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November 29, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 29, 2013 PAGE 11A els sus By Jacob Kamaras Brandeis University an- nounced the suspension of its decade-old partnership with A1-Quds University follow- ing a recent Nazi-style rally at the Palestinian school in Jerusalem. At the Nov. 5 rally, Al- Quds students wore black military gear, carried fake automatic weapons, gave the Nazi salute, and surrounded the main square of their cam- pus With banners depicting images of "martyred" suicide bombers. "While Brandeis has an unwavering commitment to open dialogue on difficult issues, we are also obliged to recognize intolerance when we see it, andwe cannot--and will not--turn a blind eye to intolerance," Brandeis said in a press release. "As a result, Brandeis is Suspending its partnership with AI-Quds University effective immedi- ately. We will reevaluate our relationship with A1-Quds based on future events." Brandeis said its president, Fred Lawrence, had asked A1-Quds President Sari Nus- seibeh to issue an "unequivo- cal condemnation of the demonstrations." Nusseibeh on last Sunday night emailed Lawrence an English transla- tion of a statement posted in Arabic on theAl-Qudswebsite, and Brandeis said it consid- ered the statement "unac- ceptable and inflammatory." Rather than exclusively ad- dressing the Nazi-style rally, the AI-Quds statement also described "vilification cam- paigns by Jewish extremists" against the university. "These extreme elements spare no effort to exploit some rare but nonetheless damag- ing events or scenes which occur on the campus of A1- Quds University, such as fist- fighting between students, or some students making a mock military display," the statement said. "These oc- currences allow some people to capitalize on events in ways that misrepresent the univer- sity as promoting inhumane, anti-Semitic, fascist, and Nazi ideologies. Without these ide- ologies, there would not have been the massacre of the Jew- ish people in Europe; without the massacre, there would not have been the endur- ing Palestinian catastrophe. "As occurred recently, these opportunists are quick to describe the Palestinians as a people undeserving of freedom and independence, and as a people who must be kept under coercive control and occupation," the A1-Quds statement continued. "They cite these events as evidence justifying their efforts to mus- ter broad Jewish and western opinion to support their posi- tion. This public opinion, in turn, sustains the occupation, the extension of settlements and the confiscation of land, and prevents Palestinians from achieving our freedom." On Nov. 14, two Brandeis faculty members left for a trip The Nov. toA1-Quds thatwas scheduled before the Nazi-style rally, and planned "detailed discus- sions" with administrators at the Palestinian university regarding the rally, Brandeis Senior Vice President for Communications Ellen de Graffenreid had told last week. "The Brandeis University community abhors the ac- tions that took place on the A1-Quds University campus and condemns all acts that Mideast Dispatches/Tom Gross 5 Nazi-style rally at AI Quds University. incite or encourage sense- less violence," Lawrence, the school's president, wrote on the Brandeis First biog. In 2003, Brandeis and AI-Quds formed "a unique intercultural partnership, linking an Arab institution in Jerusalem and a Jewish- sponsored institution in the United States in an exchange designed to foster cultural understanding and provide educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff," according to the Brandeis website. The partnership "was initi- ~,a ated with the best of inten- tions for opening a dialogue and building a foundation for peace," Brandeis said Monday. "While recent events make it necessary for us to suspend our current relationship with AI-Quds, we will continue to advance the cause of peace and understanding on our campus and around the world," the school said. Interfaith Community An interfaith couple celebrating a baby naming organized by Interfaith Community. By Julie Wiener NEW YORK (JTA)--When Susan Katz Miller's Episcopa- lian mother and Jewish father married in the 1960s,they did exactly what most religious leaders advised intermarried couples to do: They chose one religion and stuck to it. Katz Miller's mother put her religious tradition aside, learning to make matzah balls and shepherding her four children through bar and bat mitzvah lessons. But when Katz Miller mar- ried her Episcopalian hus- band, she didn't want to choose. Instead, she and her husband raised their two chil- dren with knowledge of both their Jewish and Christian heritages and left it up to them to decide how to identify. In a recently published book and in an Op-Ed Friday in The New York Times, Katz Miller makes the case that this approach is good not just for interfaith families and their children, but for the Jewish community itself. Children raised in this way are not "lost" to Judaism, she said. Some grow up to practice Judaism exclusively, while others will "have an unusual knowledge of and affinity for Judaism" even as they practice other faiths. "Both