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December 23, 2011

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PAGE 16A By Stewart Ain New York Jewish Week Erzsebet Benedek was only 11, but the three months she endured under Nazi rule in the Budapest Ghetto with nothing to eat but scraps of bread and watery soup "is something you can never forget." And when in mid-January the Russians burst in and de- feated the Nazis in the Battle of Budapest, the shooting was so intense that Benedek and her family living in a first floor apartment dove under their beds for cover. "We heard everything," she recalled. "The fighting contin- ued for the whole night until the early morning. When the Germans finally 1/fit there was quiet. Then we heard people reciting 'Shema Yisroel' and we knew we were free." Last week, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced that Benedek and other sur- vivors of the Budapest Ghetto will be eligible for the first time to receive a German Germany to pay monthly pension of about $325 a month. Benedek, a widow and mother of two who lives alone in a $600-a-month third-floor walkup in Williamsburg, said the extra money would greatly help because she now lives on $775 in Social Security, Food Stamps, and a small German pension she began receiving a year ago. Germany's agreement to pay such a $325 pension for an estimated 4,500 survivors age 75 and older who were in a ghetto for at least 3 months came as a result of the latest round of negotiations with the Claims Conference. TWo weeks ago, the Claims Conference announced that survivors who worked for the Nazis in ghettos "without force" are eligible for a one- time Ghetto Fund payment of about $2,600, in addition to monthly German pensions. The Ghetto Fund was created in 2007 because of problems in implementing social security payments for these survivors. Germany in 2002 began pay- 6 degrees (no backstage. I got offered 10 to 15 dishes of food--I'm not kidding--in the span of five minutes, It was so awesome and cute." And of course, like many others before him, Fallon sug- gested his very own solution to the Middle East conflict: a "Kumbaya" song called "Car- wash for Peace." "Well, I'm so sick of all the news on TV,"the song began. "All this fighting got me going crazy ... let's have a carwash for peace. There's trouble in the Middle East. Put down By 6 degrees (no Bacon) staff NEW YORK--More than 2,600 young Chicago Jews enjoyed an exciting early Cha- nukah gift recently with avisit by "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon as part of Chicago's Jewish United Fund's 2012 annual campaign kickoff. Fallon, an Irish-Catholic New Yorker, began with his famous "thank you" (he even has a thank you book) and said, "I want to say thank you to all the Jewish moms I met HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 23, 2011 00u,00'apest Ghetto survivors who are expected to reach the age of 75 in another three or four years--if will mean Ger- many will be paying another $650 million in pensions over the next decade. In future negotiations, a working group established a year ago by the Claims Con- ference and the German gov- ernment is expected to begin studying additional financial help for child survivors. "Child survivorsthose born in 1928 and later--who were children during the war have an overlay of psychologi- cal and physical problems that only manifestthemselves later in life," said Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference. "They have to be acknowledged and dealt with andwe are now exploring their impact." Benedek said her"left hand still shakes" because of the fear she experienced during the Battle of Budapest. "I was so afraid during the fighting that my left hand started shaking," she said. "Over the years it has gotten ing pensions to survivors who performed "non-forced" labor in ghettos and were paid for their work at the time. In the talks, Germany also withdrew the Dec. 31 deadline to apply for the Ghetto Fund payment. Previously, Germanywould pay pensions to survivors who had lived for at least 18 months in a ghetto, in hiding or living with a false identity. Not only has that figure been reduced to three months for those who were in a ghetto and who will be at least 75 as of Jan. 1, but it has been reduced to 12 months for everyone else who had been in a ghetto, in hiding or living with a false identity. "We have long emphasized to the German government that they cannot quantify the suffering of a Holocaust survivor who lived in the hell of a ghetto, where starvation, disease and deportationswere a way of life," said Julius Ber- man, chairman of the Claims Conference. "Nor should they refuse to recognize the unimaginable fear of a Jew in Nazi Europe who survived for any period of time in hiding or by living under a false identity, when discovery would have been a death sentence." Benedek pointed out that an older brother was arrested by the Nazis, sent to Auschwitz "and never came back" after he was discovered without his identification papers. And an older sister was shot dead on the spot after she was found hiding outside the ghetto in the home of a Catholic family. Stuart Eizenstat, the Claims C.onference's special negotiator, said further ne- gotiations with the Germans will be held "to ensure that no Holocaustsurvivor is deprived of the recognition that each deserves." The changed criteria for German pensions is expected to immediately affect 8,000 survivors worldwide who were in hiding and using false identity papers for a minimum of 12 months. Combined with 4,500 oth- ers 75 and older who were in a ghetto for at least three months--and another 3,500 worse and worse; I now can't hold anything." She added that the whole Nazi occupation beginning on March 19, 1944, transformed her. Instead of continuing to share a roomwith heryounger sister, her family was forced to take two or three other families into their four-room apartment and she then shared a room with five other family members. When in November they were forced to move into the ghetto a dozen blocks away, Benedek said she shared a room with nine others--and a bed with her younger sister and mother. "It was cold, there was no heat and there was no gas