The Shpiel ( January 27, 2009 )


Material Information

The Shpiel
Alternate spelling:
Physical Description:
v. : ill. (some col.) ; 35 cm.
The Shpiel,
The Shpiel
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Jewish college students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Jewish students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Judaism -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Jewish way of life -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Florida -- Alachua -- Gainesville
29.665245 x -82.336097 ( Place of Publication )


Dates or Sequential Designation:
Vol. 1, issue 1 (Feb. 13/26, 2006)-
Numbering Peculiarities:
Issues also have Jewish calendar dates.
General Note:
Title from caption.
General Note:
"The Jewish newspaper at the University of Florida"--Masthead.
General Note:
Latest issue consulted: Vol. 1, issue 3 (Mar. 21/Apr. 3, 2006).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 65370113
lccn - 2006229065
lccn - 2006229065
System ID:


Material Information

The Shpiel
Alternate spelling:
Physical Description:
v. : ill. (some col.) ; 35 cm.
The Shpiel,
The Shpiel
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Jewish college students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Jewish students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Students -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Judaism -- Periodicals -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Jewish way of life -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
periodical   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Florida -- Alachua -- Gainesville
29.665245 x -82.336097 ( Place of Publication )


Dates or Sequential Designation:
Vol. 1, issue 1 (Feb. 13/26, 2006)-
Numbering Peculiarities:
Issues also have Jewish calendar dates.
General Note:
Title from caption.
General Note:
"The Jewish newspaper at the University of Florida"--Masthead.
General Note:
Latest issue consulted: Vol. 1, issue 3 (Mar. 21/Apr. 3, 2006).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 65370113
lccn - 2006229065
lccn - 2006229065
System ID:

Full Text


2 Sh'vat 5769 15 Sh'vat 5769

City's second

kosher eatery opens

SHPiEL staff writer

"All my life, I go where my heart is.
I am Jewish," said Liora Volkovich as
she packed pieces of cake into plastic
Her heart led her from Naharia,
Israel, to the United States, where she
got married and raised her children in
Philadelphia. A trip to visit a friend in
Gainesville drew her to the city.
Now she owns SaBaBa, a kosher
sandwich-and-salad restaurant on
Northwest Eighth Street, a few blocks
from the UF campus, in an old warehouse
the Volkovich family renovated.


January 27, 2009 February 9, 2009

Dueling student rallies highlight tension

SHPiEL staff writer

Dueling rallies in Turlington Plaza
between supporters of Israel's incursion
into the Gaza Strip and supporters of
Palestinians calling for an end to the
invasion took place on Jan. 15, amid
other marches and demonstrations on
both sides of the conflict.
The student activism was brought
on by a three-week war between Israel
and the Hamas militant group, which
controls the Palestinian territory of
Gaza, between Israel, the Mediterranean
and Egypt. Hamas rocket and mortar
attacks into Israel cities sparked
retaliatory airstrikes and later a ground
invasion, with the stated aim of ending
the attacks and closing tunnels used to
smuggle weapons from Egypt.

Fighting lasted from Dec. 27 to
Jan. 18. After a humanitarian crisis
and international attempts to stop the
fighting, both sides declared a unilateral
ceasefire. Some 1,330 Palestinians and
13 Israelis were killed.
In Gainesville, students organized
demonstrations to express opinions on
both sides.
On Jan. 12, there was an Israel
Solidarity March organized by UF
student Sandy Baum and the Lubavitch-
Chabad Jewish Student and Community
Center. Students and community
members began at University Avenue
and SW 19th St. and ended at the Bo
Diddley Downtown Community Plaza.
"Madelyn Fisher, a UF health science
sophomore, said she attended the event
to "march for both Palestine and Israel
to rid them of Hamas."

