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September 21, 2018

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 By David Bornstein The 100 Hour Jew O0 or Every year my wife and I are invited to a spiritual awakening when you only come our cousin's house for a second day of Rosh to shul twice a year." Hashanah lunch. It's something we enjoy and I wish I had responded at the time both count on the good food, the camaraderie, lines came my way. I didn't. It took me awhile the interesting commentary on services, to figure out why they hit me wrong. This is Over the past two years friends have made what I realized: comments to me that stuck, though not First, while continuity is important, and for the intended reasons. Last year, as our young families are our future (they're the synagogue took the first steps into a new future of the world, pointedly and obviously), era, a friend told me that he would view the next generation is not the only one that the changes as a success based on the re- counts. In fact, we all count equally--young, sponse and membership of young families old, singles, couples without kids, alternative because, after all, young families are our families. The success of a synagogue can't be future. And this year, when I commented based solely on how young families respond on the meaning (or lack thereof) of services, to a new direction or change. That's one com- another friend said, "Well, you can't expect ponent. At the point a religious institution (or most institutions, for that matter) forget a constituency, they stand on a cliff teetering toward failure. And second, while a twice-a-year Jew shouldn't expect a spiritual rebirth when they attend High Holy Day services, we can all expect something. A nugget to gnaw on. A kernel of truth. A morsel of meaning. It's not too much to ask for a smidgeon of significance. And that's where I find myself, once again, in a titanic struggle with part of my being, part of what I'm told makes me a Jew. I'm a little bit more than a twice-a-year Jew. Not much, but a little. I attend services a few times a year besides Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, usually for special events like a bar or bat mitzvah or a yahrzeit. Let's say that adds up to about 16 hours of attendance, High Holy Days included. I celebrate other holidays outside the synagogue--Chanukah and Pesach--so add on another 10 hours. We sporadically celebrate Shabbat. This makes me feel particularly guilty, since I grew up lighting candles every Friday night, and now we are lax in our commitment, but let's say we're good half the time. Another 25 hours. Then there are the funerals, the minyans, the fundraisers (yes, I think even fundraisers for important Jewish causes have religious sig- nificance, sometimes profoundly so). Add 20 hours. And I think about my Jewishness and my Judaism. I read current Jewish commentary. I write Jewish commentary (though some of you might argue that). And I ask myself who I am, what it means to be a Jew on a regular basis. Call it all 100 hours, give or take, ayear. That's not a lot. It is, however, enough for me to say that b eing a Jew is important, even central to my being. And because it is, I do expect to find meaning, to find spiritual sustenance, to find at least a tiny bit of inspiration from my studies, my shul, and my religious leaders. I discover meaning when I read, occasionally when I write, when I feel deeply, when I am awed by nature. But I struggle to find it in our services, when the Hebrew flies by without comprehension and I entertain myself by finding my place in the prayer book and successfully following along, when more than half the liturgy seems hell- bent on praising God for EVERYTHING, and that on that basis all will be good. I wonder what services would be like if we took out all praise of God and filled it with something else? If we didn't repeat the service multiple times? If we asked ourselves how we provide meaning and inspiration, even in the smallest ways, to as many people as we possibly can? That sounds like a path that might possibly turn a twice a year Jew, a 100 hour Jew, into something more: a modern Jew with a passion for their religious core. And that's the good word. Feel free to pass your thoughts and com- ments on to the Heritage, or email me at tlslons a By Charles Dunst with an unalloyed bigot like David Duke or Richard Spencer? NEW YORK (JTA)--Former presidents re- Several figures on the left appear to toler- centlyservedaseulogizers forArethaFranklin, ate and tacitly endorse the Nation of Islam the Queen of Soul, and U.S. Sen. JohnMcCain, leader--an ideological inconsistency that the "maverick." enables anti-Semitism to be tolerated even Barack Obama and George Bush spoke for when other forms of bias, including anti-black McCain, a former rival of both, while Bill Clin- racism, are roundly condemned. ton did the same for Franklin, who performed The Congressional Black Caucus still main- at his 1993 inauguration, rains ties with Farrakhan. According to The Neither funeral escaped controversy. Daily Caller, the caucus held a secret meeting Liberals quickly rebutted the notion that with him in 2005. Contacted recently, all 21 for all the high-minded rhetoric about bipar- current members of the caucus who met the tisanship, McCain's memorial represented minister in 2005 declined to denounce him. a rebuke of Donald Trump. Conservatives, Some, including Barbara Lee and Gregory and Jews ofvariouspolitical stripes, slammed Meeks, eventually did so. The popular fire- Clinton's willingness to share the stage with brand congresswoman Maxine Waters, who the anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan, a guest of has long embraced Farrakhan and still does, the Franklin family, did not. Although his Nation of Islam has been There may be simple calculus in this: Politi- praised for promoting self-reliance and in- cians don't want to alienate constituents for stilling pride within the black community for whom Farrakhan is still a hero. And minority years, Farrakhan is a vicious anti-Semite, not groups, including the Jews, are reluctant to tomentionanti-LGBTQ.In1984hecalledAdolf take marching orders from the establish- Hitler a "very great man"; his now de-verified ment about whom they should and shouldn't Twitter profile is bannered with a pinned condemn. tweet in which he boasts of "Thoroughly and Yet for many progressives, and increasingly completely unmasking the Satanic Jew and the left at large, anti-Semitism is fundamen- the Synagogue of Satan." tally different from and less serious than Farrakhan at an event in February deemed anti-black racism or Islamophobia~ among Jews to be "the mother and father of apart- other forms of bias. heid" and "have control" over some agencies As I reported in early August, progressives of government. He argued that Jews have andliberalsfromMelissaHarris-PerrytoLinda induced black male homosexuality through Sarsour embrace a hierarchical definition the"weaponization"ofmarijuana, portraying of racism that places importance on power. Jewsasopponentsofblackmasculinity.Among According to this formula, only the power- those on hand were progressive Women's ful can be racist and powerful people cannot March leader Tamika Mallory, who refused have racism wielded against them. Within to apologize for her attendance or