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October 11, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 11, 2013 Rosenblatt From page 4A understood that "you can't have one [Jewish rights[ with- out the other [rights for all]." He said "Viral Hate" was written "as an alert, to be vigi- lant, and to remind people that the Internet is not a benign instrument." Of course it is a valuable tool for information, he said, but it also has "a dark underbelly and is the super highway for racism." The longtime ADL leader said the Internet has already had a negative impact on pri- vacy and civility, accounting for less face-to-face interac- tion between people, and leading to a diminished sense of responsibility and "the legitimization of prejudice." The Jewish community is IlItl II not immune to these traits, according to Foxman. He defends the First Amendment but would like to see "a chipping away at some of it" in terms of its protecting people's anonymity online. "If you want to be a bigot, take responsibility and ownership for it," he says. Along those lines, he says that perhaps the single most significant breakthrough in the ADL's history in opposing prejudice in the U.S. was its part in drafting legislation in the 1950s that literally "removed the mask of bigotry" in Georgia during the Ku Klux Klan's reign of terror. The Su- preme Court, by a vote of 9-0, upheld the "anti-mask law," which Foxman said "began to break the back" of the Klan, whose members wore white sheets and hoods to prevent I their identity being known. Today's haters no longer hide behind sheets and hoods but they can remain uniden- tified through the Internet. Foxman and Wolf are encour- aging the public to "accept responsibility for defining and defending norms of civil behav- ior-not just on the Internet, but throughout society." That's a tall order, given the level of discourse in Wash- Bismuth PAGE15A I I ington these days and the deep schisms in our society, driven in part by the Inter- net's influence. But the ADL is committed to continue to engage, expose and educate as it enters its second century. Gary Rosenblatt is editor and publisher of the New York Jewish Week, www., from which this column is reprinted with permission. From page 4A the killing of bin Laden, on his watch. The main message Obama wished to transmit was that Washington's priorities are changing. The Middle East is out, Asia and the Pacific are in. But ironically, the attack on Nairobi brought Obama back to his roots--politically and personally. In a recent column in USA Today, journalist and novelist Louise Branson wrote that Obama, whose father was born in Nairobi, should sup- port Kenya's efforts to battle terrorism and visit Kenya as a sign of solidarity. "After 9/11, the French newspaper Le Monde famously carried a headline: We Are All Americans," Branson wrote. "After the Nairobi attack, the message should be 'We Are All Kenyans.' Not just in our sympathy. But also in going all out to prevent another ter- rorist attack." Power games Modern terrorism is a big problem for the countries where it operates. It hurts not only their security and citi- zens, but also their economies. Terror organizations--like aI-Shabab in the Horn of Af- rica, AI-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) in western Africa, and even terror groups in the Sinai Peninsula--all engage in criminal activity to finance their activity. AQMI terrorists, for instance, spe- cialize in smuggling cigarettes and alcohol via the Sahara desert. Kenya has added al- Shabab to its list of organized crime groups in the country. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta admitted that his country is getting help from "friendly countries." Israel was the first country mentioned as such, after it provided logistical assistance with the Nairobi hostage crisis, advising the Kenyan government. Israel is a leader in the global terror war, but the diplomatic situation does not allow its involvement to be out in the open. Senior Israeli intel- ligence officers describe how in the 1990s, they warned friendly countries about the coming global jihad and were repeatedly rebuffed. In any case, Jerusalem understood even then that the world is changing, that Israel needs partners. For this reason, Prime Minister Benja- min Netanyahu's government worked to forge new alliances and to strengthen ties with friendly nations in Africa, like Uganda and Kenya. What Israel, Kenya and Uganda have in common is the problem of nonfriendly neighboring countries. So- malia, a member of the Arab League, has become a problem for other countries in the region. Some even see it as a new Afghanistan, because it lacks acentralized government that can force its authority on all the factions in its territory. A prize for destruction Terrorism cannot defeat the West, but it can definitely disrupt daily life, and we must concede that over the last de- cade it has not done a bad job of it. Witness the security checks before boarding airplanes or at the entrances to malls. The Muslim world suffers