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December 19, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 19, 2014

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PAGE 4A liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii00,,,,00:ii"!!, /:/ii' ?000000000000%iii00iiilj The Good Word By David B0rnstein ] All I want for Chanukah Dear God, IfIwere Christian and under age 101 suppose I'd be writing to Santa Claus, but I'm not. I'm Jewish and 58 years old and I don't know who else (what else?) to turn to, so I'm writing you, and hoping you read the Heritage. I'm not asking for much. Just eight simple requests, one for each night of Chanukah. Which brings me to my first ask. God, can you please tell me the correct spelling for Chanukah? I'm so confused. Is it Hanukah, or Hanukkah, or Chanukkah, or Chanukah? Is there an H at the end or a Ch at the beginning? Two Ns? I'm a writer, and knowing would make my life simpler this time of year. Second, can we please have some better Chanukah (sp?) songs? I've just started to play guitar, and my instructor has given me some holiday songs to learn. "The First Noel." "Deck the Halls." There are so many great Christmas songs. What do we have? "Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah," "Come Light the Menorah." "I Have A Little Dreidel." "The Maccabees Song." Come on! I haven't even mentioned "Jingle Bells," "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," "Silent Night." We are so lacking, I didn't even ask to learn any Jewish holiday songs. Third, can you keep the holidays in the winter? Right now it seems like they start in September and go on through January. I know businesses need to capitalize, but things are getting a bit extreme. Just plant the idea in consumers that shopping starts Thanksgiving and ends the day after Christmas. That should really take care of everyone. Fourth (and this sort of goes with number three), it would be nice if we got away from some of the commercialization of the holidays and returned to the spiritualization of the soul. Could we start emphasizing feeding the hungry, giving to those in need, helping the sick, having compassion for the weak, caring for animals, repairing the world? We really don't need ridiculous new cars or expensive Islamic terrorism By Ed Ziegler It is an absolute fact. The number of Is- lamic terrorists are growing rapidly as are their violent actions killing more and more non-Muslims. We must stop thinking there is nothing one person can do. There are many options on how an individual can get involved in counteract- ing terrorists. Below are a few ideas how you can help defend our freedom. A small amount of as- sistance from a lot of people can make a big difference. The very important first step is a firm com- mitment to learn, with an open mind, about Islam and the terrorists. Clearly, worldwide, the vast majority of terrorists are Muslims who want Islam to take over the world and force everyone to become Muslim. Be prepared to learn that frequently there is a vast differ- ence between what they say and what they actually do. I heartily recommend that you do not rely on the major media or politicians for correct information. At best, for the most part, they are ill informed. There are many knowledgeable sources, such as Creepingsharia.wordpress. com,, Thereligonof-,, Campuswatch. org, and that you can easily locate on the Internet and subscribe to at no cost. The Quran, the Muslim's holy book may be the most controversial book in the world. Some see it as a way to peace. Others see it as a violent mandate for worldwide Islamic supremacy. By reading the Quran, you'll bet- ter understand the Islamic people and the Islamic terrorists and what motivates them. The Quran is available in books and on the Internet. The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Quran by Robert Spencer may be a good start as is "Jihad For Dummies." These books will help you speak with more knowledge. A valuable action you can take as an indi- vidual is to write or call your representatives and the mediawith your opinion or a question. Have patience. Continuously expressing your opinions has an impact, particularly hen many individuals do the same. Another easy action is to join and support one or more of the many active organization such as ACT! for America. ACT is a large, active, fast-growing organization aimed at stopping the Islamization of America. Last I heard Act has over 500 chapters meeting regularly. Yearly, students on more than 100 cam- puses throughout America, will hold "Stop the Jihad on Campus" week. The objective is to counteract the Muslim Students Association (MSA) events such as "Apartheid Week" that publicizes MSA's ties with the radical Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood--godfather organization to al-Qaeda and Hamas--and to begin a movement to defund the MSA for misrepresenting its agendas and obstructing free speech on campuses. There are student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine and MSA who hold rallies on campus and support jihad against America, Israel and the West. You can support other groups, such as Sto-, a proactive group that has major anti-Jihad campaigns, One campaign is to help young Muslim girls who are in fear of being murdered by their family and neighbors in the name of "honor killing." The girls can contact Do nothing and the Islamic terrorists will automaticallywin and control our lives. Do not think there is a silver bullet that will defeat our self-proclaimed enemy, but getting involved will slow their progress. Ed Ziegler can be reached at Brooklyn13@ or 352-750-3298. rile VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards HE ITAGE 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 mailing 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 email:  CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE   Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Lori Apple Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley * Ira Sharkansky David Bomstein * Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Core HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 19, 2014 diamond jewelry. But we can make ourselves better by giving more seriously of ourselves and tess frivolously to those who could easily do without. Fifth, an ounce of truth and integrity from our leaders would be truly appreciated. If Democrats and Republicans can't even agree on the definition of torture, if they fight for the sake of fighting and make it their goal to keep one another from succeeding, how are they ever going to improve our society? I don't get it. I'd ask you to take them all outside and spank them, but I don't think you'll do that. Public humiliation is something they bring on themselves, They don't need your help for that. Sixth, a sprinkling of hope would be nice. Let's see what we've been dealing with this year. Crazy weather and global warming. Crumbling race relations and aloss of faith in police nationwide. Civilian aircraft shot down at 35,000 feet. Hackers stealing our lives and identities. Oh, and did I mention Ebola? Some glimmer of light for the future would be very nice. Maybe the discovery of