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November 28, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 28, 2014 PAGE 15A From page 1A I was sure she was lonely and eventually I could wear her down. Finally, I broke through!" Ball said. "Molly's first words of acceptance, in her thick Yid- dish accent, were, 'You don't give up, do you?'" recounted Ball. Because of her tenacity and her empathy for what Molly was going through, Norma became Molly's close companion for the next two years. They spent hours shar- ing stories, goodies, laugh- ing and crying together. Ball visited Molly through her last days, and was hon- ored to be called to the hospital by Molly's daughter just before she died. "I said goodbye, gave her a kiss, and watched her gently slip away," said Ball. Emily Newman, Pavilion program director and senior specialist noted, "Norma's relationship with Molly was really something special. Norma has extraordinary people skills, and turned a difficult situation into something meaningful and wonderful." Ball believes that chal- lenges she faced earlier in her life gave her the strength and tenacity to not give up on Molly. Ball's mother died when she was 24, and her father passed two years later, leaving her the matriarch of her younger siblings. "As a young adult I was forced to grow up quickly," she recounted. As a Jewish educator in the mid-1960s, Ball was presented with the challenge of becoming one of the first Holocaust educators in the country. Renowned Jew- ish educator Phillip Arian asked her to teach a class on Holocaust education. Ball recalled, "At first I said, 'No.' Our conversation took place at a time when no one was talking about the Holocaust. It was too soon for survivors to come forward, and curriculum and textbooks books did not yet exist." Ball changed her mind about teaching the class when she came to realize that someone needed to start a conversation about the Holocaust, and it might as well be her. She found texts wherever she could, and wrote her own curriculum with the intention of teaching Jewish educators. She stated, "The most effective way to pass on this information was to instruct Jewish educators. Then, they could pass on this information en masse to hundreds of students each year. In the early years, I would story tell, and then weave a piece of history through each story." Soon, Ball was asked to speak at the first conference of Holocaust Educators in New York City about her pioneering curriculum that had reached so many. When she arrived at the confer- ence she found that her name had been incorrectly posted as "Norman Ball." She filled in the administra- tors regarding the spelling error, and was told, "There are no women on our panel of educators." She replied, "Well, there are now." As a direct result of her track record and reputation teaching the Holocaust, Ball was asked by the New York State Museum to create a permanent exhibit titled "From Holocaust to Haven," based on Ruth Gruber's book. Once again, jumping in the deep end with both feet, Ball took on the monumental task with the same energy and drive that still defines her. Ball's whimsical side showed through when she commented, "The exhibit is a permanent testament to the strength and courage of the survivors, and the tenac- ity of one very short Jewish woman." Today, Ball believes her years in Jewish education have come full circle. Once the teacher, she is now the willing student, learning a lifetime of lessons from the seniors that she visits. Three and a half years ago Pamela Ruben met with Nancy Ludin, execu- tive director of the Jewish Pavilion to discuss writing an article about the Pavilion. Now, more than 50 Pavilion articles later, Ruben has be- come the marketing director for the organization. "There are so many things going on that I could write a story everyday about the wonderful things happening through the Jewish Pavil- ion," Ruben said. "Every time I spend time with a senior I'm floored by how much I learn about them or I learn about a piece of history they've actually touched and I think they add so much to our community. They are a living history and the best textbook possible." Ruben isn't a stranger to nursing homes. SEe practi- cally grew up in a nurs- ing home back in Chicago because her grandmother lived with her family until she was 5 years old. "She had multiple strokes starting in her 60s and when she was in her late 60s, she was fully confined to awheelchair and very ill and my mom couldn't take care of her anymore. So she was put into a nursing home and lived there for 17 years," Ruben told the Heritage. "I was with her from kindergarten until my junior year in college." She would visit her grand- mother at least two or three times a week. "I could see how much that added to her life, but the rest of the time was so quiet." Ruben is by trade an edu- cator and an author, dedi- cated to writing character- building children's books "with a dash of spice," she adds. She describes herself as a different kind of teacher and believes in visual teach- ing. Using Russian nesting dolls, she taught her third- grade students at the Hebrew Day School (now the Jewish Academy) how to write the introduction, body and conclusion of a story. "I was known as the teacher with the nesting dolls," she said with a laugh. Aside from nesting dolls, Ruben