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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 PAGE 15A From page 1A expected to continue in Texas until Friday, according to the Times. Three of the city's five major synagogues have experienced major flooding, Baranowski said. The federation is com- municating with the rest of Houston's synagogues--the area is home to 42 congrega- tions and communities--but is focusing on helping people impacted by Harvey. "We still have folks who don't have electricity, we still have folks who don't have plumbing," she said. "It's a pretty dire situation, so while we're working to get those numbers, our top priority is getting people safe and to shelter." On Wednesday, the local Jewish Family Service said that dozens of Jewish fami- lies were either evacuated or moved to the second floors of their homes due to the flood- ing caused by Harvey. Community members have seen up to eight feet of water in their houses, with some houses remaining flooded, Baranowski said. "The majority of people have had to go to the second floor, and then be rescued from their second floor," she said. The Evelyn Rubinstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, the city's only JCC, was flooded with 10 feet of water, and Jewish schools remain closed, with some experiencing major flooding. "I'll be completely trans- parent, it's devastating," Baranowski said. "This is a flood that no one could have anticipated it getting as bad as it did; it was a worst-case scenario. We live in a commu- nity that is densely populated in an area that got severely impacted by the weather." Kosher food is another issue. "We were having an issue getting kosher food into the community for grocery stores. We're working with some volunteer groups to get that into the community," she said. Chabad in Houston has been providing kosher food to some community mem- bers, although supplies were running short as of Tuesday, according to Chabad.org. The Hasidic movement is organiz- ing food shipments, including through Amazon, for the community. The Orthodox Union has also started a Help for Houston website. The federation is collecting donations and will start dis- tributing them on Thursday. It is working in conjunc- tion with the Jewish Family Service and the JCC in the relief efforts. Baranowski said the priority in donations is cleaning supplies for those returning to houses that were flooded Local Jewish camps are housing refugees forced to evacuate their homes, and the Israeli humanitarian group IsrAID is coordinating an aid campaign, including sending volunteers to Houston. In the face of disaster, the Jewish community remains unified, Baranowski said. "We are a resilient com- munity," she said. "People are already beginning a process, they're banding together, they're working with each other to help recovery. "But we do know that recovery is going to be long, it's going to be difficult. We can do it, but it's going to be a process for the entire com- munity and the entire city to get through." From page 2A Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel (z'l); and most recently Ambassador Michael Oren at JNF's 2015 National Confer- ence in Chicago. JNF's National Conference also showcases the organiza- tion's vision for the future of the land and people of Israel and the great successes it is enjoying. The annual event provides an opportunity for all participants to strengthen their connection to Israel and to one another over what is sure to be an incredible three days. In 2016, JNF's National Conference in New York City hosted over 1,200 par- ticipants, including 300 high school and college students and 150 members of JNF's young professionals division, JNFuture. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in dozens of panels, discussions, and plenary sessions, which included inspiring speeches by Alan Dershowitz, Wall Street Journal's Deputy Page Editor Bret Stephens, Israel's Ambassador to the United Na- tions Danny Danon, Consul General of Israel in New York Dani Dayan, JNF Chairman of the Board Ronald S. Lauder, as well as many more distin- guished leaders, visionaries, and personalities. Jewish National Fund's 2017 National Conference is being held November 10-13 in South Florida at The Diplomat Resort and Spa (3555 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, FL 33019). To register for the event, please visit jnf.org/nc. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Roni Raab at rraab@jnf.org or 561-447- 9733, etc. 883. For more informationabout event programming for JNF's 2017 National Conference, contact Amy Penchansky at apenchansky@jnf.org or 212- 879-9305, etc. 804. From page 5A nonviolent approaches to cre- ate social change. They read about Palestinian suffering in Gaza, with extreme water and electricity shortages, malnutrition and starvation, and preventable illnesses killing residents because they cannot get adequate medical care due to Israel's blockade of Gaza, and are horrified. But they won't be silenced. They are speaking up, and older Jews are beginning to listen. Our rabbinic letter opened with a quote from Pirkei Avot: "A controversy for the sake of Heaven will have lasting value, but a controversy not for the sake of Heaven will not endure." Whether we sup- port boycott is a controversy for the sake of heaven. It is a controversy that could lead to vigorous discussion and deep self-reflection about the obligation of American Jews to speak out against Israel's policy toward the Palestinian people. Over 230 rabbis have spo- ken out in favor of this debate. It's time for the rest of our community to follow. Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim in Madison, Wis- consin, is the author of "Re- framing lsraek Teaching Kids to Think Critically About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." From page 5A ing policies. Education has proven highly successful in exposing BDS and has led to positive legislation and court rulings in Switzerland, Spain, Germany and France. In the U.S., a majority of states have passed laws countering BDS, with many more bills pending at both the state and federal level. On the other hand, the breast-beating and con- demnations regarding the legislation, particularly from Europe, are also over- wrought and hypocritical. It is hard to think of any other country, including every democracy, that would countenance such active campaigning to deliberately harm the state. Nor would any country--again every democracy included--toler- ate a mass influx of foreign protesters to engage its mili- tary and police forces in an active conflict zone. In addition, under interna- tional law, all countries have the express right to control their borders and bar entr~ to anyone, at any time, for any reason. European countries do this routinely for ideo- logical and public safety rea- sons. For instance, the United Kingdom barred for three to five years two U.S. activists from the