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October 10, 2014

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 10, 2014 Is lunar eclipse at Sukkot an ominous sign? By Edmon J. Rodman he said. "On average there are two lunar eclipses every year. The chance of having a lunar eclipse on Sukkot is one in six. "The same is true for the first night of Pesach," he said, demystifying what at first seems like an awesome coincidence. But what about the fact that the eclipses fall on the two Jewish holidays? "If there's one on Suk- kot, then there's a very high chance that there will be one on Pesach," said Schnittman, noting that the holidays are exactly six months apart. "There's been a lot of hub- bub about 'Four Blood Moons' in a row," he added. But once the plane of the orbits of the moon and earth are aligned so that an eclipse occurs, "it's actually quite reasonable that you are going to get them again every six months for the next couple of years before the cycle moves a little bit out of alignment." As for the blood-like color, which is even mentioned in the book of Joel, Schnittman explained, "Full eclipses are always red. Just like the clouds on earth turn red during the sunset, during an eclipse the full moon turns red." Perhaps adding a tinge of credibility to Hagee's claim is that in the Talmud, the rabbis said "when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel, since Israel reckons by the moon." "That reflects a more an- cient superstitious approach to Judaism and astronomy," LOS ANGELES (JTA)--As we ushered in Sukkot, was there a blood moon rising? John Hagee, the San Anto- nio pastorwhowrote the book "Four Blood Moons: Some- thing is About to Change," would have us believe so. Hagee predicts that be- cause of a cycle of four lunar eclipses called a tetrad--two this year and next on Passover and Sukkot--that something big is about to happen, like the Rapture. The eclipse was seen throughout much of the world on Oct. 7 and 8--the latter the eve of Sukkot. It was visible throughout much of the United States on Oct. 8, but only in New Zealand on the actual holiday. During a lunar eclipse, the moon moves directly behind the earth and into its shadow. Seeing the first so-called "blood moon" following the first night's seder this year--it looked more like watered- down kiddush wine--did fill me with wonder. Or was that just the Four Cups talking? So is some sort of cataclysm on its way? Jeremy Schnittman, a re- search astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and an observant Jew, told JTA, "The lunar tetrad event is perfectly normal." Every night when you go outside on the first night of Sukkot, it is going to be a full moon. And every lunar eclipse hap'pens during a full moon," said Schnittman, who in graduate school studied theo- retical black holes and later attended Yeshivat Hamitzar in Israel for a year. In his book, Hagee builds his theory by lining up catastrophic events in Jew- ish history, like the Spanish Inquisition and Israel,s War of Independence, with lunar tetrads in 1492 and 1948. "People are looking for patterns," Schnittman said. "Humans are really good at it. But sometimes you find a pattern that's not really there. "From a historical point of view, you could close your eyes and stick your finger on a historical date in the last 2,000 years and there's prob- ably something inauspicious" going for the Jews, he said. "You would think that if this were a real portent of doom for Israel, it would ac- tually be visible from Israel," Schnittman said. "But it's not happening there until the middle of the day, so they are not going to see anything. None of the four of the tetrad are actually visible in Israel. Schnittman said he's been interested in astronomy since he was young. "About half the gifts I got for my bar mitzvah were as- tronomy books," he recalled. "They sat collecting dust on my shelf for around 10 years before I pulled them out again." For Schnittman, the com- ing lunar eclipse "isn't a ran- dom event. You can calculate exactly when all these things happen( he said. HERITAGE offers The Financial Issue This Special Issue is full of features relating to financial issues affecting you and Central Florida. Your ad in this Special Section will reach an audience of heads of households who are qualified business and professional people who have the income necessary to live well today and invest wisely tomorrow, Publication Date: October 31, 2014 Deadline: October 22, 2014 "When I sit down and cal- culate with a piece of paper and pencil that there's going to be an eclipse three years from now and t happens, that to me is like getting a little peek inside of God's world." For some people, Schnit- tman said, he knows his approach "takes some of the mysticism out of it." But "it's exactly quite the opposite." "The fact that God created a world that has all these amazing events and also gave us the ability to both predict them and understand them, to me that's exactly a very religious experience," he said. And what about finding the date for the next lunar eclipse on a Jewish holiday? "In 2016, there's one on March 23; which is probably Purim," he said. "I'm sure people will be coming out say- ing something about that." That got me thinking about writing a book filled with dire predictions--in- cluding, of course, a ha- mantashen shortage. "The Purim Prophecy," anyone? Edmon J. Rodman is a JTA columnist who writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. Contact him at edmojace@ Israeli doctor makes house calls to Palestinians By Linda Gradstein The Media Line Wadi Nis, West Bank - As Dr. Yitzchak Glick drives through the steep streets of this West Bank village of some 1000 residents, he is repeatedly stopped by Pales- tinians residents. Some just want to say hello and shake his hand. Others ask him to stop in and check on a family member. Many of the Palestinians live in large homes, faced with white Jerusalem lime- stone that is quarried here and sold abroad. But some of the residents like Hosam, a father of six who asked not to