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October 24, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 24, 2014 A tradition like no other PAGE 5A_ By Rabbi Adam Grossman While for golf enthusiasts this phrase might call to mind the Masters and its infamous 12th hole, it also rings true with the customs we, as communities and individu- als, each hold dear. Whether it's the type of food we eat to welcome Rosh Hashanah, the personal Shabbat experi- ence we connect with, or the family customs we have for Thanksgiving, traditions, as we know, are very powerful. Traditions connect us to something much greater than ourselves. They encourage us to link to the generations be- fore us, to our religiosity, and to our heritage. They provide a support network when we are feeling lost or lonely. And they heighten our feelings of joy during special occasions, as well as make moments more enriching, meaningful, and memorable. While some traditions have been with us for as long as we can remem- ber, others, to be part of our lives, need to be introduced and accepted. In Jewish communities, there are various ways and traditions used to encourage individuals to make a lifelong commitment to Judaism and to ensure the next generation of Jews. Yet, as last year's Pew Study attests, there continues to be a decrease in the number of Millennial, Generation Y, Generation X, and Baby Boomer Jews that affiliatewith traditional Jew- ish institutions and fewer Jews define Jewish identity through the lens of religiosity. These trends showcase that certain Jewish engagement techniques, no matter how traditional, are not working. Learning from Judaism's greatest sages, who reframed the biblical ideals through the Mishnah, Talmud, and Medieval Responsa to re- spond to the reality of the times, the University of Florida (UF) Hillel is rethink- ing its model. Starting with people rather than dogma, we are reimagining how to en- gage students with Judaism's treasure box of traditions in order to make them acces- sible for students to engage in a life-long commitment to Jewish belief, expression, and practice. Sometimes the decisions might seem unconventional and maybe even the opposite of what other Jewish institu- tions are doing. However, we know that the current model is failing. To continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting dif- ferent results, not only is the definition of insanity, but also limits us from our long-term goal, which is to ensure the Jewish future. On the heels of the High Holy Days and in anticipa- tion of Thanksgiving, we are reminded of the on-going balance between Jewish tradi- tion and modernity. We, at UF Hillel, seek to be pioneers in the connection of Jews dur- ing their college years and to become the model for others to emulate moving forward. To do this we must be bold. We have "to rethink the ways we engage with students in relation to our times. And know, whether its creating unique partnerships, mod- ernizing our website and our building, or redefining how Judaism can play a role in students' lives, everything we do seeks to build Jews on a lifelong Jewish journey of con- nection, growth and being. Go Gators! RabbiAdam Gross- man is CEO, University of Florida Hillel. By Evan Goldstein BOSTON (JTA)--Four rab- bis are engaged in an animated debate about Jewish law. Three of them agree, but the dissenter is adamant that he's got it right. He cries out: "A sign, God, I beg You, a sign!" It begins to rain, but the three in the majority are not swayed. "Another sign, please God!" The rain picks up and lightning strikes near the rabbis, but still the three re- fuse to budge. After another plea from the one rabbi, a voice thunders from Heaven: "Heeeee's Riiiiight!" The three rabbis look at each other, not sure how to react. Finally, one responds: "Well, all right. So it's three against two." This lighthearted par- able---an adapted version of Open Hillel is a necessary intervention the Talmud's "Oven of Akh- nai" story -- highlights one of the foundational truths of Judaism: We do not always agree on our foundational truths. Our disagreements are not a hindrance to communal ex- istence but rather the source of an intellectual diversity. No matter the subject, it is precisely in and through these disagreements that Judaism finds its richest expression. Open Hillel--a student-led campaign to change a HiP lel International rule that, among other things, pre- cludes it frompartneringwith groups that seek to change Israeli policies through non- violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) efforts-- is hosting our first conference this week at Harvard. We are gathering because we believe that the principle of intellec- tual diversity ought to apply to our politics as well as our theology. While our core demand is that Hillel International drop its so-called "Standards of Partnership" rules, our move- ment has much more to do with ensuring a Jewish future that recognizes the diversity of the Jewish people. Even among our organizers, there are many different opinions on Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel). But we are united by our shared commitment to a vibrant am Yisrael, to a Jewish people that carries on the treasured communal, spiritual, prophetic and ethi- cal values of Jewish tradition. By enforcing standards that alienate a significant cohort of the Jewish student popula- tion, Hillel International has failed to foster an inclusive space for all members of the Jewish community. While this may please certain vocal and powerful elements of the American political establish- ment, it ultimately amounts to an abandonment of many Jewish students and a weaken- ing of the Jewish community. Jews do not think with one mind about anything, least of all about Israel-Palestine. The notion that speakers who hold particular views are dangerous to the vitality of the Jewish community serves only to demonize the diversity that is central to our future. Many Jews believe that BDS is wrong-headed; many do not. Open Hillel's call is for a Jewish space in which that conversation can take place, along with the myriad other contentious conversations our people have engaged in from time immemorial. In his Oct. 8 JTA opinion piece (see Heritage News, Oct._17 issue) Hillel Interna- tional's president and CEO, Eric Fingerhut, inaccurately suggests that Open Hillel was founded "in order to provide a platform for organizations that promote the [BDS] move- ment." In fact, our conference is designed to showcase the type of diversity and debate that Hillel's "Standards of Partnership" do not allow for. We sent invitations to left-wingers, right-wingers, Zionists, one-staters, BDS supporters, Palestinians and Jews--and the list