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August 30, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 30, 2013 By Jacob Kamaras LOSANGELES---The holi- est days on the Jewish calen- dar, Rosh Hashanah andYom Kippur, are largely spent in synagogue. Yet prayer isn't usually the focus when Jews prepare for the High Holi- days, observes Cantor Arik Wollheim. "Hopefuily people go through this process of re- pentance, and they give char- ity, but what about prayer?" Wollheim tells "People neglect that. How many people open the prayer book before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and go over the davening?" The answer, Wollheim says, By Dore Gold On Israel's popular morn- ing radio station, Reshet Bet, broadcaster Aryeh Gotan recently interviewed Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin about the latest demands by the European Union (EU), that its research and development grants not be applied to ter- ritories beyond the 1967 lines. Since mid-July, there have been reports of new EU guide- lines that are expected to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, and are to apply to grants, prizes, and other financial instruments to Israeli bodies. Reflecting some of the grow- ing rage in Israel at the latest EU initiative, Golan asked EIkin whether Israel could find alternative economic By Nurit Qanetti The cantor's perspective: For meaningful High Holidays prayer, preparation is key is almost no one. But he is looking to change that. At Congregation Beth Jacob in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he is in his first year as cantor, Wollheim organized a sing- along prelaration event in ad- vance of the High Holidays, in addition to posting melodies on the synagogue's website. During this year's High Holidays at Beth Jacob, an Orthodox synagogue, Woll- helm will be accompanied by the Maccabeats, the popular Jewish a cappella group that burst onto the scene in 2010 with their hit Hanukkah song"Candlelight.'Astudent of famed cantor Yitzchak Eshel, Wollheim--formerly the cantor at Congregation Agudath Sholom of Stamford, Conn., retired U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman's synagogue--sat dow6 with to give his perspective on the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. What are the challenges of trying to en- gage a congregation in High Holidays services? Cantor Arik Wollheim: "For the holidays, together with the regulars, the people who come every week, or several times a month, in every congregation you also have a number of people that come only for the High Holidays. And they are a little bit disconnected with what's going on throughout the year in the synagogue. "The challenge is [figuring out] how to create a service that makes everybody happy. My approach is to create a salad of styles and selections. And by that I mean, for in- stance, I use classical canto- rial music, what I call 'nice oldies' that congregations sing, that everybody knows: I use Israeli songs. The most recent melodies that religious music and the yeshiva world provide. And I use every form of Jewish music, almost. My challenge is, what's the balance between all those different components? "Especially here in Amer- ica, and also in Israel, not everybody understands all the text. Thank God we have prayer books with an English translation, but it's not the same [as understanding the Hebrew], and people some- times don't bother to look at the translations. It's not that they don't want to; but you're engaged already in the recitation of the prayer, you don't have time to also look [at the translation]. "For the High Holidays liturgy, we have a lot of po- ems, and mny of them were written during the Middle Ages. It's very poetic, high language that is not that easy to understand. How do I create that inspiration? What can I do to make people engaged in the service, even though it's very difficult? It's a long day, they've been standing for hours, they're fasting, they're tired, and What should Israel do about Europe? partnerships in India and China. Apparently, the idea of turning away from Europe to new Asian partners was raised in certain governmental circles as well. True, this was not a pro- posal for a European boycott of Israel, though the headlines in the Israeli press gave read- ers that impression. Part of the concern in Israel is where this new policy will lead. For example, the EU guidelines could become the basis for formulating a territorial clause in future Israeli-EU agreements that would be used to force Israel to accept that any territories beyond the pre-1967 line are not part of Israel, including eastern Jerusalem and the Old City. The EU went ahead and issued this new policy, just as Israel was making tough concessions, including the release of convicted Palestin- Jan prisoners, to set the stage for new peace talks. Both the substance and the timing of what the Europeans were doing drew bitter criticism across much of the Israeli po- litical spectrum, and the move is likely to have a long-term impact on Israeli-European relations. For specialists in European trade policy, the new trend in Israeli-European relations is particularly outrageous because it is built on the es- tablishrhent of a clear double standard. Take EU policy on Morocco. In 2005, the EU and Morocco signed an inter- national agreement allowing European fishermen to oper- ate in Moroccan waters. Did the agreement apply to the territorial waters of Western Sahara, which was claimed by Morocco, but not recognized as Moroccan territory by the international community, including the states of the EU? In 1975, the International Court of Justice in The Hague determined that Morocco did not have sovereignty over Western Sahara. Yet, in the EU-Moroccan fishing agreement, there is a' provision allowing European" fishermen to operate in the waters of Western Sahara. Fishing is a lucrative business Morocco6tands to gain at least 40 million euros in annual fishing fees. All funds derived from European fishermen have been going to Morocco. Hans Correll, the former legal adviser to the U.N., attacked EU officials for al- lowing such an agreement. What makes the Moroccan case glaring is the fact that the latest EU guidelines on Israel explicitly state that "their aim is to ensure respect of EU po- sitions and commitments in conformitywith international law on the non-recognition by the EU of Israel's sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967." But in the Case of Morocco, the EU is not applying this standard, but is going ahead with an agreement, regardless of how it views the question of sovereignty in Western Sahara. And while the EU strenuously objects to sup- porting any Israeli presence in the West Bank, because of its legal status, it nonetheless allows European citizens to PAGE 