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October 18, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 18, 2013
 

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 18, 2013 By David Bornstein Community held hostage Anew mortgage encumbering the Maitland payment, or crying poor. or failing to meet its community campus was recently signed, obligation to fund property maintenance, the The campus, home to the Jewish Federation Federation stood up and made good. dipping of Greater Orlando. The Jewish Community- into reserves,, using the annual campaign to Center. the Jewish Academy of Orlando. and shore up the shortfalls. the Holocaust Memori~l Resource and Educa- The new mortgage provides for a longer tion Center, is truly the jewel of our communal pay-off period and a much lower interest rate. assets. Sadly, this process has revealed flaws in and even though nearly $1 million was added the jewel that run so deep it may be cracked in fees that had to be paid to Bank of America, beyond repair, the monthly payments on the campus were When Bank of America announced that it reduced significantly. would not renew the letter of credit for the old Now here's the rub. mortgage, effectively "calling" the note on the The new lender insisted that every agency on campus, the Federation began to search for campussignthemortgage. Beforetheywould, new lenders. It found one. with outstanding negotiations ensued with the Federation. The terms that provided relief for all the agencies agencies, which have not received money in on campus. But in particular, it would have recent years~om the Federation because of taken some of the backbreaking burden off the' the Federation's near collapse and shrunken Federation's slumping shoulders, if the other campaign ($700,000 lastyear; maybe $800.000 agencies involved had not used the leverage this year. from ahigh of $2 million alittle more they had to hold the Federation hostage, for than adecade ago), demanded thatthe savings their own benefit, disregarding the greater the Federation would have seen, savmg~ that needs of the community, would have allowed the Federation to allocate A little background: The old campus mort- additional funds to community needs, be given gage was, in round numbers, about$5 million, to them on a priority basis. Rat~)er than the The JAO and the JCC had previously approved Federation saving approximately $100,000/ each carrying $1.5 million, along with debt year. funds which could have provided the they had already been allocated. The Holocaust only community-focused agency tremendous Center paid its proportional share, based on its relief, the agencies said, "Give it to us." And the square footage. The Federation paid the rest, Federation had no choice, so it did. Instead of paymentsthatwere fargreaterthantheywould a community-based perspective, the agencies have been if based on the space the Federa- on campus could do nothing more than look tion used. Far greater because, every time a out for themselves to the detriment of all. campus agency was in arrears (one agency m What has become glaringly apparent particular has been for years), or late to make a through all these machinations is this: after By Morton A. Klein and Dr. Daniel Mandel even exercise control over Gaza. which is in the hands of the Hamas terrorist movement, NEW YORK--There was a good deal that could conceivably be in the Israeli interest. was wrongand fantastical in President Barack Handing over the West Bank to PA state, Obama's address to the United Nations last including the strategically vital Jordan Valley, week such as the idea that al-Qaeda is would entail drastic deterioration in Israeli "splintering" (actually, it is proliferating) or security. ItwouldbringJerusalem.BenGurion that Russia and Iran need-to "realize that Airport and most of Israel's major population insisting on [Syrian president] Assad's rule centers within rocket and rifle range of Pal- will lead directly to... an increasingly violent estinian terrorists. ~pace for extremists to operate" (actually, Terrorist movements, nurtured behind neither Moscow nor Tehran have wish or mo- a wall of sovereign immunity, would create tive to abandon Syria, their most important destabilization and cross border raids, to the Middle East ally). Here, however, we focus on detriment of Israelis and Palestinians alike. a single issue also misaddressed by President President Obama provided no evidence or Obama: the alleged peace process between argumentastowhyweshouldexpectadifferent Israel and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian outcome today, other than this: both Israelis Authority (PA). and Palestinians. he claimed, understand that In his address. President Obama contended peace is necessary and possiblevia the creation that "Israel's security as a Jewish and demo- - of a Palestinian state. cratic state depends upon the realization of a In fact. the idea that Israelis currently favor Palestinian state." Yet he did not explain how creating a Palestinian state, or believe that do- setting up an irredentist, terrorism-promoting ingsowouldbring peacewith the Palestinians. PA-run state,whoseleaders explicitly refuseto is false. No less false is the notion that Palestin- accept Israelas a Jewish state; publicly glorify ians seek merely statehood alongside Israel. terrorists like last week's PA celebration of Successive Israeli polls in recent years show DalalMughrabi, theleaderofthe1978coastal thatIsraelisdonotfavorfurtherconcessionsto road massacre in which 37 Israelis, including the PA, nor do they believe such concessions, a dozen children, were slaughtered; demand that a PA state be Jew-free; and who do not Obama on page 18A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards 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 mailin~ offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park. FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 "41 email: news@rlandheritage'cm Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Chris DeSouza Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser ~ontributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Departmen.t David Lehman Joyce Gore Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosky years of struggling for survival, fighting to look at hist()ry. That's where it was during its maintain a community view. the Federation greatestsuccess, withmorethan240students. has absolutely no broad-based support, espe- The new building was constructed based on ciaIly from the agencies it has supported for projections of a school with 400 students. years. There is no and will never be a commt~- The idea that it can't make it without the new nity fundraising campaign. The local agencies building makes no sense. This will involve the will never come together to do.what is right JCC giving up some space it currently uses, based on community needs rather than ~heir to which I say--COMMUNITY. Consider the own narrowly focused ones. The time has needs of all. Give up what has to be given up. come to take the necessary, if drastic steps, Do what needs to be done. that finally acknowledge the current situation. 