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November 21, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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November 21, 2003

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!( HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 21, 2003 I By Congressman Tom Feeney (R-Oviedo) During my August trip to Israel, I visited six-year-old Msir and his nine-year-old sister Shifra Kodary as they recov- ered from severe injuries suf- fered in an Aug. 19 bus bomb- ing. They survived. Other in- fants and children were bur- led. Palestinian terrorist bomb techniques are grisly -- glass, nails, bolts, screws and other metal objects are packed with explosives and hidden in fake watermelons, guitars, comput- ers, backpacks or other every- dayitems. Suicide bombers are often deliberately infectedwith H.I.V. or hepatitis before they become a human sacrifice, to infinitely complicate treatment of victims. The constant wave of ter- rorism proves that Yasser Arafat cannot transcend his terrorist origins or attendant commitment to Israel's de- struction. Under the Oslo Ac- cords, he and other Palestin- ian leaders, with a little reflec- tion and patience, could have delivered peace and prosper- ity to their people. Instead, they chose conflict and blood- shed. For too many genera- tions, such extremist leader- ship has ill-served ordinary Palestinians, who chafe at re- strictive Israeli security pre- cautions while being intimi- dated by Arafat's hoodlums. For decades, extremists have systematically snuffed out or silenced Arab moderate leadership and thought. Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas provides an example. Abbas promised to hunt down terrorists in return for liberal- ization of Israeli security re- strictions. Arafat unceremo- niously purged Abbas. I sus- pect the same will occur to PalestinianAuthority Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, who I met over dinner. Fayyad is straightening out the Pales- tinian Authority's books and tracking down billions of dol- lars looted by Arafat and oth- ers - surely a thankless job. While Arafat remains, har- monious relations with Brad and Palestinian peace and prosperity are impossible. America must encourage the development of genuinely moderate Palestinian, Arab, and Islamic leadership and thought that support human liberty, democratic processes, the rule of law, and peaceful coexistence with Israel. Such potential exists in Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia must be accountable for past and present support or accom- modation of terrorism. Syria and Iran need to know their support for Hezbollah spe- cifically and terrorism in gen- eral will receive severe con- sequences. Finally, the United Nations, which de- clared in a 72 to 35 vote that Zionism is racism, needs to know that its relevance is conditioned on its policies being grounded in respect for the rule of law, multiparty democracy, and fundamen- tal human rights. Israel's right to existence must be constantly and un- ambiguously reaffirmed. So please join me in pronounc- ing Winston Churchill's fa- mous declaration of support for Israel: "I am a Zionist, let me make that clear." PAGE5 GOSH. HOCU P/D -I"o c PO HERITAGE welcomes and encourages letters to the editor, but they must be typed or printed and include name and phone number. We will withhold your name if you so request. Please limit letters to 250 words. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit letters. Send letters to P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Or e-mail to Never again? Dear Editor. luckiest person in attendance, Remember the last time at because I was the only one to the barbershop. Hair clip- not only hear his story, butto I~ings were scattered across hear him. I was fortunate the floor. Now, image all of enough to sit right beside the those clippings piled up and man who caught Eichmann. ~tonfire, Picture each strand Out of all the respectable ~f hair as a baby boy. The people in attendance, Mr. odies are in flames and cries Malkin decided to speak to ring out from the heap of in- me prior to his speech. He nOCence. All of the corpses told me to read his book and are then piled into a ditch and recommend it to my friends. You, starved and weak, are However, he was not solicit- responsible for burying the ing his merchandise. He was ~eeXt generation of your promoting the learning ofthe Ople. I apologize for the Holocaust to my generation. , words, but I I am a high school student garcoat the Holo- at Winter Park and my gen- :aust. How many of those in- eration and I carry the bur- infants wouldhavebe- den of beifig the last ones to hear the story of the