Participants sang, held signs and
wore Israeli Defense Force shirts and
Israeli flags. Signs read "We stand with
Israel," "Israel wants peace" and "We
Love IDF."
UF law student Assaf Regev spent
two years in the Israeli army. "It is
much easier to look at the conflict
overseas," Regev said. Passing drivers
and pedestrians honked, waved and
shouted at the marchers,
When they reached downtown, the
marchers were met by another group,
United Voices for Peace, who protested
against the attacks and the loss of life
in Gaza. The group of 30 included
Scott Camil, coordinator of Gainesville
Veterans for Peace, who said he
visited Gaza and found the conditions


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The SHPiEL: Volume 7, Issue 2

Trancing the night away

SHPiEL staff writer

Americans have Bonnaroo, Gasparilla
and Langerado, music festivals that
began on the fringes of culture and
tiptoed into the commercial mainstream.
But, in Israel, the phenomenon of trance
culture-which became popular in the
countryside nearly 20 years ago-is just
now becoming intertwined with Israeli
Trance parties can take place in
a pool, the desert or an abandoned
warehouse. Place and time matter little.
"A lot of the young people who go
to trance parties are in the Army, so on
their days off they make sure to party as
hard as possible," said Laura Rogozinski,
a fan of Israeli trance culture and a UF
junior. "There is a certain type of trance
party where you leave your house at 3
a.m. and 'trance' until the next night."
One of the more popular forms of
trance is called the Goa trance because
it began in the city of Goa on India's

western coast and was brought to Israel
by soldiers who traveled there after
serving in the IDF. Today, trance music
has spread across the globe, and Israel
is a center of trance culture.
According to the "Trancer's Guide to
the Galaxy 2008," trance parties began
in Israel in 1991. At that time, trance
music was difficult to produce, requiring
much equipment, time and effort. Since
then, popular bands such as Astral
Projection and Infected Mushroom have
emerged out of the country, lighting up
stages in the U.S. and abroad.
As with trance in all parts of the world,
the Israeli trance culture is sometimes
synonymous with drug culture as well.
"People are smoking every kind of thing
and just moving their bodies, not really
even dancing, but just going crazy,"
said Rogozinski. The rhythm of the
music, the pulsing beats and sounds,
and drugs combine to give many of the
"trancers" an out-of-body experience.
With trance's increasing popularity,
however, the culture has changed.

Tu B'shvat: happy New Year, trees

SHPiEL staff writer

As people welcome the (secular) new
year, resolutions are made. But, the new
year is not over for the entire planet.
In the Jewish tradition, Tu B'shvat
celebrates the new year for trees.
Rabbis in the Talmud created Tu
B'shvat as a chance for people to
appreciate the natural beauty of trees
and the fruit they produce. Today, it
has evolved into a celebration of the
environment, support for Israel and
reflection of individual Jewish identity.
In the midst of violence in Gaza, it
is easy to forget about other challenges
Israelis face, such as dealing with the
arid soil that is often not suitable
for agriculture. Over the centuries,
inhabitants of Israel have developed'
complex irrigation technology to
address this issue. Since the fourth
millennium B.C.E., olive trees have been
cultivated in the Negev desert and West
Bank of the Jordan River. Other species

grow in Israel, including pine, cypress,
tamarisk, acacia and carob, reducing
the country's carbon footprint.
Tu B'shvat occurs on the 15 Shevat
on the Hebrew calendar, which. this
year falls on Jan. 22. The spirit of the
Holiday extends after the holiday as
well on Feb. 7 and 8, Hillel is hosting a
traditional Tu B'shvat seder and planting
a tree in honor of Israel. Hillel and the
Jewish National Fund are also giving UF
students the opportunity to plant trees
and assist poor neighborhoods in the
Negev on an alternative spring break
trip in March.
A person whose wisdom exceeds his
good deeds is likened to a tree whose
branches are numerous, but whose roots
are few. The wind comes and uproots it
and turns it upside down. But a person
whose good deeds exceed his wisdom is
likened to a tree whose branches are few
but whose roots are numerous. Even if
all the winds of the world were to come
and blow against it, they could not budge
it from its place. (Avot 3:22)

Israeli clubbers pack a dance floor as they take part in a trance party in a Jerusalem
club called Haoman 17, early on Friday morning, Jan. 12, 2007. Photo courtesy

Commercialization of trance music has "These parties allow young Israelis
increased police raids of trance parties, to forget about their army duties, forget
Observers say the Israeli trance about the fighting and the war, and come
seen is about having fun but also about together to have a good time in spite of
releasing tension. all the violence," Rogozinski said.

