Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Ann Funk 

Frankly fine (Dr. Terri Susan Fine, that is)


For the past three weeks my partner Alan Finfer and I have been attending excellently presented, informational classes hosted by the Jewish Federation’s Community Relations Committee. Barbara Weinreich, as a representative of the Federation, introduced the presenter, Dr. Terri Susan Fine, who teaches in the political science department at UCF. The classes were open to the public, informal and often interactive.

The three topics were:

Class I: Jewish Women in American State Politics. Dr. Fine discussed a project funded by Brandeis University where she conducted an in-depth study in a designated time frame to make a comparison of certain attributions Jewish women in state legislatures offered. Findings included several representatives over that time had achieved higher levels of education.

Class II: Comparison of the Declarations of Independence of the U.S. and Israel. Dr. Fine distributed copies of both countries’ Declarations. It was discovered that no one in class ever had the opportunity to read the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel. Dr. Fine gave the history of how each developed, and then had each member of the class select and defend their reasons why each country should be recognized as an independent nation.

Class III: How elections are held comparing U.S. to Israel. There is no voter registration requirement in Israel—just proof of citizenship, and proof you have reached 18 years of age. Their legislature (the Knesset) presently has 120 members and 12 parties represented. In Israel, you vote for the party and the party selects the representatives. In the U.S., members of Congress are voted for individually. Elections are held in even numbered years. Seats in Congress (all 435 of them) are up for election every 2 years. One third of the 100 seats in the Senate are up for election every 2 years. In Israel elections are held every 4 years unless the Knesset is dissolved and there is a need for a vote of confidence. Dr. Fine ended the last session with “let’s do things that unite us not divide us.”

Whenever we see Dr. Fine is giving a lecture we always try to attend. The information she provides is enlightening. Her information is current, but also based on historical content. What we have learned from these three classes are the differences of a democratic government and a parliamentary system. Dr. Fine’s methods of presentation, we feel, are always worthwhile and enjoyable.


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