Holo- in the process? How caust directly from the He- guiltless new- roes that survived it. Yet, would have become many of us are neglecting to ped find peace? hear it. It is the responsibil- uld one of those blameless ity of my peers to remember the solution history, then take a leader- !the conflict in the Middle shippositionandensurethat continues to mag- history does not repeat it- ; as I sit here and write? self. It is the job of my par- write this article on the ents and their generation to of Kristallnacht. ' make certain that my peers mournful day was the and I do not turn our back on ning of the systematicour duty. of a religious God says in the Bible to based solely on "take the words which he beliefs. The order wascommands to you each day by the Nazis to destroy and teach them diligently to our children" and the same synagogues of the Jews. should be done with the hor- )lewere encour- ror stories of the Holocaust. assault and Do not scare people away from .women, learning about the Holocaust, children. To mourn thebut do not lessen the atrocity. anniversary, the Ho- Do not forget the Holocaust, Lght Peter because history has aterrible to speak to the Or- habit of reminding us. Community. Everyone DANLUDIN but I was the Maitland speaker at Rollins College r Editor. nity Center in planning for Oct. 27, Ambassador Ambassador Ross to speak on is Ross and Professor the topic, "Prospects for Peace ,pokeatRollins in the Middle East." However, Federation, through Federation was not consulted ty Relations when, at thelast minute, Pro- partnered with fessor Khalidi was invited to Connections and join the program. erican Commu- The CRC has, over the last several years, been working to build bridges with groups out- side the Jewish community, and had successfully co-spon- sored community programs with UCF Global Connections that brought Daniel Pipes, author of Militant Islam Reaches America, and New York Times columnist Tho- mas Friedman to Central Florida. Federation remains com- mitted to ensuring, that the local Jewish community is treated with dignity and can- dor, and that Jews and Israel are accorded respect in any bridge-building program. In subsequent discussion with the AACC, representatives of Federation expressed this commitment and their disap- pointment with Khalidi's in- clusion on the program with- out any prior consultation with Federation. In response, Omar Dajani of the AACC has writ- ten the attached letter. DAN COULTOFF, Chair Community Relations Committee Fifteen years ago, before there was a "peace process," and before most Americans knew that two national move- ments- were battling over dis- puted territory, a group of lo- cal members of the Arab- American and American Jew- ish communities met together under the auspices of the Foundation for Middle East Communication. It was the first time that local members of both com- munities sat together, face- to-face, to discuss issues so emotional and personal. Al- though the meetings were of- ten tense, they truly achieved the intended goal Of putting a face on the "other" commu- nity. For many, itwas the first time they saw their "opponent' as a human being with feel- ings, needs, fears, and aspira- tions. In the eyes of most at- tending those gatherings, it was the foundation of great things to come. We've gone a longway since." In Central Florida, we now have a Seeds of Peace organi- zation that brings together members of both communi- ties who work together side- by-side to achieve common goals. Even though some may not agree on what constitutes an equitable peace agreement between Palestinians and Is- raelis, the clear majority wh01e-heartedly believe that dialogue, joint projects, coop- eration and coordination build a foundation of trust that could only lead to better relations between both communities locally, and between the Pal- estinian and Israeli people in the Middle East. As part of this ever-evolving relationship between our two communities, leaders of the Arab-American Community Center have been meeting with leaders of the Jewish Federa- tion for the goal of further enhancing the bonds. As Americans and residents of Central Florida, we have a lot in common. We share the val- ues that make this country great and each of our commu- nities are extremely success- ful in their own right. Open communication is the only way that both communities can gain a better understand- ing of each other and realize that we have much more in common than we have differ- ences. Since the Jewish Federation and AACC are partner organi- zations of the Global Connec- tions Foundation of Central Florida, it was decided (as or- ganizations) that we would more directly co-sponsor an upcoming, scheduled Global Connections event that would address the peace process. The result was the "Prospects for Peace in the Middle East' con- ference held at Rollins College that featured Ambassador Dennis Ross and Professor Rashid Khalidi. Without getting into details that led up to the selection of the speakers and the format of the event (which is determined by the UCF Office of Global Perspectives and Global Con- nections), there was obviously a communication breakdown which led to the Federation not being involved in any way in the selection of Professor Rashid Khalidi as a speaker for this event. 