Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles from the February 9, 2024 edition


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  • 'An incredibly volatile time': From Iran to Yemen

    Ron Kampeas|Feb 9, 2024

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — A conflict that started on a tiny perimeter of land on Oct. 7 is, less than four months later, reverberating throughout the region, from Lebanon in the north to Morocco in the west, Iran in the east and Yemen in the south. “This is an incredibly volatile time in the Middle East,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday at a press conference. “I would argue that we’ve not seen a situation as dangerous as the one we’re facing now across the region since at least 19...

  • UF Hillel kicked off 'Spread Cream Cheese, Not Hate' ®

    Feb 9, 2024

    GAINESVILLE, Florida — Amid the record levels of antisemitism on college campuses, student leaders at the University of Florida held the fifth-annual Spread Cream Cheese, Not Hate® Bagel Day program on Jan. 31. Started in 2020 by University of Florida Hillel, Spread Cream Cheese, Not Hate® is a program that seeks to proactively combat antisemitism through education, outreach, awareness, and partnership. In connection with National Bagel Day, UF students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and community members are invited to sign the pledge to...

  • 2 co-execs for Shalom Orlando

    Feb 9, 2024

    Craig Polejes, Chair of the Shalom Orlando Board of Directors, announced that the Board of Directors of Shalom Orlando has appointed Melissa Youngblood and Rachel Greenspan as the interim co-executive directors. Melissa Youngblood has been an invaluable member of the Shalom Orlando team for the past six years, serving with distinction as the chief education officer of the Richard S. Adler Early Childhood Learning Center. In her role, Youngblood has exhibited exceptional leadership, driving forward transformative initiatives and ensuring that...

  • House passes antisemitism bill

    Feb 9, 2024

    With only three representatives voting against it, the Florida House of Representatives passed House Bill 187 that defines what antisemitic speech is, and now it moves on to the Senate. Sponsor of the bill, Rep. Mike Gottlieb (D-Plantation), told the Orlando Sentinel the goal is to curb hate speech toward Jews and Israel. The bill includes the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016 into Florida educational statutes. “We live in a time where people think they can say things and that has no...

  • Remembering Hank Katzen and his commitment to the Jewish community

    Aaron Weil|Feb 9, 2024

    Last week, the Katzen family suffered the terrible loss of Harry "Hank" Katzen Z"L who succumbed to a cancer that was more stubborn than the man himself and that is saying something! This loss comes on the heels of the loss of Hank's father of blessed memory, Marc Katzen Z"L, who sadly died Dec. 4, 2022. This is a lot for any family to absorb in a short period of time much less because of the outsized role these gentlemen played in the lives of their respective families. However, for the...

  • Christian rally at Knesset in solidarity with Israel

    Etgar Lefkovits|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) — Scores of Christian supporters from around the world gathered in Israel’s parliament on Tuesday, marking the 20th anniversary of the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus in a show of solidarity amid the war against Hamas in Gaza. The event, which came on a somber day following the single deadliest attack on Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip since the war broke out three and half months ago underscored the growing force of faith-based diplomacy around the globe. “Over the last 20 years, you have proven in the best possible way what true fr...

  • Netanyahu lays out conditions for ending war against Hamas

    Akiva Van Koningsveld|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday set out the country’s core demands for ending the war against Hamas in Gaza. “The essential goal is, first of all, the elimination of Hamas. To achieve this goal, three things are needed,” Netanyahu told journalists ahead of the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv. “The first requirement is the collapse of Hamas’s battalions. To date, we have leveled 17 out of 24 battalions. Most of the remaining battalions are in the southern Gaza Strip and Rafah—we wi...

  • Florida Jewish day schools receive $25 million in security funds

    Faygie Holt|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) — The Florida Department of Education has distributed $25 million in security funding—of $43 million allocated by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)—to more than 130 Jewish day schools and preschools across the state, the governor’s office announced earlier this week. “During a time of increased antisemitism around the world, Florida will continue to protect the Jewish community,” DeSantis stated on Jan. 30. “Today’s funding will give Florida’s Jewish day schools the tools they need to continue to keep their students safe.” The funding will help s...

