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August 27, 2010

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 27, 2010 PAGE 11A .i SYDNEY, Australia (JTA)-- Three Jews were elected to Australia's federal parliament in national elections. Michael Danby, Mark Drey- fus and Joshua Frydenberg-- all from Melbourne--emerged victorious in Saturday's ballot. But neither the incumbent Labor Party nor the opposi- tion Liberal Party managed to muster the 76 seats required for an outright majority in the 150-seat House of Representa- tives, prompting the probability of the first hung parliament in 70 years. Pre-poll and postal votes could yet prove pivotal, according to observers. Danby, a Labor lawmaker who has been Israel's most ardent advocate in parliament, servedas the only Jewish federal lawmaker between 1996 and 2007, when Dreyfus was first elected, also to Labor. Frydenberg, a graduate of Bialik College in Melbourne and a former advisor to Lib- eral lawmaker John Howard, on Saturday became the first Jewish Liberal representative in Canberra since Sen. Peter Baume in 1991. Along with support for Is- rael,Australia's 110,000-strong Jewish community were to consider perennial election issues such as the economy, refugees and Aboriginal affairs in the Aug. 21 race that pitted Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Labor Party against Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party. Since voting is mandatory in Israeli Ministry of Defense Then-Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard meets June 22, 2009, with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Jerusalem. Emmanuel Santos/AICE Australian opposition party's bond with Israel as with Hamas in 2009, boycot- leader Tony Abbott speaks "unshakable." Abbott, a Lon- ted the Durban II UN anti- at the Australia IsraelLead- don native who was educated racismconference, opposedthe ership Forum gala lunch in at Oxford, charged Labor with Goldstone report on the Gaza December 2009. occasionally abandoning the war and ramped up sanctions Jewish state at the United against Iran. Nations and pledged to take Danby, perhaps the most Australia, Sabbath-observing actionagainstthe'Mciousanti- ardent Israel backer in the Jews were to use early polling Semitic message" of Hizb-ut government, saidGillard"stood booths to cast their ballots Tahrir, aradiealIslamistgmup like a rock" during the Gaza in- last week. banned in America. cursionandthatLabor' villnot Polls show a tight race be- The latter, said Mendes, is shirkitshistoricresponsibility" tween Gillard, whose bloodless "another unapologetic appeal to defend Israel against Iran. coup two months ago toppled to Jewish voters." But a diplomatic meltdown Labor leader Kevin Rudd, and But Mendes, the co-editor in relations with Jerusalem Abbott, the conservative Lib- of "Jews & Australian Poli- took place in May following an eral leader once known as the tics," said Labor's record on inquiry finding that there was "Mad Monk" for making some Israel has been "superior to "no doubt" Israel forged four brutishly candid remarks, virtually every other Western Australian passports used in The Liberals have been try- socialdemocraticgovernment, the assassination of a Hamas ing to drive a wedge between includingthe recently deposed leader. In response, Rudd or- Labor and the Jewish com- New Labor in the U.K." deredanofficialfromtheIsraeli munity, according to Philip InLabor'sfirstterminoffice, Embassy in Canberra to leave Mendes, a Melbourne-based thepartyproposedabipartisan the country. academic, resolution on Israel's 60th an- ManyJewswere"takenaback During the campaign Ab-niversary in 2008, supported at how vehement Rudd was in bott, 52, had described his Israel during its showdown hishandlingoftheaffair,"saida senior Jewish leaderwho spoke for supporting the Jewish state on condition of anonymity, during its Gaza military opera- Indeed, Robert Goot, presi- tion in the winter of 2008-09. dentoftheExecutive Councilof Last December, she delivered a AustralianJewry, issuedastate- speech at a Jewish function in ment at the time describing the Melbourneand dancedthe hora expulsionas"anoverreaction." with Jewish women. In an al tempt to heal the rift, But soon after she upstaged Rudd hosted a kosher dinner herbossandbecameAustralia's with senior Jewish leaders at first female prime minister, the prime minister's residence two former Australian ambas- in June. And Foreign Minister sadors to Israel accused her of Stephen Smith told the Aus- an unbalanced position on the tralian Jewish News twoweeks Middle East, with Ross Burns, ago that it was "business as Australia's envoy in Tel Aviv usual" between Canberra and between 2001 and 2003, blast- Jerusalem. ing her for being "remarkably The Liberals, who in 2004 taciturn on the excesses of also ejected an official from the Israeli actions." Israeli Embassy, have focused GillardhailsfromLabor'sleft on Labor's record at the United flank, which has been hostile to Nations during the campaign. Israel in the past. Prior to her Since coming to office in 2007, firstvisit to Israel in 2005, Jew- the Labor government has ish leaders were uncertain of supported