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October 8, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 8, 2004
 

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IEWlSH NEWS, OCTOBER 8, 2004 PAGE 5 ish " " i y in i i I YaJ BE ! Y ClottaMax new backpacks and school and Publix, and helped feed the stairs to the seventh ~utive Director supplies. We have been do- the people. Peopleofail races floor, but the response from ,~ lsh Federation of ing this project for the past and religions came for help the people she was bring- ~l Isia and Flagler nine years. This program is and you would be surprised ing food to make the effort nties not part of the campaign but at the number of Jews that worthwhile. a separate fundraising el- never asked for assistance We might not be as well We realize that everyone fort from grants, businesses before, and some were very knows as the Red Cross or ~throughagreatdeal and individuals. We were so embarrassed, asking for the Salvation Army, but we months, proud to see how hard every- help. Council on Aging had did a yeoman's job during youthat one worked those two days, suspended Meals on Wheels this crisis, we especially especially the youths. They and the handicapped and want to thank Ray Max, ler Counties that were awesome, elderly were without food. Gerald Epstein and David a family service Then the'hurricanes came We had volunteers going to Herstein for their many [LffERARY been there for the and we went into action, individuaihomesandeiderly hours of schlepping the food ity. On August l, we Hundreds of people from iow-incomeapartmentbuild- andsettingourpantryup.The j MAT K[NDI Ived with the Peace all walks of life, mostly the ings because they had no Farmworkers Association of %stivalattheOcean workingpoor, cametoourof- power and could not use the Pierson needed clothing and Lrr - A On August 2 and 3, rice for help. We even opened elevator. These elderly were miscellaneous items and we ' instrumental in on Saturdays (with sanction hungryandwethankthevol- were instrumental in load- 4,200 youths, re- from the rabbis) and Sundays. unteers for their assistance, ing up four trucks full. Our of race or religion, Wepurchasedfrozenfoodlike Onemother, whose daughter clothes closet was bare, but in both Volusia hamburger, other perishable also helped, told us how hot by the next Sunday so many brand food from Second Harvest and tired she was climbing See "Max" on page 15 to putting one over the plate By Beverly Barna :anbealonely in which " r known I sit, not g, in- , to Come across news of Green. is a guy who, appar- first base for the (If I remember :lays correctly, entails standing around for someone to running at you, and hitting a hard, with a big, wood running at someone it all turns out I.n, if nobody gets hurt Implements and run- round.) Well, it turns Shawn (ifI may be so isn't eating, either, fore Kippur. Not eat- not playing baseball team. normalb not im- outabouta ~hat with Madonna her name to Es- ther. (What's next? PuffDaddy Moses?) And those books and songs about "Who's A Jew?" How do you say "inferiority complex" in Yiddish? But there I was, hunkered down at my laptop, when up from the screen came news of Shawn Green, not eating hotdogs, much less peanuts and crackerjack, nor playing baseball. Taking one, you might say, for the Diaspora. Okay. To be perfectly hon- est, I was not captivated by the declaration so much as the picture. Surely, this is God's best use of six feet and four inches since Liam Neeson and God knows, that is saying something. And he's Jewish. Oy. Such a boychik. I'm kvelling. Or, as my late Grandma Rose would have said, "I'm shepping nachas." Loosely translated: "I'm'so proud I could cross myself, but that would be inappropriate." Shawn Green is probably spending this Yom Kippur asking for forgiveness and listening to his stomach ask- ing for Fig Newtons: "Stale is fine. Just give something, anything, man. I haven't eaten a thing since Friday night, you fiend." But Shawn will likelywait, alongwith mil- lions of others of the Jewish faith, until Saturday night at sundown, when we will break the fast. If you have never witness6d this phenomenon, you are truly missing out. I steadfastly believe that Martha Stewart asked to be put into prison early, not so she'd be home in time to plant her spring garden, but rather to be in a safe place when the sun slips beneath the horizon and the stomachs prevail. Nothing says atonement like a piece of fresh chailah and a schmear of real butter. That's how I recall it, any- way. The truth is, I haven't fasted for Yom Kippur since Shawn Green was in Little League. And I was contem- plating, as I do every year, whether this year, I maybe, just maybe, perchance, ought to forego the food for a bissel and get serious about Yom Kippur. The "no" normally an- nounces itself by about 10 a.m. on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, ushered in by an English muffin, some orange juice and a piece of cheese. My husband, Mike, and I, are joined in a mutual forgiveness of ourselves for be - ing less than perfect Jews on this day on which we should be asking forgiveness for be- ing less than perfect people- -the point driven home by a beseeching belly. This year might be the one, though. For starters, our 4- year-old daughter, Suzanna, is in pre- K at the Jewish Corn - munity Center now. And she knows. While children are not supposed to fast, she will surely be on the lookout for those who do. That would be us. Time to set an example. Put up or shut up. Are we Jewish or not? And if we are, shouldn't we behave as such? It also has to do with our See "Barna" on page 15 I~ Nilly Dawson we are doing or fail- do to ~romote tikkun .This to participate in by joining fully process. As fully involved, decide not only in self-interest. We ,COnsider the good of all :vote. Iwill compare Sages of our tradition In this becomes clear why the vast majority Jews will, once our tradition If only for his in dealing with can people about deserves defeat. repeated warnings CIA and the Defense Iraq posed. With Ls exposed, he pretends that the illusory terrorists. Invading Iraq has weapons of mass destruction created a crisis of historic weren't important after all. proportions and, if we