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September 27, 2013

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PAGE 14A Hammer From page 1A In his senior year as left tackle for the Wisconsin Badgers, Yore Kippur fell on the same day as a game. After debating whether to play at all and consulting a rabbi, he worked out a compromise, beginning his fast early and fasting until an hour before the afternoon game against Arizona State. In his freshmen year on Yom Kippur there was a night game against Iowa and he fasted until an hour before that game as well. "Religion is a part of me and I don't want to just say I'm Jewish," Carimi told JTA. "I actually do make sacrifices that I know are hard choices." When asked in college if Yore Kippur might conflict with football if he turned pro, Carimi said he had already searched out the dates for Yom Kippur and it would not fall On a Sund/y for at least the next 15 years. Carimi, a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 2011 was an All American at Wisconsin, winning the Outland Trophy for the na- tion's best interior lineman in 2010. In the second game of his NFL career, he was injured in a game against the New Orleans Saints and missed the rest of the season. In 2012, he played in all 16 regular season games for Chicago, starting in 14 of them. This summer, he was traded to the Bucs and said the team and community were very welcoming. "Everyone seems nice. It's all been pretty smooth," he said. The one big difference from playing in Chicago and Wisconsin? Tampa's summertime heat and humidity. "It is challenging, that's for sure. Hopefully my body will acclimate more and more to "I grew up in a good family it," he said. and with good family tradi- He is listed as second on tions and a lot of that was the Bucs' depth chart at right focused on Judiasm, and I tackle, butwas put in as starter to replace left guard Carl Nicks for the first two games against the Jets and the New Orleans Saints. He also started in the final two preseason games for the Buc and said he will play "wherever they need me." He said he visited a local synagogue on Rosh HaSha- nah, but has not yet joined a congregation in Tampa. Grow- ing up, his family attended Temple Beth El in Madison, Wis., where he was an-ac- tive member of the Reform congregation. His father is a doctor of internal medicine at Mercy Hospital in Janesville, believe in it," he said. For his bar mitzvah at Beth El, the education director who filled in for an absent rabbi said Carimi was so tall, even while kneeling, that he placed his hand on Carimi's shoulder instead of his head for his blessing. And when Carimi worked on a Habitat for Humanity home for his mitzvah project, he blended in until someone dis- covered he was only 12--too young according to Habitat rules to work on the home. After becoming a bar mitz- vah, Carimi continued his religious studies, celebrating Wis., and his mother works hisconfirmationandworking for a company that sells health as an assistant to a fifth-grade and nutrition products, a2007 Sunday school teacher, JTA story in the Wisconsin Jewish reported. For Chanukah one Chronicle said, adding thathis year, he asked his parents for a parents are native Floridians. shofarandjoinedthemenwho HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013 share the honor of blowing the ram's horn on the High Holidays. At Wisconsin, he was known as the Jewish Ham- mer for the way he knocked down opponents. "Actually," Carimi said, "I got that name in high school. Someone said it and it stuck with me." Carimi said he took pride in the name and also enjoyed being called Bear Jew--the name of a character in the film"Inglourious Basterds"-- when playing for Chicago Bears. No matter the nickname, Carimi is definitely in an elite group. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, there are not even enough current NFL Jewish players to make a minyan. Besides Carimi, the website lists seven Jewish play- ers including anQther Buc- caneer, fullback Erik Lorig. The number of players equals the number of current team owners who are Jewish, which includes the Bucs' Glazer fam- ily, according to the website. Carimi said he has heard the stereotype that Jews do not play sports, but it never stopped him or was something he used as motivation to prove people wrong. He also said he has never encountered anti-Semitism as a player or off the field. While he spent Rosh Ha- Shanah in synagogue and honored the Yom Kippur fast after the fact, Carimi once told a Hillel publication "Pass- over is definitely my favorite holiday." As for food, "Potato latkes are my favorite Jewish food, next to a nice reuben sand- wich." Since he was in New York to play the Jets for the season opener, perhaps he stopped off for a hearty reuben after the game. Colorado From page 2A she said. "My husband Rabbi Pesach Scheiner and I thought they might be maing a big deal out of nothing." When three rooms filled with water later that night, they knew