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November 14, 2014
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 14, 2014 PAGE 5A By Sara Debbie - dawn. The silence as the sun Cutfreund flooded over the plaza with its AishHatorahResources first rays of light. The peace that you can't find anywhere "I sat at their table, and it else in the world. That sud- changed my life," I told the den peace inside. Like you woman sitting next to me on have finally found what you the plane. I was flying back were looking for, and you're from a summer spent in Isra- holding it right inyour hands. el, and Iwas overflowingwith Like a key. inspiration. You should have "Sowhatareyou goingto do seen the beauty of the candles now?" the woman asked me. reflected on the Jerusalem Ilookedather.ThenIstared stone wall. You should have down at my own untouched seen the warmth between drink. What did she mean? the husband and wife. The "I told you, I'm going into beautiful, pure faces of all my senior year at the Univer- those children. The aroma of sity of Pennsylvania. I'm start- fresh challah, The songs that ing next week," I answered. danced and wove their way She shook her head. "No, into the starlit night. I mean what are you going My seatmate looked unim- to do with all of that inspira- pressed. She gave me a half tion? How is it really going to smile and downed the rest of change your life?" her red wine. So I began to Ifelttheimagessimmering tell her about the mountains inside of me begin to fade. She I had climbed in the Golan. was right. The scuba diving I had done "I really don't know." I in Eilat. The classes that I at- drank my wine. Looked out tended, and the sunrises that the window at the darkening I had spent at the Kotel. You sky and heard an echo of one should have seen the Wall at ofmyprofessor'sfavoritelines: Nothing changes if nothing me in the library. What are Even if you only know a few Kiddush. Or go to synagogue changes, you going to do with all ideas, share them. Even ifyou on Saturday morning. Begin TwoweekslaterIwaswalk- that inspiration you got in haveonlybeentooneShabbos your list with the easiest goal ing down Locust Walk, with Jerusalem? table, describe it to a friend and have it end with your the autumn leaves swirling A few days later, one of who hasn't had the chance ultimate goal. This way you furiouslyaroundme.Iwalked the Hillel members asked to experience it. If you know can take the inspiration and by the statue of Ben Franklin me to speak the following aleph, teach aleph.When you make it into a concrete plan that I had passed so many Shabbos. I hated speaking. I learn bet, teach bet. Every before it begins to fade. It's times before. He was sitting didn'tknowwhatIwouldsay, time you are given the gift of not all or nothing. there on that bench with his I didn't want to do it. But I wisdom, pass it on to at least Nothing changes unless tiny glasses and mysterious said yes anyway because I sat one person that you know. something changes. smile. I thought about his at their table, and it changed 2.Makeitintoafive-minute Sara Debbie Gutfreund inventions. How he figured mylife, and I needed to figure change. Take any five mim~tes received her BA in English out how to transform the out how I would make that ofyourdayanddecidethatyou from the University of Penn- power of light. How to use real. Could I hold onto that will use those five minutes to sylvania andherMAinfamily energy. How to catch the meaning in the whirl of ev- dosomethingaboutwhatyoutherapyfromtheUniversityof lightning from the sky. How erydaylife? CouldIfindaway experienced, Itdoesn'tmatter North Texas. She has taught he turned his ideas into ac- to pass it on? I didn't know. whatyoudo.Learnso~nething parenting classes and self- tions. I thought about one But I knew I had to try. new. Pray. Think. Do an act development seminars and of his quotes: "Some people On the Shabbat of Oct. 25, of kindness. Write down the provided adolescent counsel- die at 25 and aren't buried thousands of people experi- lessons youhave gleaned.But ing. She writes extensively until 75." And another one: enced the beauty of Shabbat do it consistently so that the for many online publications "Without continual growth for their first time. I'm sure burst of inspiration can be a and in published anthologies and progress, sUch words many were touched, perhaps daily source of light, of Jewish women's writing. as improvement, achieve- transformed by the experi- 3. Break it down and doShe and her husband spent ment and success have no ence. But it will fade unless what you can. You may have 14 wonderful years raising meaning." we transform the inspiration loved experiencing Shabbos their five children in Israel, I sat, down on the bench, into action. Here are three but can't see yourself keeping and now live in Blue Ridge What am I going to do now? possible ways (and they ap- allofShabbos, everyweek, just Estates in Waterbury, Con- The question followed me to ply to every inspirational yet. So create a list of small, necticut, where Sara Debbie class. It followed me to par- experience), specific goals that you can do. enjoys skiing and running in ties. It wove its way around 1. Teach it to someone else. Like light candles. Or make her free time. By Father Gabriel that new breed born of the Rochelle kibbutz who was carving out JNS.org a new land and a vibrant ap- proach to being Jewish. Iwas thrilledas ayoungboy I was barely beyond youth- to watch the rebirth of Israel. ful naivete when the movie I knew of the Holocaust; pic- came out, and it made a huge tures of people suffering and unfiltered impression on deadinthecampssentshivers me. The key figures looked upmyspine.Icelebratedwith strangely like Americans Jewish friends in Philadelphia transported into an Israeli when Israeli independence context, but they were he- was declared in 1948. But roic as Jews. I realize that it wasn't the same, really, the casting was deliberate because I'm not Jewish. For to garner support through Jews, supporting Israel was identification, and the film's choosinglife over death, but I caricature of Palestinians is did not feel that. I did not have in retrospect embarrassing. that personal stake. Yet overall "Exodus" was My grandparents did not impressive, because'itshowed cometothe