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September 27, 2013

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PAGE 4A The Good 00ord By David Boz.nstein The universe's wish My wife and I recently took our first vacation in years, a four-day trip to New York City. We caught up on ourselves, on each other. We heard the amazing Emily Wells at an outdoor Lincoln Center concert. We visited museums. We saw the 9-11 Memorial. We walked. And walked. And walked. And we saw two plays-- "The Assembled Parties," a story that spans 20 years in the life of a once-wealthy Jewish family in Manhattan, and "The Book of Mormon," one of the funniest and most outrageous plays to hit Broadway in years. We expected laughs, andwe got them. We knew we'd be entertained, and we were. We hoped to be stretched out of complacency, and even that took place. We didn't expect to be surprised by crazy coincidences in both plays, but that happened, too. First, there's a Bornstein in "The Assembled Par- ties." OK, it's not a terribly uncommon last name, but it's not every day that it's used in a Broadway play, either. Then, in "The Book of Mormon," at the beginning of the second t, when the curtain comes down to reveal an artist's rendering of scenes from Central FIorida--Shamu, Cinderella's castle, a golfing gator...wait a second, that's the golfing gator I had designed by a Disney artist for Polo Park, a community my father and I developed in Polk County! My wife and I both looked at it and burst out laughing. Not only was Orlando being lampooned, Letter from Israel It comes with the genes... By Ira Sharkansky There has been a flurry of items coming to my in-box describing the latest under the heading of anti-Semitism. It is, alas, a very long story, going back at least to the beginning of the Common Era. For those who aren't familiar with Jewish ways of recording the dates of the goyim, that's the year 0. The currentwave grows out of the post-World War II alad post-Holocaust era, when Christians renounced what they had been preaching for two millennia, and Muslims quickly picked up what Christians discarded after Israel's War of Independence. Now we are in a period when--thanks largely to the Holocaust--the good people of the world are committed to protecting the weak. Palestinians have seized the opportunity to promote a narrative in which they have suf- fered at the hands of Israel, failing to mention they own contributions towhatbegan long ago and continues. Their story glorifies "martyrs" who have died while bombing buses, schools, and coffee shops. It is a narrative that in some versions dis- tinguishes Jews from Israelis, which allows self-designated humanists, including Jews, to claim the high ground of speaking for the down-trodden and damning Israel even while asserting the values expressed by the Hebrew Prophets and denying that they have a problem with Jews. Pope Francis, like his predecessors, has reiterated the Church's debt to the Jews, and denounced anti-Semitism. He has met with President Peres, and expressed support for the peace process. Yet there are doubts in some quarters about his sentiments, and those of other other senior Church personnel about Israel. "One of the grave dangers in the Vatican's dialogue with Judaism is the Church's attempt to drive a wedge between the 'good' and docile Jews of the Diaspora and the 'bad' and arro- gant Jews of Israel... Pope Francis has never addressed the Israelis in his messages, nor has he openly defended the Jewish State since he was elected by the College of Cardinals. It seems that there is no room for stubborn, faithful Zionists in the pope's lenient smile. In his speeches, Jewish national aspirations are ignored, if not denigrated." ...a letter the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops distributed recently in conjunction with the Catholic University of America:..con- demned the expansion of Israeli settlements. The letter argued that settlement expansion"iS a primary source of human rights violations for Palestinians," suggesting that Palestinians living in Israel are living under "a prolonged military occupation" by Israeli Jews." The following excerpt summarizes the frus- tration of a Muslim who craves for recognition of his people, and concludes that westerners only care about them in the context of being able to attack the Jews. "...we Muslims make the mistake of thinking Europeans really care about [us], especially the Palestinians. We are wrong: Europeans simply hate the Jews more than they hate and fear us. The bitter truth is that the Europeans usually intervene in a crisis only if it gives them the opportunity for Jew-bashing. When hundreds of thousands, even millions, of Muslims are slaughtered--by other Muslims, such as the massacre in Syria and the recent upsurge of violence in Darfur--the apathetic European leadership does not lift a finger. At the same time, the European Union is obsessed with its need to condemn, sanction and boycott the Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. It does not even mention Syria, with its hundred thousand civilians murdered by the government and its millions of refugees, or the atrocities being committed in the Arab-Muslim world, the rapes of women and children, the be- headings and the wanton cruelty and murder, to say nothing of exploitation, discrimination, slavery and other crimes against humanity." Ian Lustick is a Jewish-American academic who has been criticizing Israeli policy.for sev- eral decades, and has now taken on the mantra of the two-state solution. He published his commentary in the New York Times, which is Sharkansky on page 15A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. x x x CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE O O ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Chris DeSouza Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Joyce Gore Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosk-y HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is pu.blished weekly for $37.95 per year to Floridaad- 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) 631-0507 email: news@orlandoheritage.Com HERITAGE but my golfing gator was on display for the world to see! When we checked out of thehotel, I needed 66 cents to send a letter, and in my pocket I had 66 cents. When Powerball reached $400 million, I bought three tickets, and the first number on ticket I was 1, the first number on ticket 2 was 2, and the first number on ticket 3was 3. And then, when I saved a wishbone from a chicken dinn'r, and my son and I pulled it apart to see who would get a wish, we each got an equal part of the bone while the center joint flew in the air and landed on the ground. What the heck could that mean? Would neither of us get a wish, or both of us? As we pondered this unique, miniscule event, my wife came up with the perfect solution: Maybe it was the universe's turn to get a wish. But if so, what would that wish be? In numerous studies, scientists and psy- chologists have found that we are hot-wired to believe in coincidence. In fate. In luck. We are internally programmed to hope, to somehow assume that good things will occur, that