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October 9, 2009

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pA~F 4A Open your heart Besides the spiritual renewal, the chance to a message instead of making small talk? begin again and the hope for a new year filled How many of us use e-mail to avoid having with promise, one of the "perks" of the High a difficult conversation? Too many of us, Holy Days, for me, are the special sermons it seemed, by a show of hands. He quoted we all hear. I know. Am I crazy? Don't I fall from Bruce Springsteen, anditwasapropos: asleep? Aren't they interminably long? Maybe You might need somethin" to hold on to I am crazy, lint I listen, and generally, I learn When all the answers they don't amount something, and benefit from listening, to much This year, on Kol Nidre, I heard a sermon Somebody that you can just talk to about communication--with one another, And a little of that human touch and with God. Our rabbi spoke about all Baby in a world without pity the ways we in modern society miss one DoyouthinkwhatI'maskin'stoomuch? another--the e-mails, the text messages, l just want to feel you in my arms the tweets, the messages on answering And share a little of that human touch..." machines instead of the warmth and hu- It all rang true for me. But I kept wait- manity, personal connections a ing for the last major point to be made, conversation, a phone call, listening to and and either I missed it, or it eluded the sharing with one another. How many of us, sermon--how do we communicate with, he asked, are grateful when we can leave how do we connect with God? HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 9, 2009 Now I have to admit something. I'm not thing is less the prayer, but more that we sure that I believe in God, at least not the choose to pray, if the point is our pres- traditional almighty God. the being who ence at shul. not our performance, then is everywhere and knows all, watching perhaps, by being the vehicle for prayer, over us with judgment and benevolence, we are putting ourselves in position to I do believe in the forces of nature, in experience God. the abundance of life. I believe we're not I know for myself that the experience alone, and I believe that there are laws of is the message, l know that when I am at order and physics that shape existence. I my most empathic and vulnerable (which believe in the transcendence of goodness, some might say isn't very), when I allow in the presence of evil, in being open to myself to feel what's going on around what the universe has in store. But is that me without barriers or borders, I come God? And if it is (or if it is one possible closest to communicating in a real. godly definition) how do we touch it? Where is way. When I have experienced the most the connection that transcends our physi- special moments of my life, looking out cal limitations and takes us...somewhere over a mountain range after a long day's else? Somewhere we become more than hike, seeing my wife and children with love we normally are? and understanding, stopping to breathe, to Our rabbi also quoted Marshall McLu- listen, to be aware of my place in a moment, han. -the famous profess of communica- when I open my heart and let the world tions.InMcLuhan's seminalwork,"Under- in that's when I think I come closest to standing Media--the Extensions of Man," touching God. And if we do that just a few he proposed that the mediaitselfshouldbe times this year, if we make the choice to studied, not only the content they carry, become the media for the message, if we This has been popularly quoted as "the make the effort to step out of the ordinary medium is the message." If that's the case, in our daily lives and open our hearts, then when we reach out to God, we are we'll find a way to communicate with our both the message bearer and the message, personal God, and in the process, touch And if that's the case, is the messageso a deeper, more profound, more true part important, or the fact that we, as human of ourselves. beings, choose to deliver it? And that's the good word until next This is particularly relevant for me after time. The opinions expressed in this the long (and in my mind repetitious) set- column are the writer's, and not those vices of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. of the Heritage or any other Jewish or- I'm sure all of our local rabbis have good ganization. Write the Heritage, or e-mail reasons for the structure and repetition of your comments, critiques, and concerns ourreligious services, but if the important to By Jonathan Tobin than that posed in Eban's day by Nasser Commentary Magazine or in Herzog's day by Arafat. The main difference is that unlike in that era, there Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the appears to be a growing reluctance on the United Nations on Sept. 24 was as eloquent part of many liberal American Jews to as it was on target with respect to the identify with Israel or to oppose its foes. Holocaust denial and genocidal threats of This "count me out" strategy of Jews who Iran's Ahmadinejad as well as the hypocrisy not only are lukewarm about their affection and distortions of the U.N.'s Human Rights for Zion but are actually embarrassed to be Council and its Goldstone report on the . caught supporting Israel in front of their fighting in Gaza last December. fellow liberals was brazenly articulated by With respect to the threat to humanity Jay Michaelson in a disgraceful column posed by the bid for nuclear weapons in published in the Forward last month. the hands of fanatical Islamists, Netan- While I can't believe that Michaelson, yahu asked if "the U.N. is up to that" andotherswhotakethepointofviewthat challenge. It's a good question. But his they are in some sense morally superior speech reminded me of another question to Israelis, represent anything more than left unanswered by recent events: whether a troublesome minority of American American Jewry and other friends of IsrAel Jewry, it would be foolish to believe that here are up to the challenge of speaking it is an insignificant group. Even worse is out against the Iranian threat and against the prospect that those liberal Jews who pressure on Israel to make concessions to have the ear of the current resident of Iran's Islamist allies, the White House are putting this point of In pointing