Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles from the February 7, 2020 edition

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  • Trump's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan-these 2 maps tell you what you need to know

    Phillissa Cramer|Feb 7, 2020

    (JTA)-The Trump administration put questions about the seriousness of its Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal to rest Tuesday by delivering a 181-page, detail-laden document that outlines a clear-if one-sided-vision for the future of the region. The document includes sections on history, security and economics, among others. We've got a roundup of the most important details here. But the quickest way to make sense of the plan might be to skip to pages 41 and 42. That's where you can find two "con... Full story

  • A call to stand against anti-Semitism through Jewish core values

    Feb 7, 2020

    Matthew Gales has a goal and he wants the Jews of Orlando to embrace this goal: To unite and stand for what is right-To reject hate while embracing love and community. While anti-Semitism is not as prevalent in Florida as it is in other parts of the country and in Europe, Gales expressed that it is never too early to show Jewish solidarity and pride in mass, as was recently shown in the march against anti-Semitism in New York City. "If we sit here and start reclusing ourselves, saying we've got... Full story

  • A.G. Barr meets with Jewish leaders

    Ben Sales|Feb 7, 2020

    NEW YORK (JTA)—In a meeting Tuesday with Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn, U.S. Attorney General William Barr pledged to track and prosecute hate crimes more aggressively on the federal level while also blaming the rise of anti-Semitism on what he called “militant progressivism.” Barr’s concrete proposals for stopping anti-Semitism included an enhanced system for reporting hate crimes, as well as better tracking of white supremacists on social media. He pledged that the Trump administration and his Justice Department would have “zero t... Full story

  • Putin pardons Naama Issachar

    Feb 7, 2020

    (JNS)-Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday to pardon Naama Issachar, an Israeli-American woman imprisoned in Russia for possessing and smuggling a small amount of cannabis. "The release was a gesture by President Putin to the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu]," a senior Israeli source told The Jerusalem Post ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Moscow after visiting Washington, where the new U.S. Mideast peace plan was released on Tuesday.... Full story

  • JAO and PJ Library kids enjoy #beeyourselfie day together

    Feb 7, 2020

    Jewish Academy of Orlando partnered with PJ Library Greater Orlando to bring the community, "#beeyourselfie," a day that celebrated every child's uniqueness. The fun-filled morning started with a story time led by JAO Head of School Alan Rusonik and a "selfie" photo session with JAO's beloved mascot, "Mac the Bee." Later the families started their exploration of what makes each person unique. Each child was provided a passport. The passport guided families to travel between three different... Full story

  • Licks and hugs

    Wendy Ring Levine|Feb 7, 2020

    Pet therapy happens every month at Oakmonte Village in Lake Mary. In coordination with the Jewish Pavilion, Pet Rescue by Judy volunteers bring therapy dogs and cats to the residents for licks and hugs. This month Kathy Nevins, Jackie Jones-McAleer and Bhavya Prabhu from Pet Rescue brought Duncan and three sister kittens to play. Susan Bernstein, program director from the Jewish Pavilion, joined them directing Duncan to a woman in a wheelchair. The Pet Rescue team took the kittens from resident... Full story

  • Hope McCormack, bat mitzvah to program director

    Wendy Ring Levine|Feb 7, 2020

    At the age of 13, Hope McCormack needed a bat mitzvah project. Happy to fulfill this Temple Israel requirement, her mother, Michelle Bilsky, guided her to the Jewish Pavilion. She started going to assisted living communities and nursing homes to give out challahs and visit with the Jewish residents. She continued to volunteer periodically while going to Hebrew high school. As often as she could through college, McCormack helped her mother with Shabbat services at Cascade Heights and Orlando Lutheran Towers. McCormack had enjoyed her bat... Full story

  • Trump administration's Mideast proposal receives subtle support from Muslim nations

    Israel Kasnett|Feb 7, 2020

    (JNS)-The words were barely out of U.S. President Donald Trump's mouth-and the much-anticipated peace plan to resolve the century-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict for good was barely uploaded to the White House's website-when the doomsayers and naysayers launched their attacks, mocking nearly every aspect of the proposal and condemning it to failure. But the three Muslim ambassadors in the East Room-from the nations of Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates-stood quietly, their silence... Full story

