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

By Gloria Yousha
Scene Around 

Scene Around


Leonard Nimoy

"Seventy years? That's all it took?"...

I received a letter from Rabbi MARVIN HIER, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It stated (with comments in parenthesis by me) that "Adolf Hitler himself predicted it might take centuries, but in a much, much shorter time we are seeing the return of vicious hatred directed at Europe's Jews."

In his last will and testament, Hitler wrote 'Centuries may pass, but out of the ruins of our cities and monuments of art there will arise anew the hatred for the people who alone are ultimately responsible: International Jewry and its helpers!'

(A hate-filled statement from Hitler, who was a sick and perverted demon. And, oh yes, the monuments of art he mentioned? Many were stolen from Jews. )

Rabbi Hier continues:

"The situation (in Europe) has become so dire that the Chief Rabbi of Paris, recently stated that 'the present anti-Semitism we're dealing with in France, we haven't encountered before... It's more like Ramallah than Paris.'

"Indeed, increasing violence against Jews has many worried that there may not be a future for them in Europe. As many as 50,000 French Jewish families inquired about leaving for Israel in 2014. And according to the New York Times, the victims of the kosher market terrorism [were] buried in Israel in part because of fears that their bodies will be desecrated.

Yet despite all this, and despite the fact that anti-Semitic attacks have reached record highs in many countries, the European Parliament recently voted against establishing an anti-Semitism task force. {?}

The Simon Wiesenthal Center will continue to pressure leaders across Europe to better protect their Jewish communities and to deal harshly and effectively with terrorists and bigots. And they will expand their work on the ground in Europe... enlisting more people, enacting more pressure, and standing firm with Europe's Jews as they face this challenge."

(Challenge? It will be much, much more than just a challenge. Read this: "Last June, the Simon Wiesenthal Center met with French President FRANCOIS HOLLANDE in the Elysee Palace. A grim President Hollande told them that 1,000 French citizens went to Syria to train under al Qaeda and ISIS and that the vast majority had returned to France, many armed and most disappeared into the general population." That's a problem we might be facing here in the States as well.)

For the latest news from Europe and beyond, and what steps the Simon Wiesenthal Center is taking, visit their website http://www.wiesenthal.com

"Live long and prosper"...

We recently lost the famous actor who is noted, among other things, for this heartfelt saying, "Live long and prosper." Leonard Nimoy was his name.

He was an American actor, film director, poet, singer-songwriter and photographer, famous for his role as Mr. Spock in Star Trek. He began his career teaching acting classes in Hollywood and making minor film and television appearances.

Leonard Simon Nimoy was the son of Yiddish speaking Orthodox Jews from Ukraine. He was born in Boston, Mass.

Friends, many who are fellow actors, and we the general public, will surely miss him, especially for his portrayal of Spock in the Star Trek series.

On a happier note...

What a shocking surprise! I attended the COS Seniors meeting recently to hear the Klezmer Project musicians perform. I enjoyed them very much and was especially so pleasantly surprised at the quality of their singer, DANA KAPLAN.

Those who read this column know that I have written about Dana recently as the instructor of the Laughter Yoga Club at the Jewish Community Center in Maitland. She is very good at what she does and Laughter Yoga really does work, which is very important, especially for elderly folk who suffer from depression. But who knew that Dana was also a singer? And not just any singer!

Hearing Dana's vocal quality and range, I feel she is as good as any entertainer on the Broadway stage... certainly rivaling contestants on television shows like "The Voice" for example.

I know we shouldn't "lose" her talent at the JCC, but her vocal talent should take the lead!

(Get out of town, Dana. I can't handle such fabulous competition!)

And still on a musical note...

There was a Morgan Stanley reception after the recent CHRIS BOTTI concert at the Dr. Phillip's Performing Art Center, recently. (For those who may not know, Chris Botti is one of the hottest musicians of the day.)

Our own ARMAND MARCHESANO and his lovely wife, SONJA, were in attendance for the performance and the reception. During the magical evening, Chris and Armand were deep in conversation from one trumpet player to another. (see photo)

As most of you know, Armand is one of our well-known Central Florida musicians. He started his musical training at the age of seven. By age nine, he was playing cornet with organized semi-professional "Italian bands" in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. While in high school he played professionally in hotels and night clubs with dance and jazz bands in the northern Ohio area. He later toured with travelling orchestras such as Russ Carlisle, Ina Rae Hutton, Vic Stuart and others.

Armand moved to Orlando in 1961, where he became very active in the musical scene. He formed the Orlando Society Orchestra in 1984. The orchestra ranged in size from four to 18 musicians. They played for many conventions and charity events. For the last 25 years Armand's band played at the Beardall Senior Center.

(They played what I call "the good stuff," music of Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Kern, etc. You know, the Great American Song Book... no c----rap! I SAID RAP!)

Still on the subject of music...

Surely one of the best pianists in town is MICHAEL KRAMER. (I've never heard better... nor worked with better here and in New York City!)

On Sunday, March 29th, according to our own ALAN ROCK, who emcees these events, "get ready for another special Sunday jazz jam with Michael Kramer and friends. Michael always brings the house down with his swinging style."

On March 29th, beginning at 12:30 p.m. and continuing until 2:30 p.m. Michael at the piano, will be joined  by PAUL SCAVARDA, BEN KRAMER, GREG PARNEL and vocalist THERESA SCAVARDA. (Professional musicians and singers are always welcome to "sit-in" and perform during the second set.)

The Altamonte Chapel is located at 825 East S.R. 436 in Altamonte Springs. For directions, the phone number is (407) 339-5208.

(I've sung with Michael in New York City as well as locally... he is one of the best of the best! I will remind readers of this outstanding musical event as the date gets closer.)


Recently, while at Florida Hospital South, my spouse was cared for by a wonderful young man, BRIAN RAUCH, RN. Brian was caring and kind and made our stay much easier. I hope his superior, LISA BROWN, knows how special he is.

Dana Kaplan (Yoga Laughter instructor...

Also, while eating out (again) at Red Lobster restaurant on East Colonial Drive, we were waited on by none other than JON GLENN!

(Not that John Glenn, the famous NASA astronaut and U.S. Senator, silly! Rather, Jonathan Glenn, our wonderful waiter.) Great service, Jon. Thank you!

One for the road...

"I've had it with my wife." said Moishe to his friend Sam. "I'm filing for divorce." 

"Sorry to hear that Moishe." said Sam. "May I ask why?" 

"I found her supply of birth control pills." said Moishe. 

"So what, Moishe? How can you leave her just for that? My wife also has her supply of pills." 

"It's not just that," said Moishe. "I had a vasectomy over five years ago." (oy)


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