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September 5, 2003

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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 5, 2003 PAGE 5 es readers to send in their opinions column. They must be signed; however, be withheld upon request. Due to space we reserve the right to edit, if necessary. printed in Viewpoint do not necessarily reflect of the paper. state solution possible Jay Kohn felt that the agreement would lead to anything other than Week's (Aug. 19) bus more Israelis getting killed. which killed 21 in- The only thing that surprised six children, will no me was that the number of remembered as a casualtiesthattheIsraeliswere point in the willing to absorb without tak- inian-Israeli ing definitive action against the Palestinian terrorists and tbing, the singletheir infrastructure. attack in Jerusa-When I was living in Israel e the outbreak ofvio- in the early nineties, andwhen ago, not only Rabinwas still prime minister the final blow to the therewasabriefperiodofhope 'have and optimism. The terrorism the final blow to the never stopped but it dimin- ished to a point that was .~ none of this comes as deemed an acceptable level for I am an opponent the sake of peace. Then came and never the bombing campaign of the mid-nineties that killed over me stories of rushing out to 100Israelisandinjuredcount- help victims and the horrible less others. In this campaign scene.Theywerewearingtheir ofterrorfourbuseswereblown white waiter uniforms and up in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, many bystanders and victims along with several homicide mistook them for doctors and bombers detonating them- nurses.Stilltheydidwhatthey selves in crowded pedestrian could for the victims as they malls again in Tel Aviv and waited the short time for the Netanya. first ambulances to arrive. In On October 19, 1994, the this attack13 Israelis died and Hamas murderers blew up a still the Israeli leadership re- bus on Dizengoff Street kill- mained committed tothe Oslo ingandwoundinga large num- accords and peace process. berofIsraelis.Amongthedead As we lived through one was the wife of a good friend of tragedy to the next, including mine, Yohav.YohavandIwere the assassination of Prime both adopted soldiers on Kib- Minister Itzhak Rabin, the butz Ramat Yochanan. We national mood in Israel began both served in Lebanon in dif- to change. The days of opti- ferent units and would often mismwere fading andwere all talk while on leave at the kib- butcrushedafterEhudBarak's butzaboutthesituationthere, generous offer was turned Yohavhadbeenmarriedalittle down at Camp David. It was over a year before his life was these events, rather than my shattered forever, experience in the IDF, that On March 23, 1996, I was lead me to a conclusion that walking my dog Banditwhen I Israel's pursuit of peace with heard an explosion. A homi- the Palestinians was doomed cide bomber had blown him- to failure. The track record self up in front of Dizenoff speaks for itself. Centerrightinfrontofmyold The current ceasefire has place of employment, The Hard Rock Caf~. Friends told See "Kohn" on page 19' is it good for the Jews? lly Stuart Appelbaum back Israel. In fact, in so far as negotiations with the Pales- tinians are concerned, their .'ricaor positions are sometimes as that many of ourextreme as Likud's fringe. greet by ask- While an earlier generation of it good for the conservatives may have ex- question was so pressed only tepid support for have origi- Israel, these politicians are rhatwas giving voice to gut feelings when it came shared by many American Jews. Idadage that Jews"live For example, at a time many like in the news media were piling misses the on Israel for its fight against terrorism, conservative com- mentator Alan Keyes wrote: tolib- "have we forgotten that the tmentto human and financial instru- and social justice, ments of the Sept. 11 attack rstand that even if came from Saudi Arabia, and J profes- thatthe Saudigovernmentand a minority other 'moderate' Arab states .Assuch are the chief supporters of will always be Palestinian terror? Is it rea- -'ntally interwoven sonable to slacken our sup- of other minority port for Israel's war on terror, t now that is being in deference to regimes impli- cated in the very evil we are courted fighting?" by conserva- However, far more impor- ;whochampion tant than this rhetorical corn- domestic mitment to Israel was Presi- also aggressively dent Bush's willingness to dig in his heals to demand funda- mental change in the Pales- tinian Authority prior to the resumption of any talks. Not surprisingly, Bush's stance earned him the trust of many Israelis. Whether it will earn him and other conservatives the backing of American Jews is another matter Certainly some conserva- tives back Israel because they understand it is America's only reliable and democratic ally in the Middle East. But others have different motivations. Consider televangelist Pat Robertson. Like many on the Christian right, Robertson sees Israel's creation as part of a sequence of events leading to the eventual return of Jesus. Given that conservatives like Robertson regard Israel only as an actor in fulfilling New Testament prophecy they see no inconsistency between urg- ing that America become a "Christian nation" and back- ing Israel to the hilt. In other words, they'd rather Jews live in the West Bank than here. Not surprisingly these influ- ential conservatives are among the strongest critics of the Middle East peace "road map." Is that good for the Jews? I would argue it isn't. If Israel is to ever live in peace and security it will have to reach some accommoda- tion with the Palestinians. For the U.S. to argue, as some on the Christian right do, that Israel should never give up the West Bank would only strengthen extremists on both sides of the conflict. Even more it would bar the U.S. from ever being able to successfully bro- ker a fair and lasting settle- ment However, there's another reason why today's conserva- tism isn't good for the Jews. It goes back to my first point: despite our relative economic security, American Jews re- main, and will always be, a minority group. As the vic- tims of bigotry and prejudice, Jews share a special stake in promoting civil rights and so- cial justice for all Americans. Today, American conservatism See "Appeibaum" on page 19 are Jewish leaders who lead by example. Leaders whose chil- dren attend the Hebrew Day School through 8th grade, and who are committed to lower- ing tuition so that more Jew- ish children can afford to at- tend. Want to do something about assimilation and the 50% intermarriage rate? Sup- port a Hebrew Day School edu- cation for every Jewish child! Dr. SHARON SERNIK Altamonte Springs HERITAGE welcomes and encourages letters to the editor, but they must be .typed or printed and include name and Phone number. We will withhold your name if you so request. Please limit letters to 250 words. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit letters. Send letters to P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to ing enrollment school, and then college. I am a Veterinarian, one brother is a Physician, and one is work- ing on his PhD in Physics. And although my family was Con- servative, and all 3 of us prac- tice different levels of Conser- vative Judaism today, the Day School was Orthodox which gave us an excellent back- ground and allows us to move in more observant Jewish circles comfortably. What this community needs selves. Don't think kids don't aques- notice when parents put Pynn's 'Militant or Terrorist' sports, other activities, er- ddle rands, and leisure activities before Jewish practice. Dear Editor:. to the odd conclusion that en- Hebrew Day Schools have Manning Pynn's Aug. 24 distinguishes the two terms: he has been shown to be one of the column "Militant or Terror- "The US was not at war when er. best way to keep kids Jewish. ist" (in the Orlando Sentinel) it was attacked: Israel and the have a My two brothers and I went to reflects a lack of understand- Palestinians have been en- atti- a tiny Day School in New Or- ingofArab mentality. He says gaged in armed conflict for 8 their ownleans with only 100 kids in K- the Sentinel should refer to decades." education. 8th. I went to school with the Arab homicide bombers who So the only differences be- same8kids from lst-8thgrade, blow upchildren, women, eld- tween Arab "terrorist" and activities,and we're friends to this day. erly, and innocent bystand- Arab "militant" according to etc Both of my brothers and I ers in Jerusalem as "mili- Pynn is that one kills Ameri- parents whomarried Jews, are raising Jew- tants". Arabs who attack and canswhiletheotherkillsJews. off for Sunday ish children, and are active in kill Americans in New York, As letter writer James S. Ryan make it to our communities. We all went though, earn his designation states in the August 25this- sthem- on toga public magnet high "terrorist". He further jumps sue, referring to his four years Rabbinical Thoughts The human soul and the image of God Some time ago Rabbi Spitz of California published a book, Does the Soul Survive in which he included Biblical and rab- binic attitudes towards the soul and the after life. He adds his own spiritual journey, guided by a therapist's medi- tation. Like most traditional rabbis he wants to be positive regarding these building blocks of Jewish philosophy even if they are unproven and improvable. Very few rabbis are willing to preach about the soul or the hereafter. How- ever, from time to time a cou- rageous spiritual leader will publish his ideas on this topic. In the last couple of years there were two colleagues, Rabbi Schild of Toronto and Rabbi Spitz of California who suc- ceeded in presenting a fine account of this difficult sub- ject and who came very close to my own personal philoso- phy. Let me share it with you. Rabbi Schild reminds us of the first prayer we teach our children -- Mode Ani -- I give thanks for giving me back my soul. We teach our children as awake in the morning that we rely on God to guard our soul while we sleep and that He will return it to us in the morning. Similarly there is a second morning prayer as follows, "My God, the soul which you have given me is pure you will reclaim it from me in time to come but will restore it to me in the ultimate future." Moreover, in our daily Amidah at the very beginning, we praise God for reviving the dead. In addition, our popular customs such as Kaddish, Yizkor and Yarzeit, are based on the belief on an afterlife of the soul. Our well-known phi- losopher, Maimonides, in his last principle of our faith writes, "I believe that there will be a resurrection of the dead at the time when it shall please the Creator." Our rabbis point out that life is miraculous; coming into being is a mystery. Would life after death be any more mi- raculous? The Talmud points out (Sanh. 91a), if those who never lived before, live, should not those who did live before, live again?" Must we concede that He who gave us life once, cannot do so again? We must not deprive our people of the hope that death is not final. According to Judaism the hu- man soul has a divine source and is created in the image of GQd. It has been said that by means of the Torah and its commandments man exposes the divinity of his soul. More- over, the immortality of the soul, the revival of the dead and the belief of the world to come became part of post-Bib- lical Judaism and all these con- cepts are closely connected. We have moved now from the mere physical to the spiritual nature of man which is his soul and can provide immor- tality for us, God's gift or re- ward to him. We are thus entering the speculative and non-rational realm of human existence, the soul life based on Man's divine image. Let me close my re- marks with a remarkable com- ment of the Talmud (Ber.17a) regarding our afterlife. "The future is not like this world. In the future world there is no eating or drinking, .no propa- gation or business or jealousy or hatred or competition. But the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads feast- ing of the divine presence." in Arabic nations, "I assure one and all that these reli- gious fanatics will not suc- cumb to the voices of reason." I believe Ryan is the voice of the real world. Israelis are killed by Arab terrorists no less than our own citizens are. BARRY RENDER, Ph.D. Hanvood Professor of Operations Management Graduate School of Business ,Rollins College