  • Tlaib, Cori Bush vote to allow Oct. 7 attackers into US

    David Swindle|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) — The U.S. House of Representatives voted 422-2 on Wednesday to deny entry into the United States to non-U.S. citizen members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad who attacked Israel on Oct. 7. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) introduced H.R. 6679, the “No Immigration Benefits for Hamas Terrorists Act,” which drew dissenting votes from Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), two leftist members of the so-called “squad.” Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.) voted “present.” “Any alien who carried out, participated in, planned, financ...

  • It's Biden who's playing politics with the Gaza war, not Bibi

    Jonathan S. Tobin|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reputation as a master political schemer and a cynical seeker of power is so deeply embedded in the public consciousness that there is literally nothing he can do without being accused of acting only to seek some sort of advantage over his opponents. Yet in the current crisis as he seeks to lead his wobbly unity government to achieve what may well be two mutually exclusive objectives—the elimination of Hamas and the freeing of the remaining hostages still being kept captive in Gaza...

  • Most pro-Palestinian demonstrators are not just anti-Israel-they are also anti-American

    James Sinkinson|Feb 9, 2024

    (FLAME via JNS) — Hamas’s brutal Oct. 7 massacre unleashed Israel’s enemies across the United States and around the world to demonstrate in support of the terrorist group’s primary objectives—the killing of Jews and destruction of the Jewish state. Many protestors falsely designate Israel a colonial-settler state, asserting—also falsely—that Hamas is justly fighting to liberate a people of color—the Palestinian Arabs. They also maintain erroneously that Jews—as white people—hold a socially privileged position. These beliefs are consistent with...

  • It's time for American Jews to toughen up

    Charles Jacobs and Rabbi Cary Kozberg|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) — Since the Oct. 7 massacre, American Jews have experienced attacks that are now burned into our souls: On dozens of campuses and nearby streets, Jews have been screamed at, attacked, hectored, threatened and bullied — and did not fight back. These images are humiliating, and all the more so because our historical experience has taught us that not responding with force has consequences: The easier Jews are to bully, the more we are attacked. The bleating of the sheep excites the tiger. Our exclusively non-violent reaction to the current w...

  • Reverse the Colorado Supreme Court decision!

    Feb 9, 2024

    Dear Editor: The following are considerations that I hope reflect in part what will cause the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision by unanimous vote: 1. The purpose of Amendment XIV Section 3 was to keep officials from the rebellious states who violated their oath to support the Constitution of the United States from serving in the U.S. government. 2. The demonstration on Jan. 6, 2021, to cause the vice president to delay certification election results pending appropriate investigations of documented violations of...

  • What's Happening

    Feb 9, 2024

    MORNING MINYANS 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 Israel — Sunday, 9 a.m., 407-647-3...

  • Ofakim mayor details help Gallant promised that never came

    David Isaac|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) — A video clip making the rounds in Hebrew media features Ofakim Mayor Yitzhak Danino revealing disturbing details of a conversation he had with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as the Oct. 7 attack unfolded, in which he pleaded for army helicopters to save the small southern city, which Gallant promised but were never sent. Located 18 miles east of the Gaza Strip, Ofakim suffered more than 50 dead during the Hamas attack. The death toll would have been still worse but for the heroic actions of local residents, most armed only with h...

  • With Oct. 7 on their minds, Jewish teens head to gathering of thousands with renewed sense of priorities

    Suzanne Kurtz Sloan|Feb 9, 2024

    When 18-year-old TJ Katz was elected last February to be international president of BBYO after four years of deep involvement with the Jewish youth organization, the New Jersey teen was exceedingly excited. Serving as the face of a movement that reaches over 70,000 teens in 62 countries, Katz told an interviewer, put him in a unique position "to tangibly impact the lives of thousands of people." After graduating high school, Katz deferred admission by a year to the University of Florida to...

  • David Friedman: Biden is 'hampering' Israel's war effort

    Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) - U.S. President Joe Biden is harming Israel's efforts to demilitarize the Gaza Strip by demanding that Jerusalem scale back its military offensive against the Hamas terror organization, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told Channel 12 on Monday. Biden is "to some extent hampering the war effort by this desire to force Israel to engage in I think what he refers to as 'low-intensity combat'... That's sort of the kind of messaging that America has been giving Israel,"...

