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PAGE 4A ]By David Bornstein The youngest bar mitzvah There are some moments in life you imagine long before they occur. The birth of your first child, and seeing him or her for the first time. The death of a parent and what you'll say, how you'll feel to truly be without the safety net they a~ways p~id~d, even in their old age. Saying goodbye toy~ur ~hildrenwhen they go to college. Trying to decide what to do with yourself when you're an empty nester for the first time after a lifetime of caring for your chicks. There's a moment that I've thought about for a dozen years that's none of these. It's the bar mitzvah of my third and youngest child. Gabriel is nearly seven years younger than his sister, ten years younger than his brother. The gap in time makes the impact of the event, for me, even more powerful. He is the baby, the last, and I know now, having been through it twice before, that the years from bar/bat mitzvah to high school graduation and college telescope.They move at a faster, almost blinding speed, compressing time and making it difficult to hold onto memories, to hold onto the child for a last few years while letting them go to become adults. I've imagined both my older son and daughter coming home fromwherever they are in school By Rabbi Steven Bob, Rabbi Sam Gordon your land.'~ and Rabbi Burr Visotzky In all these areas, and more, President Obama's JNS.org accomplishments and commitment help us work toward tikkun olam and tzedakah. Jewish voters know the scene well. Politicians And on yet another core value, shalom, the show up at our synagogues, community events president has earned our trust and support-- and Jewish homes for the aging--all talking up Because heknows full well that the pursuit of a "Jewish values," all trying to speak the language lastingpeace for Israeliscontingent onthe safety of the Jewish community, and security of the Jewish state. Hisachievements This election season, we are seeing more of for Israel are secOnd to none. the same. Yet the trick for our community and Under this Obama administration, Israel has congregations is to decipher who really means received record levels of security aid. Israel's it. It is to judge our political figures not by how Qualitative Military Edge has been restored and well they can pronounce certain Hebrew terms, strengthened.And Israel's families in Sderotand but how effectively they act on our sharedvalues. Ashkelon and Be'er Shevaare now protected from By this standard, there is no contest: Presi- rocket attacks, thanks to President Obama's dent Barack Obama is the candidate who best investment in the Iron Dome system. represents our Jewish values. He is" a leader AsIran'sleaderspledgeaworldwithoutIsrael, of vision and integrity. His record reflects the President Obama has made it his promise plain embodiment of our deepest obligations: tikkun and clear: We must no[t allow Iran to obtain a olam, tzedakah, shalom--to repair the world, nuclearweapon.That's~hyheworkedwith Con- to pursue justice, to seek peace, gress to impose hard-hitting sanctions against When the president spoke to the Union for Iran that are already dramatically affecting the Reform Judaism late last year, he offered an Iranian economy. That's why he built a global unexpected d'var torah on that week's parsha, coalitiontoenhanceoursanctionsandisolatethe delivering a powerful meditation on the term Iranian regime. And that's why he has promised "hineini--"Here I am." to take no options off the table to counter the As he made clear in those remarks, his words threat of a nuclear Iran--including military are .not meant as hollow promises; they reflect action. And as we've seen time and again, this tangible actions. As he has done throughout his president means what he says. first-term in office, on the priorities important When no one would stand for Israel at the to American Jews, President Obama answers: United Nations, the President has taken up the "Here I am." cause; he has said, "here I am." When the Carmel The president has been there to advance a vi, fire threatened to spread and risk even more sion of Responsibility and compassion at home, Israeli lives, the President ensured that Israel in our neighborhoods, in our cities and in our got everything it needed to halt the flames; he communities. With health care reform, his ef- said, again, "here I am." And when six Israelis forts have helped us to heal the sick and lift up were under siege by a mob at their embassy in the weary; to live up to the call that says, "when Cairo, and no one in Egypt would take Israel's we save one life, we save the world." calls, the President intervened to secure their Withafocusonhigherstandards, betterteach- safe passage home; in Israel's time of need, he ersandmoreresourcesinourschools, hispolicies said, once more, "here I am." put education front and center--a recognition This is the character of President Obama-- of the rabbinic reminder that children are truly always there, prepared to carry the banner of building blocks of our future and