from jihadist organizations, which make them look bad, but nevertheless they oppose those who seek to fight ter- ror. Witness the double game played by Saudi Arabia. Terror can destroy a coun- try, especially one that lacks many resources and whose situation is sensitive. This is what is happening in Maurita- nia, where I served as Israel's ambassador for four years. In the past, this western African country attracted tourists and even the prestigious Paris-Dakar motor race once passed through its territory. After the attacks began in 2006, tourism plummeted and the organizers of Paris-Dakar decided to move the event to South America. Now, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been granted a grace period after using chemical weapons on civilians, and Iranian Presi- dent Hasan Rouhani arrived at the U.N. as if he were the man the world was looking to for salvation. After they helped sow terror, Assad and Rouhani may yet receive a medal for liberating us from it. In our world, it seems, any- thing is possible. Boaz Bismuth is a colum- nist and correspondent for Israel Hayom, whose English- language content is distrib- uted exclusively by Sharkansky From page 4A Abbas and others result from violence that targeted Israeli civilians, and has not ceased despite Abbas' claims of pur- suing agreements peacefully. Obama's doubters wonder if he realizes the depths of Palestinian rejectionism, along with widespread cor- ruption in the Palestinian Authority, incitement from on high concerning the lack of a Jewish claim on Jerusa- lem or Israel's legitimacy, and the numerous armed groups always waiting for a chance to express them- selves. Just this weekend a number of those groups sought to start something on the anniversary of the second intifada that began in 2000, and resulted in more than one thousand Israeli deaths and some 3,000 Palestinian deaths. Obama and his aides speak more often and more point- edly about Israeli settlements than any of the Palestinians' systemic problems. Obama's continued use of 1967 borders as the basis of negotiations suggests that he does not weigh the Arab aggression that produced the 1967 war and Israeli settlement. One should also hope that the United States will do more to keep Iran from achieving nuclear weapons than was the case with North Korea. One can applaud the conversation between the American and Iranian heads of state. Jawing is better than warring. But one should also appreciate the suspicions expressed by Israelis and others about the Iranian strategy of stringing out talks while building the means for producing nuclear weapons. The American president, as always, also has a lot of worries closer to home. His concerns for health insurance, gun con- trol, and immigration reflect his primary constituencies, and cause him considerable trouble with intense oppo- nents. What happens in the rest of his term, and whoever wins the primaries and general election of 2016 will tell us if Barack Obama has managed to nudge America in direc- tions that he prefers, or if he will only have served as a symbol that has gained praise and prizes from enthusiasts, but not much more. Ira Sharkansky is professor emeritus of the Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prager From page 5A riage rates have failed to stem the tide of assimilation. (It will be interesting to see whether the Pew study supports the contention that Birthright Israel increases Jewish iden- tity and participation.) There is likely nothing that can be done to attract Jews head- ing for the exits, and the programmatic efforts should focus on those who at least have one foot still within the community. Based on the Pew study, at least in America, Judaism will endure across generations almost exclusively in families that identify with Judaism as a religion. (It is less clear to me what level of observance or participation generates a "tippingpoint.') The reasons are less clear, but I imagine that part of the answer stems from the famous Ahad Ha'am saying, "More than the Jews have kept the Shabbos, the Shabbos has kept the Jews." Or, as Rabbi David Wolpe wrote in his thoughts about the study: "As a countercultural tradi- tion in America, Judaism asks a great deal of its adherents. Judaism is a behavior-cen- tered tradition. It is primarily enacted in a language strange to most American Jews [He- brew] and requires an exten- sive education to understand its fundamentals .... That which is continually diluted will eventually disappear." Along these same lines, we should measure the likely success of programs based on whether they offer the inten- sive and immersive education needed to give participants an understanding of the power and beauty of Jewish values and practices. Anything less will fail to give participants sufficient motivation to make the commitment of time, energy and money needed for engaged Jewish life. Programs that attempt to "meet people where they are" can only be justified if they actually succeed in attracting Jews to more substantive ongoing programs. Every business