it was serious. "There was a flood in front of our house and the backyard was a nice sized swimming pool," she said. The Scheiners and their children were evacuated. Neighbors convinced them to leave. "We went in their car," Scheiner said. "It was like the parting of the Reed Sea." When-the Scheiners re- turned to assess the damage, they found a few inches of brown water in the synagogue. The family got on their knees to clean the small worship space and then tackled the house. Days of heavy rain across Colorado's Front Range left eight people confirmed dead as of Monday ev'ening and hundreds more unaccounted for. Reconstructionist Beth Evergreen, iocated in the foothills just outside Denver, nearly shut its doors on the evening of Yom Kippur due to flooding. According to Rabbi Jamie Arnold, the road cttting through Evergreen, in the mountains west of Denver, was closed all day Friday, which meant congregants coming from Conifer would have to tackle a circuitous route from the opposite direction. Only about 30 to 40 "hard-core" congregants made it to Beth Evergreen for Kol Nidre, Arnold said, and about 300 attended Yore Kippur services the next day, when the clouds dissipated long enough to al- low for safe travel. "I didn't change my ser- mon substantially," Arnold said. "I included prayers for healing and read names for those unable to say kaddish for their loved ones. But my sermon was about the func- tion of community; how it" provides sanctuary. I think that said it all." Meanwhile, Rabbi Yis- roel Wilhelm of Chabad at the University of Colorado was receiving a call a minute and a stream of emails Friday morning. "We've already cleaned up our mess--only a few inches in the shul," Wilhelm said. "But it's pretty intense." Students contacted Wil- helm to find out where they could attend services in Boulder. Some, unable to get home to Denver, also called him. Others trapped in inac- cessible areas requested basic supplies. "The saddest part for me is that there are people who are completely stranded," he said. "They can't even get out of their cars. Another girl in an isolated canyon has no food or water." Bonai Shalom was able to hold services at Naropa Uni- versity, despite the university's closing. Several Boulder Aish Kodesh members attended Bonai Shalom's services. "Our congregation shares land with Boulder Aish Kodesh," said Steve Hill, president of Bonai Shalom. "We're very close." Rabbi Wilhelm, who re- wrote his sermon Thursday night to emphasize the need for volunteers "to seize the day,', said that a few hundred people comprising a "very different turnout" prayed at CU Chabad over Yom Kippur. Kol Nidre "felt like a relief," he said. "Students were happy to get out of their dorms and join us. There was a very special energy." For those who couldn't make it to synagogue, some observed the holiday at home. "Yom Kippur is where you are," said one man, who asked not to be identified. "We had the machzor,.we had the parsha, so we did it at home/' Jonathan Lev, executive director of the Boulder JCC, which also sustained damage, broke away to spend a few hours at Bonai Shalom's Kol Nidre service. "Although I couldn't stay long at services, people were talking to each other, pooling resources and figuring out whatwas necessary," Lev said. Flooding virtually an- nihilated the Chabad Jewish Center of Longmont, located about 25 miles northeast of Boulder. "Our shul was com- pletely ruined," Rabbi Yakov Borenstein said Friday. "It looks like an island. We are right next to a creek here." Borenstein managed to save the Torah scroll, prayer - books and other ritual items before he was ordered out of the building Thursday. At 3 a.m. that night, the rabbi, his wife and four children were evacuated from their home. "Our Hebre school is gone," he said. "The water is two-feet deep. Humidity has warped all our sacred books.i' Borenstein worried he might not draw a minyan to . Yore Kippur services in Long- mont, but almost 100 peolle showed up. "G-d has a purpose in ev- erything," Borenstein said. "I see a tremendous amount of good inpeople.Volunteers and donations are coming from all over. What a beautiful world we live in." Azerbaijan From page 2A great care during those early and unstable times," ac- cording to Avinoam Idan, a senior research fellow at John Hopkins University's Central Asia-Caucasus Institute. In recent years, however, the partnership has grown much more open--and more robust. In 2011, the Israeli de- fense contractor Aeronautics opened a factory for military drones in Azerbaijan. The fol- lowing year, the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries sold Azerbaijan -$1.6 billion worth of weapons-- a deal that amounted to 43 percent of 75148 89236 34617 57961 46823 21359 1 3592 92784 68475 Azerbaijan's total expenditure on arms in 2012. Azerbaijan now supplies a whopping 40 percent of Israel's oil con- sumption. In May, Elmar Mammady- arov,became the first Azerbai- jani foreign minister to visit Israel. Mammadyarov