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

Scene Around


January 21, 2022

Joan Rivers

I don't know if I should be flattered or insulted ...

For many years I've been told that we look alike. Also for many years I've been told that we sound alike. I do know we are both funny ... but she was a comedian and I was a dancer and now (still) a vocalist. Also, she is deceased and I am (at least for now) still alive!

Have you guessed who I'm referring to?

Joan Molinsky is her name and she (like me) was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Now do you know? Of course you do! Joan Rivers was her performing name. 

I sincerely miss her and her sometimes insult comedy. She wasn't afraid to tackle anyone, celebrities, politicians, etc. (A girl after my own heart!)

Her ancestry (like mine) was Russian and of course she was Jewish! She was (and still is) my favorite comic of all time! RIP.

Wow! We all came from the same place ...

That's because all the talented folks were born in Brooklyn of Jewish parents and had Russian, Ukrainian and Polish ancestry! (like me!)

I'm referring to another favorite of mine, Gerald Issac Stiller. You knew him as Jerry Stiller, a terrific comic actor.

I enjoyed him in so many roles, in movies and on television. He is sorely missed by me and surely by you too! Again, I repeat RIP.

And, luckily we have someone wonderful to follow in his footsteps ...

Yes, I'm referring to BENJAMIN EDWARD MEARA STILLER, Ben Stiller to you.

His dad was Jerry Stiller and his mom, another wonderful comic but not born Jewish (she converted to Judaism) was Anne Meara.

Ben Stiller is as talented as his departed mom and dad, who, for many years, were the comedy team of Stiller & Meara.

Ben is still going strong and is super-talented!

Why anti-Zionism is malign. The American Jewish Committee says it is no different from antisemitism ...

I received the following letter from DAVID HARRIS, chief executive of AJC. It is a copy of the one he sent to the New York Times quite some time ago:

To the Editor:

Re: "Anti-Zionism isn't the same as Anti-Semitism", a column written by Michelle Goldberg which appeared in your newspaper.

If anti-Zionism isn't a form of antisemitism, what is? To deny the Jewish people, of all the peoples on earth, the right to self-determination surely is discriminatory, all the more so many years after the UN General Assembly voted to recommend the creation of a "Jewish" state. And if the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement isn't another form of antisemitism, what is?

To single out Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, for demonization and isolation, while ignoring egregious human rights violators aplenty, once again smacks of anti-Jewish hatred. After all, the very same BDS movement does not even focus on the mistreatment of Palestinians in the Arab world, including the thousands killed and imprisoned in the Syrian carnage, the many professional fields closed to Palestinians in Lebanon, or the internecine wars between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. If Israel is not involved, the BDS movement has no interest.

Nor does it take into account the many efforts by Israel to forge a peace deal with the Palestinians, beginning many years ago, only to be spurned time and again.

Criticize Israeli policies? Sure. It's done every day in Israel itself by the media, nongovernment groups, and in the Knesset. But that's a far cry from treating Israel differently from any other country in the world, which is at the core of the anti-Zionist and BDS outlook.

(Wow. This letter pulled no punches!)

Community Spotlight: U.S. Virgin Islands ...

The Jewish settlement in the U.S. Virgin Islands was initiated in 1655 when Spanish and Portuguese Jews came as ship owners, planters of sugarcane, and producers of rum and molasses. They arrived from Recife, Brazil, Suriname, Barbados, Holland, and France. The real growth of the Jewish population in the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix came as a direct result of the destruction of the Jewish community in the nearby Dutch island of St. Eustatius, which was attacked in 1781 by the British for having aided the American Revolution. 

In 1796 the synagogue Berakha v' shalom v' Gemilut Hassadim in St. Thomas was founded, and that congregation exists still. By 1850 Jews accounted for about 400 people in the Virgin Islands. 

The Danish authorities, and later the American ones, sometimes nominated Jews as governors of the Islands. With the opening of the Panama Canal, the Jewish population diminished, and most of the islands' Jews emigrated to Panama. By 1942 the Jewish population numbered no more than 50. (probably the Nazi camps were starting to fill up).

Today, the Jewish population is increasing due to an influx of Jews from the North American mainland.

The Roth Family JCC ...

Hurry and join during January and you will be given a treat! There will be gifts for joining. (no kidding!)

Seniors on the Go. A message from BARBARA GOLDBERG ...

On Thursday, Jan. 27 at noon, The Yiddish Circle will be led by VICTOR and BATYA GRANATSTEIN.

The event will start with lunch. Also, bring something to share with the group.

A fashionably outstanding program director ...

I received notice of this honor from the CEO/Executive Director of the Jewish Pavilion, NANCY LUDIN:

"Julie Levitt Bain had her first experience with The Jewish Pavilion during a Walk in the Park event over 10 years ago. She briefly sat on a Walk in the Park Sub-Committee, and shortly afterwards, a Program Director position became available. Julie interviewed for the job and has been with The Jewish Pavilion since September 2010. Julie oversees approximately 15 senior facilities in Altamonte Springs, Apopka, Maitland, and general vicinity.

"She enjoys making residents happy through planning parties, Shabbat services, holiday celebrations, and musicales. Julie's relationships with the seniors, program facility directors, and Jewish Pavilion volunteers are extraordinary. The program coordinators and volunteers are eager to participate and assist Julie. Julie customizes her programs based on the nature of the facility and the type of care provided. Every resident holds a special place in her heart."

She will be honored as "Outstanding Program Director" at the upcoming fashion show, according to Ludin.

Jewish Federation ...

Some good advice for staying healthy:

Write down your goals. When you plan and track them, you'll feel more accountable to reach them. If something comes up and you fail to complete the activity, highlight it. Aim high, but be realistic and don't over schedule. That way, you'll feel accomplished when you cross those goals off your list.

Jerry Stiller

Putting your wellness first doesn't have to be complicated. JFS Orlando is here to help with a FAMILY of services and programs designed just for you. Visit JFSorlando.org or call (407) 644-7593 to learn more.

One for the road ...

Here is some good advice when listening to someone tell a joke:

Sure, you are a person of breeding and character, right? So when someone is telling you a joke, even if you find it stupid or not very funny, be nice.

Pretend that you liked it. Act amused and reward the joke teller with at least a smile or a chuckle.

The better you get at this, the more friends you'll have.

Great advice, right? 



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