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THE JEWISH PRESS

Friday, January 13, 2017

SHELLEY BENVENISTE SOUTH FLORIDA EDITOR IT’S MY OPINION

Time Is Running Out The Jewish world is reeling with righteous indignation over President Obama’s recent abstention at the United Nations. America’s failure to veto the latest anti-Israel initiative gives acceptance to the premise that Israel is in “flagrant violation” of international law for building on land reclaimed after the Six-Day War. It also takes away Israel’s one bargaining chip: the actual acreage involved in the negotiations. The UN was launched to create peace and understanding among the nations of the world. It was a beautiful concept. But it has not fulfilled its purpose. The organization is known for its longstanding votes and rants against the Jewish state and the U.S. The dream has turned into a nightmare. 

In the past, America had used its veto power to avert the endless attempts at causing damage to Israel. This time was different. America’s staunchest alley in the Middle East was left to fend for itself. Jewish media and Jewish organizations have sharply condemned the president, the UN, and the so-called international community. The outrage has been the subject of countless articles, discussions, reprimands, and reproaches. The idea of having someone or something to blame for one’s troubles can be comforting. It takes responsibility away from the victims and places it directly in another’s lap. However, the notion that an individual, or in this case a nation, needs to be saved can be quite detrimental. It removes the impetus to solve one’s own problems. It fosters the idea of helplessness in the face of adversity The collective Jewish community worldwide needs to stop pointing fingers and take a long and hard look at itself. How did this all happen? How was it possible that the triumph of the 1967 war could give way to such disaster? How was it possible to snatch defeat from unparalleled victory? There are two factors that facilitated the debacle. One has been Israel’s failure to annex the liberated territories for what is now almost fifty years. The oth-

South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival: An Inspiring Success By Chaim Lehrer An overflow crowd of men, women, and children celebrated the 37th annual South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival on the fourth night of Chanukah at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach. Three hours of Chanukah singing and dancing, featuring the king of Jewish music, Avraham Fried, and the Jewish singing group 8th Day brought the popular Florida concert to new heights. The weather was stunning, the spirit was pulsating, and the crowd was diverse, united in the joy of Chanukah and inspired by the lighting of the 18-foot menorah, led by Cantor Rabbi Yossi Lebovics. Two thousand children received Chanukah gelt and other goodies, distributed by students of the Chaya Aydel Seminary. Mayor Josh Levy of Hollywood, Vice Mayor Keith London of Hallandale Beach, head shliach of Florida Rabbi Abra-

ham Korf, along with community leaders, were called on to light the menorah. The message of light eliminating darkness resonated throughout the evening. Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus, head shliach of South Broward, relayed a berachah from the Rebbe regarding this festival – that “it should grow each year as the candles of the menorah grow each night.” Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad synagogues and Chabad Houses throughout South Broward and 45 agencies at its Hallandale Beach headquarters. Unique among those 45 agencies are Florida’s mikvehs for the physically challenged, Florida’s only teacher’s seminary for women, and scores of initiative outreach projects that touches the lives of tens of thousands of people.  For more information about Chabad of South Broward, call 954458-1877.

er was the failure of any viable Jewish preventative action about the vote we all knew was coming. The 1967 war was precipitated by Syria and Egypt. Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Algeria sent troops to join the fray. Although greatly outnumbered in terms of troops and armaments, Israel emerged victorious after six days of battle. Many believed the incredible victory that resulted in the liberation of Israel’s holiest cities and sites was an open miracle. Every kid on the playground instinctively knows the rules of winning a fight. There are winners and losers. Sometimes you lose the game. Sometimes you lose the ball. When fights are initiated by countries, the stakes are elevated. Otherwise, there would be no reason against starting a conflict. There would be nothing to lose.  Israel’s presence in the territories is the consequence of unprovoked Arab aggression. It resulted from a defensive “just war” that led to legal occupation. Even UN Security Council Resolution 242 under Chapter VI affirms this fact. Legal “territorial change” is legitimate and can take place. Article 51 of the UN Charter justifies occupation of an area that has been captured in these types of circumstances. However, it