is a serious writer who is making a difference one reader at a time through her children's books, movie reviews, and newspaper and magazine articles. Her anti- bullying book, "Don't Pick on Pepper," is used in schools throughout Florida. Like Ball, Ruben also taught about the Holocaust, only her vehicle was a Ho- locaust writing contest. The requirements of the contest were to study one person who survived the Holocaust. Her eighth-grade students at Odyssey Middle School chose to study former Or- lando Sentinel columnist Greg Dawson's mother, Zhanna Arshanskaya, who survived the Nazi occupa- tion in the Ukraine by taking a new identity. It was a very unique and personal way to learn about the atrocities that happened during the Shoah. Ruben started writing when her children, Jenny (now in college) and Andy (a junior in high school), were little. In fact, the whole Ruben family enjoys writing, including her husband Tony, who is a CFO in a local com- pany and a financial writer. However, when Jenny suf- fered a serious illness, Ruben became acquainted with New Hope Wishes for Kids in Maitland and the focus of her writing took a turn. "The first thing I'd like you to know about me is that I am the proud parent of a New Hope kid," she says in her bio. I feel fortunate that I can spend time with (New Hope's) committed staff, and give something back." While ill, Jenny created an organization she called "Jenny's Chain of Giving" for Balei Chinski, a girl she befriended while in the hospital. "Balei was very sick, and her family was about to lose their home. We held a fund- raiser and silent auction at our home," Ruben shared. "Sadly, Balei died two days before our fundraiser, but we went on to raise several thousand dollars." In explanation of the name of the organization, Ruben said, "Jenny's Chain of Giv- ing comes from the fact that we are connected through the ripple effect of giving." Kate Santich of the Or- lando Sentinel wrote an article about Jenny's Chain of Giving and Ruben saw how Santich's article truly empowered her daughter and began using her writing talent to make a positive impact on others. First, through her children's books that cover topics about responsibility and friendship; through her work with the WISH Foun- dation; a writing workshop titled "You are what you write"; and now about the wonderful senior citizens who reside in the 54 assist- ed-living facilities where the Jewish Pavilion volunteers visit and bring a touch of love into their lives. "Pam Ruben has been an extraordinary volunteer for the Jewish Pavilion for the past four years," said Ludin. "She has taken over a great deal of our publicity; always writing with passion and conveying the true essence of a volunteer's personality. Pam participates in many of our social events for seniors such as Yiddish class, ice cream socials and holiday parties. Her empathy and dedication are beyond com- pare." JP Connections will be held at the Hilton, Altamonte Springs on Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. The even is open to the community. Couvert is $25. For more information about the event or the Jewish Pavilion, call Nancy Ludin at 407-678-9:363. From page 4A of the Mount," he said he is "pessimistic about our future there" because there are advocates of Jewish prayer at the site who "don't want dialogues between the various religious and ethnic groups, and some of them also want to destroy the mosques of Muslims on the Temple Mount and rebuild the Temple." Mitzpe Jericho resident Leah Edelblum believes the Temple Mount issue is cur- rently at a stalemate because "back in '67 we got ourselves into this mess." What she is referring to is Israeli general Moshe Dayan's controversial move--after Israel won back Jerusalem's Old City in the Six Day War of 1967--to give jurisdiction over the Temple Mount to the Muslims, who had centuries earlier built a mosque on the former site of the Jewish Temples. Israeli police still oversee the Temple Mount compound, in part to protect the vulnerable population of Jews praying around the clock nearby at the Western Wall. "We gave [the Temple Mount] away when it was not ours to give, but God's. Now we are dealing with the ramifications of that bad decision," Edelblum said. At the same time, many observant Jews stay away from the Temple Mount out of fear of accidentally walking over the spot of the Holy of Holies, the room in the former Jewish Temple where the high priest entered each Yom Kippur to beseech God on behalf of the entire nation. Among the observers en- deavoring to de-mystify the complexities of the Temple Mount is Rabbi Stewart Weiss, a Jerusalem Post columnist whose day job is directing the Ra'anana- based Jewish Outreach Cen- ter. Though many Israelis don't think Jews should be able to pray at the Temple Mount--whether it be out of fear of angering Muslims or accidentally traml ing over the Holy of Holie;--Weiss argued "that we rot allow ourselves to be intmidated by rioting, which hen re- sults in the police ,amping down further on ews on the site." The claim that Jewish presence on theTemple Mount "inflames" Muslim sensitivities andinvites disaster is disin nuous, according to Weis "While today the Mount my indeed be a flashpoint for [lluslims], last week itwas the ight rail, and tomorrow it rmy be the Malcha Mall [in Jerusalem]," he said. "What