goes on. Some of our attendees pas- sionately oppose all boycotts. Others support a boycott of Israeli settlements in the Ebola: We're all in the same boat West Bank, and still others support broader forms of BDS. There are bound to be heated disagreements, but these will only serve to stimulate our thinking and strengthen our core commitment to pluralism. Our conference, where more than 300 participants are expected, models the kind of am Yisrael that we believe is most conducive to a strong Jewish future: one in which ev- erybody has a seat at the table, whether you're an anti-Zionist who's shomer Shabbos or an oleh [new immigrant to Israel] who eats on Yom Kippur. Evan Goldstein is a senior at Boston College majoring in theology and minoring in philosophy. He is an Opinions staff writer for the BC Gavel and can be found on Twitter as @egoldstein93. By Ruth Schuster Haaretz As the number of deaths in West Africa from Ebola nears 5,000 and cases appear around the world, the question seems not to be whether the virus is spreading in this age of jet travel, but when and where. Letters To The Editor We are a diverse community and we welcome your letters and viewpoints. The views and opinions expressed in the opinion pieces and letters published in The Heri- tage are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Heritage Florida Jewish News or its staff. The Heritage reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, content, and accuracy. And respectful of lashon hara, we will not print derogatory statements against any individual. Please limit letters to 250 words. Send letters to P. 0. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to news@ Make prior arrangements to attend High Holiday services Dear Editor: I also attended the East Mid- wood Jewish Center (EMJC) while Rabbi Harry Halpern was its spiritual leader. As a matter of fact, I started my religious training there prior to moving to Orlando in 1945, with my parents. It is beyond my comprehension that the writer has expectations of oing, into a synagogue for the High Holidays, without making prior arrangements for tickets, without paying dues, making a prior contri- bution, paying for tickets, or on need with out funds due to personal finances. I know, for a fact, that you could not walk into the EMJC on a whim, without mak- ing prior arrangements. All houses of worship, Jewish and non-Jewish have expenses, mortgages, salaries, utili- ties, maintenance, and much more. The once ayearwalk-ins should pay a price, just like dues-paying members. As far as I know, there is no charge for Yizkor, and usu- ally the second day of Rosh Hashanah at most Orlando area synagogues. Frankly, I am not a member of this particular congregation, but the principle is the same, and Orlando has been most welcome to visitors to their synagogues over the years, whenarrangements have been made to attend High Holiday services. Neil Webman Orlando Yet there is no reason to panic, counsels Dr. Leslie Lobel, a top expert on the virus. People, mainly caretakers, need to un- derstand exactly what they're up against and stay vigilant. Careful and vigilant, he stresses. Not hysterical and vigilant. "It isn't a question of wheth- er the deadlyvirus'is coming,' "said Dr, Leslie Lobel, "it's around, has been around and will be, and airports should" buy infrared scanners. The conventional wisdom is that Ebola is unlikely to spread like, say, influenza has in the past, because it's hard to catch. The Ebola virus is not airborne. You have to come into actual contact with a suf- ferer's bodily fluids--blood, saliva or semen--in order to catch Ebola (the World Health Organization says it hasn't been found in sweat). Sowhy are so many health- care workers catching the disease? The answer seems to lie in a fatal combination of proximity, ignorance and fecklessness, explains Lobel, a Ben-Gurion University researcher, in an interview with Haaretz. An Ebola sufferer walking down the street isn't going to infect anybody unless he kisses them or coughs on them: droplets from the mouth may contain the virus. But a doctor or nurse or ward orderly may come into contact with bodily fluids unless they are extremely careful. They may have hazmat gear but may not know how to use it properly, which explains why so many health-carers have become sick while treating Ebola patients. Now Texas is reporting its second case: a nurse at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for Ebola after providing care for Thomas Eric Duncan, who flew in from Liberia with the disease, and died of it last Wednesday. This is the first known case of Ebola trans- mission in the United States. The case of Duncan him- self highlights the trouble with the system. Never mind hazmat suits: He had been walking about the hospital and people were taking care of him without knowing he had Ebola. "This is outrageous. It shouldn't have happened," says Lobel. The second Dun- can started developing fever, it being known that he came from Liberia, which has been stricken hard by the disease, he should have been quaran- tined. The Texan authorities evidently felt this was a case of NIMBY -not in my back yard, and didn't take the case seriously. Big mistake. Teresa Romero, the nurse in Spain who contracted Ebola while providing care, had been wearing full protective gear - but may have touched her face with her gloved fingers. People do without even realizing it. "Work under conditions of high containment has to be well choreographed," says Lobel. "These techniques were prob- ably new to her. But every little movement has to be done right; you have to know what to do." That explains exactly how the caregivers wind up with Ebola, whose mortality rate is around 50 percent: they put on the hazmat suit but don't follow the basic rules. "You can't-make mistakes like this," he drives home the point: "What we're seeing is a lot of mistakes." Lobel sees students do- ing this sort of thing all the time--working in extremely hazardous conditions with the right gear but failing to use it right, he adds. The solution is to train and drill, drill, drill. Then drill some more. Big mistake: Ask silly questions There are five known strains of Ebola. Lobel's lab in Be'er Sheva, which he co-directs with Dr. VictoriaYavelsky, has focused largely on this strain for the last 12 years, while other scientists were more interested in other strains of Ebola, which the Russians were apparently working on weaponizing. Ebola on page 14A Dry Bones I'M PLANNING TO 00 A HALLOWEEN "HOLSE O1: HO2202S" PO LITICALCARTOON S.COM 00ARANTC-B) TO SCARE THE NITS OUT 01: EVERYONE/ / COOL/ I DRYBONES.COM WITH NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS ABOUT,00 EBOLA AND THE ISLAMIC 00I"ATE!