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September 21, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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September 21, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 PAGE 9A By Gloria Yousha -- Call 407-657-9405 or 407-834-8787 They love Israel too... The "They" I refer to are Russian Christians. I was truly touched when I read the following in the World Jewry Digest published by the World Jewish Congress Founda- tion (with additions by me): "It was said to be the largest pro-Israel event in the history of St. Petersburg and Russia when leaders of the World Jewish Congress and the Knesset ChristianAllies Caucus (KCAC) met recently for a mobilization meeting for the Jewish state. In keeping with one of the WJC's premier efforts to promote Judeo- Christian relations, the event attracted some 400 dignitaries." (That both surprised me and made me quite emotional.) "Of the event, KCAC director JOSH REINSTEIN summarized, 'With the international assault against the nation-state of the Jewish people becoming stronger and more sophisticated... Israel needs more friends and allies.' WJC secretary general DAN DIKER said, 'Many Russian Christians love Israel and travel to the Holy Land in great numbers. Our meeting in St. Petersburg will strengthen the bond between us and tell the Christian community thatwe will help protect their communi- ties and holy places in the Middle East.' "The KCAC is a 17-member bipartisan body of Israeli legisla- tors established in 2004 to keep open lines of communication between local and international entities and Israel." I'm not involved in politics, believe me... But the insensitivity displayed by Democratic Congressional candidate ALAN GRAYSON to hold a debate on Rosh Hashanah really bothered me. I felt I had to mention it in a recent column. Now I find out something much more troubling (at least to me) and I must share it with my readers as well. Alan Grayson's Republican opponent for the 9th Congres- sional seat, TODD LONG, apparently feels he is superior as he is a Christian. (Alan is a Jew). He called Alan (a direct quote) "the most anti-Christian Congressman probably we've ever had in our history." And if that's not disturbing enough, Todd Long mentioned the bible and concluded his remarks with "people are going to vote for me and my Christian values." (Not hear-say, folks. I actually heard it. I find his attitude scary to say the least. Are we in Nazi Germany? NEVER AGAIN!) Getting back to Israel... This bit of news also comes directly from the World Jewish Congress: "Jewniverse, a pop-culture oriented online site, (Really! I checked it out!) says a new IMAX FILM, 'Jerusalem' is sched- uled for a full-length release in 2013. It promotes the film by saying, 'You've never seen Israel like this,' with a video focus on architectural and natural wonders. "According to Jewniverse, the film is in some ways a tourism advert and also a superlative panorama. The film also takes in Masada." (Irv and I were on Masada. Breathtaking!) On the subject of films... The Global Peace Film Festival is going on right now through Sept. 23. (Check it out at I heard from our own MIMI P. SAUNDERS via email: "Let me tell you how thrilled I am, once again to be involved in doing outreach for the Global Peace Film Festival. It's hard to believe but we are celebrating 10 years...that's one decade of bringing rare films to the Orlando area and we feel the diversity, the quality and the intensity of these films may be greater than ever before. This year we bring you 44 films from six continents, including 28 feature films and documentaries, 16 shorts and five panel discussions. We are proud this year to be featuring seven films from Florida filmmakers. We will still hold true to tradition with the GPFF Peach Art Exhibit by K-12 students, which is on display in the Rotunda of Orlando's City Hall throughout the entire festival. "There will be a showing this evening (Sept. 21) at the Cobb Plaza Theater, Orange Avenue and Pine Street, downtown Orlando. It's entitled 'The Zen of Bennett' and features the amazing vocalist TONY BENNETT. This intimate documen- tary delves into Bennett's 60-year career, up to and including his most recent release of last year's 'Duets II; featuring col- laborations with JOHN MAYER, LADY GAGA, the late AMY WINEHOUSE, and many others. "There are many other films, profound in nature such as 'Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald,' 'The Uterati,"Fighting Back in the War on Women,' and 'Inspired: The Voices Against Prop 8' to name just a few. If I were to choose any more that I favor, I would never be finished with this email. "We hope you'll turn out for as many films as possible and celebrate the 1st decade of the Global Peace Film Festival! For more information and viewing locations, please visit our website (see above). Or phone me on my cell phone, 407-492-4484. (Wow, Mimi. How exciting! One of my sons loved Amy Winehouse...not only because she was Jewish, he loved her vocal stylings. I'm sure he will be thrilled to attend!) Still on the subject of film... I was watching a new television talk show, "The Jeff Probst Show," the other morning and among his guests were our own DAVID and JACKIE SIEGEL. I remembered that just recently, a friend said she was going to a local movie theater for the showing of "The Queen of Versailles," which has David and Jackie as its subject matter. The movie originally started off as a documentary following a wealthy Florida couple, David and Jackie Siegel, who were building the biggest home in America at 90,000 square feet, David and Jackie Siegel inspired in part by the Versailles palace in France. But as the filmmaker chronicled their wealthy lifestyle, the economy took a dive. They were forced to stop the building of their dream home, and their style of living slowly disintegrated as the economy not only burst David's business, but the family's entire way of being. The couple has beautiful children who are unpretentious, in spite of their lifestyle. Morn, Dad and children are humble and truly good people. Siegel is a self- made billionaire who founded time-share company, Westgate Resorts, and Jackie is a former model. Moved to tears... I watched both Republican and Democratic Conventions in their entirety on television. I enjoyed all the speeches and the excitement of the delegates who attended...but one event stood out for me. At the second convention, when former Congresswoman GABRIELLE (GABBY) GIF- FORDS walked with much difficulty to the podium and recited the United States Pledge of Allegiance with such feeling and joy, in spite of her difficulty pronouncing some of the words, I (and many of the delegates in attendance) Gabby Giffords began to cry. Gabby, once a vibrant Congresswoman, is coming back to her former bubbly self, even though she had to overcome being shot in the head by a crazed gunman. On Jan. 8, 2011, Gabby and 18 other people were shot dur- ing a public meeting held in a supermarket parking lot near Tucson, Ariz. Six of those who were shot died, including one of Gabby's Congressional staffers and a 9-year-old child. Gabby, a Jewish gal, is married to astronaut MARK KELLY. One for the road... A rabbi, a priest and a minister were talking one day. The priest told of an occasion when he was caught in a snowstorm so terrible that he couldn't see a foot in front of him. He was completely confused, unsure even of which direction he needed to walk. He prayed to God, and miraculously, while the storm continued for miles in every direction, he could clearly see his home 20 feet away. The minister told a similar story. He had been out on a small boat when a heavy storm struck. There were 20-foot high waves, and the boat was sure to capsize. 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