the universe has a plan, that life isn't random, that things happen for a reason, that God exists. We believe in love at first sight, in soul mates, in best friends forever. We think we can control the dice, that numbers in succession call out good fortune, and there's a reason we think this way. It's survival. It's a positive, albeit na'fve outlook that allows us to move forward, to expect the sun to rise, wars to resolve, the world to improve. It's how we continue to live when life is unfair, when love is taken from us too quickly, when thegood times fade and are replaced by lengthy hardship. We don't give up because we feel, .deeply, illogically, intensely, FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013 that something good could be right around the corner. Something destined. Something planned and waiting just for us. More times than not this isn't the case, and we make the most of our lives, and there are good moments and bad, and love and heartache, and they may seem connected, and they may not, but we manage, mostly, to go on. And that, I think, would be the universe's wish, and it's one that Judaism wholeheartedly endorses. Don't count on fate.Don'twait for life to hand you a winning ticket. We're all here to make the most of ourselves, to make the world better due to our own ood deeds and good decisions. Today. Here and now. If the universe wishes for anything, I think it wishes for us to live every day doing God's good work, assuming there's no one watching over us, no predetermined plan other than the one we set out for ourselves. That's what Judaism teaches, despite our natural disposition to believe in uncontrolled fate and luck. I didn't win Powerball, evenwith my incred- ible consecutive numbers. And the golfing gator wasn't mine, though it looked remark- ably similar. And I still enjoy experiencing the strange, quixotic coincidences that abound in life. But I don't wait for them, or expect them to occur. Rather, I do my best to grab my days by the throat and throttle everything I can out of them. That's my wisKfor you as well. 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 "l Sh00pley speaks Jim Shipley The elephant in the room "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana saiff this in his "Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.l"... and it's still true. Look, call it"Arab Spring," "Uprisings," "Revo- lution"--the end result is that some of Africa and most of the Middle East has been stood on its head in the past three years. I listen to some supposedly really smart people parse the situation in Egypt, Syria, Libya and elsewhere. And I keep waiting. Okay? Now, tell us the real problem! Once in a great while, awriter like Jeffrey Goldberg will tackle the subject--but few if any others. The president does not refer to it. I doubt Fox News even knows the subject--nor cares. It did not come up in Paris where The Foreign Ministers of the U.S., France and Britain all congratulated each other (and the Russians) for a "solution" to chemical weapons in Syria and who holds them. What is it I'm speaking about? Well, good friends, go back to World War I. Take a look at the world. The Middle East was dominated not by Russia or the U.S. or even individual dictators. Itwas ruled by the Ottoman Empire, headquartered in Turkey. The sultan of the Empire was smart enough to stay out of the conflict spreading from Australia to Russia and eventually to the U.S. The European Strategy, in addition to crush- ing the Kaiser and the Germanic peoples, was to dismantle the Ottoman Empire andwhack it up amongst themselves. Hey! All that oil was there for the taking. Oil was going to be BIG in the post war world. Sea routes, the Suez Canal. All they had to do was dismantle the Ottoman Empire. So, they sucked the sultan into joining the Germans when the Brits went into Turkish waters to attack a German warship that had asked for sanctuary there. What followed was a bloody but ultimately successful takeover of all the lands formerly held by the sultan and his acolytes. In order to accomplish this, the French and English promised the Arab tribes their own land if they would help in the war. "Lawrence of Arabia" got it mostly right. Obviously the dictators of the peace process had no intention of giving the Arabs anything but sand. Woodrow Wilson had some pretty good ideas built around a "League of Nations," but the Brits and French wanted to run that for their own lnterests and an Isolationist Congress in the U.S. made it impossible for the plan to work. Meanwhile, no one paid any attention to history--specifically of Islam. They cared not about Shia or Sunni. They cared little for clans or loyalties among tribes, or the lack thereof. Oil. They wanted oil and sea routes and spices and the other spoils of war. So, as part of the Grand Bargain that resulted in WWII, they created borders where there were none, made nations with no loyal citizens and installed kings and dictators to replace the sultan. There appeared on the world map nations such as Syria/Lebanon, Jordan (Ah! There is the gem that the British gave to the Arabs for their loyalty during the war), Iraq, Iran and a small, mandated piece of ground, less than one percent of the total landmass and called it ,'Palestine." They carefully protected their interest by selecting rulers that they could control, pay and keep in power. The U.S. was left out of all this and had to content themselves with doing the same thing in Central and South America: installing dictators and controlling bananas and pineapple. Cobbled natiqnal interests, nations only because the conquerors said they were, the elements of a monumental explosion were in place. Shia hated Sunni just as much as Sunni hated Shia. Loyalty was not to any arbitrary lines drawn on a map. Loyalty was "me against my brother, my brother and I against my cousin, my cousin, my brother and I against you." And all of this held together by brutal rulers. Explosion was inevitable. When the kings and/or dictators became ineffective, the "major powers" exchanged them for others. America finally got into the game. Iran had a benevolent king but the U.S. was not sure of a steady flow of oil, SO we replaced the king with a shah. The rest as they say, is history. Shia and Sunni continued to boil untler the surface. As the U.S. blundered in Iraq, the minority Sunni no longer in charge, Shia militants came out of the shadows where Saddam had put them and the carnage goes .on to this day. Syria is engaged in a civil war. It is not awar of the people against Assad. It is Sunni against Alawite and the rest of Shia Islam. The fight- ers of Hezballah are not there to shore up the regime--they are there for the War To Come. And that war my friend, is simmering and oc- casionally exploding all over the Middle East. When it becomes an area conflict, all loyalties will be to the clans, the tribes. The-Sunni Saudis will pour money in to protect their interests. The Shia Iranians (Islam but not Arabs) will make their move. Itmakes all this posturing about chemical weapons and should America get involved almost academic. The elephant is in the room. He will not sit for long.