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November 28, 2014

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 28, 2014 pray or By Deborah Fineblum Schabb JNS .org There are few subjects in Israel these days that arouse greater passion than prayer rights at the Temple Mount. The dramatic uptick in Palestinian terror attacks on Jews in Jerusalem in recent weeks, including Tuesday's killing of four at a syna- gogue in Har Nof, has raised the temperature of the long-simmering debate over control of the holy site to a boiling point. Rabbi Yehu- dah Glick, a promoter of Jewish access to the Temple Mount, is still recovering from being shot by an Arab gunman on Oct. 29. Increased Muslim riots have prompted police to further Letter from Israel By Ira Sharkansky I have known Dick Sharkansky since my first memory. Our families lived for a while in the same building on Belmont Street, and sometime during our second year, I'm pretty sure that he bit my finger. He may have a differ set of memories. We were in the same classes from about fifth grade through high school. Dick went the route of engineer- ing and law, and. we've drifted apart and gotten closer together over a half century or so. What prompts this note is Dick's complaint about my using the word "goyim" in my notes. I replied that the word has a pedigree of at least 2500 years in Hebrew. Among its first of many appearances in the Hebrew Bible is a passage in Genesis. "Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations (goyim)." (Genesis 17:3) Dick responded with what I knew well, that "goyim" is not necessarily neutral, and has been used by Jews as a derogatory term for non-Jews. Moreover, he pointed out I was Writing in English for an English speak- ing audience. Among the complications is that the biblical origins of goyim make clear that it means "nations," and is also employed to include the Jews, as in the passage above from Genesis, No doubt I'm on slippery turf. That's not necessarily a problem. I've been there often in my career as learner and teacher. Here, too, there is something to learn and to teach. My fascination with ethnicity goes back to Fall River. As a Jew I learned early on about insiders and outsiders. It may have helped that Fall River was a city ~)f outsiders. Working class Portuguese, French Canadians, Poles, English, Italians, and middle class Jews who owned stores or small factories were most of the population. Thinking themselves on top were a few remnants of the WASP upper class who had owned the cotton mills that had long ago surrendered to competition from the lower wage South. As a boy in a largely middle class neighborhood, I was wary of the "other," especially the Portuguese who lived "below the hill." I don't remember knowing any Portuguese kids in the Highland School. It was only in junior high school when I began making multi-cultural friends and fantasizing about their beautiful girls. Later I chose The Portuguese of Fall River as the subject of my BA thesis at Wesleyan, which led me to survey their social and political developments over the course of some 80 years, and to interview the priests in the Portuguese parish churches as well as other prominent figures in the com- munity. The upper crust Protestants who dominated Wesleyan were as different from my roots as werethe ethnics I encountered in junior high school. Then years in Wisconsin, the Deep South on the cusp of integration, back to Wisconsin, with subsequent long stays in East Africa, South Africa, Australia, Utah, shorter stays in lois of other places, along with more half my life in Jerusalem have combined to make me sensitive and appreciative of the human variety. Long before the recent note from Dick Sharkansky, the trait has gotten me into trouble. When I made a point of expressing my pleasure about the Israelis of Iraqi origin who made their way to our family, I heard from several of my loved ones that I was causing problems. Against charges of in- sensitive arrogance, I had a sense of pride that individuals derived from the riches of Judaism as it developed in Iraq and produced the Baby- Ionian Talmud that is the essence of modern Judaism, and had also contributed to kids who are my nephews, nieces, and grandchildren. However, I was told that I was reminding the Iraqis of their marginal status among the European aristocracy of Israel. Nonsense. We are all Jews. How can the grandchildren of less than estimable shtetles claim higher status than Iraqis, North Africans, Turks, or who else? You're an Anglo-Saxon, I was told. You can't understand. Anyonewho called me an Anglo-Saxon in Wesleyan would have been laughed into the gutter. Not all encounters with others are pure pleasure. Like other Is- raelis, I have acquired friends among Israeli Arabs/Palestinians, some of them my former students. Yet the frontier between cultures is greater than among ethnics in Fall