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December 11, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 11, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 11, 2009 PAGE 9A By Gloria Yousha -- Call 407-657-9405 or 407-834-8787 Here we go again... Sure, I'm a devoted American. Sure, I care that we be victorious over terrorists that threaten us and the rest of the world. But, I am also a concerned mother of an Iraqi veteran. I hope he doesn't have to serve further, although he is very patriotic and says he will go wherever and whenever. The following is from the Associated Press: Failure in Afghanistan would mean a Taliban takeover of the country and "have severe consequences for the United States and the world,, Defense Secre- Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates tary Robert Gates said Wednesday iDec. 2] as the Obama administration set out to sell its new war strategy on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers questioned the exit strategy, a day after Obama announced he was sending an additional 30,000 American troops to the Afghan war and would - commence troop withdrawals by the summer of 2011. "Failure in Afghanistan would mean a Taliban take- over of much, if not most, of the country and likely a renewed civil war," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate Armed Committee. "Taliban-ruled areas could in short order become, once again, a sanctu- ary for ai-Qaida as a staging area for resurgent militant groups on the offensive in Pakistan." The insurgency already has gained "dominant influ- ence" in 11 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, said Chair- man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, who appeared with Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before the committee. Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin expressed serious misgivings about the troop escalation when the Afghan security force remains small and weak. "It seems to me that the large influx of U.S. combat troops will put more U.S. Marines on street Corners in Afghan villages, with too few Afghan partners alongside them," he said in his opening remarks of the hearing. The buildup also will put more strain on troops by giving them less time than hoped for at home. Mullen said supplying the extra forces for Afghanistan while there are still so many in Iraq will mean putting off for a couple of years the goal of lengthening the time they rest and retrain at home in between tours of duty--a period the military calls "dwell time." The Army had been moving toward giving two years of dwell time between each one-year tour. Despite the war's waning popularity among voters, there were few protesters On hand as Gates, Mullen and Clinton testified. Another son in uniform... I'm referring to a young man we can all be proud of. Thank goodness his uni- form represents a school marching band. I received the following email: "BENJAMIN DAVIDS, son of DEBBIE and Dr. MARK DAVIDS, led the Lake Brantley Marching Patriot Band as it received 'Straight Superior' scores at the Florida Bandmas- ters Association's (FBA) District 6 Marching Band Music Performance As- sessment at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand on Nov. 7. Along with John Taggart Benjamin Davids and Stephanie Locks, he took the center podium as the band earned highest honors for the 26th consecutive year. Benjamin, a member of Congregation Beth Am in • Longwood, is a senior straight-A student and currently ranked 6th in his class. He plays tuba in the Symphonic Band, and he is an avid equestrian. He plans on at- tending the University of Florida next year on his way to becoming an equine veterinarian. When asked what he enjoyed most about being a drum major, Benjamin replied, "I liked having a leadership position while at the same time working to improve my teaching skills and being of great service to the band." He will remember most being on the center podium for the FBA assess- ment. "My goal was to work hard through the entire marching band season. Being selected by Ms. BERRY, the Lake Brantley band director, to stand in the center at FBA was the recognition that my work was appreciated." Dr. Mark Davids, immediate past-president of Congre- gation Beth Am, commented, "I am so proud of Benjamin's accomplishments. He is an exemplary student, a talented musician and a future leader." Rabbi RICK SHERWIN of Beth Am added, "As a community, we should take the time to recognize the achievements of our Jewish youth; and Benjamin deserves his moment in the sun. Just as he led the band onto the field for this festival show, he should show the way to other Jewish students how to make the most of their high school experience." (I and everyone at Heritage feel such pride in Benja- min. What a great young man!) A new ballet... What are you doifig tomorrow and the day after?