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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 14, 2014 The Jewish product O0 or What it means to be a Jew today may be of the Holocaust is disappearing, virtually far less significant than the question, "Why irrelevant to today's 30-under Jews who be a Jew tomorrow?" My generation, and view Hitler as an evil portrayed in history my parents', had concrete, fully realized books rather than a recent threat, more reasons to be Jewish. World War II, the akin to Haman than Al Qaeda. Israel is still Holocaust, and the drive to survive after a drawing card for many, but it has become a near-extinction event. The birth of the a lightning rod of controversy as well, and State of Israel and the rise of modern Jew- is no longer supported without question ish pride, Jewish heroism, and Jewish hope. by many of today's Jewish youth. And ac- Success and acceptance in contemporary ceptance in contemporary society has led, Diaspora society, in virtually every aspect as it always does, to complacency and the of Americanculture, politics, andbusiness, ultimate disappearing act of assimilation. But today we hit a period of malaise. The As hard as they try, synagogues are strug- sense of obligation borne from the ashes gling to maint iin membership and remain Letter from Israel relevant to young Jewish adults. I don't hear on the principles of gratitude, humility, and about many kids clamoring to go to shul (of meaning. Meaning must be on any list, while course, maybe they never really have). And gratitude and humility are more out of the box most of the millennials I talk to don't feel like thinking. Micah asks, what does the LORD they have much reason to belong unless they require of you, but to do justly, and to love havechildrenpreppingforbarorbatmitzvahs, mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Jewish institutions and agencies, once the Teaching humility, then, can be an attractive backbone of Jewish communities, are now component to a Jewish product, as would be more often perceived as weak stepchildren a revitalized emphasis on living justly and with no driving vision for support and little acting mercifully. And gratitude for what? To reason to exist. We see it in the struggles of validate the prayers we recite, or to remind us our Jewish agencies to raise philanthropic that we recite prayers to focus on the myriad dollars, in the lack of growth and broad-based reasons we have to be grateful? Or do we make communitysupportoftheJewishAcademyand it a central point to teach our children that the dissolution of Beit Hamidrash, a program gratitude is a key component of life, that noth- for Jewish high schoolers that once attracted ingshouldbetakenforgranted--eachbreath, more than 200 students every week but is now each blessing, each boon we receive, ought to much reduced in both size and scope (and the be appreciated as if they were the first breath, Jewish Academy and Beit Hamidrash are not the only blessing, the greatest boon we ever alone. This is a national trend.) experienced? All of which begs the question, what do we Perhaps the real purpose of this exercise, do? What Jewish product do we sell to the next the real reason to ask what the new Jewish generation, and the next, that has merit? On product will be to carry us into a revitalized what do we stake the future of Judaism? future, is to help us focus with laser-like ac- There is no simple answer, no one thing to curacy. What three words would you choose? hang out hats on. Some obvious requirements What key values would you emphasize to your cometomind--significance, forone.Anyprod- children and grandchildren that would make uctpresentedtotomorrow'sJewishpopulation penultimate sense for them? What are the must make sense for their lifestyle and value integral components that will connect our system. So a thoughtfully presented, clearly past, present, and future? I'm askingyouas I'm communicatedvahesystemmightalsobepart asking myself, and look forward to exploring of the foundation we "sell." And God knows, this more in subsequent columns. Judaism has a core of values that anyone with And that!s the good word. amodicum of morality can buy into. Send your thoughts, comments, and A friend of mine told me that, in her opin- critiques to the Heritage or email dsb328@ ion, the new Jewish product must be based gmail.com. By Ira Sharkansky The problem is as old as the notion of Hebrew, Israelites, Judeans, or Jews. Not really wars, but a continuation of dis- We have always lived alongside and amidst putes going back at least to the time of Ezra. others. Jews have been quarreling about who is a An early indication is a line, attributed to Jew since then, and over the