5A they don't understand the text, in many cases." How does a cantor prepare for the High Holidays? "I'm going through a tre- mendous amount of research in order to create that 'salad' that I spoke about. "You have to understand what your objectives are. Do' I want to do congregation singing? How much congre- gation singing do I want to do? What is the mood that I'm trying to create? There's a connection between one [objective] and the other. It's like one symphony. You have a theme, and a theme, a.nd a theme, and then the fillers in between, and the question is: Kamaras on page 26A purchase beachfront vaca- tion homes in the territory of Northern Cyprus that was oc- cupied by Turkey in 1974. No punitive measures have been contemplated against Turkey, because of the ongoing con- flict over the future status of this disputed territory. Europe supports a resolution of the Cyprus problem, without us- ing the same economic levers of power it is employing in the Israeli case. An analysis of the EU's negotiations with India over a Free Trade Agreement also shows that there is no demand to say that it will only apply to territories in which India's sovereignty is not disputed. The EU has encouraged In- dia and Pakistan to resolve Use tikun olam to bridge Diaspora-lsrael gap are loyal Americans with an extra Israeli soul. The other type are Jews whose Jewishness may be an important component of their identity and personality, but is not necessarily related to Israel. To some, Israel is more important, to some of them less and to others not at all. But the common thread is that Judaism is very significant to their way of life. Although I knew that U.S. Jewry is no longer a homog- enous community of donors, and that the consensus about the direction Israel is headed is coming undone even among its supporters in the United States, itwas interesting and surprising to discover just how much people living in Israel do not understandwhat is going on with their brotheis and sisters in the Diaspora. For most Israelis, Jews in the U.S. are the same as those who were living in America after thevictory in 1967 or the Yom Kippur war for survival in 1973. I must admit that even now, after the seminar, I personally feel that U.S. Jewry "has our back" when necessary, especially if Israel's security is threatened. But I also understand that if, for example, the government of Israel decided to attack Iran in opposition to the U.S. ad- ministration, I'm not sure that U.S. Jewry would have Israel's back in the same manner. If during the recent Ameri- can election we spoke of U.S. Jews tending to favor a spe- cific party, while senior Israeli politicians took sides without shame or fear, I understood after a series of meetings in Manhattan just how wrong Israelis were. Community, peoplehood, even support for Israel is decided upon by the individual Jew. U.S. Jews are no longer the "long arm" of the government sitting in Israel. The State of Israel is an important reference point but not central to their daily lives. Judaism and its ties to Israel have undergone a significant change. What impressed me most were the social activists we met, people who volunteer and stand at the head of large organizations, who attribute their humanitar- ian work to their Jewish upbringing and core Jewish values. Certainly in Israel this exists, especially in re- ligious circles where gemilut chasadim (acts of kindness) and tzedakah (charity) are emphasized. But these Jews see their work in Africa or South America as a direct result of the words in the Torah that every person is created inthe image of God. Their work is the clearest expression of their Judaism, but it does not manifest itself when Israel is discussed. As the seminar progressed, it became apparent that Is- raers treatment of American Jewry remains stuck some- where between 1967and 1973, while American Jevry has spread its wings and evolved. Diaspora Jewry is impor- ta.nt to Israel and Israelis, and vice versa. The Ruderman Family Foundation seminar is a drop in the ocean in an attempt to connect the two worlds and understand each other; even Birthright Israel is insufficient in bridging this ocean. I want to propose a model that can help bridge the gap. If tikun olam (repair of the world) is the way to the hearts of young Jews, Israel should generate opportuni- ties for Diaspora Jews who are seeking self-realization via humanitarian activities. Israel could create a center that would send young Jews on social missions around the world. It should not be institutionalized nor a government program, but should be centered in Israel. This can attract young Jews who otherwise may have no interest in Israel to come to Israel and join programs that already exist around the world or in their country of origin. If Diaspora Jews see tikun olam as a first-rate Jewish value, why shouldn't Israel contribute and invite Jews ev- erywhere to visit there--not just for Birthright or Masa (JTA)--Everyone knows thatan ocean separates Israel and the United States. Yet after three days in New York recently, I realized just how big that ocean really is. Along with five Israeli journalists, I participated in a seminar organized by the Ruderman Family Founda- tion meant to help us under- stand the diverse U.S. Jewish community. But as we met with more and more Jewish leaders whose Judaism is their passion--and for some their profession--I realized just how wide and absurd the gap is between American Jewry and Israel. We met two kinds of Jews. One group I would define as "classic Jews"--warmhearted Americans whose loyalty to Israel is unwavering, who believe the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, who consider Israel's scenic desert South and northern parks to be more fascinating than the Grand Canyon or Yosemite Park, and for whom the sight of Israeli soldiers in uniforms brings tears to their eyes. The classic Jews love Israel and Israelis, and if they have criticism of the Israeli government's poli- cies or are offended sometimes by the arrogance with which some Israelis treat them, they will not let anyone know. They Gold on page 27A trips--and then join hu- manitarian missions around the globe? Imagine what a wonderful contribution to the world it would be if Israel were to become a beacon of humani- tarianism. More important, it could help bridge the gap Dry Bones THE 00EST WOULOVT CALL IT AN Lq.A00IS"I' SO WE JU51' WA2 01: WORLD-WIDE CALLEO IT CONteST "TE220215M' 'NOW 00V00'RE 00RAO TO SAY THC-200'5 A WORLD-WDE WAR BETWEEN SIJ4NI 5HIA ISLAMIST5 00h4S ON with those who no longer view Israel as central to their Jewishness. Nurit Canetti is a publicist, columnist and editor of "Ma Boer," a popular program on Army Radio. This Op-Ed was translated from Hebrew by Ephraim Copin . SO CALL ! o I e IT "SC-Cl'A21AN VlOLEI00E b