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October 31, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 31, 2014

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im By Christine DeSouza Assistant Editor Last August, the Heritage reported about the sixth sur- viving member of the Monu- ments, Fine Arts and Archives program, better known as the Monuments Men, Rouben Sami, who lives in Winter Park. The same day the article ran in the paper, Aug. 15, Sami turned 93. His family hoped he would live to see the day when his name would be officially added to the list of recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal--Congress' highest ci- vilian honor in recognition of distinguished achievements and contributions. Sami was deputy director of the Offenbach Archival Depot under the directorship of Capt. Isaac Bencowitz, who rpirituali strong sense of Jewish people poised be Showing continued gen- the Jewish community will erous support of the Jewish realizethe importance of this community, the Harris Rosen initiative and support this Foundationhasannouncedits fundraising campaign." plan to purchase the Jack & Spurred byagenerous offer Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando of matching funds, the Jewish Campus. Federation of Greater Orlando Thefacilityisnamedforthe will launch a multi-million late parents of Orlando hote- dollar capital fundraising ef- lier and philanthropist Harris fort, potentially inassociation Rosen, a major supporter of with other Jewish organiza- the local Jewish community, tions who benefit from the The campus, currently owned Maitland campus. by the Jewish Federation of If successful, the fundrais- Greater Orlando, is a host to ing campaign would signifi- a vibrant Jewish Community cantly reduce the debt on the Center for Southwest Orlando Maitland Jewish Community residents. Rosen has been Campus. The JFGO owns the the facility's most passionate Maitland Community Cam- supporter since its concep- pus on behalf of the Orlando tion, donating $5.5 million Jewish Community. The cam- to help fund construction, pus is the home to the Jewish He said it's time to raise CommunityCenterofGreater the center's profile with the Orlando, theJewishAcademy community and he plans to ofOrlando, theHolocaustMe- fund additional space needed morialand Education Center, to accommodate the center's and the Jewish Federation. ever-growing membership. "This partnership with the "These and future additions Harris Rosen Foundation, and will help make the Jack & Lee Rosen's generosity, ensure the Rosen Southwest Orlando highest communal "return Campus a more integral and on investment" and broadest permanent part of the Jew- impact that can be realized ish community," said Rosen. from this asset," said Michael "Educationandrecreationare Soil, JFGO immediate past vital to the center's role in the chairman of the board."From community." its inception, the Harris Rosen In addition to purchasing Foundation, and the diligent the Jack & Lee Rosen South- work of Frank Santos, who west Orlando Campus, the manages such transactions Harris Rosen Foundation is for the Foundation, have been also pledging $1 million in integral to the continued matchingfundstowardacapi- development of the Orlando tal campaign to substantially Jewish community." reduce debt on the Maitland Harris Rosen, who founded Jewish Community Campus. Rosen Hotels & Resorts 40 "Our hope is to motivate a years ago and grew it into the spiritofgivingthatwillbemu- largest independently owned tually beneficial to the Jewish hotel brand in Florida, said FederationofGreaterOrlando he believes his foundation's as well as to the people and $1 million offer will energize community it serves," Rosen the Jewish community's esprit said. "I am confident that de corps. Congregation Beth Am inthe cessation of World War I Longwood invites all Jewish hostilities between the Allied Veterans, our military men nations and Germany on the chronicled the work done at and women on active duty eleventh hour of the eleventh OADinalbums, completewith and their families to attend day of the eleventh month photographs and descrip- the Shabbat Morning service oneyear earlier. The original tions of the items--books, at9:30a.m.onNov.8,2014in concept for the celebration Torah scrolls and other ar- recognition of Veterans Day. was for a day observed with tifacts--cataloged, restored Christine DeSouza Included in the invitation parades and public meetings and returned to the rightful Rouben Sami and Robert EdseL are the surviving families of and a brief suspension of =. countries from where they those who have served our business beginningat 11a.m. S were stolen by the Nazis. Nazi Thieves and the Greatest experiences at the OAD, the country. This year Beth Am ArmisticeDaywasprimarilya Bencowitz gave the albums Treasure Hunt in History"-- people he worked with, and encourages the families of daysetasidetohonorveterans __= to Sami. One was lost in a which the movie of the same the incredible work that was our young men and womenofWorldWarI;butin 1954,af- fire, but Sami still had the name was loosely based--and completed there, currently stationed inAmeri- ter WorldWar II had required remaining album, founder of the Foundation, "I was proud to be a part can, Afghanistan, Iraq, and on the greatest mobilization of After Sami was interviewed would visit with the Samis, as of doing what I was doing military posts throughout the soldiers, sailors, Marines and =" X last summer, the Heritage hehasvisitedwithalltheother because of being Jewish," world to attend this special airmenintheNation'shistory ------ contacted the Monumentsliving men and women of the Sami told Edsel. "I wasn't service. Rabbi Rick Sherwin andafterAmericanforceshad ---- Men Foundation for the Pres- Monuments Men. There were any commander or someone believes that the Jewish com- fought aggression in Korea, -_-- O ervation ofArt to inform them 19 living when he began this important but I did the best I munity must acknowledgeCongress, at the urging of "= that Rouben Sami was alive work 12 years ago. could.Iwasonly20yearsold.I those who have served our and well. After some research, That visit happened Tues- wantedtogethome, somaybe country through the years BethAm on page 14A Elizabeth Hudson, coordinator day, Oct. 21, at the Sami's I could have done more, but I in times of peace and times , ofhistoricalresearch, acknowl- home. Edselspentalittle more was young, of war. edged that Sami would be than an hour with Rouben, As Edsel shared photo- Initially proclaimed as Ar- addedtothelistandthatRobert his wife Lee, daughter Renae graphs from his first book mistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919 D Edsel, author of "The Monu- and son Stephen engaged in by President Woodrow Wil- ments Men: Allied Heroes, conversation about Rouben's Sami on page 15A son, the day commemorated