that students our values, ready to move forward for peace, for increase peace in the world, justice and for a better world. With support for clean energy, higher fuel AsitiswrittenintheBookofProverbs,"where efficiency, and environmental protection, his there is no vision, the people perish." Luckily for actions reflect our duty to protect God's creation our community and our country, our president and preserve a cleaner planet from generation is a man of vision and strong character, integrity to generation, l'dor v'dor, and faith. His values are Jewish values. They're With financial reform, investments in jobs, Americanvalues.WeneedhisvaluesintheWhite andassistancetothelessfortunate, the President House for four more years. adheres to the words we recently read in the . Rabbis Steven Bob, Sam Gordon and Burt Torah: to "open wide your hand to your brother Visotzky are the three co-chairs of'Rabbis for [and sister], to the needy and to the poor, in Obama." THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE ~ ~ ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 41 Press Awards Edltor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Mike Etzkin Kim Fischer 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, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: news@orlandoheritage.corn Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Richard Ries Contributing Columnists Jim Ship!ey Ira Sharkansky Tim Boxer David Bornstein Terfi Fine Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman David Gaudio Teri Marks Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosky~, Caroline Pope HERITAGE ~I~OR|DA JEWISH'NEWS; O~OBER i9, 20~2 for [he bar mitzvah-weekend, i,ve imagined-to.say yes and no, how to Provide empathY~and us all sitting in the first row of our sanctuary, support when sheneeds it most, how to stand staring up at Gabriel as he chants his Torah firm when she needs to learn to stand on her portion and haftorah. I've wondered what his own. And with Gabriel I've learned the joy in speech will be like, .the obligatory thank yous letting him be Gabriel, and jokes about his siblings or parents.And I've I always imagined I'd have a serious, studi- seen, in my mind, the expression on my face, a ous child with curly black hair, a semi-goth mixture of sadness and joy and pride as I begin who loved to read late at night arid write over- the process of a final goodbye, wrought poems and walk around pretending to I've learnedafewthings, havingbeen through be Keats or Shelley or Eliot. But that was me, the b'nai mitzvah circuit twice. I've learned that and it has been none of my children. And while it isn't necessary to have the fanciest invitation Gabriel is like me in many ways - irreverent to or the biggest party or the most lavish kiddush a fault, creative in unexpected ways - he's also luncheon to make an event meaningful and funnier than me, more out of the box than special. I've learned it's easy to go overboard me, more honest with himself and open with with any and all of these, and that, for the most his feelings than I am, even now at age 56. He part, kids don't care. They want to have a good plays trumpet and tennis. He's obsessed with time with their friends and the family members his puppy. He is challenged but not intimidated they love most. Everything else is superfluous, by the opposite sex. He's centered and solid and We've made our share of mistakes, and I'm sure very, very unique. we'll make some more. But most importantly, Gabriel has taught me and keeps teaching me I've learned that the focus ought to be on Gabriel to wipe the slate clean, to look into the future but and not on anything else - on the meaning he to put no credence in any of it, because he's creat- gets from the weekend, on the charitable work ing it as he goes, and it's nothing I could imagine he does leading up to it, on the choices he makes or expect. My older children will come home for regarding a tallit, an invitation, a party, the weekend, and we will sit in the front row and Gabriel is proof that predictions and projec- kvell. But everything else is up to G, And so we tions by parents are worthless, a waste of time. begin this last bar mitzvah season together, the As much as I've seen the future in my mind's youngest leading hisold man into new territory, eye, I've washed it clean as we approach his bar and my eyes are open wide, and every moment mitzvah. He is, he wants to be, his own person, going forward is gift wrapped with surprise. andto date, as muchasany twelve year old can, And that's the good word. The opinions in he's succeeded. With my oldest son I learned the this column are those of the writer and not the hard way that living vicariously though your Heritage or any other individual, agency or child's accomplishments comes at a heavy cost, organization. Send your thoughts, comments, often the burden of major regrets and embar- and critiques to the Heritage or email dsb328@ rassments. With my daughter I learned how gmail.com. By Sheldon G. Adelson JNS.org "Americans who support Israel should take the president