  • The key points of the Trump Middle East peace plan, explained

    Gabe Friedman|Feb 7, 2020

    (JTA)—President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday, and the release event was a doozy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined Trump at a news conference and compared it to President Harry Truman’s recognition of the State of Israel in 1948. Netanyahu also snuck in the fact that as part of the plan’s starting framework, he will look to apply Israeli sovereignty over territory that much of the international community considers illegally occupied. In the most basic sense, the plan is a two-s... Full story

  • Here's how Jewish groups are reacting to the Trump peace plan

    Josefin Dolsten|Feb 7, 2020

    (JTA)—Reactions to President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan unveiled Tuesday took a predictable path, with Jewish groups on the right praising the much-anticipated proposal and those on the left criticizing it. The proposal, which Trump presented at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would give Israel the Jordan Valley and parts of the West Bank while freezing for four years the areas that the U.S. proposes as part of a future Palestinian state. A Palestinian state would be made up of Gaza and the... Full story

  • Mike vs. Bernie: Two approaches to being a Jewish president

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Feb 7, 2020

    (JNS)—Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg both want to be the nation’s first Jewish president. But they couldn’t possibly be more different. Sanders is a Socialist who is hoping to lead America on a lurch to the left that many of his more enthusiastic supporters are calling a revolution. And he hopes to be elected on the strength of a mass movement of small contributors and activists. Bloomberg is a billionaire capitalist who, as he likes to joke, is the Jewish candidate for president who “doesn’t want to turn America into a kibbutz.” And he p... Full story

  • 'Peace to Prosperity' plan shatters failed Oslo paradigm

    Alex Traiman|Feb 7, 2020

    (JNS)—With the presentation of its peace plan, titled, “Peace to Prosperity: A vision to improve the lives of the Palestinian and Israeli people,” the United States has essentially shattered the once-holy Oslo paradigm, having learned from the peace process’s failures and establishes a new path forward to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Israel and the Palestinians have been locked in a diplomatic holding pattern conditioned on future Israeli withdrawals from territories central to its... Full story

  • Ten questions about two states

    Jonathan Feldstein|Feb 7, 2020

    With the release of the Trump Middle East peace plan, the “Deal of the Century,” there have been many questions and challenges posed about whether it’s good or bad, politically motivated or not, has potential to do anything toward achieving peace or make things worse, and much more. One thing it does do is that it changes the paradigm from the decades old mantra and largely failed policy of two states along the pre-1967 armistice line (the boundaries following the 1948-49 War of Independence) and makes people look at Israel and the Middl... Full story

  • The 'deal of the century' illuminates a century-old conflict

    Steve Frank|Feb 7, 2020

    (JNS)—The Trump administration has just released the long-anticipated “deal of the century,” designed to resolve the seemingly intractable Arab-Israeli conflict. Before commenting on the plan, everyone should actually read it. It is a remarkably comprehensive document spelling out the concrete steps necessary to bring to reality the long sought-after two-state solution to the conflict. We shall not see another such prospect for peace and prosperity in the region in our lifetime. Unfortunately, this creative proposal is dead on arrival. Altho... Full story

  • The 'deal of the century' must be rejected 

    Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover|Feb 7, 2020

    (JNS)—We have now seen and heard the primary official details of the “deal of the century,” and it is, indeed, a bad deal for Israel. Presumably, the intentions that led to the formulation of the plan, the formal title of which is “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People,” were good; however, the plan displays a lack of basic understanding regarding the essence of the Land of Israel. The Land of Israel is the sole homeland of the Jewish people. The Land of Israel belongs to us—to the generations... Full story

  • What Putin didn't talk about in Jerusalem...

    Ben Cohen|Feb 7, 2020

    (JNS)—Predictably, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech to last week’s World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem raised hackles among the responsible guardians of Holocaust memory. The Russian dictator claimed that 40 percent of the 6 million Jewish victims of Nazi slaughter were citizens of the Soviet Union—a vastly overinflated figure that can be arrived at only if you include those Jews who resided in countries that were occupied by the USSR. Putin’s manipulation of Holocaust numbers—historians generally agree that about 1 million of the 6 mi... Full story

  • What's Happening

    Feb 7, 2020

    MORNING AND EVENING MINYANS (Call synagogue to confirm time.) Chabad of South Orlando—Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. and 10 minutes before sunset; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, 8:15 a.m., 407-354-3660. Congregation Ahavas Yisrael—Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m., 407-644-2500. Congregation Chabad Lubavitch of Greater Daytona—Monday, 8 a.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m., 904-672-9300. Congregation Ohev Shalom—Sunday, 9 a.m., 407-298-4650. GOBOR Community Minyan at Jewish Academy of Orlando—Monday—Friday, 7:45 a.m.—8:30 a.m. Temple I... Full story