owner knows that it costs less to retain a customer than to attract a new one. While economic considerations may not be the only relevant ones, it is far more cost effective to invest in Jews who are closer to the core of the engaged Jewish community, whether they are children or young adults. The study tells us that these, too, are Jews at risk of assimilation. Investment in these young people is our community's best chance for increasing retention of an energizing nucleus"that has the potential to reverse the trends painfully evident in the study. We all prefer good news to bad. This has caused some commentators on the Pew study to celebrate the number of Jews regardless of their commitments or argue that the answer is to be more "welcoming" of those who are heading for the exits. There are no easy fixes. The only way to retain the next generation will be to inspire them to desire and love sub- stantive Jewish life. If enough Jews can be so inspired, the Jewish future will be far rosier than the snapshot offered by the Pew study. Yossi Prager is the execu- tive director-North America of the Avi Chai Foundation. Spokoiny From page 5A excluding any part of Jewish expression will only shrink the pie further. Exclusion is a vicious circle. We should not look at funding as a zero-sum game because new initia- tives and matching grants can bring new philanthropic resources to the Jewish com- munity. Four, organizational para- digms are inadequate. Legacy Jewish organizations in many cases are stuck in paradigms inherited from the Industrial Revolution. They are pyra- midal, centralized, top-down structures that rely heavily on the loyalty of their constitu- ents and donors. Yet Jews don't think in terms of organizational loy- alty anymore. Pew and other reports like Committed to Give and NextGen Donors show that Jews don't give to organizations but to causes. Organizations need to see themselves as tools for do- nors and users rather than vice versa. This is not merely seman- tics. It implies seeing the relation between missions and users, donors or members in a completely different light. Organizations need "network weavers" rather than fund- raisers, facilitators rather than directors, and catalysts instead of organizers. The Pew report and oth- ers show that this is a time of bubbling creativity in the Jewish community. Rather than announcing doom, the report could spur us to create mechanisms that capture and catalyze that energy. Five, we need new ideologi- cal leaders. The report shows that Jews haven't ceased searching for values and meaning. But the ideological movements of the past 200 years--Reform, Conserva- tive, Orthodoxy and ultra- Orthodoxy--are all modern phenomena created as differ- ent responses to the encoun- ter between Judaism and the realities of the 19th and 20th centuries. They are histori- cal, and we'd be ill advised to see them as timeless. They may not be fully adequate to respond to the different set of challenges facing Jews in the 21st century. So maybe instead of la- menting the lack of con- nection to modern Jewish ideologies, we should be working on creating post- modern ideologies. This is not a purely philosophical issue. It's about the critical question of what Judaism as a culture, religion and civiliza- tion has to offer to those of us who yearn for meaning in an uncertain world. Answering the question of why be Jewish is just as important as how to be Jewish. Andres Spokoiny is the CEO of the Jewish Funders Network. Seeking kin From page 10A grandmothers told, but we had no contact. This shows us that it's very, very impor- tant not to break the chain," she said. Maria Kritchevski recently filled in her grandmother. Julia Kritchevski, an 88-year- old retired teacher of Russian who lives in the German city of Dusseldorf, was thrilled to hear that her great-grandson now knows Dora's great- grandson. Similarly happy is Shaya Lokshin, Matsuki's great- grandfather, who is 93 and resides in Chattanooga, Tenn. Maria Kritchevski added, "I've told this story to everybody-- to all of my friends." "It's the biggest emotion I've felt in years," she said. "It's a good story for a Hol- lywood film." Even before learning of their connection, the boys had been enjoying each other's company. They were housed on the same floor of a Brandeis dormitory and spoke Russian together. But knowing that they can perpetuate a bond be- gun 81 years ago makes their connection more profound. Since returning home, they regularly email and send Facebook messages, and Mark plans to fly to Berlin to visit Leon in March. "It's clear that it's not a one-time thing," said Mark, 16. "We're establishing a friendship." Please email Hillel Kuttler at if you would like "Seeking Kin" to write about your search for long-lost relatives and friends. Please include the principal facts and your contact informa- tion in a brief email. "Seeking Kin" is sponsored by Bryna Shuchat and Joshua Landes and family in loving memory of their mother and grandmother, Miriam Shuchat, a lifelong uniter of the Jewish people.