shall we do when they riot en masse at the Kotel, or at the Cave of Machpela (Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs) Shall we forbid Jewish worship there, too? Yitzhak Sokoloff agrees that the issue goes well be- yond this trapezoidal piece of land. A veteran political analyst and the president of Kesher, an educational tour business, Sokoloff called the Temple Mount situation "very dangerous stuff." "It's being used to manipu- late the Muslims--anytime their political leadership wants to create violence on the streets, they fire up their followers with talk about the Jewish 'settlers' attacking the Temple Mount," he said. "In recent years it's become a very clever rallying cry." Indeed, in October, Pales- tinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned that "we have to prevent the settlers from entering the Temple Mount by any means. It is our mosque and they have no right to enter and desecrate it." So what is likely to be the fate of the Temple Mount? Like Feigin, many Israelis are pessimistic about the situation. The "Peace In- dex" survey found that less than one-third of Israeli Jews (31 percent) believe there is now a chance to reach an agreement that will allow both Jews and Muslims to pray there on a regular basis. But Sokoloff sees a ray of hope, however thin. "We will always stick to the idea that holy places have to be shared," he said. "We make it clear that we are not fighting to turn it into the third Temple but that, yes, Jews have a right to pray up there, as do Muslims." Weiss said a synagogue should be built on the Temple Mount, at a reasonable distance away from both AI-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. "It wouldn't threaten [Muslims worshippers] in any way," he said. "There is plenty of room up there, that's not an issue, and it can be built in a place that in no way raises halachic concerns [about trespassing on the Holy of Holies]." "It can be done peace- fully," added Weiss. "But when it comes to the Muslim ideology that Israel is Muslim land and they're the only ones who should be allowed to pray in this country, we need to make it very clear that this is our country and we can't be gun-shy." From page 5A From the Muslim and any objective observer's view-point, no government that truly believes its people have the right to pray on the Temple Mount would ever give it up for any purpose, no matter how great. The Islamic world doesn't see Is- rael's Temple Mount prayer- ban as a "sacrifice for peace," but as an "admission against interests" that the Temple Mount doesn't belong to Israel and the Jewish people. They see it as validating the Palestinian narrative: the Temple Mount is Pal- estinian, so why should the Palestinians pay for it with any "security" measures that protect Israel? To Arab thinking, and to others not predisposed to Israel, the real inference from the am- bassador's rhetorical "ques- tions" insures that Israel has already lost its case. Imagine asking the aver- age American: "Israel doesn't allow Jews to pray on its holi- est site the Temple Mount, but it does allow unlimited Muslim prayer. Does that mean Israel has a right to the Temple Mount?" What would any objective person conclude from that? Anyone would think Israe doesn't believe it has anyright to be there in the fi t place, otherwise they shofld do on the Temple Mount vhatever they believe they should, especially prayer, t's only leftist thinking th.t makes this statement int a badge of "Peace." Israel's entire "sand for Peace" delusion leats to the same results. Panstinian Arabs and Musliras don't see the "Peace concessions" that Israelis have conned themselves into believing are "sacrifices." Arabs see Israeli concessions as explicit ad- missions by Israel that Israel doesn't rightfully belong in Judea and Samaria. And, who wouldn't. Israel loves to brag about its "self-restraint" and uni- lateral "redeployments." But, to an objective observer Israel full-scale retreat from Gaza didn't prove "Israel takes brave risks for Peace." It proved to the world and the Arabs that Israel didn't have the right to Gaza, and hence to Judea and Samaria, for that matter. And if the Arabs think that Israel made "peace conces- sions" not due to Israel's "love of peace," but because it was afraid the Arabs would get violent, then Israel's "conces- sions" have rewarded Arab violence. And while Israel may fight back here and there, the Arabs see that long-term Arab violence has ultimately successfully forced Israel to unilaterally retreat from everywhere. So, the Arabs rightly believe Arab violence and extortion are going to work on the Temple Mount and 'West Bank'. In short, Israeli leaders and diplomats should stop "showing-off" Israeli con- cessions, and hallucinating that the Israeli concessions make Israel look good. They just make Israel look like a cheap criminal who wants to cop a plea by coughing off some stolen goods. Israel's retreats and concessions weaken Israel and make it look weak. Instead, they should ask "Would Washington D.C. allow Muslims in a D.C. mosque to throw Molotov cocktails at police?" and "Americans can pray ev- erywhere in America, can't they?" For, if Israel loses the Temple Mount, Israel will surely lose Judea and Samaria, and then Tel Aviv proper. The Temple Mount is truly Israel's first, and last, line of defense.