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

By Gloria Yousha
Scene Around 

Scene Around


Holocaust remembrance...

Acknowledging that officially, Thursday, April 16th is Holocaust Remembrance Day, this story in the current World Jewish Congress (WJC) digest caught my eye. I pass it on to you and add my personal comment in parenthesis at the end:

"WJC President Ambassador RONALD S. LAUDER, speaking on Jan. 27 next to the gate and railroad tracks that marked the last journey for more than a million people murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau, sounded a warning that the rise in anti-Semitism today has made many Jews, particularly in Europe, fearful of walking the streets and is causing many to leave for other countries. 'For a time, we thought that the hatred of Jews had finally been eradicated. But slowly, the demonization of Jews started to come back. Once again, young Jewish boys are afraid to wear yarmulkes on the streets of Paris and Budapest and London. Once again, Jewish businesses are targeted. And once again, Jewish families are fleeing Europe.'

Director STEVEN SPIELBERG, founder of the Shoah Foundation, also attended the commemoration events. 'If you are a Jew today,' he said, addressing hundreds of survivors the day before the commemoration, 'you know that like many other groups we're once again facing the perennial demons of intolerance. Anti-Semites, radical extremists and religious fanatics that provoke hate crimes... these people want to, all over again, strip you of your past, of your story and of your identity.' He added that these hatemongers often use social media such as Facebook to identify Jews with the intent of attacking them and causing Jews to again leave Europe.

ROMAN KENT, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, fought back tears as he told the assembled group: 'We do not want our past to be our children's future.' He urged world leaders to remember the atrocities and fight against growing intolerance.

Another survivor, HALINA BIRENBAUM, born in 1929, said her greatest duty was 'to tell others how much people (in the camps) wanted to live. I lived my mother's dream to see the oppressor defeated,' she said at the ceremony.

After the speeches, Jewish and Christian prayers were said for the dead and candles were lit in remembrance of the victims at the Birkenau monument.

The World Jewish Congress, in partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation, brought 101 survivors of Auschwitz, from 22 countries, together with members of their families, to participate in the commemoration."

(For me, the most touching words spoken at this Holocaust Remembrance ceremony held at Auschwitz recently, was the quote by Holocaust survivor, Roman Kent. To repeat... "We do not want our past to be our children's future." To me, that says it all!)

Old and sentimental, that's Gloria!...

The other day "I stumbled" on a movie on television, "Royal Wedding," that was not a particular favorite of mine, although it was good and very entertaining.

It starred phenomenal dancer, Fred Astaire, whose paternal grandparents converted from Judaism (Astaire was always among my favorites) and introduced wonderful songs, written by two brilliant Jewish songwriters, Morris Hyman Kushner and Alan Jay Lerner.

(I know you heard of Alan Jay Lerner but who was that other fellow? Oh yes, his show biz name was Burton Lane. Aha! By the way, you New Yorkers, Alan was closely related to the founder of the popular Lerner's stores.)

What made this movie stand out for me were three songs in particular that the duo wrote: "Too Late Now," "I Left My Hat In Haiti" and "You're All The World To Me." (Remember them?) The last one especially touches me as I sang it many times when I was performing at Orlando's Citrus Club (for more than 7 years). The opening lines are "I love Paris in April and May, Love New York on a silvery day..." Well, I visited Paris one April and it never stopped raining... and a silvery day in my native New York meant either rain or snow was expected!

In honor of Pesach...

I recently received an email from Jewish Pavilion Executive Director NANCY LUDIN. She said, "When we do our multitude of seders, we need a lot of volunteer help. Each volunteer makes a mini seder plate for each senior with matzah, egg, gefilte fish, parsley, charoset, etc."

She also forwarded a letter she received from Program Director GLORIA GREEN. I pass it along:

"RENEE and JOE AARONSON are at Westminster Towers Independence Living. They were a tremendous help setting up individual seder plates for the Westminster Health Center Seder. Renee even offered to help at any additional seders. I took her up on that and one hour later Renee and I began a seder at Terra Vista Rehabilitation/Health Center, which is less than a mile from Westminster. I will need to pick up a volunteer packet for her tomorrow -she may be going to two other downtown seders to help."

(The Aaronson's are the precious and caring types of people Nancy Ludin was looking for. How wonderful they came forward!)

Leaving them in good hands...

Folks who leave their four-legged family members and two-legged (birds and chickens), and no legged (fish) in the care of ANGELA D. GALLER and her Pet Care Services are, indeed, in good hands!

I've known "Angie" for many years. She genuinely loves animals and people too. (Not necessarily in that order!)

If you have to leave your family pet for any length of time, Angie is a great person to contact. She will come to your home to feed, walk, etc. or even stay over if the pet owner prefers. She is even certified in Pet CPR and first aid.

Angie has loving pets of her own as well... some rescues... and has been providing her service for more than 16 years. She can be reached at 407-222-8263.

And speaking of animals, a reminder...

The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on the purple box 'fund food for animals' for free.

This doesn't cost you a thing.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know. http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com.

Still eating out...

(I admitted to being a lousy cook many times!)

Did you know that Perkin's Restaurant on University in Winter Park gives its patrons a free slice of pie of your choice to either eat in or take home on Mondays? My spouse and I delightfully found out the week before Pesach (of course).

Also, we were given great service by waitress NICOLE DELL who couldn't have been nicer or more proficient!

One for the road...

It's always about food with me:

Rabbi Bloom caught two of his rabbinical students gambling and drinking on Sabbath. Next day, Rabbi Bloom called them into his office and asked them what was going on. They immediately confessed to having given in to weakness and agreed that they deserved some form of punishment for their sin. 

Rabbi Bloom thought a lot about this and then came up with the answer. He bought two bags of dried peas from the delicatessen and told them, "Put these in your shoes and walk on them for a week to remind yourselves how hard life can be when you turn away from God." 

A few days later, the two students met each other in the street. One had a pronounced limp and had dark circles under his eyes. He looked very tired and weary. On the other hand, the other was the same as he had been before. 

"Hey," said the first. "How is it that you are walking so easily? Why didn't you do as the rabbi asked and put the peas in your shoes?" 

"I did," said the other. "But I boiled them first." 


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