'We accept our share of responsibility for this hap- pening: My understanding from the early organizational stages of this event was that the confer- ence would be a "panel' dis- cussion which would feature Ambassador Ross as a keynote speaker. So during regular communication with Global Connections, I had proposed a list ofspeakerswhowould also participate in .the conference. In retrospect, I regret that I did not share the list with rep- resentatives from the Federa- tion, or for that matter, with 66 99 See Letter on page 21 Rabbinical Thoughts Biggest mitzvah: To study Torah By Rabbi R. J. Adler made italmost impossibleand it only applied to sons not All Israel agreed for hun- daughters and both parents dreds of years that the studyof had to agree that he was mis- Torah by all and under all cir- erable and could not be con- cumstances is the greatest trolled, but still we would pre- singleMitzvahandwasrespon- fer counseling. On the other sible for the survival of the hand, we feel good when the Jewish people throughout the Mishnah suggests,anyonewho world. Since American Jewry destroys one soul oflsrael isas during the last century has if he had destroyed the entire neglected this virtue, rabbis world. Or, All Israel hasashare and responsible leaders have in Olam Haba, the World to looked for ways of remedying Come. Moreover, where can the situation. Looking back to you find in criminal law, the similar circumstances, they suggestion that relatives ofthe discovered that one way in the convicted criminal must visit past was to introduce the idea the witnesses and judges and of encouraging our people to expresstheirfeelingsthatthey study one page of traditional do not blame them but in- texts every day. Then it was steadwishthemwell!Another called, Daf Yomee-One page positive idea in tractate per day. Years ago it referred Sanhedrin comes to mind, to the pages of the Talmud; when the Mishnah asks about today it has been tried with witnesses who may distort the Mishnah or the Tenach, the truth because of hate or love Hebrew Bible. We at Ohevfor the one on trial. The reply Shalom have tried both Tal- of our Sages is, Jews are not mud and Mishnah with some suspected of being false wit- success.Asmall group of faith- nesses for those reasons! I like ful ones have managed to keep that. Or how about this, God up this study group for several himself mourns the death of a decades. A new session will criminal, how much more the begin in the fall after the High demise of the righteous. Holidays. I have another personal rea- The subject matter is based son and special feeling for the on common interests, study- tractate Sanhedrin, for itwaso ing something new and exit- the last Torah study with my ing, discussing all items Rabbi in Germany before frankly and patiently and lis- World War II and my forced tening to one another atten- exodus before the Holocaust. tively. The students this time A brave young rabbi taught a selected the Mishnah of smallclass clandestinely and Sanhedrin-Jewish Law Courts later became the senior rabbi and wanted to investigate the in my brother's congregation three types; the Bet DininNewYork, where he served Hagadol, the Supreme Court till his recent retirement. 1 of 71, sitting at the Temple in still remember his love and Jerusalem, the Sanhedrinenthusiasm of teaching To- Ketanah of 23 and finally, the rah during those dangerous .Bet Dinofthree, takingcareof and unsafe timesand his per- business in smaller cities and sonal devotion and caring for towns, his students. My own deter- It is true that our historic ruination to study for the rab- Hebrew texts deal frequently binate and my love for Torah with old-fashioned or exotic study was due in no small itemsbutmanytimeswegleanmeasure to the selfless guid- form them Jewish attitudes ance ofthisyounghero, sixty and philosophies which are years ago. The Leaders of the timelessand uplifting. For Sanhedrin were called Nasi- example, thelawsoftherebel- Prince or Ab Bet Din-Father lious son who could end up of the court; my rebbe was with the death penalty. True, both, a father and a prince in the Rabbi's interpretation Israel.