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August 28, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 28, 2009

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PAGE 8A A trip down memory lane Francine Jiuffrida and Alice Schnur, along with other residents at Horizon Bay of Altamonte Springs on Montgomery Road enjoyed an afternoon'of sing-a-long presented by the Jewish Pavilion on Sunday, Aug. 16. Linda Flower Gross led everyone in a trip down memory lane through popular songs of each decade. Shabbat luncheon at Spring Hills Elenor Sdersky (1), Dill Hurvitz. Zelda Newman. Sidney Spector, Hannah Freeman, Joy Clark, Anette Goldwasser and Al Levy enjoy a Shabbat lunch at Spring Hills at Lake Mary. Every week two volunteers meet at Spring Hills with the five Jewish residents to have a special Shabbat lunch and service. The facility provides a private area for the gathering. The volunteers bring in a "Jewish meal," Freeman says the blessings over the candles and all sit down to welcome the Sabbath and schmooze. Collecting for a cause "At a recent gathering in a Southwest Orlando home." say Jewish Family Ser- vices staff, "an amazing amount of donated food was collected for the new JFS Darden Restaurant Foundation Pantry housed on the Lee and Jack Rosen Jewish Community campus." Pictured from left to right are Max Sherman age 9; Hope Sherman, host: Zoe Sherman, age 10; and guests Yael Miller. Caryn Cohen and Denise Allen. In total, more than 500 cans of food were collected. HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 28, 2009 L, care IOffice of U.S. Rep. David Scott A swastika painted on a sign in front of the office of U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) il- lustrated the increasingly raucous nature of the health care debate. By Eric Fingerhut to Nazis. A Democratic Bill Nigut. Southeast NEW YORK (JTA)--When U. S. Rep. Travis Childers announced several months ago that he was headed to Israel, the trip was billed as an opportunity to boost economic development. But by the time the Mississippi D mocrat arrived earlier this month, the trip suddenly became a flash point in one local corner of the nation's increasingly bitter health care debate. Alan Lange, the founder of the Mississippi politicaland legal Web site Y'all Politics. didn't like that Childers was spending part of the congres- sional recess out of town instead Of at home talking to constituents about health care reform. So on Aug. 9 he posted a video to YouTube slamming the congressman. With "Hava Nagila" play- ing in the background, the video highlighted Childers' recent comment that he would like to talk to constitu- ents about health care "If they're civil." The words "Go make some new friends" then appeared on the screen, followed by a photo of an Orthodox Jew in Israel as the narrator said, "Tell 'era we said 'hi.'" Next came the words "And grab a souvenir yarmulke" and a picture of a yarmulke emblazoned with "Obama '08." The video ended with the words "Come on back home, Travis." Afew days later Lange took down the video, explaining that several Jewish friends had told him that it con- tained"imagery that was 'on the line' and could be taken the wrong way without the political context." "I messed up, " Lange said in an Aug. 12 statement posted to his biog. "I apolo- gize to those who might have taken offense to it." Lange stands out for saying he's sorry. As blog- gers. radio hosts and pro- testers ratchet up their rhetoric in the fight against health care reform, many are unapologetically utilizing inflammatory rhetoric and imagery--often in ways that could be expected to raise alarms in some corners of the Jewish community. Protesters and radio talk- ing heads, notably Rush Lim- baugh, have been comparing the Obama administration congressman had a swastika drawn on the sign in front of his office. Bloggers are exploiting images of Anne Frank. tagging her with the Obama health care plan's symbol instead of a yellow star. "Historically, whenever there are turbulent times, it!s alwaysbad for the Jews," said Rabbi Marvin Hier. founder and dean of the Simon Wi- esenthal Center Museum of Tolerance. and the current environment is "unstable" with "a lot of turbulence." Referring to Lange's video, Hier said. "When there's turbulence, people make sinister remarks, question every motive." "The breakdown of civil- ity is normally a danger 1~or minority groups, period." said Michael Berenbaum, a professor of Jewish studies at American Jewish Univer- sity in Los Angeles and the project director during the creation of the U. S. Holo- caust Memorial Museum in Washington. "It's a particular danger for Jews" because "the cli- mate in which we thrive is one where there is security," he said, noting that the worst period of anti-Semitism in the United States was in the post-Great Depression 1930s, where there was no economic security. Berenbaum, though, said the fact that theWall Street financial crisis last fall -- and the ensuing Bernard Madoff scandal did not result in a wave of anti-Semitism is likely a positive sign for the Jewish community. "All the ingredients for a monumental uptick were there and it didn't material- ize," he said. Berenbaum speculated. however, that with an Af- rican-American president and a new Latino Supreme Court justice, other minority groups could instead draw the ire of some disgruntled Americans. Deborah Lipstadt, a mod- ern Jewish and Holocaust studies professor at Emory University, also said she did not see any specific reason for the Jewish community to be concerned. "Civil discord is never good for society" and Jews are part of society, Lipstadt said. But"I'm not willing to go there yet." Region director for the Anti-Defamation League in Atlanta. said the "first casualty" of the ratcheting up of the health care debate has been a"respectful demo- r " cratic p ocess. He voiced disgust at the entrance of Nazi symbols and rhetoric, including the painting of a swastika on a sign in front of the office ofU. S. Rep. David Scott ~D-Ga.) "It's dangerous for all Americans if we can't have civilized debates." Nigut said. "You can't invoke one of the most heinous criminals in the world" when debating the health care system. The months prior the health care debate have seen an uptick fn activity from militant and extrem- ists groups, which is always a concern for Jews and other minority groups, Nigut said. Lipstadt, who won a libel suit brought against her in a British court by revisionist historian David Irving, said she was appalled by the use of Nazi analogies in the debate, calling it "dangerous" and a "form of Holocaust denial" because "it's a denial of what Nazism is." She added that she did not think those employing the false analogies were anti- emites, but just had "no shame" and would "say any- thing to make their point." Berenbaum said Nazi analogies are utilized so frequently because the Ho- locaust is the "negative absolute in contemporary discourse" it is something everyone can agree was evil. But he said even Jews over- use Holocaust comparisons when they compare Yasser Arafat or the president of Iran to Hitler. Berenbaum also had par- ticular scorn for those com- paring the Obama health care plan to Nazi policies. For instance, he noted that the right to be informed of and consent to one's medical treatment grew out of the Nuremberg trials because that's "the antithesis of what the Nazis did." "The idea that you're en- titled to meet with your phy- sician is the embodiment of Nuremberg ethics," he said. "Anyone who uses the Nazi analogy," he said. "has no idea what Nazi medicine was about.'"