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September 26, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 Build From page IA say prayers for Israel and to receive spiritual strength to help relieve the stress every- one was experiencing. "Had we not started Kehilat Yonatan they would not have anywhere to go," Lori stated. "To me, that says it all. We've given a spiritual pluralistic home to Jews who otherwise wouldn't have it." With the Gaza conflict and the ever-sounding red sirens throughout the country -in- cluding Hod Hasharon, which is just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, fundraising efforts were put on a back burner. Realistically, Kehilat Yo- natan congregants can raise about $100,000. Lori said they hope to receive 90 percent from overseas donors. "We hope to raise some of this from major donors in Israel. However, this has never been undertaken by any Reform or Conservative congregation before," she stated. How does this major un- dertaking affect Central Florida? Many in the Jewish community remember Loft as Lori Stein, daughter of Arnold and Nira Stein. The familywas active in the Jewish community and Congregation of Liberal Judaism, as it was called then, where her father served as president for many years. Nira owned The Source, the only Judaica shop in the area (other than the gift shops in each synagogue). Lori and Moshe were re- cently here in Central Florida to celebrate her parent's 60th wedding anniversary, not on a fundraising trip. However, a meeting with Rabbi Engel at CRJ, led to a meeting with The Heritage where she shared her Israeli communities' need for a building. "We haven't started fund- raising and I don't know how to do it because in Israel the focus is on the IDF. However, if we don't get this thing off the ground, our social exis- tence is going to go away," implored Lori. "We believe there should be a place where Jews in Diaspora can come to Israel and feel there is a place they can relate to." Growing up, Lori and her family made three trips to Israel to visit Nira's family. During the second trip, when Lori was 12, she knew Israel was where she wanted to make her home. "I was a little girl, but I knew this was my place," she said. "I felt immediately at home." On a walk out and about at midnight during that trip, her dad asked her "How do you feel?" "Great!" she responded. '!Have you ever been outside at midnight?" he inquired. "Nope." "Why not? Don't you feel scared?" he asked. "No. It just felt right." Lori told him. And even now she feels safe--maybe even more so she said. "That's my place and where I belong and that's why I need to do everything in my power to see that Kehilat Yonatan has a permanent home." Lori attended the Alexander Muss High School in Israel when she was 16. She returned to the states and went to Florida State University and spent her junior year at Tel Aviv University where she met Moshe. "I was following feet (shad- owing), and Moshe thought I was trying to pick him up! So we started dating and 10 months later we came here and he asked my dad for my hand and we're still dancing today!" Lori said with a laugh. They were married at CLJ where the singing duo, Bob andAnnettasang"EretzIsrael Yafah," (a very popular Israeli dance and song) for their first dance as man and wife. In 1983, Lori and Moshe moved to Israel where Lori got her master's degree at Tel Aviv University in marketing. She'd received her bachelor's at FSU in economics and international affairs. In 1994, Lori was sent by the State of Israel as a Schli- cha (emissary) to Atlanta for three years where she was responsible to facilitate Aliyah and education about Israel for five states in the Southeast region. The third year, she worked with Hadassah to help facilitate Young Judea programs for kids in 11 states in the Southeast. Upon returning to Israel, Lori became dean of students at her alumni, Alexander Muss High School in Israel, which is based in Hod Hasharon. Growing up, Lori always related to synagogue life. In Is- rael though, since everything is Jewish- the language, food, culture, history, people--she thought she didn't need synagogue. However, she soon realized something was missing. She helped establish Beit Daniel, a Progressive congregation in North TelAviv named for Gerald and Ruth Daniels of Sarasota, Fla. The mayor of Tel Aviv, a forward thinking man, gave public land for that synagogue and due to the generous donation of the Daniels, a building was built for Beit Daniel. Rabbi Michael Boyden came to Israel from Manches- ter, England. His son Yonatan was 12 years old when they made Aliyah and later served in the Israel Defense Force. He was killed in action in Lebanon. KehilatYonatanwas named in his memory. Rabbi Boyden had already founded a Progressive con- gregation in Raanana, and he had gotten public land and raised the money to build. The last donor though, insisted on their donation being a named donor and dropping Kehilat Yonatan. The con- gregation board agreed to scrap Yonatan. Boyden was devastated and walked away from the project. The Erlichs and Boydens knew each other only casually. They met through activities in the Reform movement and both lived in Hod Hasharon, but didn't associate on a regular basis. One Shabbat morning, Lori was reading an article about the Reform congre- gation that Rabbi Boyden founded and then lost be- cause he wanted to honor his son's name. "That broke my heart," she said. "As if it wasn't enough that he lost his son and then that last little bit of donation took off the name." She shared the article with Moshe. After lunch, they decided to take a walk. And this is was how it all started. In this town of 50,000 people, they ran into each other. "Micky!" Lori called out to him in the name people in Hod Hasharon knew him by. "This is bashert! I just read the article. I'm flabbergasted by what I read. Why don't we startaReformsynagoguehere in Hod Hasharon and see if we can't get it off the ground?" And then Lori told him "I promise you if we reach our dream of having a permanent home for the congregation in Hod Hasharon, I promise that it will bear the name Kehilat Yonatan." That next Friday night they held the first minyan in the rabbi's home. "We were surprised to see so many people!" Lori exclaimed. A week later they had the same results with many coming to the service. Rosh Hashanah was just around the corner, so Lori suggested they find a place to rent for the High Holidays to see if there would be enough