U.S. because of re- Jews no longer as victims, but pressionorpersecution.They as actors on the world stage. cameforeconomicadvantage. I am aware that, in the My people did not suffer the wake of that movie, some consequences of a holocaust. American Jews made aliyah Centuries ago some of my (immigration to Israel), and people suffered repression, many friends made summer but when they had enough, pilgrimages to this new home- theymovedacrosstheEnglish landwhen theywere teenag- Channel to better their lot, ers. "Exodus" was panned by and later across the Atlantic critics, but loved by millions. Ocean for the same reason. I loved it because it showed In 1960, I went with mil- values I believed in, like the lions to see Paul Newman and move from passivity to action SalMineoa heroesinthefilm and the struggle for rights version of Leon Uris's novel amidst opposition, "Exodus." Mineo played a Today, I love Israel--with young survivor ofthe Warsaw itswarts and its beauty marks. Ghetto, a symbol of heroism But there is a clear difference and cunning in the midst of betweenmyloveforIsraeland passivity andslaughter. New- the love my Jewish friends man played a native Israeli, have for this small nation. I 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- rage are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Heritage Florida Jewish News or its sta 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.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to news@ orlandoheritage.com. An open-door policy at synagogues that may work Dear Editor: ter from Les Kippel in the I read with interest (and Heritage. We belong to a then I was appalled) the let- Reform temple inWorcester, can love it from a distance, anotherlevelI cannot answer I can love it critically. I can fully, because I am not tied to love it without going there. Israel in the same way as my All ofthis is true forAmerican Jewish friends. Jews, with one exception. I'm As the years go by and the not Jewish and they are, and critique against israel rises that makes all the difference, around the globe, and within because for them Israel mat- so much of liberal American ters in ways that it may never Christianity, I go deeper into matter for me. It may matter my own psyche to understand as a source of pride; it may the dynamic that draws matter as a source of pain. me ever onward in Jewish- Whatever the reason, it's dif- Christian relations. When I ferent for them. do, I see that my investment I identify with the at- in Jewish-Christianrelations "I have visceral reactions when I hear the relentless criticisms. I wince at what I think are unfair assessments of the country, just as I wince when I encounter anti-Semitism." tempt to build a democracy on a precipice faced by Arab countries to the north, east, and south, and the ocean on the west. I identify with the technological advances made by this little .country. But would it matter to me if Israel eventually fails as an ex- periment of modern rebirth? On one level I say yes, but on has paid off in the form of a connection to Israel that is closer than that of many, .if not most, other Christians. I have a personal stake in Israel. I inhabit what Paul van Buren called"the Jewish- Christian reality," a mental territory that will not allow for being Christian without a relationship with Judaism. Mass., and attend Bet Chaim in the Orlando area when in Florida. Our temple up north does not have tickets and does not charge for com- ing during the High H01Y Days. Anyone can walk in, sit anywhere, and is welcome at the services. There are forms/addressed envelopes at the door for donations and an announcement at each service is made that asks both members and nonmembers to donate for the services. The temple that he tried to attend needs to rethink its practices. Many Jews in our country do not affiliate with a temp|e and attitudes such as the one he described is one of the causes. I did notice how other Orlando-area temples treat.the issue and there is a variety, sometimes confus- ing, of rules for attending during the High Holy Days. I suggest to all of them that they need to consider an open-door policy for all services, with an announced request for donations and available forms/envelopes, for the High Holy Days. That welcoming attitude could attract unaffiliated Jews who may then choose to join the temple later. My e-mail address is es- therleo@charter.net for those who wish to be in touch with me about this issue. Mrs. Bobbie Chase Worcester, Mass., and Winter Park Since all contemporary ex- both geographically and ex- pressions of Judaism include istentially, as it approaches a connection to Israel, I too maturity and seeks to solve am connected. Israel matters the nagging problems that to me, even if I'm not Jewish. keep it locked in internal strife I have visceral reactions and external trials. whenIheartherelentlesscrit- I care about Israel. It has icisms.IwinceatwhatIthink fallen on hard times, with are unfair assessments of the some of its previous sup- country, justas Iwincewhen porters turning sour, the I encounter anti-Semitism, intractable problem of West Many of my peers, frankly, Bank settlements grinding either could not care about on, and terrorism within Israel's fate or may even ex- and without threatening the press their negativity through country. But Israel can affirm BDS (Boycott, Divestment its values and find a way to and Sanctions) movements or include its entire people in the hostile criticism of a society experiment. Israel can find a now facing great difficulty. It's way to become contextualized frustrating and often painful, in its environment. I live with Yet there remain others who these hopes, too, even if I'm continue to support Israel in not Jewish. acriticalway, yearningforthe Father Gabriel Rochelle, country to overcome policies Ph.D., is pastor of St. An- that do not ring true to its thonyoftheDesertOrthodox ideals. They also care about Mission in Las Cruces, New Israel, though it is not their Mexico, and a member of the homeland. Steering Committee of the Israel is no longer the Shalom Hartman Institute's land of--Paul Newman and New Paths: Christians En- Sal Mineo. Israel is different gaging Israel Project (www. from the"Exodus" depiction, newpaths.org.il). RAil, THE k