Continued on p.68

Torah Academy Of Boca Raton Stages Chanukah Concert It was a festival of lights – stage lights – as stirring Jewish music enthralled the 800-plus attendees at Torah Academy of Boca Raton’s third annual Chanukah concert on December 27. The concert featured Jewish music giant Abie Rotenberg, as well as popular singers Simcha Leiner and Shlomo Simcha, with accompaniment by the Yochi Briskman Orchestra. The sold-out performance in Boca Raton attracted families from all over South Florida. Rabbi Reuven Feinberg, dean of Torah Academy, commented on why he looks forward to arranging this concert for the wider community every year: “Jewish music has the heart and soul built in. Its timeless words and values, taken from our tradition, enhance the message of Jewish connection and pride in our heritage that our school seeks

to provide.” The concert was sponsored by Linda Love Golden, who, although she has no children or grandchildren who attend Torah Academy, is a steadfast supporter of the school. As this was also a night to celebrate Jewish education, several numbers showcased the Torah Academy Boys Middle School Choir, carefully orchestrated by their teacher Rabbi Netanel Chait. Several students demonstrated particular talent and poise when they performed alongside the headlining singers. Torah Academy of Boca Raton is an Orthodox Jewish day school featuring preschool, elementary, and separate boys and girls middle school divisions, with an enrollment this year of over 300 students. For more information, visit www.torahacademybr.org or call 561-465-2200.

Torah Academy Chanukah concert Another successful Chanukah Festival.

(Boruch Len of Lens Photo World LLC)


Friday, January 13, 2017

THE JEWISH PRESS

Page 59

Bridge Of Gold Holds Chanukah Event For Lone Soldiers Bridge of Gold (Gesher Shel Zahav) recently home to when they’re given a brief break from milsponsored a worldwide Chanukah broadcast to hon- itary service. There is no mother or father or sister or the lone soldiers of Israel. The program was held or brother to talk to them, to comfort them, or even on December 25 at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish to share a meal with them. The realities of being a Community Center in Aventura. The video confer- soldier in the IDF are difficult enough. The isolation ence was simultaneously broadcast in London, Paris, of these young people needed to be addressed. The group was Miami, and Jerusalem. founded by Yehuda Family, friends, and Zaretsky, a husband, community members father, lawyer, and attended the special major in the IDF who candle lighting. Many wanted to help the lone family members cried soldiers under his comfor joy at the opportumand. Bridge of Gold nity of celebrating the was launched and has holiday together and succeeded in bringing seeing their children comfort and company lighting the menorah. It was a magnificent Friends and families at Bridge of Gold Chanukah Event. to these very unique individuals. event.  Bridge of Gold has worked to welcome and incorBridge of Gold is an organization that sponsors the amazing young men and women who have made porate these soldiers. Many programs have been oraliyah by themselves, leaving their families behind. ganized for their benefit and many accommodations They are now in the Israel Defense Forces. Many are are available to make them feel they are not alone.  Previously, many of the lone soldiers had no place just eighteen years old. They have no one to come

to go when on leave. They didn’t have a house or apartment. Sometimes they were taken in by kind families and at other times they had to fend for themselves. Recently, a building was renovated by Bridge of Gold in Ashdod for these youngsters, who can feel like they’re coming home. The building has six apartments. More units need to be purchased or donated. If you have a family member who has made aliyah and is now a lone IDF soldier or if you want to contribute to this worthy cause, call Rabbi Avraham Peri at 305-469-6105 or e-mail him at aperi48@gmail.com.

