Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles from the July 21, 2023 edition


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  • 'Exodus' immigrant's diary shows hardships of post-Shoah refugees

    Jul 21, 2023

    (Israel Hayom via JNS) - Dozens of personal diaries from people living through the early years of the Jewish state have been handed over to the National Library of Israel as part of the Operation Diary project. One presented recently describes the life of the immigrants on the Exodus 1947 ship. "September 1, 1947 - one person died on one of the ships today," Miriam Sternberg Wechsler wrote. "In the presence of all the ships that stood still for a short while, he was lowered for burial in the...

  • From horses to flying monkeys, a family story weaved into world history

    Christine DeSouza|Jul 21, 2023

    Family histories are a precious legacy of who you are and from where you came. Unfortunately, as time goes on, these stories can get lost over time. Dr. Lane Jay Mercer heard his family stories all his life. He shared them like bedtime stories with his four children. His son suggested he write the family history down so that future generations could enjoy their heritage. And that's what he did - "An American Jewish Family Saga" follows five generations of his family's journey from Spain during...

  • SOJC welcomes a new rabbi

    Sophie A. Katz|Jul 21, 2023

    Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation has a new full-time rabbi. Rabbi Melissa Crespy brings more than 30 years of rabbinical experience to this congregation, along with a lifelong love of music, language, and connecting with her community. Rabbi Crespy's journey began in Freehold, New Jersey, where she was raised by a family she describes as "very Jewishly proud, though not so observant." Her father's side of the family are Sephardic Jews from Greece, while her mother's side helped found the...

  • Is Barbie Jewish?

    Shira Li Bartov|Jul 21, 2023

    (JTA) - Long before the craze over the upcoming "Barbie" movie, most people could conjure an image of the doll: She was the beauty standard and the popular girl, a perky, white, ever-smiling brand of Americana. She was also the child of a hard-nosed Jewish businesswoman, Ruth Handler, whose family fled impoverishment and antisemitism in Poland. And some see the original Barbie as Jewish like Handler, a complex symbol of assimilation in the mid-20th-century United States. The doll's latest...

  • Jewish Chamber spends a day with Rosie's Adventures

    Jul 21, 2023

    Food and fun we're on the agenda when the Jewish chamber partnered with Rosie's Adventures for an afternoon of arts and crafts at Shalom Orlando. Adults and children of all ages gathered to put together care packages and decorations for children fighting cancer. Everyone in attendance brought gifts for the children that will go into gift bags to be distributed by Rosie's Adventures. Nicki Rodriguez founded the charity a year ago after her daughter passed away from childhood cancer. Rosie's...

  • Special guest at Chabad of North Orlando prayer service

    Jul 21, 2023

    On Friday, July 28, Chabad of North Orlando will host "Rolene's Shabbos" in loving memory of a special woman. Rolene Hunter was the first to become a member of Chabad Lubavitch of North Orlando's Jewish Legacy Society by remembering the Longwood Chabad in her will and leaving a portion of her estate to help ensure a Jewish tomorrow. "Rolene was taken from us way too soon but she will forever remain in our hearts," Rabbi Yanky Majesky remarked. "Though as an individual we may pass on, the communi...

  • Pittsburgh jury finds synagogue gunman eligible for the death penalty, setting up trial's final phase

    Ron Kampeas|Jul 21, 2023

    PITTSBURGH (JTA) — Jurors in the trial of the gunman who killed 11 Jewish worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue took less than two hours to find him eligible for the death penalty, setting up a final phase of the historic proceedings in which the gunman may be sentenced to death. On Thursday morning, the seven women and five men on the jury unanimously found that Robert Bowers, who attacked the Tree of Life building on Oct. 27, 2018, met all four thresholds of intent necessary for capital punishment. The jurors also agreed with the g...

  • Come and celebrate the earliest Jews of the USA

    Jul 21, 2023

    Friends of the Main Library St. Augustine and the St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society have formed a partnership to celebrate the Jews who landed on Florida’s Coast with Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Rabbi Merrill Shapiro, founder and chairman of the St. Augustine Jewish Historical Society, will speak about the Jewish presence in St. Augustine at the time of the city’s founding and in the years that followed. The one-hour celebration will take place at the Main Library, 1960 North Ponce De Leon Boulevard in St. Augustine on Friday, Sept. 8 at...