three controversial herpositionontheMiddleEast. U.N. resolutions against Israel, Goot said it was "very en- prompting Jewish leaders to couraging" to have three Jew- write to the prime minister ish federal lawmakers. From lastyearexpressingtheirdisap- 1974-75 there were four Jews pointment, in federal parliament. Deputy Liberal leader Julie The election also produced Bishop said last week that a several firsts: Dr Ken Wyatt is Liberal government would likelytobecomethefirstAborig- return to the U.N. voting pat- inalmemberelectedtothelower tern of former Liberal Prime house;AdarnBandtbecarnethe Minister John Howard, whose first Greens lawmaker elected government was staunchly to the lower house; and Ed pro-Israel. Husic became the first Muslim "I make no apology for lawrnaker everelected. my strong support of Israel," Australia has a bi-cameral Bishop said. parliament: the House of Repre- For her part Gillard, 48, sentatives, thelowerhouse,and ignored calls to boycott a visit the Senate, the upper house. to Israel in June 2009. In Jeru- JTA'sDan Goldberg contrib- salem, Israeli leaders feted her uted to this report. By Stewart Ain a merger. It was the first time president and dean of the AJR. Inthelastfouryears, thecon- dothis.Itcreatesasenseoftradi- And he also took issue New York Jewish Week both synagogues had looked She pointed out that about 90 gregationhasincreasedfrom90 tion for the younger families." with discussing the Haftorah outside JTS for a rabbi, percent of her students had households to 160. On Saturday morning, the without chanting it first in One is a kind of rabbinic Dr. Bill Friedlieb, who hadearlier careers. Most AJR stu- At Congregation Tifereth Is- Haftorah is read in English by the Hebrew. The discussion, Phil, takingtheunorthodoxstep chaired Congregation Tifereth dents--161have been ordained rael, membershiphasincreased different congregants who will however, hecalled"innovative of asking those saying Kaddish Israel'srabbinicsearchcommit- since it began--attend part- from 150 family units three rise in the pews and readtwoor without question." to rise from the pews--as ifina tee, said the committee looked time over a number of years, yearsagoto215.Atitspeakinthe three sentences each. Huber- Hoffman said he makes a griefsupportgroup---andtotalk beyond the seminary because "These are two talented, early'70s, the congregation had man said he walks among the special effort to reach out to about their deceased mother or none of the many candidates charismatic rabbis who really alittleover300,Huberrnansaid, pews and explains the passages those who have found that aunt or lifelong friend, interviewed in 2006 were "dy- understand what it means to One of its new members,as they are read, putting them other synagogues were "not The other, like a jazz player namic." The Academy--which reach people and the impor- FreddaKlopfer, 67, saidsheand into context, speaking to them." improvising a new ritual on the draws teachers from the Or- tanceofreachingtheindividual herhusbandhadbeenmembers "I use the Haftorah as a "IfIturnthesepeopleaway, fly, will switch from Hebrew to thodox, Conservative, Reform, and serving the community," of another congregation for 30 teaching tool," he said. "It's not then I am just turning against English to chant particularly ReconstructionistandRenewal shesaid, yearsandbeganlookingatother contrarytoJewishlawtodothat, everythinglhadbeentaught," meaningful sections of the To- branches of Judaism--was %Vewerethinkinganddoingsynagogues in a search of more ... We do things differently with hesaid. rah and Haftorah--and then founded in 1956. pluralistic education when the adult education programs, halakkah [Jewish law] to make Thus, whenanintermarried offer a "short overview" of the AftertheAcademysuggested Jewish world wasn't thinking "Itwasloveatfirstsight,"she it accessible." couple meets with him and significance of that section. Huberman, aCanadianwhowas that way yet," Prouser said. said. "On Friday night there is In addition, Huberman said the "Jewish partner says, 'My Both rabbis are employing then a second-year student, he "We're very excited that now learning, on Saturday morn- someone who is physically un- spouse is not sure but I would outside-the-box techniques-- was invited for a Shabbat, said thereissucharecognitionofthe ing there is learning--there is able to walk to the bima for an like to raise the children Jew- for Conservative synagogues, Friedlieb, and "came across value of pluralism in the Jewish ongoing learning there,aliyah is called upon to recite ish and would like to know if that is--and they are leading extremely well." After being world--ofthedeeprespectand "Therabbiandthecantorare the blessings before and after my spouse gets to participate unlikely revivals of two such invitedbackseveralmoretimes, appreciation of the many dif- the driving force in the congre- the Torah from his seat. at our children's bar or bat synagoguesonLongIsland, one according to Friedlieb, Huber- ferent approaches to authentic gation," Klopfer said, referring "In the past, people might mitzvah,' I understand that intheNorthShoretownofGlen man was offered the job of Jewishlife." to