met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres along with a dozen other'ministers and promised that the opening of an Azerbaijani embassy was "just a matter of time." Israel's increasingly cozy ties with Azerbaijan have grown in the wake of a crisis in the country's relations with Iran. Though tradi- 9236 5174 2895 8342 7519 4768 6487 1653 3921 tionally mistrustful of the Islamic Republic's penchant for exporting revolutionary zeal, Azerbaijan had strived to maintain good relations, signing a non-aggression pact with Tehran in 2005. But relations deteriorated in 2009 after Iran cracked down on the large minority of ethnic Azerbaijanis living in Iran. When Azerbaijan protested, Iranian officials threatened to raise territorial claims. Israel was named as a factor in the dispute last year when Azerbaijani officials revealed plans by local extremists, aided b Iran, to blow up the Israeli and American embas- sies in Baku. Also last year, ran accused Azerbaijan of helping Israel assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists and gather intel- ligence. The situation was inflamed further by a Reuters report that Israel planned to useAzerbaijani airfields in the event of a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Cohen From page 5A removed by an Iranian bomb, the Middle East will be more perilous than it has ever been. Just as worryingly, if Israel judges that any negotiations between the U.S. and Iran are going nowhere, Jerusalem could tae the radical step of pre-emptively striking Iran's Israeli and Azerbaijani of- ficials denied the report. "These reports sound like James Bond stories, and that's exactly what they are," said Raphael Harpaz, Israel's ambassador to Azerbaijan, at his office at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. That said, "Azerbaijan has taken a courageoui stand against efforts to destabilize the region," Harpaz added-= an obvious reference to Iran, Harpaz said anti-Semitic sentiment, prevalent in much of the Muslim world, is virtu- ally nonexistent inAzerbaijan, a secular country with guar- anteed freedom of worship and--unlike its abstemious southern neighbor--teem- ing with bars and nightclubs where scantily dressedwomen dance to Turkish and Russian pop hits. "Azerbaijan's economic success and relatively liberal attitudes form a contrast with Iran's restrictive policies and a viable alternative, which is probably making the Mullah regime uncomfortable," Idan said. Despite Baku's attempts to keep the peace, American diplomats believe Azerbaijan considers Iran "a major, even existential security threat," according to an assessment in a leaked diplomatic cable from 2009. The country's cooperation with Israel "flows from this shared recognition," the cable read. Idan saysAzerbaijan's close- ness with Israel is actually aimed at a different regional foe: Armenia, Azerbaijan's neighbor to the west, against whom Azerbaijan has fought two wars in the last century over the disputed Nagorno- Kaxabakh region. Aliyev considers the con- flict unfinished, which has led toAmerican and European reluctance to sell him weap- ons he can't obtain elsewhere. Israel has no such qualms. Israel, too, may have broad- er reasons for cultivating ties with Azerbaijan. The Jewish state has long sought out non-Arab moderate Muslim nations as allies as a counter- weight to the hostile Muslim nations that surround it. lldar Mamedov, an Azer- baijan-born political adviser at the European Parliament in Brussels, wrote in January that Israel sees Azerbaijan as a replacement for Turkey, whose once-close partnership with Israel hasn't recovered from the 2010 storming by Israeli commandos of a Turkish ship bound for Gaza. But Fuad Akhundov, a historian and government spokesman, told JTA that per- sonal bonds between Jews and Azerbaijanis over the centuries has helped cement the bond. "Jews here have always been perceived as promoters of progress, part of the elite, as something which holds potential," Akhundov said. "These positive feelings had a role in the establishment of warm bilateral ties." nuclear facilities, in order to eliminate what continues to be a very real existential threat. Ultimately, the stakes are highest for the United States. President Obama's allergy to even limited military opera- tions that don't involve boots on the ground may well yield a much deadlier local conflict, in which the U.S. has little leverage. When the British Prime Minister Neville Chamber- lain signed the Munich Pact with Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill told him, "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you shall have war." If Obama cares about his legacy, he must now do all he can to avoid a similarly pen- etrating barb that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Ben Cohen is the Shillman analyst for His writ- ings on Jewish affairs andMid- dle Eastern politics have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Ha'aretz and many other publications.