  • Orlando Hadassah Game Day

    Jul 21, 2023

    Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc., is hosting a Game Day on Sunday, Aug. 8 from noon to 4 p.m. The event will be held at One Senior Place, Altamonte Springs. The cost is $20 and includes a light lunch. To register, visit https://events.hadassah.org/OrlandoGameDay23....

  • Jewish quotas were at the heart of Supreme Court affirmative action ruling

    Ron Kampeas|Jul 21, 2023

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — Harvard’s 20th-century antisemitic Jewish quotas were a key part of the Supreme Court’s decision to gut affirmative action on Thursday, as the winning litigant and two conservative justices cited them in the landmark case. The 6-3 decision Thursday, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, bars universities from using race as an explicit factor in considering admissions, but allows race to be cited by applicants in essays describing their life experiences. Students for Fair Admissions, the conservative advocacy group that...

  • Senators demand US admin reverse 'antisemitic Israel boycott'

    Jul 21, 2023

    (JNS) — A group of U.S. Republican senators sent a letter on Tuesday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on the Biden administration to rescind its “discriminatory” guidance halting bilateral scientific and technological cooperation with Israeli entities operating in Judea and Samaria. The administration late last month issued the directive applying to areas Israel captured in its defensive 1967 Six-Day War. “The guidance does something America has never done before: unilaterally impose territorial restrictions on U.S. scienti...

  • DeSantis blasts Biden over Netanyahu snub

    Jul 21, 2023

    (JNS) — Florida Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis on Tuesday denounced U.S. President Joe Biden over his failure to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. “Biden meets with dictators of countries such as Venezuela but snubs the democratically elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This is not how you should treat an ally,” the presidential hopeful noted on Twitter. Biden has been widely criticized for neglecting to invite Netanyahu to Washington. Former U.S. Ambassador to Israe...

  • Groff v. DeJoy is the rare Supreme Court decision that every Jew can celebrate

    Michael A. Helfand|Jul 21, 2023

    (JTA) — In one of its most anticipated cases of the year, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Groff v. DeJoy last month, significantly expanding the federal protections afforded religious employees in the workplace. The decision itself was unanimous, reflecting a broad consensus that employers should be doing more than previously required when it comes to accommodating religious employees. Jewish organizations from across the ideological spectrum — from Agudath Israel and the Orthodox Union to the Anti-Defamation League and the Ame...

  • Biden decries antisemitism yet funds it

    Kenneth Levin|Jul 21, 2023

    (JNS) — On May 25, President Joe Biden announced a plan to combat antisemitism and declared that “the venom and violence of antisemitism will not be the story of our time.” Yet Biden is underwriting antisemitism. In 2018, Congress passed the Taylor Force Act, which stopped economic aid to the Palestinian Authority as long as the P.A. continues its “pay-to-slay” policy of stipends for terrorists who kill Jewish Israelis and for the terrorists’ families. Such stipends, determined according to the number of Jews killed or injured, have amount...

  • The Pittsburgh synagogue shooter wasn't acting alone

    Amy Spitalnick, First Person|Jul 21, 2023

    (JTA) — Earlier this month, as the jury in Pittsburgh handed down the verdict in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in American history, I found myself walking into Shabbat services at a Berlin synagogue that had been destroyed on Kristallnacht. Despite the odds, the Fraenkelufer Synagogue reopened in time for the High Holidays in September 1945, turning the former youth sanctuary into its main prayer space for the small number of Jews that remained. The community never rebuilt the original main sanctuary that had been destroyed by t...

  • It's time to dismantle the United Nations

    Melanie Phillips|Jul 21, 2023

    (JNS) — The malevolent scapegoating of Israel by the United Nations has long been a scandal. These abuses are regularly highlighted by tireless U.N. watchdogs such as Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, and Anne Bayefsky, president of Human Rights Voices and director of Touro’s Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. Last week, Neuer testified before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. He described how Israel is routinely demonized by the U.N. General Assembly, the U.N. Human Rights Council and the World Health Org...

  • What's Happening

    Jul 21, 2023

    MORNING MINYANS Chabad of North Orlando and Chabad of Altamonte Springs are holding in-person 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...