(Saturday and Sun- day). I hope you can make time to see a wonder ful pro- duction that features my friend, Emmial C. Fields, a wonderful performer, in a Chanukah scene. One of the choreogra- ballet, "American Carols," is our own Ellie Potts Bar- rett. Let me tell you more about it: "AMERICAN CAROLS" is a new. original full length Holiday Ballet in three ElliePottsBarrett acts. Five families who are trying to get home for the holidays are snowed in at O'Hare airport on Christmas Eve. As the night continues, we see their dreams of what the holidays would be like if they were home. !'American Carols," set to a score of best-loved music of the holiday season, is choreographed by RUSSELL SULTZBACH, ELLIE POTTS BARRETT, CHRISTINE FRENCH and PHYLLIS SULTZBACH. Ballet South, in conjunction with the School of Performing Arts, will perform this original full length story ballet at Trinity Prep Theater on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 2 pro. Tickets are $15 and are on sale at the Ballet South box office, 407-831-i770. Box office hours are 2 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas and Chanukah! Good reading... On Saturday, Dec. 12 from 1-3 p.m., NATHAN HOLIC will autograph his big "The University of Central Florida: A pictorial history." The University of Central Florida has stood at the edge of Orlando for 40 years, a major institution of research, culture, education, and professional develop- ment stitched into the fabric of one of the nation's most dynamic and influential metropolitan areas. Conceived in 1963, at the height of America's fascination with the space program and less than an hour from Florida's Space Coast, the school began as Florida Technological University, a vast and remote tract of wild palmettos and swampland that held the promise of a cutting-edge "Space University." But 1963 was the same year that Walt Disney made his fateful fly over Central Florida and chose the location for ' "alt Disney World, a decision that would ultimately transform the entire region. Florida Tech found itself growing along with the surrounding community in size, prominence and power into a diverse institution that no one in those earlyyears could have envisioned. Renamed the University of Central Florida in 1979 to better reflect its broad curriculum and its strong marriage with the region, the school has blossomed into the prototype for the modern metropolitan university. Also on Saturday, from 3-6 p.m., SANDRA K.T. CRAW- FORD will sign "Gentle Women" that She wrote with photographer DOUGLAS NESBITT. This beautiful book features profiles of local women who mean something special to the central Florida Community. The author says, " 'Gentle Women' is a celebration of the strength and inner beauty of women... This book would not have been possible without the quotes, poetry and essays of many people. The lessons from their insight are invaluable; it is their words that inspired this project." On Sunday, Dec. 13, from 2:30-4:30 p.m., STEVE and GAYLE PRINCE RAJTARwill sign their books "A Guide to Historic Winter Park" and "A Guide to Historic Orlando." (Every Floridian should own these books. They make a terrific Chanukah present, by the way.) All this is happening at Urban Think! Bookstore, 625 E. Central Blvd., Orlando; 407-650-8004. One for the road... It was Chanukah and Victor's bubbeh goes out to buy him a present. She finds a menswear shop that was having a half-price sale and buys a luxurious rollneck pullover for him. Unfortunately, the pullover was for a size 14 neck and Victor was a size 18. When Victor receives his present, he immediately tries it on. He then writes a thank you note to his bubbeh. This is what he wrote: "Dear Bubbeh, Thanks a lot for the beautiful pullover. I'd write more but I'm all choked up." can be purchased'a t the following locations: Orange County JCC, 851 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland * Borders, 600 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park * SOJC, 11200 S. Apopka Vineland Rd., Orlando • Select Publix Supermarkets g Seminole County Heritage News, 207 O'Brien Rd., Fern Park • ale Gourmet, 7800 South US Hwy 17-92, Suite 194, Fern Park • Borders Books and Music, 880 W. S.R. 436, Altamonte Springs • Bagel King, 1472 Semoran Blvd., Casselberry • Borders Books and Music, 8285 Red Bug Lake Rd., Oviedo • Kosher Kats, 744 W. S.R. 434, Longwood • Central Florida Hillel, 4250 Alafaya Trail, Ste. 212-363, Oviedo • Select Publix Supermarkets Volusia County Federation of Volusia/Flagler, 470 Andalusia Ave., Ormond Beach • Select Publix Supermarkets Osceola County Cindy M. Rothfield, P.A., 822 W. Bryan St., Kissim- mee • Walden Books, 3105 W. 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