organization Stop Islamization of America on the basis that it was a hate group and their presence would "not be conducive to the public good." The group cannot appeal.. Similarly, thousands ofsoc- cer hooligans are barred from traveling to prevent trouble at international matches. Just as these countries have acted to maintain order, so, too, has Israel. The law and its imple- mentation will continue to evolve, and policy to be clarified, including with vigorous checks and input from Israel's independent judiciary. What type and level of activity is sufficient to block entry? How and when will such determina- tions be made? Who will make such determinations? What avenues are available to challenge a denial? At the very least, the amended law has forced a necessary and long- overdue debate on foreign interference and funding in the Arab-Israeli con- flict. If it took a contro- versial action to spark this conversation, it may have been worth it. Anne Herzberg is the legal adviser to NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute. From page 12A violated the prohibition of different forms of work and creation on Shabbat, I also didn't hesitate because my family's lives were at stake. Less miraculously, but no less appreciated, I had tried to convince my daughter (22) to sleep on the main floor so I wouldn't have to run the air conditioner on her floor just for her. That she stayed in her own room and I left the AC on was at least appreciated by 12 and 16 who ended up sleeping upstairs. Albeit a little less rested and a little more smoky, Saturday morning I went to synagogue as usual, mindful of how grateful I was to be able to walk there peacefully because something horrible really could have happened. There's a special blessing we say after recovery from an illness or deliverance from a natural disaster or other personal tragedy. It's typically recited in a synagogue, acknowledging God's deliverance before the whole congregation: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who bestows kindness upon the culpable, for He has bestowed good- ness to me. Friends have heard of the incident and reached out to be sure we're all OK. Now, all my kids know that you never cover a lamp or other source of heat with something that can burn. I didn't realize I needed to teach them that. It wasn't in the parenting handbook l read. Other than us all emerg- ing from this safely, if some- thing else positive can come from this miracle, be sure your kids know this. If they don't, teach them now and prevent this kind of potential tragedy from happening to you. But mostly, I am and always will be grateful for the miracles of my not fall- ing asleep, my wife's keen sense of smell, my pacing the house looking for the source, calling the fire department, and having moved my son literally from harm's way. When we celebrate his bar mitzvah next year, it will be with an extra measure of joy and gratitude that He made this all possible. After Shabbat, while taking photos for insurance, I noticed one more little wink from the Creator of the universe. On the lower part of the charred bookshelf sat a folder of my daughters titled, "Faith Trust and Pixie Dust." It was not burned. I have no idea what is in it or what my daughter used that for (in English no less), but it remains as testimony to our faith and trust, and our gratitude for His grace. From page 13A at the Western Wall led by the Reform leaders. It was the second time the Raanana synagogue had been vandalized. Similar graffiti has been painted on the walls of the synagogue in January 2016, though no death threats had been issued. The threats included arson against the synagogue. The man also left threat- ening letters held down by knives and graffiti outside of the homes of Israeli athe- ists, and had information on activists for Breaking the Silence in order to leave similar messages. He reportedly also had pur- chased gasoline and other equipment in order to burn down the headquarters of Breaking the Silence. Palestinian family evicted from eastern Jerusalem home to make way for pre-1948 Jewish owners JERUSALEM (JTA)--A Palestinian familywas evicted from its eastern Jerusalem home of more than 50 years to restore the property to the Jewish family that owned it prior to 1948. In the first such eviction since 2009, the eight members of the Shamesneh family, including an elderly couple in their 80s, were evicted early Tuesday morning and by the afternoon remained outside the home. Jewish tenants moved into the home in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood following the eviction, the French news agency AFP reported. Under Israeli law, Jews who can prove that their families lived on property in eastern Jerusalem before the 1948 War for Independence can ask Israel's general custodian of- rice to release the property and return them to ownership. Thousands of Jewish families fled Jerusalem during the war when Jordanian forces took over the city. In 2013, Israel's Supreme Court upheld the rulings of lower courts in restor- ing ownership rights to the Jewish former owners who sold the property to other Jews through the Israel Land Fund, a pro-settler organiza- tion. The court ordered the eviction of the Shamasneh family to be deferred, however, noting the elderly residents of the home. The family had recently received an eviction order following renewed legal proceedings. "Settlers are already in- side the Shamasneh family's home," Peace Now said in a statement. "The settlers, with the backing of the government, are utilizing a discriminatory law in order to change the status quo and Israelize Palestinian neigh- borhoods in East Jerusalem. The eviction of the Shamas- neh family, who resided in the house since 1964, is not only brutal but it is also indicating a dangerous trend that could threaten a future compromise in Jerusalem." From page 14A to the U.N. Nikki Haley called the list "shameful" and "coun- terproductive" to the Israeli- Palestinian peace process. "It is an attempt to provide an international stamp of approval to the anti-Semitic BDS movement. It must be rejected," Haley said. In June, the U.S. indicated that it may replace its mem- bership in the UNHRC with "other means" for addressing human rights issues, unless the U.N. body significantly reforms its conduct and anti- Israel bias. At the same time, more than 20 U.S. states have passed legislation in recent sures against BDS"will be ef- years opposing the BDS move- fective in blunting the impact ment, byrequiringstateinsti- of the blacklist," Herzberg tutions to cease any business said, adding she believes U.S. with companies that boycott leadership will be essential the Jewish state, in curbing the effectiveness Both federaland state mea- of the U.N. blacklist. "Countries and companies will have to decide--do they want to do business in the U.S. or side with the bigots of the U.N., the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation," she said.