5) And finally, the major donors of the corn- Here's what they are: munity, the people with the deep pockets and 1) Dissolve the Federation. There's no other real power, need to step up and say, "Enough." choice. With.no support it sadly serves no You our great philanthropists-~-needtosay, purpose.Theonlytruecommunityagencyhas "l will give no more. You will get no more no community behind it. The great programs until you change." the Federation currently provides, like Belt In the most bizarre turn of events, a process. Hamidrash [ourextendedJewishhighschool), that was meant to shore up the community's will have to be absorbed by other agencies or resources and 15rotectourgreatestasset--our tragically fall by the wayside, campus that for years has been the heart of 2) Turn the Facilities Management Com- Jewish Central Florida has instead revealed mittee into the property manager. Give the the complete lack of unity, not in our syna- agencies what they want--control of the gogues, notbetween families, friends.individu- Maitland campus, als. but between our agencies that should be 3) Sell the JAO building and use the funds working together for the greater good. It's to lower the debt. The JAO got more than time we see our agencies for what they are. a any agency frorr~the 2000 Capital Campaign, band of disparate parts, eacl~ invested solely raised less than any other agency, and has in themselves. It's time our agencies realized never used the entire building that was built that sometimes, when you take a hostage, you specificallyforthem. Thesecondstoryremains end up with blood on your hands. unfinished. With an enrollment that is at least And that's the tough good word. 80 pupils less than it Was when housed in its The opinions in this column are those of original quarters, there is no reason for the the writer and not the Heritage or any other JAO to stay where it is. individual, agency or organization. Send 4) Move the JA back into the old building, your thoughts, comments, and critiques to To those who say it can't survive there, I say the Heritage or email dsb328@gmail.com. Letter from Israel With so much controversy, why so many at the By Ira Sharkansky Rabbi Ovadia died at noon on Oct. 7, at the age of 93. after more' than two weeks in in- tensive care and hourly reports of his decline. improvement, and final decline. The eulogies were scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., with burial in the small cemetery of Sanhedria about a kilometer distant. The vehicle carrying the Rabbi's body moved at a rate of inches per hour, and had not approached the cemetery by the time I went to bed. From the time of the Rabbi's death, the three television channels had little more than coverage of the dogged streets, occa- sional transmission of the eulogies delivered by prominent rabbis, commentary about the religious and political legacies of the deceased. and speculation on the near and distant fu- ture of the ultra-Orthodox Sephardi political movement (SI-IAS) that he founded and headed until his death. The rabbi3 genius was apparent at an early age. He is credited with having memorized the entire Talmud, and issuing persuasive religious rulings w.hile still a teenager. He earned a repu- tation as an innovator of religious law while serving in rabbinical positions of increasing prestige, culminating in his selection as chief Sephardi rabbi. His reputation gains weight when viewed in the context of rabbinic traditions. While the creators of Rabbinic Judaism were creative in producingwhatbecame detailed precedents for numerous issues contemporary to them that they derived from the language of the Torah, most rabbis since then have been conserva- tive in adhering to what they consider to be established. Orthodox, or ultra-Orthodox, even to the considerable discomfort of their congregations. Among the rulings that marked the career of Rabbi Ovadia were liberal decisions that declared the wives of soldiers and others who had disappeared and could be presumed to have died to be widows, and thereby allowed to remarry. Other rabbis had adhered to conven- tional rulings that without a body there could be no proof of death, and no freedom to marry for the women who considered themselves to be widows. He ruled that Ethiopians who claimed to be Jewish were in fact Jews. and entitled to immigrate to Israel. At a crucial point in Israel's international relations he ruled that it was not only permis- sible, but desirable to give up part of the Lord's grant of the Land of Israel for the sake of peace. This put him at odds with a'substantial part of his natural constituency Jews from Arab countries, who have tended to be the most reluctant of Israelis to rely on any Arabs to keep their word and behave decently. The rabbi was born in Baghdad, and was brought to Israel as a boy offour. His !~oh~ti: cal importance derived from his creation of a movement that mostly attracted Israeli Jews from North Africa. Some 200,000 had migrated from Morocco in the 1950s. along with s aller numbers from Libya, Tunis, Egypt, andAlgeria. Most were settled in outlying "development towns" and less desirable neighborhoods and suburbs of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem. and Haifa. Subsequent generations, especially Moroc- cans, were more likely than other Israelis to be poor, to have left school early, and to be involved in the dirty work and leadership of organized crime. The better educated and more well-to-do North African Jews generally migrated elsewhere, mostly to France. when conditions in North Africa turned sour after Israel's creation. Rabbi Ovadia worked to provide these Jews along with others with backgrounds in Iraq, Iran, and Yemen---with a communal identity and greater self-respect, as well as to create a system of primary schools through yeshivot that would bring them closer to their religious roots. Rabbi Ovadia was an outlier as well as an innovator among Israel's prominent rabbis. He suffered criticism because of his interpreta- tions of religious law. and ridicule for promot- ing what was termed a mimicking of the more prestigious Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox in the education and dress of the faithful. Still on the public agenda are charges that some Ash- kenazi schools refuse admission to Sephardi children due to doubts that Sephardi Jews are sufficiently knowledgeable or observant of religious law. Rabbi Ovadia moved rightward toward the postures of his constituents, in keeping with the epigram, I am their leader and therefore I must follow them. He opposed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on the withdrawal of settlements from Gaza. and spoke out in a mumbled Hebrew that required networks to add text at the bottom of the screen, and in rather vicious terms against Arabs. non-Orthodo Jews. and left of center politicians. The political party that he createdwas strong enough to provide the balance of power in several governments, and used its weight to gain public resources for its schools and key appointments for those who Were close to its leadership. Ranking secular politiciang donned skullcaps or. if females, dressed according to Sharkansky on page 19A