centuries have Abraham, "I am a stranger and an inhabitant added numerous other squabbles, with you." (Genesis 23) There is also a story, Itallamountstodisputesamongpeoplewho which many rabbis skip over in their lessons, have been literate for at least 2,500 years, and about Sarah's involvement with an Egyptian have written God knows how many interpre- prince (Genesis 12). tations of the fuzzy laws composed in their. The Moabite Ruth was the great grand- earliest writings, i.e., the books that came to mother of David. be sacred and included in the Hebrew Bible. ThehstchapteroftheBookofEzradesCribes The current uptick concerns a proposal how that religious and political leader of the that has passed the government but not yet people who returned to Judea from Babylon the Knesset to ease in what may only be in a assembled the men, and gave them hell. Some microscopic way tthe efforts to Convert of who of them--maybe many--had joined with knows how many of the 300,000 or so Israe!is "women of the land" and made children. who are not considered Jewish by one rabbin- Ezrademandedthat those men divorce their ate or another, women and children. The multiplicity of rabbinates is part of the The men howled in protest. They refused. issue. Judaism lacks a pope, or anyone with Ezra appointed a committee to deal with supreme authority on the issue of who is a Jew the issue. or anything else. The Bible isn't any more clear about the The Reform are the most liberal, accept- results than about many other things, but ing anyone with a Jewish father or mother, a fair reading of the text is that some--or and allowing an easy conversion of others. If many--did not comply. the Reform were anything but a tiny minor- Korea is one of the countries that, histori- ity in Israel, the 300,000 mostly Russians cally, did not have a Jewish community. Now, products of mixed marriages would have however, developments in international corn- no problem, merce and the quest for varieties of higher The most recent issue has set several parties educationhave brought Israelis to live in Korea in the Knesset against the official Orthodox and Koreans to live in Israel. Korean Airlines Rabbinate. The proposalwould give a candidate flies between Tel Aviv and Seoul, and there are some choice in selecting a city rabbinate (each 40-50,000 Korean tourists/year. of Israers largely Jewish cities have their own) A Korean family has lived in our building to instruct and test their qualifications to be for more than a decade, and currently has a let into the tent, as opposed to having to jump son and a daughter in the IDF. through the hoops of the central rabbinate. One of my PhD's is a Korean Presbyterian The State rabbinate opposes, saying that pastor who wrote his dissertation on religion they fear a loosening of the standards, but and politics in Israel. He has stayed on as the are accused by reform advocates of fearing representative of his church, and is a leading the loss of power, figure in overseas Korean activities, i.e., what Meanwhile, the various ultra-Orthodox the Koreans call their Diaspora. rabbis have their own standards for conver- His son and daughter go to school along sion and other matters, and do not to rely on with everyone else, and speak excellent He- the State rabbinate for anything. They are brew. The boy felt left out when his friends threatening to compile their own registries were havinga bar mitzvah, so his father, the of who are proper Jews, which will determine pastor, led a group of Koreans to the top of who the members of their congregations are allowed to marry. Sharkansky on page 15A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. # CENTRAL FLORIDA'S ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards EWlSH NEWS INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Gene Starn 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.com Assistant Editor Christine DeSouza Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Lori Apple Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley * Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein * Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore By Stephen M. Flatow The U.S. Senate responded by voting, 99-0, JNS.org for a resolution asking President Clinton to request Abbas's extradition. The administra- Amid the ongoing controversy over the Met- tion declared that it was too late--the statute ropolitan Opera's performance of"The Death of limitations on extraditing him had expired. of Klinghoffer," little has been said about the But the Congressional Research Service ex- Palestinian leader who masterminded the at- amined the law and concluded that, in fact, tackinwhich Leon Klinghoffer was murdered, the statute had been suspended becauseAbbas The decision to hijack the Achille Lauro was a fugitive from justice. cruise ship in 1985 was made by Muhammad The law didn't matter. President Clinton Zaidan, also known as Muhammad Abbas or dug in his heels, refused to take action against Abu .Abbas, leader of the Palestine Liberation Abbas, and hoped nobody would notice. And Front.