Scholar to speak on Jews and the East
BY STEPHANIE SHACTER hopes of understanding present-day
SHPiEL staff writer relevance.
Melanie Quintos, a UF history
A leading Jewish studies scholar graduate student, said Heschel's
and author will speak at UF on how research is rare.
some European Jews immersed "There were many periods of
themselves in Middle Eastern culture- peaceful coexistence between the
even converting to Islam-in the late Jews and Arabs, but they are not
19th and early 20th centuries, emphasized," Quintos said.
Susannah Heschel, a professor at Jewish theosophy fans will also
Dartmouth, will address religious and appreciate Heschel as part of that
historical topics in a lecture at Pugh history. She is the daughter of Rabbi
Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 16. The talk Abraham Joshua Heschel, known for
is part of "Faithful Narratives: The his rabbinic writings as well as his
Challenge of Religion and History," a participation with Martin Luther King
lecture series Jr. in the 1963 march on Washington
Heschel plans to speak about The lecture series focuses on
her research into the Orientalist Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
movement and its effect on Jewish A crowd of 250 attended a Jan. 12
scholars in Europe. lecture by Princeton's Peter Brown,
"This is interesting work no who spoke on the origins of Christian
one else is doing right now," monasticism in Syria and Egypt. Other
said professor Nina Caputo, who speakers slated to speak are John Van
organized the lecture with another Engen and Lamin Sanneh.
UF history professor, Andrea Sterk. The lectures are open to the public
Speakers address the intersection and will be followed by seminars for
of religion, politics and history in graduate students and faculty.

The Only Student-Run Jewish Campus Newspaper in the Country, Right Here at the University of Florida

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The SHPiEL: Volume 7, Issue 2

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Law of return cited in bail denial

SHPiEL staff writer

"What would Jesus do?"
"Obey the law."
"Ask me why you deserve Hell."
These are words on signs held
by demonstrators to support the
federal government's prosecution of
Sholom Rubashkin, the former CEO of
Agriprocessors, a kosher slaughterhouse
company, whose plant in Postville,
Iowa, was raided by federal agents last
year, leading to Rubashkin's indictment
and trial.
The latest episode of the Rubashkin
saga came when he was denied bail, in
part because prosecutors argued the
Israeli LaW of Return -- which guarantees
citizenship to all Jews who settle in
Israel made Rubashkin a flight risk.
Postville's Hasidic Jewish
community says the ruling is religious
discrimination. Prosecutors and the
judge in the case say agents found
packed bags of cash and passports in

Rubashkin's home when he was out on
The case is a religious and legal
dilemma for many. With 9,000 cases
of child-labor violations against them,
Agriprocessors is facing millions of
dollars in fines and its former CEO faces
a long prison term. In November, the
company declared bankruptcy, which
caused them to miss a payroll and
forced its already-struggling employees
into an even tighter situation.
Rubashkin was first arrested on
felony immigration and identity-fraud
charges relating to about 300 employees
- about one-third of the Postville
workforce who were taken away on
buses after the largest immigration raid
in Iowa's history. Later, felony bank
fraud charges were added to the list.
Agriprocessors' kosher empire-
including brands such as Aaron's
Best, Shor Habor, Supreme Kosher and
Rubashkins-was abruptly shut down,
leading to a supply shortage and a rise
in kosher meat prices.

A protest rally was held in Postville, IA against the scandals around Agriprocessors. Photo
courtesy Matthew Walleser.



