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

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 19, 2014 JFS From page IA this program, Milca learned budgeting skills, developed a professional resume and secured a work/study job at college. The Family Stabilization program has had an 80 per- cent success rate since it was started 13 years ago. It's a six- month program with a follow up at one year and again at 18 months. Participants attend weekly classes on Tuesday nights and learn basics such as dressing for success, resume building, and money-man- agement skills to maintain 'Or improve employability and housingwhile reducing stress. The classes are led by skilled professionals who volunteer their time and there is no cost to the families who participate in the program. JFS also provides profes- sional counseling. Clinical Therapist Supervisor Teresa Brown, MSW, LCSW, with counselors Jill Schaffer, MA, and SoniMcCarty, LCSWhead the Center for Counseling, Growth and Development, which provides individual, couples, family and group mental healthy counseling, covering an array of problems that include marital, depres- sion, behavior issues, and anxiety to name a few. These licensed counselors help as- sess problems, provide sup- portive and conflict-resolving counseling and guide people through major life transi- tions. JFS is one of the few remaining agencies in Central Florida that operates on a slid- ing fee scale and they accept most insurances. JFS Orlando is probably best known for the Pearlman Pantry, which stocks enough food to feed about 80,000 people per year. An average of 20 families a day schedule appointments to receive food, which they can do once every six months. On the day this reporter visited the agency, the pantry was full. Two volunteers, Judith Hara and Lynn Thompson, were filling grocery bags with a list of food items for the families who would be arriving later. Thompson, who is a pharma- cist, volunteers two hours a week and Hara is always "on call," as she put it. Speaking of volunteers for JFS, there is always a need, and there are several areas in which volunteers can help. An added bonus is the heart-warming actions and reactions from people. "Publix once donated a birth- day cake that was not picked up," said Hara. "We put it in one of the grocery bags and when the family came, the cake happened to be in one of the bags designated for them. Their little boy saw the cake and looked amazed and said, 'How'd ya know it's my birthday?'" On another occasion, Thompson happened to be working in the pantry when a young couple covered in tattoos and piercings came up with two bags of grocer- ies. They'd received food in the past and wanted to "pay back" JFS because "you all had helped us." Breads and pastries (pro- vided by two local Publix gro- cery stores), meats and other perishables are kept in three freezer, and fresh vegetables and dairy products are kept in a large refrigerator. Cereals, canned goods, pancake mixes and other items that have a longer shelf life are organized on shelves around the room. All this food would be gone in a few days. Heather Betts, grants and pantry manager, handles the purchasing and organiz- ing of all food that comes into the agency. Its shelves are restocked twice a week with purchases from Second Harvest. "Eighty percent of the food is purchased from Second Harvest, where one dollar gets $6 worth of food, and 20 per- cent is from donations," said Betts. Publix delivers breads twice a week and Fresh Mar- ket supplies produce about once a week, not to forget the plethora of donations from various organizations--the Jewish Academy of Orlando had recently delivered several boxes of food; the Boy Scouts have a food drive in November and Mail Carriers have a food drive in May. The JFS website also provides viewers the op- portunity to donate specific food items. Drag the cursor over "Services" and "Store" pops up, click on "store" and a variety of items are listed with prices that can be "added to the cart." It's an easy way to give. JFS also provides a Chap- laincy. The on-staff cleric, Rabbi E. Arny Siegel, provides end of life services, burial or memorial services, and other visits, such as hospice, hospital or jail visits, to unaf- filiated Jews. This program operates in partnership with the Greater Orlando Board of Rabbis, Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando and Hospice of the Comforter. And if all this wasn't enough! JFS also offers RIDE (Reliable Independent Driv- ers for the Elderly). This is a service for low-income seniors who need a ride to medical appointments at no cost. Transportation is pro- vided by ITN (Independent Transportation Network) or Mears. Recently, JFS received a $10,000 donation for expan- sion of this program. For RIDE information and ap- pointments call 407- 644 -7593 ext. 239 Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. To be able to continue all these programs and services, JFS operates on a very tight budget--about $200,000 a year. The agency does not receive funds from the Federa- tion at this time, and depends on grants