at his word," wrote Haim Saban recently in the New York Times, claiming President Barack Obama is fully committed to the Jewish state. But is that true? Should we take him at his word? No, not when Israel confronts the threat of nuclear annihilation by Iran. Time and again President Obama has sig- naled a lack of sympathy--or even outright hostility--toward Israel. Not long ago he was caught on an open microphone agreeing with French President Sarkozy's slurring of the Israeli prime minister~And then there was his public snubbing of the Israeli leader's request to discuss Iran during'a recent U.S. visit, a measure Reuters termed "a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally." Eve n more worrying, last month former U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, who attended several of Obama's meetings with Netanyahu, admitted "there are serious differences between Our interests and Israel's own security inte~'ests." All this certainly raises questions about Obama's sincerity when he publicly says he'll "always have Israel's back." Nor are these the only times the president has left American voters wondering where he really stands on foreign relations. Remember, earlier this year, when he was inadvertently recorded asking former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for "space" until his reelection, when he'd have more "flexibil- ity" on missile defense? What did he mean? Obama was clearly not being forthright with the American people. What else hasn't he told us? Think about Obama's anti-lsrael friends and mentors--radicals like Rashid Khalidi, Frank Marshall Davis, Jeremiah Wright, or the late Edward Said, the virulently anti-Israel professor under whom Obama studied. Has he made anti-Israelpi'omises to them? Is Obama's campaign rhetoric in support of Israel only creating "space,' till after the election? These questions cause genuine worry in Israel. Even some liberals now "complain the president has lostso much Israeli trust that, in the words of Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, "there is almost no chance of progress [for peace] if Obama wins re-election." Given that Obama's public expressions are not something Israelis can rely upon, we need to take seriously the question: What are his second term plans when he no longer needs the Jewish vote? Obama's supporters tell us there's nothing to worry about. He can be trusted, they say, because of his record of military aid to Israe~ and his support for sanctions against Iran. But the aid was committed in programs that began decades before his presidency under previous administrations. He cannot rightly take, credit for this aid in the sense of initiating it just as he cannot take credit for merely signing pro-Israel legislation that had bipartisan congressional support. Moreover, Obama's campaign never ment tions that in the past few years his budgets have proposed significant cuts in U.S.-Israel missile defense fundsmfrom $121.7mil to $99.8mil, a substantial slash. And just ask Egypt's Hosni Mubarak or Poland's Lech Walesa about Obama's reliability because of past military aid. Even worse, the Iranian sanctions contain loopholes that, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, "you could drive a warhead through." All 20 of Iran's major trading partners enjoy sanction exemptions. They won't stop Iran's nuclear program. Let's also not forget, when Obama took of- rice, he admitted his administration sought to put "daylight" between America and Israel. He lectured that the Jewish state needed "to en- gage in serious self-reflection" about peace--as if tiny Israel has not spent decades pursuing peace with its belligerent neighbors. And un- believably, in his 2009 address to the Muslim world, he implied a moral equivalence between the Holocaust and Palestinian dislocation. With a second term the president won't have fears of electoral accountability and will act upon his true feelings toward Israel. This is worrying--especially at a time when the Jewish state as well as Americans sorely need a president whose words and policies they can rely on. Not since 1967 has Israel's safety been more precarious. Iran is now racing for a nuclear bomb while bragging they only need "24 hours and an excuse" [o destroy the Jewish state. Egypt is lost to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hezbollah is armed to the teeth in Lebanon. Turkey's government is more foe. than friend. The Gulf States use enormous petroleum wealth to fund global anti-Israel propaganda. The "Arab Spring" continues to usher extrem- ists into power. And Hamas rules Gaza. All the while, the United Nations never misses a chance to denounce the Jewish state; Western universities support boycotts of Israel; and a sizable portion of the Democratic Party protests the inclusion of Jerusalem in their party platform. The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, can't even name Israel's capital. In these times of unrest and violence, it is necessary to elect a commander-in-chief whose word, we can trust. Mitt Romncy, to Security on page 18A