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September 11, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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September 11, 2009

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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 11, 2009 By Michael Belling the Jewish Board of Deputies, South Africa's Jewish umbrella JOHANNESBURG, (JTA)--- organization. "This problem is South African President Jacob exacerbated by the emigration Zuma used a speech before his of skilled people.We mustwork country's main Jewish group to reverse the trend. to issue a call for expatriates "The message we want to to return home. send to people who have left Many Jews have left South the countryto live and work Africa in the years since the abroadisthatSouthAfricawill initial optimism following alwaysremaintheirhome, and the end ~)f apartheid in 1994 Iwillalwayswelcomewhatever dimmed, replaced by concern contribution they can make to about crime, political stasis building this nation." and lack of economic oppor- . The emigration theme was tunities, one of many Zuma touched Pessimism in the Jewish upon in a speech designed community appeared to grow to bolster Jewish confidence when Zuma, who took office a in his administration. Zuma, little more than three months whose minimal formal educa- ago, defeated Thabo Mbeki for tionandunusual lifestyle--he the leadership of the African has multiple wives--has made National Congress in late 2007. him a subject of some concern Many young Jews said they in theJewishcommunity, also were consideringimmigrating talked about religious free- to Australia or Israel. dom, anti-Semitism and his The community has fallen country's Middle East policy. toapproximately80,000mem- "As president, I regard as bers from a peak of 120,000 a one of my duties the need generation ago. to preserve the unity of "Thiscountryhasamassive this nation, and to cultivate skills shortage as a result of its diversity," Zuma said. decades ofneglectand deliber- "We must remain on guard ate under-investment," Zuma against any manifestations said in his address Aug. 29 to of anti-Semitism and other anaudience of about 800 at the intolerances. There is no place 54th national conference of in South Arica for racism, Ilan Ossendryver Ronald Lauder (1), president of the World Jewish Congress, meets South African President Jacob Zuma at the South African Jewish Board of Deputies conference in Johan- nesburg as Zev Krengel, national chairman of the Board of Deputies, looks on. tribalism, anti-Semitism and and a former national presi- xenophobia." dent of the Board of Deputies, Zuma, who was accompa- said Zuma "clearly put out a nied by several Cabinet min- warm hand to South African isters and senior provincial Jewry and reiterated the gov- officials, was greeted warmly ernment's belief in freedom of by the crowd. Though it was religion." the first time Zuma addressed But, he added, "There are the Jewish community, hemet unquestionably elements a year ago with a delegation within the government and from the Board of Deputies. supporters of the ANC who are Mervyn Smith, president of not quite as correct." the African Jewish Congress The ANC, which dominates this country's political scene, is strongly pro-Palestinian. More than 80 percent of the country's Jews support the op- position party, the Democratic Alliance. For many community mem- bers, Zuma is less problematic than his party. "Right now we believe we have direct access to the presi- dent," said Michael Bagraim, national president of the Board of Deputies. "His being a people person does make a difference. He's someone you can sit down and talk to, and you can feel that he's listening to us as Jews. He has always borne in mind that we as the Jewish people are the people of the book." Zuma addressed the Arab- Israeli conflict in his speech. "We support the position of the United Nations and the Middle East Quartet that the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that ends the occupatiori that began in 1967," Zuma told the' Jewish gathering. "It is a solution which fulfills the aspirations of both parties for independent homelands through two states for two peoples, Israel and an indepen- dent, adjoiningandviable state of Palestine living "side by side in peace and security." He called for supporting President Obama's efforts in pushing the objectives. "We will continue to offer whatever assistance we can towards the resolution of this matter, including sharing our experience in ending apartheid through negotiation," Zuma said. "In this respect, we would like to work together with the South African Jewish com- m.unity." Dalia Lichtenstein, a Cape Town lawyer, said that Zuma's outreach to the Jewish com- munity is good, so far. "I think at the moment we're doing OK," Lichtenstein said. "The dialogue has got to continue, and I think the agreement to disagree and to respect each other is there and it's a very good start." Jack Bloom, a member of the opposition Democratic Al- liance, called the speech "very standard." "He made good pledges; I hope he delivers on them," Bloom said. "It was a friendly action. It was the president of the country addressing the Jewish community. Itwas good outreach." Q By Richard Greenberg dently of the WDJGC. Arna kashrutlawsatthecafeshould Washington Jewish Week Meyer Mickelson, chiefexecu- result in closure of the estab- tive of the center, is in talks lishment. WASHINGTON, D.C.