a limitless source of energy, or aliens visiting us and cleaning up our polluted world. I'll take anything. Seventh (and you've sort of already given me this. I just don't want it to change). Thank you for making me Jewish this time of year. Christmas lights are pretty, but thank God (no pun intended) I don't have to hang them up and take them down every year. What a chore! Please keep it that way. I don't want Chanukah (sp?) to get any more competitive with our well-lit Christian neighbors. And finally, pick one from the following. Can you give a gift to any of my senses? A vision of love. The sound of peace. A taste of joy. A touch of compassion. The smell of success (and by success I don't mean wealth, but the accomplishment of goals and the realization of dreams). Any of those would make this holiday season the best ever. Thanks for listening, God. I'll say my prayers for a great new year, and if you need cookies like Santa (who, just for the record, doesn't exist), I'll bake some of those, too. And that's the good word. Send your thoughts, comments, and critiques to the Heritage or email dsb328@ Letter from Israel By Ira Sharkansky Currently Israeli politicians are wrapping themselves around a high intensity bit of meaninglessness, which is also dangerous, about the country's self definition of being a Jewish state. The issue was settled 60 years ago when the founders left dangling in the Declaration of Independence the wonderful sounding ideals of being both Jewish and democratic, with rights for all. It's worked, as well as democracy and equal- ity has worked in other western democracies. Not perfect, but it ain't perfect anywhere. Minorities generally suffer short shares of ma- terial goodies and feelings of being outsiders. The current kerfuffle would be funny if it wasn't also a bit dangerous. It results from Prime Minister Netanyahu's insertion of a demand that Palestinians rec- ognize Israel as a Jewish state in the recent comedy of John Kerry's peace process. Bibi's action was modest, and wise. It highlighted the Palestinians' incapacity to recognize Is- rael as a legitimate state in the Middle East, or even to acknowledge that it could have the label Jewish attached to it, while many Arab states declare themselves to be Muslim, and the Palestinians have asserted that their state must be free of Jews. What has come from Bibi brilliance in the negotiationS, however, are demands from excitable Jews that is a step too far. Finding the right wording for legislation that does little more than repeat the slogans of the Declara- tion of Independence has stumbled over the impossibilities of defining preciselywhat being a Jewish state means, what being a democracy means, and how to balance being a state for Jews with being democratic. Why should we care? With something like 80 percent of the population being Jews, and no chance of a demographic tilt while Jews are as active if not moreso than Arabs in filling the beds in the country's obstetric wards. Those who think of Israel as an apartheid state should have come with us to the hospital in Kfar Saba two weeks ago when we met our new granddaughter Adi. Around the adjascent bed was an Arab family celebrating their own newcomer. Chances of the legal proposal getting all of the approvals necessary are not high. The legal adviser to the government and the justice minister have noted their opposition. A number of legal experts have described the proposal as unnecessary, provocative, and unlikely to specifywhat is meant by the symbolic language of the Declaration of Independence. Yair Lapid called it a terrible proposal, meant only to gain advantage in upcoming Likud Party primaries. There are likely to be enough negative votes as well as nasty comments from from Arab MKs, Jewish MKs from left and centrist parties, and either opposition or abstentions from right of center MKs who wonder about the meaning, significance, and problems inherent in the proposal. Prime Minister Netanyahu is supporting a version of the proposal more moderate than those offered by two MKs of Likud and one of A Jewish state I Jewish Home. If any of the proposals make it out of the Knesset's first consideration, it is likely to be Netanyahu's thatwill be worked over by a Knesset committee prior to final votes. Many, perhaps a majority of Israel's Jews are proud of their heritage, and citizenship in a successful country, but are not comfortable with advancing the prospects of those among them who are assertively nationalist and/ or religious. Related to the issue are at least two and one half millennia of disputes about the nature of Judaism and the requirements or privileges inherent in the infinite ways of reading the laws written into the Torah and the libraries of commentary about them. Not far from the arguments about legislating that Israel is a Jewish state are the arguments about the Temple Mount and the privileges of the ultra-Orthodox to evade military service and an appropriate share of economic responsibilities. There is much to admire in what the rabbis have accumulated. Their enormous literature includes substantial proportions of argu- ment and insight, as well as some nastiness  toward adversaries in their disputes, and bits of humor that suggests the cultural origins of what has been successful on the modern stage and media. One of the most prominent lines in Talmudic reasoning is that which pretty much cancelled the draconian punishments that appear rather clearly in the Torah. What may have been deemed appropriate by those who wrote the Torah, perhaps in the fifth century BCE (risking a charge of blasphemy by assuming that it was not the Almighty who composed it and delivered it much earlier to Moses) was constrained, confined, andvirtually eliminated without saying exactly that (G-d forbid) by the second century BCE. This bit of Judaic lawmaking is overlooked by Christians who assert that itwas Jesus who humanized the ancient Testament. The Gali- lean carpenter is most accurately viewed as a radical Jew extreme in his concern for social justice, of the kinds we've all encountered. Nothing that he preached differed substantially from what prophets such as Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Amos had preached centuries before, or the assertions of the rabbis from two centuries earlier that came to be included in the Talmud. My favorite bit of Talmudic slapstick is a vignette from page 27a of the Tractate Bava Kama. It deals with the knotty problem of re- sponsibilities and compensation for damages, intentional or unintentional. It poses the case of a man falling from the roof of a building and accidentally penetrating sexually a woman on the ground. Skipping over the chance of such an event actually happening, one of the Talmudic luminaries indicates that such a man is liable for compensation associated with damage, pain, the costs of healing and loss of employment, but not compensation for humiliation, insofar as the coupling was not something that he intended. Anyone seeking to verify this report via the Internet must be aware that translators have been inclined to put the Aramaic and Hebrew of Talmudic discussions into what they view Sharkansky on page 15A