  • Israeli President Reuven Rivlin takes a lead role in pushing back against Europe's Holocaust revisionism

    Sam Sokol|Feb 7, 2020

    JERUSALEM (JTA)-Israeli President Reuven Rivlin assailed Polish complicity in the murder of European Jews during the Holocaust during a visit to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Speaking at a joint appearance Monday with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Krakow, Rivlin said that both Jews and Poles were victims during World War II. He then launched into a subtle rebuke of recent efforts to rewrite Poland's wartime history. "Poland, the place where the Jewish people flouri... Full story

  • Trump's Middle East peace plan has 99 problems, but Israeli engineers say a tunnel ain't one

    Josefin Dolsten|Feb 7, 2020

    (JTA)-President Donald Trump's long-awaited peace plan has been met with plenty of skepticism since its release on Tuesday. Could Trump actually be the one to settle a decades old conflict where so many other American presidents have failed, with a plan that was devised without consulting the Palestinians? But some critics zeroed in on a much more specific aspect of the plan: the proposed high-speed railway connecting the West Bank and Gaza, the two geographically distinct territories of a... Full story

  • For first time in history Israeli concerns at forefront

    Israel Kasnett|Feb 7, 2020

    (JNS)—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has perhaps never looked more subtly elated on any previous visit to the White House than he did on Tuesday. He and U.S. President Donald Trump, the friendliest-ever president toward Israel in U.S. history, stood side by side in the announcement of the friendliest vision Israel has ever seen regarding its borders and its future. Relief that the long-anticipated diplomatic part of the peace plan was revealed to the public for the first time was palpable. So, too, was the fact that this as the f... Full story

  • Scene Around

    Gloria Yousha|Feb 7, 2020

    Combating hate?... I read this recently in the World Jewish Congress digest and pass it along: "WJC President Ambassador RONALD S. LAUDER delivered the keynote address at a recent event at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, an institution of the Holy Sea. "Human fraternity: a Jewish reflection for common coexistence brought together lead figures within the Catholic church, Jewish community officials, and members of the diplomatic community to encourage and foster dialogue between the... Full story

  • What the Democratic presidential candidates have said about Trump's Middle East peace plan

    Ron Kampeas|Feb 7, 2020

    WASHINGTON (JTA)—The Democrats running for president have hewed to the party line in criticizing the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan rolled out by President Donald Trump: Unilateral annexation of settlements is the wrong way to go. The tone was first set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who each seized on the failure of the Trump administration to include the Palestinians in the peace process and the apparent green light that Israel gets in the plan to extend its law to West Bank settlements. “The pro... Full story

  • Jewish mom Pink opens up about aging and I feel so seen

    Lior Zaltzman|Feb 7, 2020

    I grew up with Pink. Her first two albums, "Can't Take Me Home" and "Missundaztood," came out during bat mitzvah season for me, and it was her songs that truly got the party started. Yes, they were catchy, but they were also vulnerable, wise and incredibly relatable. In "Family Portrait," for example, she tackled divorce, and "Don't Let Me Get Me" channeled so much of the angst and self-loathing I felt as a teen. Even in those early albums, Pink was derisive and dismissive of her looks. "Tired... Full story

  • Palestinians warn of violence tied to Trump peace plan

    Marcy Oster|Feb 7, 2020

    JERUSALEM (JTA)—The Trump administration’s peace plan is an attempt to destroy the Palestinian cause and could lead to violence on the part of the Palestinian public, Palestinian Authority officials warned. In addition, a senior aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Ynet that the decision to release the plan now is a result of “internal Israeli political self-interests.” “It is obvious to us that the presentation of the peace deal is meant to help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his elections. We know when personal... Full story


    Feb 7, 2020

    Written by the family Andrew Jacob Ruben passed away in Tampa, Florida, on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. He was born on Jan. 22, 1998 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Anthony and Pamela Ruben (nee April). Andy is survived by his parents; sister, Jennifer Ruben Forero; brother-in-law, David Forero; grandparents, Stefanie Hanagud, Edwin April and Merle April; and many family members. Generous of spirit, a true friend, and a truth-seeker, Andy was passionate, determined and unique. Anything Andy embraced, he... Full story

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