Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
Lyft
September 21, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 4     (4 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 4     (4 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
September 21, 2012
 

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.




PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 By David Bornstein My grandfather's nose My grandfather had a world-class nose. Not just a stupendous schnozz, or a big nose, but a wide, imposing nose thatspanned his face like the Brooklyn Bridge spanS the East River. That wasn'this only outstanding feature,just his most prominent one. His ears stuck out from his head like flaps on'a jet. I imagined he used them to slow himself down when he was running too fast, and if he drove a convertible, they probably caused him to et Worse gas mileage. His head would have been perfectly bald and polished were it not for the three or four wild hairs that always sprouted up in just such a way that they caught the light and thus, my attention. But it was his nose that stood out. I could never get past his nose. It had been broken several times during his childhood in czarist Russia, hit by rocks thrown at the Jewish ghetto kids by neighborhood boys, and was never fixed properly, And so it stretched out across his face, making him both look and sound like no one else I ever knew. You see, his voice was affected by his nose as well. Nasally just begins to describe it. Think of a bassoon rumbling up through bellows into an ancient megaphone. That was the sound of my grandfather's voice. And when he sang it became amplified, even more nasally, like a back-of-the- throat duck call, if that's possible. He lived with us from the time I was 6 and my brother was 4. He'd been injured in a fire, and while he recuperated in the bedroom next to us, his legs smelling like overcooked meat, our parents added a room to the house and his infir- mary became his bedroom. It wasn't bad having him in the house. In fact, it was nice growing By Pamela Ruben I often write on behalf of the Jewish Pavilion, an organization with the lofty goal of providing companionship, programming, Shabbats and holidays to seniors in more than 50 assisted liv- ing homes in the Orlando area. Their grandest accomplishment is keeping our elder Jewish com- munity from being isolated, alone and forgotten by maintaininga connectionto the greater Jewish community and the "Pavilion Family." Now I am going to tell you a true story about what :life would be like for area seniors without the Jewish Pavilion (I shared this story at the Pavilion Volunteer Luncheon). In 1970 my own grandmother, Jeannette Racusin Hochberger (1901-1989) suffered a series of strokes. My mother took her into our home where she lived with us for two years. At the time we lived in a three-bedroom apartment while my father completed his residency. My parents had one room, I shared a room with my baby brother (now 42!), and my 5-year old sister, and my grandmother occupied the last room. In 1972 my grandmother had a setback that included a cluster of mini-strokes and entered a nursing home; she had lost the ability to walk, as welt as some speech, and her outlook looked grim. But, grandma Jeanette had more lives than an alley cat, and she hung on for 17 years: all the way from the Nixon administration through Ford, Carter, eight years of Reagan at the helm, and a few months of George Bush the first. I remember popping in for visits at Jeannette's nursing home after kindergarten, then Hebrew School, even stopping by through the beginning of my college years. ?~s a"permanent" resident at the nursing facil- ity, my grandmother became a beloved mascot to the staff. But even then, I couldn't help thinking how lonely her life had become. In her healthier days, like many of you, she had been a,q avid volunteer and a devoted parent. She headed up the PTA and led her Hadassah Cbapter. She kept a kosher home and sent her children through a Conservative Day School. As a result, my morn was one o(the firstbat-mitzvahs of her generation. Howevix, my grandmother was also part of a generation in which many women did not drive, and one with a life span that is much shorter than today's. This left Jeannette with approximately five visitors from outside her facility (all my im- mediate family) for17 long years, between 1972 and 1989. When I run into Pavilion volunteers Joe and Bernice Davids at Happy Hour at Savan- nah Court (volunteers of the year and seniors themselves), I think my grandmother would have enjoyed the company of Visitors from her generation. I also recall that18-year-old Evan Ludin of Maitland (a Pavilion volunteer since the age of 7) played cards with Pavilion senior Pearl Schiffer for years. My own grandmother would have loved the company and the energy of the young, as well. An avid reader, Jeannette, would have loved.to have sat in on one of Zena Sulkes' Torah studies, and as an observant Jew she would have had ties to the greater Jewish community. Now, my grandmotherwas still one of the lucky seniors, with family to keep her from being totally isolated in her nursing home environment, but I cannot help but ponder .how much richer her last 17 years would have been under the tent of the Pavilion with Evan, the Davids and Zena Sulkes, and 400 other volunteers at her side. My junior year of college I received a call from home that my grandmother had passed away. I thought back to the time when I was 5 years old (the last time Grandma was healthy), and she had wiped