(Hebrew language takes a step forward in N.Y.)
A public Hebrew language-focused charter school was approved
by the New York State Board of Regents on Jan. 13 after years of
planning and discussion.
The board approved the application for the Hebrew Language
Academy Charter School, making it one of the first such schools in
the United States. A similar school, Ben Gamla Charter School, is in
Hollywood, Fla.
The main backer of the project, philanthropist Michael Steinhardt,
has established a group, Areivim, to support similar schools in other
The project encountered some controversy on how to keep religion
separate in the public school. Hebrew Language Academy officials
pledges it will teach anyone who wants to learn Hebrew. The school
is in Brooklyn, also home of the Khalil Gibran International Academy
charter school, which focuses focuseingon Arabic language and

{Obama speaks to Mideast leaders)
Newly inauguerated President Obama has made it clear that he
will work with the international community on the ongoing Israeli-
Palestinian conflict. He assured Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
in a phone call that the United States is determined to stop Hamas
from smuggling arms into Gaza.
He also spoke to three other Mideast leaders to express the same
message, calling Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud'Abbas and King Adullah of Jordan to
talk about the crisis on Jan. 21, according to a statement from White
House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Olmert assured Obama that Israel will provide humanitarian need
to the Palestinians living in Gaza and work to improve the economic
situation for West Bank Palestinians, according to the Australian
Jewish News.



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The SHPiEL: Volume 7, Issue 2


E st h e r Answers to all your kosher
E culinary questions

Quick and simple to make, it
looks rather pretty as well. Ruby red
pomegranate seeds brighten this
slightly sweet and tangy salad and
are an ideal addition to any menu for
a celebration of new life as its many
seeds are symbols of fertility.
Match the rich color of
pomegranate with a full-bodied red
wine and toss some grilled kosher
chicken into the salad for a complete
entree, and enjoy a healthy, earthy
start to the New Year.

To see the full recipe for arugula
salad with pomegranate and toasted
pecans, visit epicurious.com/recipes/
food/vie ws/Arugula-Salad-with-

Email your kosher cuisine questions
to elaine@theshpiel.org.

Tu B'Shvat celebrates rebirth-the
emergence of earth from the winter
snow. Some ways to celebrate this
holiday include the planting of trees and
a festive seder (ordered meal) featuring
fruits, nuts and wine.
The holiday spirit of Tu B'Shvat
complements these initial hours of
resolution in the secular New Year.
Whether or. not you promised yourself
to shun nachos and frappuccihos, the
focus of Tu B'Shvat is on fresh, straight-
from-the-earth ingredients that offer
the perfect opportunity for delicious
and healthy eating.
Take, for example, a recipe for
arugula salad with pomegranate and
toasted pecans. This combination of
flavors is incredibly fresh. The mix
of crisp arugula, tangy pomegranate
seeds and the smooth, subtly sweet and
earthy flavor of pecans will blend in an
oil and vinegar dressing for a delightful
combination that will be great for your
taste buds and health.

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Answers to Last Issue's
Crossword Puzzle

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The SHPiEL:Volume 7, Issue 2