CantorGustavo Gitlin. have felt distant from the ser- you shouldn't deprive a family Cove, the other in the South part-time student rabbi with Rabbi Daniel Nevins, dean "The most important mes- vice," he said. "I take a lot of member from partaking of a Shore community of Freeport. the understanding that his job of the Rabbinical School at the sageistobeamensch, andthere time explaining the history of simcha," Hoffman said. The increasing membership of wouldbecomefull-timeafterhe Jewish Theological Seminary, is so much emphasis on visiting the prayers and the Haftorah so "Coming as I do from an both their synagogues comes graduated, which he did three said in a statement that "the the sick, healing the world and that there is a learning process Orthodox background, you at a time when most non- months ago. JTSapproachispluralistictothe giving to charity," she said. and people feel a part of what is would never let someone who Orthodox congregations on Huberman, who grew up in core--our students study the "Everybody participates. It's a going on." is not Jewishcomeonthebima the Island are losing members an Orthodox home and worked scholarship, liturgy and culture very warm, welcoming place." StevenBayme, directorofthe becausethe Torahis there. But or struggling to hold their own. as a journalist and political ad- of diverse Jewish communities, Huberman said the congre- William Petschek Contempo- to have a [non-Jewish spouse] And neither rabbi, surpris- viserinTorontobeforeswitching and they bring this breadth of gation is also reaching out to rary Jewish Life Department at read a prayer or psalm from ingly, is a graduate of the Jew- totherabbinate,wasinthesame knowledge to their work. JTS young families and its Hebrew the American Jewish Commit- the pews isolates him and is ish Theological Seminary, the graduating class as Hoffman. graduates lead vibrant congre- school has increased from five tee, said that although he had not a heimish thing to do. So Conservative movement's flag- Hoffman, too, is the product gationsaroundthecountry, but students to 30 in three years, reservations about two of the I decided for myself that as ship institution in Morningside ofanOrthodoxhome, havingat- we are always pleased to hear "TheAJRisapluralisticsemi- rabbis' innovative practices he long as the Torah is put away, Heights. tended the Yeshiva of Flatbush. that other rabbis are enjoying nary and with my background applauds their intent, the [non-Jewish] spouse could Instead, Rabbi Irwin Huber- After leaving the real estate success." from Orthodox to Renewal I "They create more of a sense come on the bima and talk to man of Congregation Tifereth business, he became a bar and Both Hoffman and Huber-have been able to pull together ofcommunityandinvolvemore the child, bless the child and Israel in Glen Cove and Rabbi bat mitzvah tutorand freelance man came to their Long Island different traditions when the peopleinaparticipatoryway,"he read a prayer." Paul Hoffman of Congregation Torah reader, once working as a congregations at a time of situation is right," he said. said. "We are heirs to a unique Hoffman said he has found B'nai Israel in Freeport are Torah reader for Congregation decreasing membership. DuringFridaynightservices, and precious heritage that is that "people are appreciative taking the lessons in pluralism B'nai Israel of Freeport. The "Fouryearsagoweweregoing for instance, Huberman said often a closed book to many [of this approach] and show andoutreachtheylearnedatthe congregation offered him the to merge or die," said Marilyn he looks down the list of those Jews. What defines them is a it in the fact that they are non-denominational Academy job of acting rabbi five years Gates, co-president of Congre- saying Kaddish for a yahrzeit stronger sense of community joining [his congregation]. In of Jewish Religion in Riverdale agowhen itwaswithoutarabbi gation B'nai Israel. "We had no (anniversary of a death) "and and ownership over the Judaic their souls they are saying to andfittingthemtotheirrespec- and learned he was a rabbinical Hebrewschoolstudentsin2006. asks the people to talk about body of teaching." themselves that he is bending tive congregations, student;hebecameits full-time Then I got the idea to compete the relatives or friends they are But Bayme said allowingfor me and making me feel The sense of openness and rabbi after graduating in May. with Chabadandweofferedfree saying Kaddish for. someone to receive an aliyah welcome." flexibility each brings seem to The fact that Hoffman and Hebrew school for one child in a "So a woman will get up and who doesn't leave his seat "un- Stewart Ain is a staff writer be working at the two shuls, Huberman, both 56, had earlier family.Thenextyearwehadl0 talk about her mother and how dermines the concept of being for the New York Jewish Week which just a few years ago were careers is not surprising to Ora kids, thefollowingyear39,then she had a candy store,'l he said. called to the Torah and reading from which this article was flagging, one even considering Horn Prouser, executive vice 66 in 2009 and 88 this year. .... Usuallythreeorfourpeoplewill from it." reprinted by permission.