do not On September 20, Porter Goss, change course, [we face] awar Bush'sownrecentlyconfirmed with no end in sight." nomineefordirectorofcentral A commitment to help intelligence, admitted that the people less fortunate than administrationrepeatedlyover- ourselves: Jewish tradition stated the Iraqi threat. Bush lies especially extols the kind of with such confidence and art generosity that helps needy that he makes it seem socially people to become more in- acceptable.Yet lies remain lies dependent. Maimonedes de- and his have been deadly, scribed the highest level of Imagine your own child tzedakah(charitablegivingto buried for a lie or without promote justice)as"strength- his arms or legs or vision, eninganotherperson'shand" How can we, as Jews, vote so he can support himself. for a man who continues to In this light, John Kerry sacrifice other peoples' chil- backs raising the minimum dren so callously? wage in Florida. Meanwhile, John Kerry discusses the Bush has evaded the issue for war on terror honestly and fear of alienating his wealthy intelligently: "Terrorists are corporate backers who are beyond reason. We must w rkingagainstit'Theannual destroy them. As president, incomeofapersonwhoworks I will do whatever it takes, full-timeattoday'sminimum as long as it takes, to defeat wage ($5.15perhour) come to our enemies The greatest less than $11,000. Two-thirds threat isthepossibilitythat ofthesebottom-rungworkers AI Qaeda or other terrorists areadults, notteenagers.With will get a nuclear weapon, the minimum wage having To prevent that, we [need] been frozen here for nearly strong alliances Iraqwasa eight years, they are earn- profound diversion from the ing a third less in real wages battle against our greatest thantheircounterpartsthirty enemy, bin Laden and the years ago. Bush sometimes admits that the Americans to whom he answers are the rich. Ad- dressing a black-tie affair for his wealthy backers, he quipped, "Some people would call you the haves and have mores. I call you my base." Bush has implemented radical fiscal policies such as cutting taxes on dividends and income taxes for the richest among us. Thesepolicies are mortgaging our children's future for the sake of Bush's base. Careful stewardship of the natural world: The Environ- mental Alliance (www.enviro nmentalalliance.net) has de- cried George Bush's willful in- action on issues such as global warming. He consistently acts to help his oil-company sup- porters rather than advancing modern methods to solve our urgent energy problems. Again exhibiting a callous disdain for the facts, the administration distorts its record and misleads the pub- lic as it dismantles basic and longstanding environmental laws and protections. The Bush team has weakened the See "Dawson" on page 15 ~.medrvkoMs.Nm Rabbinical Thoughts Interfaith then and now By Rabbi R. J. Adler A quick assessment of inter- faith work in Orlando of the last fifty years would indicate that it has not been success- ful. The rule of thumb was to dwell on social action, to keep away from theological differ- ences and to try and establish a friendly atmosphere among the various monotheistic re- ligions. This philosophy was based on the old notion that if you want to be friends with your neighbors, do not discuss religion or politics. Not so, I hold today; on the contrary, if you cannot discuss these items intellectually, you do not have real friends or interfaith understanding. It is my opinion that in order to be successful in interfaith work we must know the fundamentals of each other's faiths, agreements as well as disagreements, trying to understand the whys and wherefores without trying to make any value judgments. We could explore together that our religious heritage is based on ethnic culture, tradi- tions handed down, historic experiences, inspired leader- ship and devoted masses. A brief overview to acquaint us with the major belief systems of the monotheistic faiths of our neighbors and our own, would be quite useful and even if not complete would provide underpinnings for our interfaith success. Regarding Judaism, we could discuss the idea of One God, the Torah, Moses and Mt. Sinai, the People- hood of Israel, the covenant with God, making them the "Holy" and/or "Chosen" People. These items should make for a lively discussion. The modern divisions in Juda- ism, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform and where they differ would al~o be of interest to all. When and where Jews pray and the content of their liturgy could also be a fertile ground for investigation, fol- lowed by the Sabbath and holi- day observances, at home and synagogue, and comparing all this with the observances of our neighbors. Finally, there are many life-cycle events, from birth to death rituals, where we can discover our common practices as well as our differences. In the past, many Jews have been reluctant to learn about Christianity for two major rea- sons: one, not enough time; two, lack of instructors and fear of conversion. Today, we have overcome these hurdles. It is important for Jews to understand the Christian God concept, including the Trinity, Original Sin and Atonement. We must learn the full impact of Jesus and Paul, the content of the New Testament and the concept of the New Covenant and New Israel. These are real differ- ences, and we must take time to at least discuss them in a neighborly fashion. The new Christian doctrine of Love and Faith in place of the Law; the idea of No Salvation outside the Church or faith in Jesus; the requirement of the Sacraments, which require a Church official to invoke the presence of Jesus in the ritual: -all these are unique to Christianity and not found in Judaism. Again, the emphasis of the Hereafter in place of this world is an exclusive Christian notion not found in authentic Jewish teaching, which stress- es the performance of mitzvot in this world. Because of the nature of these theological discussions and delicate dif- ferences, a knowledgeable leader should be present to guide the group in the right direction. Since the Moslem religion is growing in this country, we should include Islam in our interfaith meetings. They usually know as little about Judaism and Christianity as See "Adler" on page 15