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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 24, 2018 PAGE 5A Where's the Establishment Clause? By Christine DeSouza How would you feel if your child came home from school and said that he/she had to memorize and recite the Apostles Creed? The Apostles Creed is a statement of faith that many Protestant Chris- tians recite in church every Sunday. What if your child was re- quired to make rosary beads for a class art project and recite the Hail Mary prayer, commonly called the Ave Maria or Angelic Salutation, a traditional Catholic prayer asking for the intercession of the "Blessed Virgin Mary"? By refusing to do the art project or recite the creed or prayer in class, your child would receive a failing grade on that portion of the course. My hope is that you would be furious and you'd call the teacher, the superintendent, the school board, the media and demand to know why these religious beliefs are be- ing taught in a public school. After all, we do have the pro- tection of the Establishment Clause, don't we? The "establishment of re- ligion" clause of the First Amendment concerning pub- lic schools, simply put means this: "Neither a state nor the federal government can force nor influence a person to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion." Let me explain that it is constitutionally permissible for public schools to teach about religions. In fact, reli- gion plays a significant part in world history. Many cultures were developed based on religious values--our United States was founded on Judeo- Christian beliefs. However, it is unconstitutional for public schools to promote religious beliefs. The Clause explains that schools may expose stu- dents to a diversity of re- ligious views, but may not impose any particular view: "'Teaching religion' amounts to religious indoctrination or practice and is clearly prohibited in public schools. Teachers must be extremely sensitive to respect, and not interfere with, a student's re- ligious beliefs and practices. Students must not be encour- aged to accept or conform to specific religious beliefs or practices. A program intended to teach religion, disguised as teaching about religion, will be found uncon- stitutional." So, we can relax. Right? Public schools can't make stu- dents create prayer beads or memorize the Apostles Creed or make Muslim prayer rugs. That would be forcing chil- dren to entertain a religious belief. Tobe clear--children in public schools are not making prayer beads or reciting the Apostles Creed. But wait--what has been going on in public schools for a number of years? Tenth graders in Seminole and Or- ange counties are being told to recite the shahada--the Muslim profession of faith. They are learning the Five Pillars of Islam. They are not learning about the history of Islam or its spread across the Middle East. Students used to have to make a prayer rug, but from what I understand, they no longer are required to do that art project (thanks to parents' outrage). Back to the shahada, this is a serious problem. Muslims take this statement of faith very seriously. I will not state it (ever) but in explanation, it says that their god is the only god and their messenger is the only messenger. This is a statement said by those who wish to convert to Islam. Students in Seminole and Orange county must recite this for a grade. If students refuse to recite it and object because they do not believe this statement, a failing grade can be incurred. Ask someone on the Semi- nole School Board about this, and the topic is down played. And if students in 10th grade are being taught Islam, where is the balance with other religions? Oh, they learn about Judaism and Christianity in seventh grade. So, if a student wanted to do a religious comparison, he'd have to recall what he learned in seventh grade? Libby Hilsenrath of New Jersey is boiling mad at the Chatham School District and Board of Education, and she is suing because of the teaching of Islam (not as a belief but as facts) to her seventh-grade son in his World Cultures and Geography class. Hilsenrath had a more serious problem. Her son was required to view two videos on YouTube, "Intro to Islam Video" and "The 5 Pillars of Islam," that she claimed were "an explicit and direct call to the children for conversion to the religion of Islam." We're talking about public schools here! The Chatham School Dis- trict tried to have the claim dismissed, but federal Judge Kevin McNulty refused to dis- miss the lawsuit, stating the "untested" scenario merits further exploration. https://gellerrepor t. com/2018/06/islam-is- schooi-lawsuit.html/ I shared this news article because this "study" of Is- lam isn't happening only in Florida. It is across the coun- try through the distribution of textbooks published by Pearson Education, a British- owned education publishing company. Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder of the nonprofit orga- nization Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, recently spoke in Orlando about corruption in school textbooks. She enlightened the audience comprised of Christians and Jews about the world history, geography and social stud- ies textbooks distributed by Pearson Publishers to public schools across the country. The mission statement of this publisher is to "change the way America thinks," by indoctrinating children to globalization standards. Do parents have a say in what their children are being taught in public schools? One drastic measure would be to have a tort lawsuit brought up to the school board stating this teaching of Islam must be removed, as Hilsenrath is doing in New Jersey. Another measure, certainly doable by all parents right now, is to read your children's textbooks, see what they are being taught. Discuss the material and re- inforce your views and beliefs with your children. There is a lot at stake here. By Evelyn Gordon and JNS .org Aish Hatorah Resources Arabs came to the protest in Tel Aviv because they oppose the very existence of a Jew- ish state, including its most innocuous symbol. Ever since Saturday night's demonstration against the nation-state law in Tel Aviv, which was organized by Is- rael'sArab community, people have been talking about the presence of Palestinian flags. But too little attention has been paid to something even more disturbing--the en- forced absence of Israeli ones. Certainly, demonstrators who wave Palestinian flags while chanting slogans like "With blood and fire, we will redeem Palestine" merit at- tention. As Jonathan S. Tobin noted earlier this week, those protesters clearly weren't seeking to reform Israel, but to eradicate the Jewish state. Nevertheless, the dem- onstration's organizers ex- plicitly asked people not to bring Palestinian flags since they hoped to attract Jewish moderates rather than just the usual far-left fringe, and understood that Palestinian