up some messy scrapes from a fall on the playground. It has become my turn to apply some first aid to the elder community, and so I volunteerwith the Pavilionwhenever I can, always with grandma Jeannette in the back of my mind. How can you take the first steps to reach out to our senior community? Begin by registering for the Pavilion's Third *Annual Walk in the Park, which takes place at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 28. Come schmooze with 500 members of the Jewish community, enjoy a Panera bagel buffet, swing to the sounds of the Orlando Jazz Band and other local entertainment, shop with their exclusive vendors and much more. Donations and sponsorships are welcome. Call 407-678-9363 for more= information checkout www. Jewishpavilion.org. VIEWS I ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. [ FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE x .......... ~,1~,d~iJ~h News (ISN 0199-0721) ; ,, kl;~hoa, o~1,~:~-95 per year to Florida ad- dr~ pc Aa q_~ fro: th~of the U.S.) by HERITAGE ............. " , Inc, 207 O'Brien Road, Central Florida Jew'~Y[q~i~s " Suite 101, Fern Park,~L 32730" Periodicals postage paid atFern Park andadlli~onal mailing offices. POSTMASTERi ~Sen~ess changes and other correspondence to: ~GE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. LINGADDRESS HONENUMBER P.O. Box 300742~407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FA~407) 831-0507 e.com Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Mike Etzkin IIJm Fischer Society Editor . Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Richard Ries Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky Tim Boxer David Bornstein Terri Fine Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman David Gaudio Teri Marks Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosky Caroline Pope up with three generations under on.e roof. He mostly stayed in his room, watching Lawrence Welk, Perry Mason and Jackie Gleason. He went out to restaurants with us, offering to pay for the meal when the total cost for the family was below $20, and he still drove out to work every morning to check on the small orange grove he owned; though I wouldn't be caught dead in the same car. Forhim, drivingwas always about how few times he'd swerve over the center line, not if. Once, on a New Year's Eve shortly after my bar mitzvah, my sister got me drunk for the first time and we set off fireworks in our driveway at midnight. He stormed out the front door with his pajamas on and his teeth out, shouting "Bang! Bang! Bang! Vhat is all dis noise?!" And another time, when we were in high school and our par- ents were away we threw a party that 200 kids we'd never met attended. He hid in his room all night, scared to see what we were doing to the hous%But he joined us for every dinner, and he led the blessings every Friday night for Shabbat. My brother and I suffered through the bless- ings every week. We came to the dinner table hungry, ready to sit down for our'20-minute family dinner and eat, eatl eat like the ravenous cannibal boys we were. Waiting for the blessings " to be done was torture. The prayers over the bread, the wine, the Sabbath day all took so intermi- nably long, and our grandfather droned on and on, stretching out the vowels, warbling through the melody as only his cavernous nostrils could. Most of the time we held it together. But once, we just couldn't. We didn't mean any disrespect. We were just boys, and something struck us as funny. Maybe it was the waiting, or the sound. of his voice, or his seriousness compared to our irreverence. I looked over at Ray. He raised his eyebrows, a smile breaking across his face. I started to giggle. So did he. Our grandfather paused, looked over at us, and continued, the cup ofwine held in his hand, vibrating with each syl- lable sung. Ray started to laugh. This was funnier and funnier. The whole room seemed to vibrate with the singing, the chairs, the table, I could even feel it inside my stomach, in my head, my eardrums throbbingwith the sonorous chanting. I saw our sister nudge Ray to stop laughing. He covered his mouth with his hand. This made it all even more hilarious to me. I burst out with a huge guffaw. "David," my father said, "stop being so dis- respectful." "I can't," I told him, tears in my eyes. When Ray heard this he exploded in laughter and ran out of the dining room. "What's gotten into them?" my mother said to the table, lv,-,y grandfather stood there, still and dumbfounded, waiting for a signal to con- tinue. That's when I lost control, laughing like a container under too much pressure. I ran out of the room, too, found Ray in our bedroom and fell on the floor with him, our knees weak with what we both thought was the most comical situation we'd ever experienced, We didn't know why. It just was. After a few minutes we stood back up and returned, knowing that the only way we could worm ourselves back into our parents and grandfather's good graces v as to look as contrite as possible. I knew what to do and say, and as soon as I re-entered I said, "I'm sorry, Grandpa. I don't know why I was laughing." Until this point Ray was right there with me, head bowed down, eyes to the ground, looking like thewhipped dogs we were trying to emulate, but he couldn't help himself. "Thanks for the best Shabbat ever, Grandpa," he said. "Let's do it this way every week." Was it the best? Maybe not, but it was definitely one of the most memorable, and unbeknownst to my grandfather, it's one of the ways I'll always re ember him. His living with us, his devotion