give his last name, are poor. In his home, two adults and six children live in just two rooms. "Please come and take a look at my daughter- ju st one minute," Hosam,.a father of six with a careworn expres- sion begged Glick. Ba'ayan, a severely disabled girl, lay in a crib, her limbs twisted and her face disfig- ured. She is severely retarded and, at 15, she is the size of a toddler. Glick make an appoint- ment for Ba'ayan to see a pediatric neurologist in nearby Efrat, a Jewish com- munity built on land Israel acquired in 1967, although he later said he doubts there is much that can be done for Ba'ayan. Glick established the Efrat Emergency Medical Center in 2000, at the height of the second Palestinian uprising. The center provides urgent care to some 50,000 residents of the area. About five percent of the patients are Palestinians. Glick comes to this Pales- tinian village about twice a week on a strictly volunteer basis. "I think there's a tremen- dous value in interaction between Israelis and Palestin- ians here," he told The Media Line. "I'm living here for over 20 years and we see ourselves as here to stay. We recognize they're here to stay. I want to get to a situation where we learn to know each other and respect each other to the utmost." Some 70,000 Jewish resi- dents live in this bloc of com- munities called Gush Etzion along with some 18,000 Palestinians and 75,000 in nearby Bethlehem. These Jewish communities are within the Israeli "consen- sus," meaning most Israelis believe these communities will remain part of Israel even after a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Palestinians say that Gush Etzion, along with all of the West Bank, must be part of the future Palestinian state, although they are willing to consider some land swaps. Whatever the future, Is- raelis and Palestinians in- termingle here, at the local grocery store, at the garage, and at the hardware store. Raed, who works at the hardware store and speaks fluent Hebrew, says his cli- entele is about evenly split between Israelis and Pales- tinians. "We like anyone who likes us," he told The Media Line. "There are a lot of good people on both sides." These kinds of relation- ships between Jews who live in post-1967 communi- ties and Palestinians used tobe common before:the first intifada, or Palestinian uprising, which began in 1987. Since then, they have almost ceased. According to Israeli law, it is illegal for an Israeli to enter Area A, the 20 percent of the West Bank that is under full Palestinian control. Large red signs warn Israelis of the danger. Since the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers from a bus stop just a few miles from here last June, the tensions have increased even more. Glick says that some of his neighbors have stopped em- ploying Palestinians to work as electricians or plumbers in their homes. "Anytime a serious ter- ror event occurs anywhere, there's an increase in ten- sion. Being that the kidnap- ping occurred right here in the center of Gush Etzion, it's devastating, frustrating and painful for all of us," Glick said. "There are defi- nitely families who say, "Why should I hire a Palestinian plumber when I Can hire a Jewish one?" But he says he will con- tinue to see his Palestinian patients, many of whom have become his friends. Twelve years ago, he says, at the height of the Palestinian inti- fada against Israel, a Palestin- ian family brought avery sick baby to the gate of Efrat, the community of almost 10,000 where he lives with his wife and four of their children. (A fifth child is married.) The Israeli security officer called Glick, who rushed to the gate of the community. He took one look at the baby, who had a very high fever and was in sepsis, and drove the baby to Bethlehem hospital, where he recovered. The family lives in the vil- lage of Jarta Shama. Musa, the father of the family is in a wheelchair, after a con- struction accident in Israel. Despite months of rehabilita- tion in Israel, he still does not walk or speak. Yusuf, the sick baby, is now a teenager. Musa warmly welcomes Glick with hugs and kisses. The entire family comes out to say hello and offers tea. One of the daughters, Fatima, has just finished medical school in Egypt. She is set to begin working in a Ramallah hospi- tal. She says the atmosphere since the kidnapping has been tense. "The army has been around here much more and they have arrested a lot of people," she told The Media Line. Like other Palestinians here, she did not want to use her last name, afraid she would be tagged as a "collaborator"  with Israel because of her relationship with Glick."Ev , ery day the army is searching here and destroying things. I:, don't agree with the kidnap- ping - I don't know why.they did that. Everythingwas good here, but now..." Her voice trails off in frustration. Many Palestinians see Glick and all of the ap- proximately 70,000 Jewish residents of Gush Etzion, as "settlers" who have come to steal the Palestinian land of the West Bank. Glick says he personally supports an independent Palestinian state, but in only part of the West Bank, an idea thatwould not be acceptable to the vast majority of Palestinians. He also said that each commu- nity in Judea and Samaria, using the Biblical names for the West Bank, should adopt a Palestinian community as Efrathas adopted Wadi Nis. Glick's last patient of the day is a pretty pert three- year-old girl who slipped on gravel and has a bad scrape on her face. "Will she have a scar?,' her father Alaah asked Glick anxiously. "Don't you have any cream to give her? I don't want her to have a scar." The father then asks Glick for a ride to the junction near Efrat. As he approaches, Alaah says, "Keep going. Look at all of the soldiers here. If we get out now, they're going to arrest us." Back in the village, dozens of Palestinian men and boys have finished one of the five daily prayers. As he walks out of the mosque, Nasser, the imam, stops to chat with Glick. "Our Koran says that if someone needs help, you need to help him, even if he's a Jew," Nasser said.