out the shame of the world view forward. body in allowing maniacal anti-Semites While many Jews took to the streets last such as Ahmadinejad to use its rostrum month around the U.N. to protest Iran, it as a bully pulpit from which to broadcast is f~r from clear that the community is .hate, Netanyahu said he was speaking in either united on this issue or prepared the name not just of the people of Israel to put aside political differences in order but of the Jewish people at large as well to make action on'the issue a bipartisan as decent people everywhere. But there priority. With the clock ticking down to- appears to be a sharp division between wardanuclearIran, a reluctance to oppose the sentiments of Israeli Jewswhosupport Obama's policies on any issue, as well as Netanyahu's prideful stands against Iran Jewish diffidence with respect to support and the pressure President Obama is ap- of Israel, maybecome crucial factors in the plying on Jerusalem, and American Jews, urrfolding political drama on this issue. If the majority of whom seem inclined to back so, then the question of shame may very Obama's"engagement"withTehran, aswell well be directed not so much at the circus as his inept attempts to strong-arm Israel. performers and clowns of the U.N. but at There was a time when Israelis such as Chose of us who fail to act or speak during Abba Eban and Chaim Herzog galvanized this historic challenge. American Jewry into action with brilliant Jonathan Tobin is editor-in-chief of speeches. The threat to Israel and the Commentary Magazine, from which this Jewish people as well as to humanity column is reprintedwithpermission. Read in general--from the Islamism of Iran, Commentary online at www.commentar- Hamas. and Hezbollah is no less dangerous THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OFHERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ~ ~ CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ~ ~ [SSN 0199-0721 Winner of 40 Press Awards EWISH E 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, FernPark, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 emaih Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Stare Lyn Payne Hike Etzkin Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Harmon Kim Fischer Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky Tim Boxer David Bomstein Production Department David Lehman * David Gaudio s Teri Marks Louis Ballantyne * Elaine Schooping * Gil Dombrosky Women and Islam Imagine being a female living in an had dishonored the family and was a"Bad Islamic controlled community where the Muslim girl." Quran is strictly enforced. They even go so far as blamingwomen for Through the ages women have a history being raped. Then. as an honor killing the of being treated as second class compared family justifies murdering the victim. Why? to men. Unfortunately, in many third world Because the Quran (24:13) easily considers countries and cultures, women are still women liars. For a man to be convicted of treated this way. There are many Muslims rape, a woman needs four men to confirm who use the Quran and the teachings of her claim otherwise the Qur'an (24:13) their Prophet, Muhammad, to justify male states: "Why did they not bring four wit- domination over women, nesses of it? But as they have not brought The Quran is the Islamic bible, which witnesses (4) they are liars before Allah." Muslims go to for guidance in all aspects "t~ou might think Muslim females have of their life religious, political and social _ only few extra inconveniences than Ameri- (including the relationship of men and can women. Big mistake. Below are only five women), limitations forced on women by extremists The Hadith, (the verbal teachings of the such as the Taliban. For a longer list check Prophet Muhammad), such as section Abu out Dawud (2141) states "Beatings are some- Ban on women laughing loudly. times necessary to keep women in their Ban on the use of cosmetics. (Many 'On July 23, 2008, The New York Post reported that, in Atlanta, a Pakistani, Chaudhry Rashis, strangled his 25-year-old daughter because she wanted out of an arranged marriage. At his arraignment, the father said, "/have done nothing wrong."" place." There are a number of references in these books reenforcing this attitude to- ward women. Such as in Abu Dawud (2142): "The Prophet Muhammad said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife." Approval of beating is bad enough but there are the so-called "Honor Killings.' According to "Wikapedia." the United Na- tions Population Fund estimates, that the annual worldwide total of honor-killings may be as high as 5.000. The Fund clearly states the vast majority of murdered victims are women. Do not fool yourself thinking "honor- killings" only happen in backward coun- tries. Yes. it is also happening in the United States in the modern world. On July 23. 2008, The New York Post reported that, in Atlanta. a Pakistani, Chaudhry Rashis, strangled his 25-year-old daughter because she wanted out of an arranged marriage. At his arraignment, the father said, "I have done nothing wrong." On Jan. 29, 2009, in New York, Waheed Al- lah Mohammad pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault for trying to kill his sister, Fauzia A. Mohammad, by stabbing her. Waheed Mohammad told investigators that Fauzia women with Painted nails reportedly had their fingers cut off.) Whipping of women in public for having non-covered ankles. Ban on women being treated by male doctors. Complete ban on women's activity outside the home unless accompanied by a mahram (close male relative such as a father, brother or husband). Taliban treat women worse than they treat animals. In fact, even as Taliban declare the keeping of caged birds and animals illegal, they imprison Afghan women within the four walls of their own home. Why is it important to understand how poorly Muslim women can be treated? Because Muslims have spread throughout the world and many are bringing their fanatic religious interpretation with them. They are also pushing to have Islamic law become the law of all the lands. We need to understand that Islamic law has been creep- ing into countries in Europe and showing signs here. Protect our freedom of speech and speak out when in doubt. Ed Ziegler is a board member of Temple Shalom and president of its brotherhood. He can be reached at EdZiegler@Embarq-