel Excel Fellowship program, an elite fellowship program beginning with a 10-week business in- ternship in Israel for talented Jewish college sophomores, juniors, and select seniors pursuifig careers in business and/or technology. During the all-expense paid program, each Birthright Israel Excel Fellow interns at a prominent, global Israeli company from within a wide range of industries, includ- ing finance, venture capital, consulting, hi-tech, bio-tech, and social media. Throughout the summer, the Excel Fellows engage with distinguished Israeli leaders from busi- ness, technology, political and philanthropic arenas on a broad range of topics, including leadership, Jewish identity, the global economy, and teamwork. Upon completion of the fellowship in Israel, the Excel Fellows enter the post-fellow- ship stage of the program in the United States, where their network expands to include leading American business people, as well as Birthright Israel Excel alumni. Finally, the participants convene for an annual retreat, slated this year from Nov. 14 - 17, where they meet with prominent business leaders, politicians, and educators. "Through its Excel Fel- lowship program, Taglit- Birthright Israel aims to develop future Jewish leaders who are committed to preserv= ing the identity, heritage, and welfare of the Jewish community, in the United States, Israel, and through- out the world," said Sharon Prince, U.S. coordinator for Birthright Israel Excel. "The networking opporthnities and mentoring relationships with top Jewish business leaders, from both the U.S. arid Israel, provide students with valuable educational experiences that would be difficult to replicate anywhere else." The following is a list of schools represented: Univer- sity of Pennsylvania; Harvard University; Stanford Univer- sity; Washington University in St. Louis; The University of Virginia; American Uni- versity Washington College of Law; Yale University; Penn State University; University of California, Berkeley; North- western University; Cornell University; Johns Hopkins University; University of Flor- ida; University of Vermont; Vanderbilt University; Duke University; Amherst College; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Princeton University; Colum- bia University; Georgetown University; Brown Univer- sity; University of South- ern California; University of South Carolina; University of Chicago; Emory University; George Washington Univer- sity; University of Georgia; Yeshiva University; University of Maryland; Brandeis Uni- versity; Dartmouth College; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Middlebury Col- lege. Taglit-Birthright Israel is a historical and innovative partnership between the gov- ernment of Israel, thousands of individual donors and private philanthropists, and Jewish communities around the world through the Jewish Federations of NorthAmerica, Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Visit www. Zionistas of Orlando Zionistas at Yom Ha'atzmaut 2013. The Zionistas of Orlando, a coalition of Christian and Jewish women united for Israel, will hold their inau- gural meeting at Temple Israel on Sunday, Aug. 25", from 2 - 4 p.m. The guest speaker,Wallace S. Brus- chweiler, St., will speak on Israel's Counter Terrorism Program--the right approach and solutions. Mr. Bruchwei- ler, whowas targeted forassas- sination by the Red Brigades for successfully profiling their terrorist operations, will share his counter terrorism experi- ences usually reserved for law enforcementandthe military. The event is free and open to the public. The Zionistas was founded by Sandi Solomon, Eva Ritt, Judy Shujman and Diana Scimone. For more infor- mation, please call Sandi at 407-575-9899.