  • A walk on the beach was a hint of a better world to come

    Bradley Shavit Artson|Jul 21, 2023

    This article originally appeared on My Jewish Learning. (JTA) — Last week’s Torah portion is named after one of the Torah’s more complicated figures. Pinchas is the grandson of Aaron, the first high priest, and son of Eleazar, the second, and his lineage seems to set the stage for one of the most horrific moments in the Torah: Pinchas personally took it upon himself to execute an Israelite man in the act of having sex with a Midianite woman. The perceived immorality of Midianite practice apparently overwhelmed the biblical author’s passion...

  • That lonely Jewish seat on the Supreme Court

    Thane Rosenbaum|Jul 21, 2023

    (JNS) - Here's a joke: "A Jew, a Black and a Hispanic walk into a bar... association.... " It's not really a joke, but rather a colorful way of describing the composition of liberal Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, as embodied by justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, in order of seniority. The black robes, as it turns out, are mere uniforms for when the court is in session. Compared to the first 233 years of its existence, when it was largely an all-white male...

  • David Beckham says he's proud to be 'part of the Jewish community' at London synagogue event

    Jackie Hajdenberg|Jul 21, 2023

    (JTA) - British soccer icon David Beckham is known globally for his bevy of championships as well as the "bend" he could put on the ball during 20 seasons of play. But on Sunday, approximately 600 people in a London synagogue saw him exhibit a different talent: saying "Hamotzi," the Jewish blessing over bread. That moment of Hebrew came during an interview Beckham gave at St John's Wood Synagogue about his Jewish heritage as well as his career. According to accounts in British Jewish...

  • Netanyahu caught between Washington and Beijing

    Jul 21, 2023

    (JNS) - During his visit to Israel two months ago, Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke from the Knesset plenum. It was only the second time that a U.S. speaker addressed the full Knesset. McCarthy's speech was dedicated to the strong ties between Israel and the U.S. and the threats faced by both nations. He also sent a message to the Israeli government and the assembled MKs. "While the Chinese Communist Party may disguise itself as promoters of innovation, in...

  • Ed Asner plays a Holocaust survivor in film being released 2 years after his death

    Jackie Hajdenberg|Jul 21, 2023

    (JTA) — The prolific Jewish actor Ed Asner died nearly two years ago, but his final film will hit select theaters on Friday. In “Tiger Within,” he plays a Holocaust survivor who becomes the unlikely friend of a homeless teenager who was raised by a Holocaust denier. The movie was filmed in the summer of 2018, and Asner, the Emmy award-winning actor best known for his roles as Lou Grant on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and Carl in the Pixar animated film “Up,” died in 2021 at the age of 91. “Tiger...

  • Helen Mirren plays Golda Meir in a new film. The two are also (kind of) related

    Philissa Cramer|Jul 21, 2023

    JERUSALEM (JTA) - Helen Mirren will soon become linked with Golda Meir in the minds of many viewers when she plays the late Israeli prime minister in a new film. But the award-winning actress has another, real-life connection to Meir: the two are related, Israeli genealogical researchers revealed on Thursday. Mirren was in Jerusalem for the Israeli premiere of "Golda," the dramatic film she's headlining about Meir's handling of the Yom Kippur War - when Egypt, Syria and a coalition of their alli...

  • Hulu's 'The Bear' brought up 'Jewish lightning': What does it mean, and is it antisemitic?

    Stephen Silver|Jul 21, 2023

    There are some light spoilers for “The Bear” in this article. (JTA) — “The Bear,” FX and Hulu’s drama series about the behind-the-scenes workings of a Chicago restaurant, has been one of TV’s most acclaimed series since debuting last year. The first episode of its second season, which debuted June 22, brought up a controversial term that caught the attention of critics: “Jewish lightning.” Most found the reference funny but didn’t want to touch it. A Vulture critic wrote,” I’m not even going to...

  • Israel's men's soccer team is headed to the Olympics for the first time since 1976

    Gabe Friedman|Jul 21, 2023

    (JTA) - Israel's national men's soccer team qualified for the Olympics for the first time in nearly 50 years by making a surprising run at a major under-21 European tournament. Israel lost to England on Wednesday in the semifinals of the UEFA European U-21 Championship, a biennial contest among the continent's best under-21 teams. But three days earlier, after a win in the playoff round against Georgia, Israel earned a place at the 2024 Paris Olympics alongside just 15 other countries. Soccer...

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