flags would make Jewish moderates uncomfortable. Nor is it their fault that some people ignored this request; at any demonstration with tens of thousands of participants, some people will disregard the organizers' instructions. So while the chants and Palestinian flags certainly say something about the intentions of those particular demonstrators, they don't necessarily indicate the views of the majority. What's far more telling is that the organizers also banned Israeli flags at the protest, arguing that they would make Arab demonstra- tors uncomfortable (here, too, some people disobeyed). They did this knowing that it would undermine their goal of strong Jewish participation since many Jews opposed to the nation-state law would still feel uncomfortable at a protest where Israeli flags were unwelcome. And this wasn't a decision by a few rebellious protesters; it was made by the Arab commu- nity's most representative body--the Higher Arab Moni- toring Committee, which consists of elected mayors, Knesset members and other community leaders. In other words, the orga- nizers believed that Israeli flags were unacceptable to most of their community. So they informed Jews that no partnership was possible, even over an ostensibly major shared concern, unless the Jews agreed to forgo even the most basic symbol of their Israeli identity. If this doesn't immediately strike you as outrageous, try imagining, say, a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policy at which protesters were forbid- den to wave American flags. It would be ridiculous. After all, most of the policy's opponents consider themselves proud Americans who object to the policy precisely because they think it contradicts America's best values, and most of the immigrants themselves would like to become proud Americans. So why would anyone mind if American flags were present? For the same reason, Israeli flags were much in evidence at the Druze community's protest against the nation- state law the previous week. Those demonstrators, Druze and Jews alike, considered themselves proud Israelis, nor did they have any objec- tion in principle to Israel's Jewish identity. They merely Flags on page 14A By liana Cowland and Rabbi Jamie Cowland Aish Hatorah Resources Hold on to what's important and let go of the super detailed image you have in your mind. One day they tell you you're young and beautiful. You have a bright future ahead of you, they say. Then the next day, with no warning, they say you are being too picky, thatyou're not getting any younger, and you need to think more seri- ously about settling down. That day happens at differ- ent ages and stages depending on your culture and commu- nity as if there's an expiry date stamped on your forehead for all to see. Very few things are more painful for an older single than being told that they're being too picky. You wonder which one of your dates you were be- ing too picky about? Was it the one with abusive red flags? Or the divorced one who claimed no responsibility for any of the three failed marriages? Or perhaps the one with whom you had absolutely nothing in common whatsoever. They tell you it's a blind date, but they don't tell you blind, deaf and mute. Would any of the people accusing you of being too picky have married any of your previous disaster dates? I highly doubt it. That being said, there is a small kernel of truth to the picky myth and with the permission of you wonderful courageous singles I'm going to lay it out in the hope that you will remain picky--if picky means you're not go- ing to settle for anything less than the wonderful life you all deserve. We imagine. We picture. We don't always realize that we do, but we do. For example, ever read a book before you saw the movie (which is always a disappointment after the book, apart from "The Help") and spent the entire movie irritated at the choices of the casting director because that character was so different from how you'd imagined them? Ever work with somebody and then later on met their partner and found yourself saying, Good gracious, that's so not who I imagined? Ever have a phone conversation with someone you haven't met in person and then when you meet him or her you think to yourself, Hey, you're tall! I pictured you short! Our mind is always con- juring images and that's normal. Except sometimes it can create a problem. Think of the following scenario: You're looking for the perfect shoe to match the perfect outfit. You walk into shop number one, scan the shelves and they're not there, so you walk into shop number two. You scan the shelves and nope, they're not there either. All day long you look for your shoes and they're nowhere to be found. But here's the thing. There are two parts to the evolution of the shoe. First, there's the shoe profile. For example, shoes that fit; shoes that are the right color; shoes that look good; shoes that make you feel good; shoes that match the outfit. Then there's the image of the shoe that you conjure up in your mind. Ladies: black, pointed, opaque 3-inch heel. Gents: charcoal loafers, thick sole, perhaps a contrast rim. You get it. We all have our picture. But there may be a whole variety of shoes that fit your profile. If you have imagined the perfect shoes down to the last detail, chances are you'll spend your time looking for that exact pair. And it's un- likely you'll find it. You'll leave the store empty handed, even though you passed over a few pairs that do fit the profile. The next day you walk into a different shoe stores and the shop assistant says, "Don't tell me what your picture is; tell me your profile." Size, color, basic style. The shop assistant pulls out a pair and they're different than what you imagined. You instantly want to say no because these are not the shoes you've been envisioning. But then you re- mind yourself to take the shop assistant's advice and you drop the detailed picture of your shoes and focus instead on the essential profile that you're looking for. Taken from that perspec- tive, the new shoes have everything that you need and are looking for. You're just a bit surprised. You try them on. It takes you a minute, but guess what? They look good. Even better than the shoes that you had imagined! Ask happily married people if the person they married took them by surprise. Many people will say yes. This doesn't mean that they were hoping to marry someone good and--surprise!--they married an axe murderer! It means they shifted their picture. Hold on to what's impor- tant. That overall profile is your guide. And let go of your detailed picture. Holding tight to what you're specifically envisioning needlessly limits your options. Chances are that the partner that's out there waiting for you is not the one you've pictured to the T. Let go of the details and hold on to what's genuinely important. You'll findyourself open to finding the betterver- sion of the partner you seek.