interest. The first logical choice was Alexander Muss high school since Lori was the dean of students and the rabbi's wife was also a teacher there. The high school agreed to rent space for their services and to this day they rent the sanctu- ary in Alexander Muss to hold all their activities. While renting is a tempo- rary solution to their problem, Alexander Muss' sanctuary isn't always available nor is there always enough room. "The problem was our ac- PAGE 15A Kehilat Yonatan congregants at a Yom Kippur service. The architectural drawing of the future building for Kehilat Yonatan. tivities had grown so much they couldn't always facilitate our requests for lectures and such. So now we had to rent other places within the city," Lori said. The congregation was spending upwards to 70,000 NS ($19,775) annually on rentals. Whereas the religious ministry in Israel readily gives money to Orthodox con- gregations, it does not give any money to non-Orthodox groups. "And this is where we are stuck," Lori said. Ten years ago, after they realized the congregation was growing and they were spending so much money on rental facilities, they turned to the city of Hod Hasharon and requested public land--which the government does without question for the Orthodox community. "It took 10 years of con- tinual requests and only one year ago we got a grant for public land!" According to Hod Hasha- ron's website, there is no syna- gogue that is not Orthodox in the city but there are nearly 60 Orthodox synagogues listed in Hod Hasharon! Even though they have this congregation and they meet every week, and have holidays and lec- tures that draw large crowds, Kehilat Yonatan doesn't have a building, therefore they are not considered a synagogue and are not listed on the In- ternet under Hod Hasharon (they do have a website, www. kehilat-yonatan.org). "There are 4,500 people attending activities annu- ally," Lori stated. "What are they? Friday night services, bar and bat mitzvahs every Shabbat--and sometimes two or three services will be held on one Saturday to accom- modate them!" This is an interesting side step here--In Israel, girls do not have bat mitzvahs. "Our daughter told her teacher she was having a bat mitzvah, and the teacher had never heard of this!" Lori exclaimed. "She was the first girl in her elementary school to ever have one." In addition to the lecture series Kehilat Yonatan hosts, they have an Adult Study programs in conjunction with Hebrew University, and a Master's Degree in Jewish Studies in conjunction with Haifa University that has 50 graduates a year. Kehilat Yonatan's future depends on the ability to raise the money needed to build a permanent home for Reform Judaism in Hod Hasharon. The situation is the reverse of the famous movie "Field of Dreams," in which Kevin Costner's character is told "If you build it, they will come." Well, "they" are there! They just need the permanent building. When the Erlichs met with Rabbi Engel the idea of twinning Congregation of Reform Judaism with Kehilat Yonatan was discussed. It sounds like a plausible idea that perhaps the congrega- tion board can contemplate. However, in the meantime, the funds need to be raised in full by next June. This isn't just about building a Reform synagogue. It's about shaping the Jewish character of the State of Israel. In a countrywhere all religions-- Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Muslim--are free to express themselves, it's ironic that only Orthodox Judaism is recognized as the legitimate religion of Israel. : The Erlichs clarified that- donors may give named dona- tions. Major naming gifts Can be made for the sanctuary and for the entire complex. The wording can be at the discre- tion of the donor in consulta- tion with Kehilat Yonatan. For information on making a donation or to just learn more about the congregation, contact Kehilat Yonatan, PO Box 3735, Hod Hasharon, Israel or email boyden@ kehilat-yonatan,org or visit www.kehilat-yonatan.org. Sharkansky From page 4A Family custom combines with religious law to deter- mine what each religious Jew accepts as kosher. Early some mornings I have been the Jewish equivalent of the Shabbas goy, helping out the Arab manager of a neighborhood coffee shop who needs a Jew to turn on his oven, in order to keep to the standard of kashrut demanded by reli- gious clients. For some religious mad- ness, such as those char- ismatics in the headlines, we have the police and the courts. For other demands, we have evasions or maneuvers sanctioned by generations of rabbis. We also have Kohelet (Ec- clesiastes) to counsel us: "That which has been is that which will be. And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun." (1:10) "Be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body." (12:12) One can see in Eccleasi- ates a wide range of what has become honored as Judaism. Some see the book as show- ing the influence of Greek philosophy, and suggest that the following was added in order to gain the book's entry to the Hebrew Bible. "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his corn- mandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, includ- ing every hidden thing." (12:13-14) Ira Sharkansky is a profes- sor (Emeritus) of the Depart- ment of Political Science, He- brew University of Jerusalem. Qatar From page 5A by John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, although trade ties are still in place and Israeli businessmen still travel to Qatar. Backing Islamists in the long run was a losing bet, said Jonathan Schanzer, the vice president for research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He noted the ouster last year of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the turning tide against insurgents in Syria, as well as with inter- national disgust at the actions of Islamist extremists in Iraq. "They're like the drunk guy at the casino putting down bad bet after bad bet," he said in an interview, referring to Qatar. Schanzer, testifying before Congress last week, counseled pressuringQatarthroughsanc- tions that target individuals and entities. The United States has three bases in Qatar, one of which houses the forward base of the U.S. Central Com- mand--a status that is more important to the militarily weak emirate than it is to the U.S., according to Schanzer. "It's hard to justify a base several miles from where the Taliban had an embassy, from Khaled Meshal's headquarters and from where A1 Jazeera is hammering the United States," he told JTA.