my experience and my research tell me thatwe are turning out young adults who feel deeply connected to Juda- ism, not through coercion, but through choice," Katz Miller wrote in the Times. Jewish institutions have become increasingly accept- ing of intermarried couples and their children in recent years, but raising children in two faiths remains largely frowned upon. The estab- lishedview has long been that the approach is confusing and waters down important distinctions between religious traditions. But significant numbers of families do it anyway. The recent Pew Research Center study reports that 25 percent of intermarried Jews are raising their children "partly Jewish by religion and partly something else." Jewish groups that advo- cate greater outreach to the intermarried are reassessing how they deal with families like Katz Miller's. Ed Case, the founder and CEO of InterfaithFamily, said he initially declined to cooperate with groups like Interfaith Community and Interfaith Families Project of Greater Washington, both of which serve families raising children in two faiths. But Case has changed his mind once he learned that Katz Miller and others like her weren't blending Judaism and Christianity but teaching elements of both. "We're willing, happy and even eager to present the Jew- ish side of things to couples that want to do both," Case told JTA. Groups that cater to dual- faith families say they are respectful of religious dif-. ferences, offering classes jointly taught by Jewish and Christian instructors. They say the children who complete their programming have the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about the role of faith in their lives. Sheila Gordon, founder and director of New York's Inter- faith Community, said that while the established Jewish community remains wary of raising children in both faiths--her group has had difficulty raising money from Jewish sources, she said--the idea has become more accept- able among individuals. "We do workshops for couples, and 10-12 years ago we spent all the time talking about the angst of the [couples'] parents; now that doesn't exist as much," Gordon said. "Many of the couples are themselves chil- dren of intermarriage and they're different because of that. It's changing right under our feet." Just as many Jewish leaders have concluded that they are powerless to stop intermar- riage and should focus instead on welcoming the intermar- ried, some are now arguing they can't turn back the tide of dual-faith families and should direct their energies toward offering such families positive Jewish experiences. A number of mainstream Jewish leadersare on Gordon's advisory board, including Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein of Manhattan's Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, and Carol In- gall, an education professor at the Conservative movement's Jewish Theological Seminary. The group also has recruited rabbinical students from the liberal Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and JTS to teach in its Sunday school. Bronstein acknowledged that raising children in two religions is controversial, but insisted that it's neverthe- less a reality that demands a response. "It's a new landscape," he said. "My response is we should reinforce as much as we can the Jewish identity wherever the Jews are." Michelle Dardashti, who taught for Interfaith Com- munity as a rabbinical strident at JTS, acknowledged she is unsure whether the organi- zation's approach "produces in kids more questions than grounding," but insisted that "showing their kids the values of both their faiths is better than not showing the value of either." Leaders of Jewish outreach efforts were loath to condemn dual-faith families; neither would they embrace them outright. Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, the Jewish Outreach Institute's executive director, said it "doesn't help anyone to stand in judgment." And Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, which in 1995 recommended that its religious schools not accept students receiving formal in- struction in another religion, similarly declined to take a firm position on the matter. "Decades ago Rabbi Alexan- der Schindler overturned all previous Jewish communal assumptions about interfaith families by insisting that we embrace them and draw them close in all aspects of Jewish life," Jacobs said. "How con- gregations do this holy work varies, but it is an axiom of Reform Judaism that we do this holy work of inclusion every day." A Senior Living Community where Hospitality is a Way of Life. sisted Living - Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care -Variety of Apartment Suite Selections, some with Lake Views ,, Weekly Happy Hour hosted by the Jewish Pavilion Monthly Shabbat Service Special Celebrations and l eals during High Holy Holidays Call us today, stop by for a visit, join us for lunch, or aft of the above. YoJ are always welcome! A~S|STED I~VIN*'A ,~,ND SKILLED NURS|NG - I30t W. Maitland B~vd.-Maitland, FL 32751 Located d~ect~ ~to~th~ street f~om ~.,on oj'eg.~ on Obey Shalom 407-645-3990 I1301 W. 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