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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Temple Israel’

White House Menorah From Hurricane Sandy Shul

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

For the second time in office, US President Barack Obama has used a Hanukkah menorah from a hurricane-ravaged area to conduct the official White House Hanukkah celebration.

The 90-year old, seven-foot brass menorah was brought from the Conservadox Temple Israel in Long Beach, NY, one of the religious items which was not destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, according to a report by JTA.  It was untouched by the elements due to its location on an upper floor of the synagogue.

The menorah used by the Obama administration in 2010 came from a New Orleans synagogue ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

“This 90-year-old menorah survived, and I am willing to bet it will survive another 90 years, and another 90 years after that,” Obama was quoted by JTA as saying before the lighting of the candles Thursday night at the White House Chanukah party. “So tonight, it shines as a symbol of perseverance, and as a reminder of those who are still recovering from Sandy’s destruction — a reminder of resilience and hope and the fact that we will be there for them as they recover.”

Jarrod Bernstein, Director of Jewish Outreach at the White House, chose the menorah for the lighting ceremony during a family visit in New York, where he formerly served under Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a community outreach official.  His wife, Democratic National Committee Finance Director Hildy Kuryk, recommended finding a menorah from a NY synagogue hit by Hurricane Sandy.

“The story of what’s going on there — the rededication and re-sanctification of these communities, there’s definitely a correlation” with Chanukah, Bernstein was quoted as saying.

Temple Israel has reportedly sustained $5 million in damage, only a portion of which will be covered by insurance.

DNC Chair Temple Appearance Squashed by Romney Supporting Member

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), was uninvited last week, after having been scheduled to speak Friday night at Temple Israel of Greater Miami. Wasserman Schultz, who is also the chair of the Democratic National Committee, was going to discuss topics including Israel, social justice and religious freedom.

The invitation was withdrawn Thursday, according to the Sun Sentinel, as Joan Schaeffer, vice president for administration at Temple Israel, announced that Wasserman Schultz’s engagement was “postponed” for security reasons.

But if there were any security threats, they all seemed to emanate from Stanley G. Tate, 85, a major donor and former president of the synagogue.

Tate, a member of Temple Israel for 72 years, is co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Miami-Dade County. He told the Sun Sentinel: “You can’t talk about the U.S. and Israel without talking politics. Republicans like myself feel the president has thrown Israel under the bus.”

Millionaire Stanley G. Tate was instrumental in the early development of the Florida Prepaid College Board and served tirelessly as Chairman of the Board during the program’s first 18 years, from 1987 to 2005.

To provide Florida families with an affordable means to save for their children’s future college education, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Prepaid College Program in 1987, and the first Florida Prepaid College Plans were sold in 1988.

In recognition of Mr. Tate’s service, Governor Jeb Bush signed House Bill 263 into law in 2006, renaming the program the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Program.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz avoided a comment on the temple infighting. “I believe strongly that in a democracy people should be able to hear from and interact with their elected officials,” she said. “To say the least, this is a very unusual situation because of this temple’s internal politics.

She added that “it is unfortunate that some would allow politics to stand in the way of citizens’ ability to interact with their representative.”

“She’s the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee,” Tate told the Miami Herald. “The topic is the U.S.-Israel relationship. There cannot be any conversation on that topic, none, unless it has to do with the politics.”

Tate told the Sun Sentinel that it was “wrenching” for him to leave a synagogue where he was married 63 years ago, and where a preschool bears his name. “But I could see this was becoming an issue, so I called last week to say I was resigning.”

The Miami Herald sought out the one person who was deeply affected from the incident: Lauren Trushin, the 16-year-old girl who was confirmed Friday night and was looking forward to having the congresswoman speak.

The Reform movement instituted the ceremony of confirmation in 1830s Germany, believing that a 16-year-old is better qualified than a 13-year-old to affirm his Jewish identity.

“What I learned from the member who made the threats is that… people who engage in bullying get their way when people don’t stand up to them,” Lauren Trushin said in her speech Friday.

“I have learned some hard lessons recently, and I can’t help but be disappointed that I was not able to hear Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz speak tonight. I find it upsetting that anyone would take a stand against a prominent Jewish politician making a speech about the State of Israel, and make threats and misstatements.”

It’s My Opinion: Woodstock

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

    The infamous Woodstock Music Festival, which took place in the summer of 1969, was a historic counterculture event in America.  Over 500,000 hippies and hippie wannabees crowded a 600-acre farm area in Upstate New York for three days. 

 

    Despite romanticized musings of some who are now old enough to know better, the affair was a huge disaster.  Toilets, bathing facilities, food and water were in incredibly short supply.  Drugs were readily available and abundant.  Unrestrained debauchery was the order of the day.  Kids overdosed and hurt themselves.  In reality it was a reeking, shameful event.

 

   It was with great surprise that I noticed an advertisement in our local Miami Herald. A local synagogue, Temple Israel of Greater Miami, was hyping a “Woodstock Shabbat.”  They wished to “Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock,” spun as “the summer of love, peace and rock n’ roll.”  Attendees were encouraged to “dust off your bell bottoms and tie dyed shirts.”  A festive dessert reception was featured.

 

   There are many anniversaries that would be appropriate for celebration by a Jewish congregation.  There are many days and times that deserve recognition and acknowledgement.  This is not one of them.

 

   The days before the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah are traditionally used for reflection and soul searching.  A “musical service and tribute to Woodstock” seems out of line, especially at this time of year.  

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community//2009/08/26/

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