--The with several people, including "We don't disagree with the JCC Cafe, a kosher dining Sina Soumekhian, who owns Vaad at all," she added. "This fixture in Washington, D.C. Eli'sintheDistrictandSiena's is absolutely the Vaad's call." for more than a decade, has in Rockville, to bring a new Acknowledgingthatcenter been shut down permanently eatery to the 'center. employees were not involved due to a "very blatant" viola- "There was an active at- in the incident, Mickelson tion ofkashrut standards that tempt to deceive," said Rabbi said, "still, we're invested in employees had tried to cover Binyamin Sanders. "The providingkosherfood"forthe up, according to a spokesper- deceitfulness has really made center's patrons. son for the Vaad Harabanim this painful." According to Sanders, the RabbinicalCouncilofGreater CafeownerJamesEdwards incident occurred when the Washington, which super- wasout of town last week for cafewasrunninglowonsteak. vised the establishment, his daughter's wedding, and Atray of about five nonkosher The Rabbinical Council said his co-owner, Manuel sirloin steaks that had been notifiedownerJamesEdwards Gonzalez, had left the res- purchased from a nearby last Friday that it had pulled taurant early on Sunday, Aug. Safeway supermarket were the eatery's certification per- 30, feeling ill. The incident then brought into the cafe, manently, occurred that evening, apparently to make up for the The Vaad initially had Althoughthecafeishousedshortage. closed down the place last in the Washington, D.C.When the Vaad's on-site Sunday evening. The viola- Jewish Community Center, mashgiach, or kashrut su- tioninvolvednonkoshermeat it operates independently of pervisor, briefly glimpsed an being purposely and clandes- the center and uses its own employee carrying a Safeway tinely brought into the estab- employees, bag, he suspected that some- lishment, Rabbi Binyamin Before the Vaad's decision thing was wrong. Sanders, Vaad spokesperson, callingforpermanentclosure, At one point, according to said earlier last week. CEO Mickelson had said a Sanders, some cafe employ- The cafe operated indepen- willful infraction involving ees attempted to shield the our r~Me/nts h~ve ~ny areas tO en~oy privacy or one anorlxeds company Our activities prog~ ~s unparalleled including a furl schedule of'events and outings. Callus today, stop byfor a visit, join us /br lunch, or all of the above. Yoto" are almays welcome! . w~ Hospitality is "l~uly a Way of Life! ~' 1301 W. Maitland Blvd. P VILION Maitland, FL 32751 Various Jewish services are offered at Savannah Court 407-645-3990 ALF License No. 8447 SNF 1635096 thanks m our FHends at The Jewish Pavilion. "~=~.~ www.slm.oet/SCmaitland mashgiach's view or otherwise create a "diversion" that was intended to draw attention away from the unkosher meat. The mashgiach, who could not be reached for comment, quickly doubled back to the room the meat had been brought to. "Apparently, they didn't suspect that he'd come back so quickly," Sanders said. The steaks were found buried deep in the refrig- erator, recently encased in plastic wrap. Their original wrapping had been removed and stashed under a nearby counter. Sanders was noti- fied and he then alerted his supervisors at the Vaad, who ordered the restaurant closed. A few diners had just taken their seats when they The number of Israelis who see President Barack Obama's policies as pro-Israel has fallen to four percent, accord- ing to a Smith Research poll taken two weeks ago for The Jerusalem Post, according to the Aug. 28 edition of Israel. were informed of the immedi- ate shutdown. Sanders said five employees were working in the cafe at the time of the incident, and at least threewere involved in the snafu. Edwards said last Tuesday that he has spoken with one of the two employees who went to Safeway Sunday evening. She thought "she was .doing something right," he said. "We send out employees to thestore all the time to get produce, pasta," he added, noting that employees are taught ,that the mashgiach must check all purchases before they are brought into the kitchen. Sanders said there is no compelling evidence that non- kosher meat had been used pro Fifty-one percent of Jewish Israelis consider Obama's administration more pro- Palestinian than pro-Israel, according to the survey, while 35 percent consider it neutral. Ten percent did not offer an opinion. The poll of 500 people representing a before, but he added that it was impossible to tell for sure. "Trust has become a very big issue," he said. The infraction could be the death knell for the cafe, which has encountered financial problems. "They've been struggling along like a lot of restaurants, perhaps more so than others," said Mickelson, who pointed out that the ownership of the cafe had repeatedly discussed possibly closing the operation, butwere not prepared to do so at the time. Debra Rubin, WJW editor, contributed to this article, which is reprinted with per- mission. Read the Washington Jewish Week online at www. statistical model of the Jew- ish Israeli population had a margin of error of 4.5 percent. The last time the Post pub- lished a similar poll on June 19 the figure was 6 percenfl The earlier poll was taken shortly after Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo.