Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles from the October 16, 2020 edition


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  • Netanyahu invokes biblical precept for social distancing, says Mi Sh'Berech for Israel

    Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz|Oct 16, 2020

    In an interview with Kol B'Rama radio, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invoked biblical precepts in order to convince religious Jews to social distance during the holiday of Simchat Torah that coincided with Shabbat last weekend. "Take care, there should be no dances on Simchat Torah," Netanyahu said, referring to the tradition of dancing with Torah scrolls in synagogues. "There is no greater desecration of G-d's name than if because of Simchat Torah we lose a life. Pray outside, keep the...

  • Orthodox Jews burn masks in protest against New York's new COVID rules

    Shira Hanau|Oct 16, 2020

    (JTA) — Protests by Orthodox Jews against New York’s crackdown on gatherings in their neighborhoods turned tense and at times violent Tuesday night as throngs of young men demonstrated in the streets of Borough Park. The late-night protest in a heavily Orthodox area of Brooklyn took aim at new restrictions that would close schools, limit attendance at synagogues services and close nonessential businesses in areas with upticks in COVID-19. The protesters set fire to a pile of masks, at one point surrounded a city bus that was moving through the...

  • 'Later, Gator!' - Friends and colleagues thank Robby Etzkin for his JCC service

    Oct 16, 2020

    On Oct. 5, more than 100 households gathered on Zoom for a virtual thank you party in honor of Robby Etzkin, who left his position as executive director at The Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic after nearly eight years of service. Guests included former and current JCC staff and members, staff from the JCC Association in which Etzkin has been an active fixture for nearly 15 years, as well as friends and family from across the...

  • First speaker of Chabads' 'zoom lecture series' is Holocaust survivor

    Oct 16, 2020

    Chabads of North Orlando and Greater Orlando will be hosting Holocaust survivor Dr. Jacob Eisenbach, who lived through the horrors of the Nazi occupation of Poland, a labor camp and concentration camps, will tell his story of survival at a special zoom event on Wednesday, Oct. 21. Dr. Eisenbach, 95, was the sole survivor of the Holocaust from his extended family of about 100 people. He immigrated to the United States in 1950, married a fellow survivor and built a dentistry practice he operated f...

  • When caregiving is overwhelming, call the Orlando Senior Help Desk

    Oct 16, 2020

    The future needs of healthy and independent seniors are not on the radar of their family members until a crisis arises. An unexpected fall is often the beginning of a family member’s transition into caregiving. All of a sudden, the new caregiver has to learn so many things about their loved one: what insurance they have, who are their medical professionals, what are the rehabilitation options, are their finances in order, is their living environment still a safe and viable choice, and so much more. In 2012 the Orlando Senior Help Desk was f...

  • There's always time for PE at JAO

    Oct 16, 2020

    Jewish Academy of Orlando kindergarteners and first graders participate in PE despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a peek at what PE looks like at the Jewish Academy of Orlando. Jewish Academy of Orlando serves central Florida students of all faiths from kindergarten through fifth grade. The school delivers a whole-child education fostering academic excellence and character education rooted in Jewish values. Jewish Academy of Orlando is accredited by the Florida Council of Independent...

  • NY governor imposes new rules on houses of worship, schools and essential businesses

    Shira Hanau|Oct 16, 2020

    (JTA) – It won’t just be schools that close in areas of New York City with many COVID-19 cases. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced new restrictions on houses of worship, with services in some parts of the state capped at just 10 people. The new restrictions will go into effect by Friday, as Jewish communities begin celebrations of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, the last of the fall holidays, which are generally celebrated with large gatherings and dancing. The decision marks the first time in-person religious services, central to Ort...

  • Orthodox Jewish leaders decry Cuomo's 'draconian' measures to restrict worship amid virus rise

    Faygie Holt|Oct 16, 2020

    (JNS) — Professing his “respect and love” for the Orthodox Jewish community, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced major restrictions and closures in parts of the state designated as “COVID clusters,” areas that have an overwhelmingly large Orthodox community. “I understand the imposition this will place on them,” the governor said on Tuesday afternoon after a morning meeting with leaders in the Jewish community. “I said I need their cooperation; I need their assistance. I asked them to work with me to follow these guidelines, and that was po... Full story

  • Jewish poet Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize in Literature

    Gabe Friedman|Oct 16, 2020

    (JTA) — Louise Glück, the American granddaughter of Hungarian Jews, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday. Glück, 77, was awarded “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal,” the Nobel committee wrote in its announcement. Her collections of poetry — which explore broad and painful topics, such as family life, trauma and aging — include the books “The Wild Iris,” “Meadowlands,” “The Triumph of Achilles” and “Ararat.” For “The Wild Iris” she was awarded the 1993 Pulitzer Prize...

  • Amy Coney Barrett, Jewish liberals and the US Constitution

    Ruthie Blum|Oct 16, 2020

    (JNS) — The apoplexy on the part of Democrats in general and Jewish liberals in particular to the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court was to be expected. Anything that President Donald Trump does drives them crazy. But the fact that he decided to fill the seat vacated by the Sept. 18 death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the fast-approaching election has been more than they can tolerate. How dare the president exercise his right to do so, they have been moaning, when his days in office are numbered? Or so they h...

  • Palestinians' most dangerous enemy is … archaeology

    Stephen M. Flatow|Oct 16, 2020

    (JNS) — Pundits will tell you that the most dangerous enemies of the Palestinian Arab cause are the Gulf kingdoms that have decided to recognize Israel, or the European countries that are moving their embassies to Jerusalem, or the American politicians who refuse to keep underwriting the Palestinian Authority’s debts. I disagree. I say that the Palestinians’ most formidable foe is archaeology. A 2,000-years-old mikvah (ritual bath) was recently uncovered in the Lower Galilee. Most people probably would never have heard about the disco...

  • New initiative helps tackle anti-Semitic content

    Ari Ingel|Oct 16, 2020

    (JNS) — In this time of social distancing and sheltering in place, people all over the world are spending more time on streaming sites than ever before. However, as users go digging for content to fill their time, they are also coming across an increasing amount of anti-Semitic content. Unfortunately, streaming services such as TikTok, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube are struggling to implement and adequately enforce their own incitement policies on hate speech and violence. In response to this, Creative Community for Peace has created a new d...

  • Donald Trump: Friend of the Jews and Israel

    Rabbi Sanford Olshansky|Oct 16, 2020

    “The Jews have endured terrible persecution, and you know that we’ve all read it. We’ve studied it. They’ve gone through a lot and those seeking their destruction … we will seek their destruction.” President Trump said this after the horrific synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway. No American president ever aligned himself so fully with the Jewish people or committed himself so clearly to their protection and survival. He has lived this commitment in many ways, before and after those tragic events. President Trump’s relationship... Full story

  • My Brooklyn Orthodox community did not take COVID-19 seriously - instead, our leaders stoked a fire that shames us all

    Blimi Marcus|Oct 16, 2020

    (JTA) — This morning I am sitting at work in numb silence. What is happening in my Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park is painful, unacceptable and 100 percent preventable. As a healthcare professional who understands the dangers of this virus, I’ve been urging my community to take this pandemic seriously for months. And I’m so disappointed in what our most visible response has become. This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he will reimpose restrictions that will temporarily close non-essential businesses and will limit the size of gathe...

  • Before writing about Israel, do some research

    Oct 16, 2020

    Dear Editor: I read Donna Nevel’s recent “Guest Columnist” article in the Orlando Sentinel (“DeSantis’ support for Jewish people is reactionary”) with quite some interest and curiosity. A few of her comments I totally have to agree with such as NOT having a “Florida Stands with Israel.” As a native born U.S. citizen-born in Orlando, Florida, almost 80 years ago, if I want a “Florida Stands with Israel” license plate or bumper sticker I can purchase one on my own. The State has no business in selling such license tags supporting foreign...

  • Foxman vs. Sharpton reactions to hatred

    Oct 16, 2020

    Dear Editor: Abe Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, couldn’t have been the worst director of the ADL if a white supremacist had chosen him. For years Foxman earned a $300,000 annual salary and had bodyguards and absolutely failed the American Jewish community. How did he react to anti-Jewish acts? Well, he offered those Jew haters seminars. That’s right. No one ever accepted, but that was his solution to Jewish problems. He would show the same Jews haters who would go on to kill Jews in their synagogues of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, Pa., or Pow...

  • Pres. Trump is nothing like the Nazis

    Oct 16, 2020

    Dear Editor: I am appalled at the American Jews who compare President Donald J. Trump to the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. If only there had been man like President Trump in Germany; then over 6 million Jews — including my aunts, uncles, other relatives and family friends and their off spring — would be alive today. I was lucky to escape; they were not so fortunate. Those who compare Pres. Trump to Nazis desecrate their memory. President Trump is the president who has done more for the Jewish people than any other president. He is the best fri...

  • What's Happening

    Oct 16, 2020

    MORNING MINYANS (Please note, because of the coronavirus, all minyans have been canceled or held virtually.) 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...

  • Decline COVID-19 morbidity cause for 'cautious optimism'

    Oct 16, 2020

    (JNS) — The percentage of Israelis testing positive for COVID-19 has decreased for the third day in a row, according to Israeli Health Ministry figures released on Sunday. In an interview with Channel 12 on Sunday morning, Weizmann Institute scientist Eran Segal expressed “cautious optimism” regarding the trend, saying “it’s possible that the spike in morbidity in the general population has been halted [or is] on the decline.” He added that morbidity is also declining in the Arab sector, at the same rate as during the first lockdown, b...

  • JAO students celebrate Sukkot in the Sukkah

    Oct 16, 2020

    Jewish Academy of Orlando students loved celebrating sukkot. They (safely) shook the lulav and etrog, had a snack, and made edible sukkot. The students also loved integrating STEM education into Judaic studies by building Lego Sukkot in the innovation lab - even the remote students participated! Here are some peeks from the week's celebrations. To learn more about Jewish Academy of Orlando, please visit: jewishacademyorlando.org or follow the school on Facebook https://facebo...

  • Jews in the Land of Disney: From 'Fingers Zambeeze' to cantor, Allan Robuck brings the beauty of music to the community

    Ed Borowsky|Oct 16, 2020

    At eight years of age, Allan Robuck, cantor of Congregation Ohev Shalom, “didn’t have an option” about playing music. “I grew up in a musical family and my two brothers and younger sister had to play piano, no exceptions!” he said. Robuck’s parents loved music. After World War II, his father entered a talent show put on by the Les Elgart Big Band. Elgart was a trumpet player, often times playing with his brother Larry Elgart who recorded albums on the Columbia label. One of their most recogn...

  • Principal fired for Holocaust denial to be reinstated

    Oct 16, 2020

    (JNS) — The principal of a high school in the heavily Jewish city of Boca Raton, Fla., who was fired last year after he declined to recognize that the Holocaust occurred, has been reinstated. The Palm Beach County School Board voted 4-3 on Wednesday to rehire Spanish River High School principal William Latson, despite hearing 96 minutes of voice recordings, mostly objections from school board members, Holocaust survivors, family members and others ahead of the vote. A state administrative judge ruled in August that Latson should be rehired, t...

  • Scene Around

    Gloria Yousha|Oct 16, 2020

    This comes directly from the "Jerusalem Post" newspaper recently ... Its title is "The Jewish imperative of the coronavirus crisis." "The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis. Hundreds of thousands have died, millions have been sickened, and billions have been confined to their homes. Healthcare and economic systems have been stretched and strained, and many nations are facing a test the likes of which they have not encountered since 1945. For many months now, the...

  • NY Hasidic enclave to be shuttered

    Shira Hanau|Oct 16, 2020

    (JTA) — The county health commissioner in upstate New York’s Orange County issued an order Monday closing schools serving students from Kiryas Joel, a community made up of mostly Satmar Hasidic Jews. The village has the highest COVID positivity rate of any town or village in the county, according to the commissioner’s order, with 27.6 percent of COVID tests confirming a positive result in a three-day average. Schools for whom a majority of students come from Kiryas Joel and Palm Tree, a town that overlaps with Kiryas Joel and which is also...

  • Enjoying Sukkot under restrictions and lockdown in Israel

    Natalie Sopinsky|Oct 16, 2020

    I'm sitting in my sukkah, fighting off the heat. This week we all have an extra room outside. We eat all our meals in the sukkah, despite the heat of the day. We are obligated by the Torah to do this, to remember our exodus from Egypt, and we take it seriously. It's simply the way of life here. To NOT have a sukkah would be strange, an embarrassment. We would stand out and people would talk. All around Israel this is happening. Our medics, always standing by, have sukkahs, too. Growing up in...

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