repudiate this paradigm, white-on-blackbias, due to the Farrakhan. power gap, is racism; black-on-Jew bias, anti- Clinton did not comment on sharing a Semitism, inwhichtheweakattackthestrong, stage with Farrakhan, although his daughter, becomes simple bias rather than racism. Chelsea, defended him on Twitter. After con- Without a power gap, anti-Semitism be- demningFarrakhan'santi-Semitism, Chelsea comes less concerning than anti-black and argued that "Aretha's family had every right other racism. to invite whomever they wanted to celebrate "The thing I'm always worried about in her life." the world is power, and how power is wielded But would the former president been as in ways that cause inequity," Harris-Perry, comfortable sharing a stage, if requested by the mourners of a similarly respected figure, Clinton on page 14A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ~ ~ CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE ~ ~ ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 46 Press Awards ~WISH NEWS HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Stare Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer * Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Mel Pearlman David Bomstein * Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman * Gil Dombrosky JoyceGore By Jonathan S. Tobin (JNS)--When the Trump administration announced that itwas ending its funding of the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) last week, the protests from the foreign-policy establishment were loud and anguished. As a New York Times op-ed that masqueraded as a news story sought to explain, UNRWA "mat- ters" because the experts say it does. UNRWA has perpetuated the refugee problem it was established to solve and has become one of the chief obstacles to peace. It has served to keep the 1948 refugees and their descendants in place as aweapon to use against Israel and to give hope to those who.wish to destroy it. But uttering these painfully obvious facts and drawing the proper conclusions from them is just something the "experts" about the Middle East don't do. They don't because doing so would be to admit that they've been wrong about the conflict for a very long time. Coming to grips with this means admitting what amounts to foreign-policy malpractice. That's an important point to remember this week as we commemorate a more recent but no less consequential act of folly: the 1993 Oslo Accords. The Oslo process was supposed to serve as a mechanism to end the conflict, and it was celebrated as the answer to the prayers of generations of Israelis who had known nothing but war since the day their state was born. The celebration on the White House Lawn as President Bill Clinton presided over a historic handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat set offa period of euphoria among most Israelis and their foreign supporters. The formula by which Arafat and the terror- ists of the Palestine Liberation Organization were to be transformed into the responsible bureaucrats and peacemakers of the Palestin- ian Authority promised an end to violence and the war that Arabs had been waging on the Jews, as well as their return to their ancient homeland since the early 20th century. Rabin had a clear idea of what would hap- pen. There would be a border, he liked to say. On the one side would be Israel. On the other would be Arafat and his P.A which would fight Hamas and any other terrorists and, as Rabin never tired of pointing out, without interference from the Israeli Supreme Court and the human-rights groups that sought to hamper his security services. But Arafat had no intention of fighting ter- rorists. He was, in fact, fomenting, planning and paying for terrorism. All he had done was to sign a piece of paper and pocketed extensive Israeli concessions that set the Palestinians on the path to statehood. The foreign-policy experts--both in the United States and Is- rael-were wrong. But it took years before some of them would admit it, and even then they sought to evade blame for the slaughter that came in Oslo's wake by claiming that Israel hadn't been forthcoming enough. Later, with Clinton again there, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat the independent state he wanted at Camp David in the summer of 2000, the Palestinian answer was still "no." Arafat answered the offer of peace with a terrorist war of attrition known as the Second Intifada, which cost the lives of more than 1,000 Israelis and many more Palestinians. That conflict literally blew up any remaining hope for peace in the minds of most Israelis. Subsequent refusals of even more generous of- fers that included almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and a share of Jerusalem brought the same response from Arafat's successor, Mah- moud Abbas. The Palestinians can complain about Israeli settlements, but a clear majority of Israel is understand that what they had done in 1993 was to trade land for more terror, not peace. That conclusion was reinforced in 2005 when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew from Gaza. That set in motion the chain of events that created an independent Palestinian terrorist state ruled by Hamas. These events convinced Israel's voters, who have elected Oslo skeptic Benjamin Netanyahu prime minister three times in the last decade, not to make the same mistake again. Yet that is exactly what some on the left, and especially among the experts who have decried Trump's decision to stop pretending as if the mistakes of the past never happened, want Israel to do. Just as some did 25 years ago, they seize on isolated pro-peace statements from Abbas that are continually contradicted by other statements--in addition to actions such as his continued incitement of hate, and subsidies and pensions for convicted terrorists and their families--that make it clear he has no more interest in actually signing another agreement than Hamas. Just like its Islamist rivals, the P.A. still won't recognize the le- gitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn; to do so would effectively be an admission that the long war on Zionism is over. But the point of remembering the anniver- sary of Oslo is not just to think on those failed hopes or the lives lost to terror. It is to under- stand that thinking seriously about the last 25 years of history requires us to stop regarding the peace process as a kind of religious belief, rather than as a policy that can be proved or, as happened in this case, disproved by objec- tive facts and events. What is needed now is a willingness to dis- card the sort of conventional wisdom that led to Oslo in the first place. But while the same tired debates about the need to trade land for peace continue, what both Oslo skeptics and its supporters need to understand is that the arguments for this formula were a lot stronger before September 1993. Two states might someday provide a viable solution to the conflict, but only after the Palestinians finally do what Arafat and now Abbas, as well as Hamas, have continually refused to do: give up their long war against Zionism. Until then, we should mark this anniversary by giving up on the illusions that were paid for in blood and crushed hopes. Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS--Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans tobin.