River. Beyond personal rapport, it is obvious that a rift separates these communities that has defied the efforts of the best and the brightest to produce accord. I'm drafting this on our way to Seattle, to celebrate the bar mitzvah of senior grandson David. His other grandfa- ther, who I sadly never had the opportunity to meet, was professor of Korean language at Michigam State University. I see my task on this occasion to talk about the openness and opposition among Jews to outsiders. We are not only a religion but a people, whose religion is tribal, both open to outsiders and suspicious of them. I will note that David's portion, includes the passage about Abraham being an outsider in a land that was not his own; that the Moabite Ruth was the great grandmother of David, and an episode from the Book of Ezra describes his effort--with limited success--to combat intermarriage. David may be fated to be an outsider. I've been an outsider since my beginnings in Fall River, over the course of 10 years in Madison, Wisconsin, 40 years in Jeru- salem, as well as in Nairobi, Melbourne, Kabul, Pretoria, Provo, Seoul, and elsewhere. Look- ing backward over more than three quarters of a century, I think I've gained more than I suffered as an outsider, and I wish no less for David and others like him. Will I continue to employ "goyim" in my notes, or revert to the more politically correct "gentiles"? Maybe a bit of both, with this note meant to assert that no insult is intended. Ira Sharkansky is a professor (Emeritus) of the Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards WISH 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 rnairmg 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 emaih Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Slam Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Loft Apple * Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley * Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore clamp down on Jews visiting the site, especially for anyone making any gesture that could be interpreted as prayer. Today, awaqf (Islamic religious committee) manages the Temple Mount, though Israel pro- vides security and enforces the waqf's policies on access. The 37-acre compound is currently home to the Muslims' A1-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, sites that date back to the 7th century CE. But long before that time, the Temple Mount was revered by Jews as the spot where God created Adam, where Abraham was willing to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice, and centuries later, where both Jewish Temples stood. Jewish tradition also says the third Temple is destined to be built there. Yet Jews are banned from praying on the Temple Mount, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel intends to maintain the "status quo" at the site. "From the day we captured the Old City [of Jerusalem] in '67, the whole question of whether we should have the right to pray on the Temple Mount has been nothing short of bizarre," said Jeff Bell, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, which is located about 20 miles west of Jerusalem. "The real question is, why would we not have the right to pray at the Temple Mount, the holiest spot in the Jewish world? But now, if you are caught swaying, you can be arrested." The office of Rabbi Binny Freedman, direc- tor of both the Jewish education organization Isralight and the Orayta Yeshiva, is located just blocks away from the Temple Mount in the Old City. Freedman said he is concerned about the Israeli government's attempts to limit Jewish prayer rights Whenever Muslims become violent because that amounts to "rewarding the aggressor, a strategy that has been demonstrated to fail time and again, particularly in the Arab mindset. Freedman added that the controversy about Jews praying at the site "is not really about the Temple Mount." "This issue is being used by Muslim and Arab protagonists with an agenda that is much broader. It is part of a struggle against the legitimacy of having a Jewish state to begin with," he said. Yet Israeli-Jewish opinion on the issue is divided. That schism is reflected in a recent "Peace Index" survey by the Guttman Center at the Israel Democracy Institute and the Evens Program for Solution Conflict Resolution at Tel Aviv University. The findings said that nearly 40 percent of the Jewish population in Israel believes the policy governing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount needs to be allowed, whereas 56 percent maintain that Jews should not be permitted to pray there in order to "prevent friction with the Muslim world." Kfar Saba resident Gaby Feigin describes the Temple Mount situation as "wide and explosive." Though he is in favor of Jews being able to pray "in well-defined areas Schabb on page 15A Jim Shipley There is some good news The fact that the world has a double standard when it comes