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The end of the world

as we know it

staff writer

The world
is ending.
Jerusalem is on
fire. And her
people, rather
than fleeing
through the
are digging in
and stretching arms wide to welcome
the tide.
This seems to be the consensus
in neighborhoods like Nachlaot,.
where I'm living during my semester
studying.abroad in Israel. But given
the number of people I've met, I admit
that this can't possibly provide an
accurate sample of the population of
even Nachlaot.
Thank God accuracy isn't my goal.
And journalistic integrity I'm ignoring,
too. I just want to tell a story. To do
that, I'm relying on a shaky foundation.
Bear with me.
Despite what outgoing Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert and others in the
Israeli government characterized as a
military victory, the overwhelming
world opinion on the recent three-
week war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip
is that the Jewish state was on the
wrong side of the moral line.
Protestors all over the globe didn't
just chant "Death to Israel!" They
vilified Jews in Israel as Nazis and
screamed that those Jews be sent
back to the ovens this even in South
Florida, of all places.
OK. Maybe none of this is new.
And maybe a hundred protestors here
and thousand protesters there don't
represent the world's actual view of
this war. But, the feeling here is that
there's been a shift in the way things
President Bush is a has-been now.
With the inauguration of President
Obama, some Israelis feel that the era
of unconditional U.S. support for Israel
is over. In religious communities like
Nachlaot, this sentiment is especially
Nachlaot is a maze of narrow streets
without signs or logic. Ten years ago,
the neighborhood was a haven for
drug use and abuse. Now, it is low-rent
apartment heaven.
These days, Jerusalem's artists,
musicians and otherwise-hip Hassids
inhabit Nachlaot's apartments and
pour out their souls daily in her
hundreds of shuls.
In the Frankfurt Airport, on my final
layover before arriving in Israel, I met

a man named Tzedek from Wisconsin
who was traveling with his son to
the Holy Land to find a community
in which to settle. This was his first
trip to Israel since spending a year
there in yeshiva more than a decade
In Wisconsin, in his off-time,
Tzedek teaches a class about the
Jewish perspective on the end of
the world. But, his interest in the
apocalypse isn't academic. In fact,
Tzedek wants to move his family to
Israel because he believes that those
end times are unfolding now. And
when that end really comes, Tzedek
believes the Land of Israel is the only
place for a Jew to rightly be.
To leave behind your livelihood,
your history and everything that you
know seems crazy. Coupled with
the fact that every other seemingly
sane Jew I've met in this place has
echoed these feelings in words and in
practice, this whole city seems to be
full of nuts.
But in their nutty Jewish hearts
and eyes, "it's the opposite. In their
eyes, the rest of the people in this
world are flailing their arms and
legs and cackling wildly as they fling
themselves off of Insanity Cliff.
In their hearts, public opinion that
takes the side of terrorists who plant
themselves in schools and hospitals
and fire rockets at civilians in small
towns is the opinion of a public living
through the throes of a cosmos that is
heaving and sighing and desperately
trying to shed itself of all that is
seemingly sure and true.
The likelier reality is that both
sides are crazy. I think it's true
that the paradigm of international
relations is shifting right now, and
I, too, believe that the world as we
know it is ending. At the same time,
a new paradigm and a new reality, to
me, means a chance for a new, better
I was surprised recently when I
participated in a class at a yeshiva
in the heart of Nachlaot. The teacher
-- one of those wide-eyed, divine-
light-basking, hippy-Hassid types
-- touched on Barack Obama's
inauguration address. In the new
president's address, this rabbi heard
a call for t'shuvah, or a return to our
essential humane, sane selves.
This rabbi heard Obama's address
as a call to a country, to a world and
to all of humanity. It was a call to
quit griping and to quit letting that
griping lead to killing. It was a call
that said: this world is ending, if it
hasn't ended already. Now, let's work
together to rebuild it.

Yiddish word of the day:

farbrengen \fahr-brang-in\

There are some Yiddish words that every schmuck knows like
klutz, schmooze and even shpiel, but what about something much
more useful such as "farbrengen?"
Farbrengen (pronounced fahr-brang-in) literally means "get
together," but it is much more than that. At a farbrengen, one
can expect to sing songs, philosophize and consume alcohol.
Traditionally, there is also storytelling and deep discussions
that aim to help the party-goers grow spiritually. Colloquially, a
farbrengen is an all-night drinking session with friends.
You can host or participate in a farbrengen on Shabbos, yom
tov or other special occasions, such as birthdays, engagements or
weddings, but when it comes to just enjoying a drink and talking
with close friends, a farbrengen can happen any night. Participants
of a farbrengen sing Niggunim (hummed songs that are largely
improvised) and toast Lechaim to one another.
The atmosphere of the evening is meant to be one of openness,
inspiration, love and unity. Singing together helps to inspire unity
and the alcohol aids with the openness and love. Farbrengens
range from being just a friendly hangout to being something more
akin to group therapy. Either way, a farbrengen is a great way to
celebrate and bond with those closest to you. So, consider, instead
of heading out to a bar with friends, hold your own farbrengen this
week. Then, you can surely say you "far-brahg" it on.