and individual and corporate donations to main- tain its staff and services. "They say 'You can't judge a book by its cover,' and that certainly applies to me and many morewho come to JFS," said Milca. "If we reach out for help, it doesn't mean we are not productive members of society, t hope you never need the help I did, but if you do, JFS will be there to help you." For questions on how to give, or to make a donation by phone, please call Michael Cooper, JFS Orlando Develop- ment & Marketing manager at 407-644-7593 x241. PAGE 15A One of two comfortable counseling rooms. JFS volunteers Judith Hara (1) and Lynn Thompson. Food collected by Jewish Academy of Orlando sits in the conference room, waiting to be organized into the food pantry. Sharkansky From page 4A as language that is politically and socially correct in the modern context. There is little doubt that the Hebrew of this passage, in its own context, says what is written above. The dangers of right wing Likudniks and MKs of Jew- ish Home elevating the issue of Israel as a Jewish state as something that must be af- firmed in legislation include The threat to the hitherto workable coalition if the defeat of the proposal leads Jewish Home and members of Likud to bolt, or if Netanyahu's support even of a moderate version leads the centrists Yair Lapid, Tsipi Livni and their followers to bolt, along with some avowedly secular members of Avigdor Liber- man's Israel our Home. An increase in Arab incite- ment about the anti-Muslim nature of Israeli Jews, already at a high point along with an increase inviolenceprovokedby highly publicized visits of right wing Jews to the Temple Mount. An increase in the already problematic nature of Israel's international status, and par- ticularly that of the Prime Min- ister, due to the politicians of other countries climbing on to abandwagon of assertions that Israelis are too assertive, too self-centered, and too Jewish. The damage may persist even if the proposal doesn't get beyond a vote in the gov- ernment where close to one third of the ministers voted against it, or the initial vote in the Knesset, or--if it does pass an initial reading in the Knesset--dies of old age in the committee that could modify it before its final votes in the Knesset. Even raising such a proposal recalls problematic assertions that are also part of the Jewish tradition. The ideas of being God's Chosen People and a Land Promised (only to us?) have provided Jews with a spiritual refuge over centu- ries of persecution, but they have also provided material to anti-Semites accusing us of thinking only of ourselves. A U.S. government spokes- person has urged Israel to reject the proposals and main- tain its democracy. That bit of arrogance leads an Israeli who is proud also to be an American (i.e., me) wonder how an official of a country with such a dismal record of social indicators, and also rife with nasty political infight- ing, can justify meddling in a political squabble that Israelis are capable of dealing with by themselves. Ira Sharkansky is a profes- sor (Emeritus) of the Depart- ment of Political Science, He- brew University of Jerusalem. Cohen From page 5A those activist movements dedicated to the goal of eliminating the State of Israel have tried to hijack the debate about policing in America, and the standard, predictable obscenities have flowed as a consequence. A journalist friend of mine who was covering the Garner protests in Staten Island emailed me a photo of a sign laid on the spot where Garner died, bearing the words, "Resistance is Justi- fied from Ferguson to Gaza." Far worse, a Facebook group pushing the slander that Israel is an apartheid state posted a photo of Jewish concentration camp inmates behind barbed wire with the tag line, "I Can't Breathe." It would, frankly, be sui- cidal for those who genu- inely want a different, more humane form of policing in America to embrace the strategy of "Palestinianiza- tion." If we end up analogiz- ing African-Americans to Palestinians, then we are condemning them to the sta- tus of eternal victims, a useful prop for left-wing radicals to proclaim the hogwash that the world is enveloped by an imperial racism stretching from the American Midwest to the heart of the Middle East. Instead of solutions we will have slogans--and if the slogan for the Middle East is that justice requires the destruction of Israel, then shouldn't the same apply to America also? Above all, let's remember that we live in a country that gave the world Dr. Martin Luther King. It is his example, rather than the irrelevant agenda of the anti-Semitic murderers of Hamas, that should inform the public debate about policing in the wake of the Brown and Garner cases. All the Palestinian solidarity movement provides are false and offensive analogies that will only deepen the sense of polarization in America, instead of bringing us closer together. Ben Cohen is the Shill- man analyst for His writings on Jewish af- fairs and Middle Eastern politics have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Ha'aretz, Jewish Ideas Daily and many other publications.