to his Judaism, his exquisite, grand nose. I never knew why this stuck with me so, but now I do. I've realized, as I've gotten older and my own children laugh with me and, occasionally, at me, that it's these memories of growing up--strange, quirky, unexpected--that connect the generations and connect us to ourselves. And that's the good word. The opinions in this column are those of the writer and not the Heritage or any other individual, agency or organization. Send your thoughts, comments and critiques to the Heritage or email dsb328@ gmail.com. The of the ny AUa Arkush Jewish Ideas Daily For those who have been taught--by Peter Beinart or some other recent chronicler dlsrael's history--that Zionism only began to go awry after 1967, Patrick Tyler's new book, "Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite who Ru.n the Country--and Why They Can't Make Peace," might come as a shock. Israel's aggressive territorial ambitions didn't emerge after the Six- Day War, Tyler argues, but antedated that (to his mind) avoidable conflict by more than a decade. Tyler, a former military correspondent for The NewYorkTimes, places the "origins of Israeli mili- tarism" in October, 1955, when the thoughts of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion matured into a plan. Instead of merely talking about a "new round of warfare with the Arabs" and the "expansion of the J wish state through preemptive attacks," he decided to take action. But Ben-Gurion's plan did not spring from his head alone. The Prime Minister had. merely. "embraced the rugged militarism of the native- born generation of Israelis--the "sabras"--who aspired to build apowerful and heavily militarized state," not only for self-protection but to "expand its borders in a second and third round with the Arabs." For Tyler, the word "sabra" is a term of abuse, signifying "the class of native-born Israelis who grew up socialized to violence with the.local Arabs with whom they jousted over land and grazing rights." Shaped by this experience, Tyler claims, these people have persistently focused on military solutions to Israel's problems. They are almost congenitally incapable of making peace and have regularly thwarted attempts to attain it. Among many other things, Tyler holds the sabras responsible for fomenting the Six-Day War. He does not deny that the Arabs conducted themselves in a threatening manner in 1967, but he tries to indicate (without coherently arguing) that the menace to Israel was low-level enough to have been managed without military action. He manages to avoid noting what every respectable historian of the Six-Day War has shown: Israel only launched its preemptive attack once it was unmistakably dear that U.S. efforts to preventwar were going to remain fruitless. By obscuring such salient details, he depicts the 1967 conflict as the outcome of a "sabra rush to war." Tyler simi!arly credits the irremediably bellicose sabras with responsibility for most of Israel's subsequent military entanglements. But he has to face a problem: some sabras are widely known precisely for their Commitment to peacemaking: Such onetime hawkish generals as EzerWeizman and Yitzhak Rabin became prominent advocates for peace. Even Ariel Sharon, Tyler tells us, had a change of heart. On the final day of the Camp David marathon, when Begin and Sadat were on the horns of deadlock, a pragmatic general on the Israelinegotiatingteam, AvrahamTamir [another distinguished sabra, ier somehow forgets to fiote, and the author, curiouslyenough, of a vol- ume entitled "A Soldier in Search of Peace: The Inside Story of Israel's Strategy"], had the idea of getting Sharon's endorsement to give up the Sinai settlements. If Sharon, the self-styled architect of "settler ambition, agreed to make the llth-hour concession, it would have a big impact on Begin. Tamir convinced Weizman and Dayan that it was worth a try, and soon they had Sharon on the telephone. When Sharon showed pragmatism, stating that he could support the comprom.ise, it changed Begin's view of how the peace treaty would sell to the military elite of the country. Still more evidence against the book's main thesis. Even the meanest and cruelest of the sabras can make peace .after all--when they are offered a reasonable deal. Or even a questionable deal.As everyone knows, it wasn't easy for Yitzhak Rabin, a "sabra son of Israel," to attempt to make peace with a Palestin- ian enemy he didn't trust. But he tried to do so anyhow. Tyler has a circumstantial explanation for this--forasabra--incongruousbehavior, one that extends not only to Rabin but to others of a similar ilk: "Rabin and the generals of Peace Now had persuaded" Israelis "that th end of the cold War had opened a window. Who knew how long it would remain open?" Rabin, says Tyler, "thought Israel had a decade or more to make peace with Syria, Jordan and the Palestinians, and that such a peace might fortify the region to withstand the rise of a new threat." Granted, Rabin and his main supporters were not pacifists. Nevertheless, this account of the situation in the early 1990s is impossible to square with the idea that the military elite that runs Israel is inherently incapable of making peace. "Fortress Israel" provides neither a coherent account of the past nor a preview of what is likely to happefi in the future. Allan Arkush is a professor of Judaic studies and history at Binghamton University, and the senior contributing editor of the Jewish Review of Books. This article was first published by Jewish IdeasDaily and is reprinted with permission.