to make hot water," she recalled. "I never had a doll or a toy there; I grew up. from that experience .... I can never forgetwhat happened because I lost a brother and a sister. I can never forget the experi- ence-or the pain." Stewart Ain is a staff writer for TheNew York Jewish Week, from which this article was reprinted by permission. IL.aWurLfl V Gt g, those guns and pick up a sponge--carwash for peace." Before Fallon, Jewish come- dian-writer Wayne Federman took the stage for a stand-up appearance. Federman, who also writes for Fallon from time to time, told the crowd, "I grew up in Florida and then moved to New York City, where I worked, and then I'm going to retire to Minsk--I'm doing the whole thing backwards." Lea Michele's Sephardic surname Actress Lea Michele ap- peared on "The Tonight Show L): Jewish celebrity roundup With Jay Leno" recently to promote her new celebrity- packed movie "New Year's Eve." Michele explained to Leno the roots of her ac- tual last name, Sarfati, a "Sephardic," Spanish-Jewish name." Apparently growing up as Lea Sarfati wasn't easy for her. "I got Lea so-fatty, Lea So- farty at school, so when I was little and I went on my first audition, they were like, 'And may we have your name,' and I said, 'Lea Michele.' And I've been Lea Michele ever since." Robert Kuset Jimmy Fallon performs for a sold-out crowd Dec. 10 at the Jewish United Fund's Young Leadership Division's Big Event in Chicago. 00ISTEN... THEN WE DELIVER! LET MY 41 YEARS OF INSURANCE EXPERIENCE REVIEW YOUR COVERAGES AND DESIGN A PACKAGE THAT PROTECTS YOUR BUSINESS BY MEETING YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS! All Forms of Insurance Products for Business Retailers, Manufacturers, Contractors, Service Industries, Restaurants, Child Care, Physicians, Attorneys Call Today To Schedule An Appointment At Your Convenience Marshall L. Helbraun Representing The Sihle Insurance Group, Inc. An Independant Insurance Agency Phone: 1-800-432-6652 (407) 761-3521 (cell phone) .,][ HANDYMAN SERVI(' ' Handy man and General Maintenance Air Conditioning Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960 Michele also said that grow- ing up Italian meant a whole lot of pasta, even on Thanks- giving--Leno sympathized, being half Italian. Michele talked about her connection with Barbra Streisand. Appar- ently she watched an episode of the show "Hoarders" featur- ing a doll collector who pos- sessed a Barbra doll. Michele, being a big fan, tweeted asking how she could get the doll. The response came from none other than Babs herself, who sent her a Barbra doll. (She keeps her own dolls? That's a little weird). Lea, Babs didn't change her last name, why did you? Stooges get makeover from the Farrellys The directorial duo that brought us such master- pieces as "There's Something About Mary" and "Dumb and Dumber" has turned to the famous Jewish trio of film comedy: the Three Stooges. The Farrelly brothers have brought the Stooges Moe, Larry, Curly (and Shemp)-- into the modern era, complete with references to iPhones and "Jersey Shore" (Snooki has a cameo). Their comedic sensibili- ties, however, remain firmly planted in the '40s. Cue the slaps and bonks. Surely it would're been anachronistic for the Farrellys to have the Stooges putting semen in a woman's hair. Though none of the Stooges are played by Jews, one rather notable Jew has a supporting role: Larry David. Daniel Radcliffe, Enter- tainer of the Year This sure has been the year of Daniel Radcliffe. The 22-year-old English actor had his final turn as Harry Pot- ter in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2 ear- lier this year, with an astonish- ing global box office success of more than $1 billion. He received MTV's Actor We're Most Thankful For Award during the 2011 MTV Movie Awards. In addition, Radcliffe performed in the successful Broadway musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and has a few upcoming projects, including "Woman in Black" and a role as young Allen Ginsberg in a forthcoming film. Now Reuters reports that EntertainmentWeekly named Radcliffe Entertainer of the Year. EW editor Jess Cagle said on "Good Morning America" that "Dan" deserved it. Cagle added that Radcliffe is "the nicest guy with one of the brightest futures in Hol- lywood. There's nothing he can't do. He's really interested in doing the work. Despite all his wealth and fame as a teenager, he never derailed. He was never busted. Never went outside without his panties on." (He did drop his drawers and everything else when he appeared on Broad- way in "Equus.") Although he wasn't a real wizard and did succeed in business without really try- ing, it seems like the reports we had on Radcliffe were pretty positive. So with the holiday spirit making us all nice and stuff, allow us to congratulate you, Daniel Radcliffe. Eisenberg praises Judaism for his acting skills Jesse Eisenberg says Juda- ism breeds good actors. In an essay in Black Book magazine, Eisenberg extols the positive impact that a loud, Jewish background had on his act- ing chops. "In my family, every conver- sation was a debate complete with philosophical tangents," he says. "A discussion about the Yankees would quickly devolve into an argument about salary caps and then into a theoretical consider- ation of hegemony and finally, inevitably, a shouting match about Israeli policies inthe Middle East." Beastie Boys heading to Rock hall Brooklyn's favorite Jew- ish sons--Mike D (Michael Diamond), MCA (AdamYauch) andAd-Rock (Adam Horovitz), or as you may know them, the Beastie Boys--received a much coveted invitation to be inducted into the Rock'n' Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2012. The Beastie Boys made their debut in 1979 and quickly became pioneers of experi- mental hip-hop and leaders of the emerging East Coast scene with hits such as "Fight for Your Right (To Party)," "No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn" and "Sabotage." The Beastie Boys have released 12 albums that have sold over 40 million cop- ies worldwide. Other notable acts to be inductedApri114 in Cleveland are Guns N Roses, Laura Nyro and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who will be performing in Israel next year.