to Israel is no secret. Things that are either accepted or ignored in the wide world become big news when Israel is involved, allowing the public at large and the United Nations in particular to go through a session of Jew bashing. Five Jews died in an unbelievably dastardly attack on an Orthodox synagogue in Jeru- salem. The New York Times headlined the story "Four Killed in Jerusalem Synagogue Complex." How stupidly insensitive, inaccurate and anti-Jewish. Second case in point: A bunch of thugs af- filiated with ISIL/IS/ISIS killed 30 Egyptian soldiers (no word if the Egyptians got a single kill). The Egyptian response to this tragedy and other similar ones was to uproot a thousand or so residents in the Gaza/Sinai buffer zone move them out and destroy their homes. This so they can set up a semi-permanent barrier to protect Egypt from further incursion. Now, suppose Israel, based on its recent ex- perience in Gaza, decided to do the same thing: Bulldoze 800 homes to create a "buffer zone" between Israel and tunnel digging terrorists who try to get into Israel to kill civilians. Can you imagine, can you even fathom the ruckus that would cause? Can't you just see everyone from the Saudi delegation to Abbas to yes, even John Kerry in the U.N on television and in person castigating the Jewish State. But for the military rulers of Egypt, for thatvirtual dictatorship? Not a peep. It is hard these days to find positive press about Israel. Netanyahu continUes towarn the world about Iran. But the talks drag on. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and only for domestic purposes. Then how come they have so many ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles)? What do they need those for? President Obama reaches out to the grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He responds by call- ing for the destruction of Israel. Israeli goods and scholars are the targets of boycotts by universities and religious organizations. Is there any good news? Well, yes. Our son Tom, some of you may know, is an IDF veteran, an Israeli commando some years ago. This was of course, before wife Pare, daughters Ayelet and Dani and a hugely successful career as an entrepreneur. We have known all along that one of Tom's dreams is to have a business in Israel that would allow the family to travel there at least a few times a year. Well, if you are looking for new, breakthrough products in almost any field, chances are you will find them in Israel. Tiny Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, which even theprime minister calls a "beleaguered )democr~cy//~ has the twelfth largest GDP in the world. With only seven million people? How is that possible? Their greatest export is not oranges or new weapons, it is brains. And the ideas and products from those brains. Every Jewish mother knows her child is a genius. In Israel, as it turns out, a lot of them are right. And so everything from Voice Mail to Instant Mes- saging to Stuxnet comes from the brains of Israeli inventor/entrepreneurs. Tom just returned from his latest trip to Eretz Israel. His basic mission on this trip was to take a 500 kilometer bike ride through the Negev. It was a fundraiser for ALYN Hospital. If you know the Negev, you know it is not a flat sand desert like the Sahara. Think New Mexico. It is hills and mountains and heat and wind, Tom finished. The goal of every race com- petitor is to not have a DNF (Did Not Finish) next to their name. But, the other reason for the trip was to meet some of the Israeli entre- preneur inventor/product developers creating new technologies and products for the skin and hair care industry. Through a business development contact in Israel, Tom met with a number of inven- tor entrepreneurs who have developed break through products in skin and hair care. The products will be manufactured in Israel and sold worldwide through the platform of Tom's company. (You may know his products such as Hydroxatone, Miracle Skin and Keranique from television or the Internet). No, this column is not an unsolicited commercial for our son's products (although every little bit helps), it is rather to talk about what dynamic things are happening in Israel. At one time much of the innovation coming from Israel came through the IDF and their research and development wing, Today it is from a unique alliance between the universi- ties and start-up companies. Utilizing the talent and entrepreneurship of a number of bright young soon to be stars in partnership with the research capabilities of Technion, Hebrew U. and others, Israel is making product breakthroughs in a number of industries to make the w6rld a better place in which to live. Now, if the world would only help make Israel an even better place to live by treating them with the respect and support they deserve, there is probably no end to what these amaz- ing people can contribute to our well-being.