  • Insights from The Orlando Senior Help Desk Organizing medical records

    Feb 9, 2024

    Keep a folder of all medical information. It is good to have a binder in addition to a folder on the computer, so you can take critical medical information with you to appointments. Information Needed: • Health insurance cards, Medicare cards, and so on • Appointment reminder cards from health care providers • A list of medications including dosages, frequency, date started and reason • A medical history • A list of emergency contacts, relationship, addresses and all phone numbers • A sheet for recording the date of visits, the provider and any...

  • At Kerem Shalom, protesters block aid to Gaza

    Josh Hasten|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) - Despite a military closure, on Monday a diverse group of hundreds of protesters from all over Israel gathered at the country's Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza for the sixth day in a row, to demonstrate against the flow of humanitarian aid into the Hamas-controlled enclave. The demonstrators, including relatives of those murdered or kidnapped during Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre and of soldiers fighting the terror group in Gaza, avoided police checkpoints by driving through fields and... Full story

  • Settlement mega-event calls for Jewish return to Gaza

    David Isaac|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) - In an exuberant display of support for re-establishing Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip, 5,000 activists filled three large halls to overflowing at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on Sunday night. A kind of Zionist revival meeting, the conference featured music, a cheering crowd, and a parade of rabbis and politicians delivering speeches and prayers. Religious Zionists made up the vast majority of the participants, with a smattering of haredim or ultra-Orthodox....

  • Critic's account of classical music after the Holocaust is named Jewish book of the year

    Andrew Silow Carroll|Feb 9, 2024

    (JTA) - Music critic Jeremy Eichler's study of how classical composers made music after the Holocaust was named the book of the year by the Jewish Book Council, which will present the National Jewish Book Awards at an in-person ceremony in March. "Time's Echo: The Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Music of Remembrance" was named the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year and won both the Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial History Award and the Holocaust Award in Memory of Ernest W....

  • Learning from the history of Portugal's Jew

    Ashley Perry|Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) — At the beginning of the 16th century, my family fled the Iberian Peninsula, which had been their home, according to family tradition, for the better part of two millennia, having been exiled directly from the Land of Israel. They appear to have left soon after the Lisbon Massacre of 1506, an antisemitic pogrom that killed thousands of Jews. This was only 14 years after my family entered Portugal from Spain after the Spanish Jews were expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella’s infamous edict and 12 years since they tried to lea...

  • Ben-Gvir threatens to topple government over hostage deal

    Feb 9, 2024

    (JNS) — Israel’s National Security Minister, Otzma Yehudit Party leader Itamar Ben-Gvir, threatened on Tuesday to bring down the government if it reaches a “reckless” hostage deal with Hamas. His tweet came amid apparent progress on an agreement to free the 136 captives remaining in Gaza whom the terrorist group abducted during its Oct. 7 attack on the northwestern Negev. In an apparent response to Ben-Gvir’s tweet, opposition leader Yair Lapid wrote on X that his Yesh Atid Party and its 24 Knesset members would give the government full back...

  • Claims Conference releases 'unprecedented' report on Shoah survivors

    Efrat Forsher|Feb 9, 2024

    (Israel Hayom via JNS) - There are about 245,000 Holocaust survivors alive, according to a new Claims Conference report. They are dispersed in more than 90 countries with 49 percent residing in Israel. The report, published ahead of the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27 and described by the organization-full name: the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany-as an "unprecedented demographic report," breaks down their locations as well as their countries of...

  • Obituary - HELEN COHEN

    Feb 9, 2024

    Helen Cohen, age 84, of Lake Mary, Fla., passed away on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. Helen was born in New York, Feb. 22, 1939, the first child of Dr. Harry and Rosalie Einhorn. Helen grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and graduated from Fairview High School, later attending Indiana University. She had several jobs over the years, but her passion was performing with Sweet Adelines Gem City Chapter, of which she was a member for over 35 years, and volunteering at Hospice of Dayton. Helen was predeceased by her husband, Bob. She is survived by her children... Full story

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