(Nottobeconfusedwithhiscomrade-in- he was right. Journalists stopped asking arms Mahmoud Abbas, the current president about Abbas. Jewish leaders moved on to of the Palestinian Authority.) other issues. The senators who voted for the Four of Abu Abbas's agents seized the ship, resolution were not prepared to take stronger terrorized the passengers, and murdered the action, such as cutting off U.S. aid to the wheelchair-bound, 69-year-old Klinghoffer. Palestinian Authority. They also demanded the release of 50 Pales- Abbas lived freely in Gaza, while traveling tinian terrorists being held in Israeli prisons, often to Baghdad, a longtime center of his When the Israelis refusedto negotiate, Abbas's terror activities. Then, in 2003, Abbas was gang forcedthe ship to sail to Egypt. The Egyp- captured by U.S. troops that were stationed tian government arranged for them to flee by in Iraq in the aftermath of the war there. The plane, but the U.S. Air Force intercepted the "moderate" PA was furious and demanded his planeandforcedittolandinItaly.TheItalians, release; PA spokesman Saeb Erakat said that however, refused to extradite the terrorists to the Oslo accords prohibited the prosecution America, and instead put them on trial. All of anyone involved in terrorism before 1993. four were convicted, but two were set free in (In fact, the U.S. isnot a signatory on the Oslo just six years; the other two were released in accords and the accords say nothing about the 2008 and 2009. U.S. prosecuting anybody.) What about Abbas, the man who was ulti- But Abbas managed to cheat justice yet mately responsible for the hijacking and mur- again--11 months after his capture, he died der? The Palestinian leadership rallied around of natural causes while still in American him. His Palestine Liberation Front remained custody in Iraq. part and parcel ofYasser Arafat's Palestine Lib- So, one might ask, why didn't President erationOrganization.Arafat'sforeignminister, Clinton want to prosecute Abbas? For the FaroukKaddoumi, accusedMarilynKlinghoffer same reason he never asked the PA to hand ofmurderingherhusbandforinsurancemoney, over the terrorists involved in the murder of Abbas himself offered an alternative explana- my daughter Alisa in 1995, or any other Pal- tion, at a press conference in Algeria in 1988: estinian killers of American citizens--because "Maybe he was trying to swim for it." it would anger the Palestinian leadership and With Arafat's endorsement, Abbas and the upset the "peace process." Palestine Liberation Front continued carrying Clinton never seemed to realize that peace out terrorist attacks. In fact, it was Arafat's negotiations have no meaning if the Palestin- refusal to condemn a Palestine Liberation ian side still regards terrorists as heroes and is Front attack in 1990 that prompted President angry if they are prosecuted. The Palestinian George H.W. Bush to rescind his earlier rec- leadership always regarded Klinghoffer's kill- ognition of the PLO. After the 1990 attack, ers--andAlisa'skillers--asheroes.Theynever Abbas disappeared from public view. The U.S. sincerely renounced terrorism and they never governmentissuedawarrantforhisarrestand viewed terrorists as bad guys. And that's why offered a $250,000 reward for his capture. The the peace process--whether it be Bill Ciinton's hunt was on. peace process, George W. Bush's peace process, But then Bill Clinton was elected president or Barack Obama's peace process--has never in 1992, and the hunt was called off. The Oslo resulted in peace. Accords between Israel and the PLO became On many occasions in recent years, Clinton the centerpiece of the Clinton administra- has expressed regret that he refused to act tion's Mideast policy. Arafat, chairman of the against the genocide in Rwanda. One wonders new Palestinian Authority, was proclaimed how long it will take him to express some re- to be "moderate" and the leaders of various gret that he refused to act against Palestinian PLO factions, such as Abbas, tagged along. In terrorists whose own genocidal campaign has early 1996, Abbas surfaced in PA-controUed claimed so many innocent victims. Gaza--yet the Clinton administration did not Stephen 31. Flatow lives in New Jersey; his ask the PA to extradite him to Stand trial for daughterAlisawasmurderedin anApri11995 the murder of Klinghoffer. Palestinian terror attack at Kfar Darom.