Natalie Sopinsky Of One Israel Fund Visits South Florida Natalie Sopinsky, director of community development for One Israel Fund, recently visited South Florida and spoke in several locations including Surfside/ Bal Harbour, Key Largo, and Boynton Beach. Sopinsky talked about her life and transformation from a Conservative all-American girl to an observant “settler” in Israel. Sopinsky has five children and lives with 180 other dedicated Zionist families just 20 minutes south of Hebron. She described her joy at watching her children growing up with a strong sense of Jewish values and a strong Israeli identity. Referring to the recent UN resolution, Sopinsky said: “We need more Jews living here. We need to build and build some more…. I was born in 1970. I have never known a world without the Jewish state of Israel, but there are many who remem- Rozy Jaffee (left) with Naber when we Jews were talie Sopinsky (right) at stateless victims. We Young Israel Congregamust never let it happen tion of Bal Harbour. again.” One Israel Fund fills in gaps in security, emergency medicine, and community projects throughout Judea and Sameria. Sopinsky gets calls daily from the 150 communities requesting assistance for building projects such as playgrounds, community centers, athletic courts, and medical facilities. Some of Sopinsky’s current projects include providing fire-fighting equipment, funding the soldiers’ respite center at Pina Chama, and raising funds for the new Benyamin Medical Center which will provide medical services to the 65,000 Jews in the region who currently are forced to make the long and sometimes dangerous drive to Jerusalem when faced with a medical emergency. One Israel Fund also runs day trips to the different communities throughout the year. Two trips will be held soon, Jan. 23 and 26. See website for details and to register: www.oneisraelfund.org.

C To Contact The Edit

South Florida Office of THE JEWISH PRESS Editorial & Advertising Office Phone (305) 531-7819 Fax (305) 538-8003 SE-mail: shelleybenven@aol.com Shelley Benveniste South Florida Editor

Shalom South Florida with Roni

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Page 68

THE JEWISH PRESS

Friday, January 13, 2017

South Florida Continued from p.58

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seems that when it comes to Israel, standard operational procedures and remedies suddenly don’t apply. There are pivotal times in every situation – personal, business, national – when failure to act can cause great harm. It has been almost 50 years since the SixDay War. The liberated lands have still not been annexed. Perhaps the generation scared and scared by the Holocaust that killed six million of its brothers and sisters were afraid to stand up to a world that would disdain their action. However, when something is yours, you take hold of it. You declare it. You celebrate its possession. Israel did none of those. There are presently more than six and a half million Jews living in the U.S. We all knew the latest UN vote was coming, although the date was not clear. What would have happened if a small fraction of the Jewish population – 3,000, say, or

2,000, or even just 1,000 – had shown up in New York? Certainly many Christians would have joined this rally. What would have happened if the protesters had surrounded the United Nations building, joined hands, stopped traffic, sat down, and made a statement of their displeasure? What would have happened had there been front-page headlines throughout the world suggesting that the resolution was unpopular and that countries prepared to support it might want to reconsider? No wonder the nations voting in the UN felt free to disregard and disrespect Israel. There was not one real attention-getting reason to dissuade them. The silence was deafening. It said: “Go ahead. No one cares about Israel.” We now face a critical period in Jewish history. We were quiet. We were compliant. We feared offending. It didn’t help. Hillel famously said, “V’im lo achshav, eymatai?” – “And if not now, when?” Time is running out.

UN Resolution Continued from p.61 directing US Ambassador Samantha Powers to abstain from the critical vote, thus allowing it to pass. Her silence in the face of this prejudiced resolution is a brazen injustice. An injustice not only to Israel but a stain of shame upon these blessed United States of America and its citizens.” Quoting from the Rambam, Rabbi Hecht said, “When nations come to wage war against Israel, or to impose a tax or

take away land and to make a decree upon them, the trumpets are sounded and fasting and prayers are recited until Heaven’s mercy is attained.” “As Rabbis we hereby state that we support the right of the Jewish people to live in any part of Eretz Yisrael – be it Jerusalem, Hebron, Judea, Samaria.” Taking questions from reporters, members of the RAA presidium noted that they are planning to send a delegation of the RAA to Washington, D.C. where they will be lobbying members of Congress in efforts to defund the United Nations until justice for the Jewish nation is served.

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