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The SHPiEL: Volume 7, Issue 2

The Unborn should have stayed that way

SHPiEL staff writer

(Warning, readers: The s4
of this article may spoil the
the movie The Unborn. But tl
actually want to see this film
might want to read the artic
and save your money for an)
in the world. Yes, it is that ba
After the Holocaust, we w
"never forget." Now, with a


endless stream of Holocaust movies
premiering, it seems highly unlikely we
second half Over the past few months, Hollywood
ending to has released a long list of Holocaust-
hen, if you related films, from the big-name
, then you .films "Valkyrie" (Singer), "Defiance"
le anyway (Zwick), "The Reader" (Daldry), and
thing else "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"
d): (Herman) -- to lesser-known works:
ere told to "Blessed is the Match" (Grossman),
seemingly "Inglorious Bastards" (Tarantino),
"Adam Resurrected" (Schrader), "Good"
(Amorim), "Downfall" (Hirschbiegel)
and others.
Some of the movies feature well-
known actors and directors such as
Tom Cruise in "Valkyrie" and Quentin
Tarantino's "Inglorious Bastards."
So, why so many Holocaust films at
the same time?
,ss"WnrS. One convincing theory by film
experts is that Holocaust movies win
': awards.
Don't believe me? Take a look at a
few of the more popular Holocaust
movies. "Schindler's List" won seven
Oscars in 1993. The foreign film "Life
Is Beautiful" won four Oscars in 1997.
Roman Polanski's 2002 "Pianist" picked
up three of the coveted awards.
Some may find it distasteful that the
recent increase in "Holocaust films" may
have something to do with cinematic
success at Oscar time. But, the whole
scenario should really be flattering. The
Holocaust is a touchy subject. -

That these films can have a powerful
sway over millions of moviegoers
is something valuable. They help
everyone-not just Jews-to never
Now, the spoilers:
Not everything is kosher in the
world of film. "The Unborn" (Goyer),
which opened Jan. 9, is a horror film
about a young woman who is haunted
by her unborn twin brother who "wants
to be born." Casey, a typical horror-
movie bombshell protagonist, .realizes
she has a twin brother who died in the
womb and is now attempting to come
to life. She goes to look for answers
and finds herself in a world of mystical
It appears that her grandmother,
an Auschwitz survivor, is haunted by
a "dybukk" (Kabbalistic demon). The
dybukk comes to haunt Casey, who
turns to Rabbi Sendak for help.
I won't spoil the entire movie (though
I'm fairly certain most of us could guess
the ending to this film), but I will tell
you that this movie does have some
pretty heinous scenes, including a dog
with an upside-down head.
While this twist on the typical
Japanese-type, horror films does come
as a breath of fresh air, the Kabbalah
mysticism is not introduced until the
last third of the movie. And while it
may seem cool to have this Jewish
background to a horror film, a 13 percent
rating on- rottentomatoes.com tells us

the real story. In the end, this movie
will join the likes of "The Grudge."
The cinematic world has taken
a liking to Jewish folk. (Maybe they
want us to see more movies?). But you
might want to see some of those other
Holocaust movies before resorting to
"The Unborn." But then again, it could
turn out to be the "Blair Witch Project"
of this century. That's a good thing,

Victor Wooten rewrites the music lesson

SHPiEL staff writer

You're sitting on your couch,
"practicing" your instrument, playing
scales because someone told you it
would make you better. You look up to
see a tall Native American man in a blue
jumpsuit and black motorcycle helmet,
carrying a skateboard under one arm.
You're not surprised to see him, even
though he's' a complete stranger inside
your home uninvited. He tells you that
he's your teacher.
"My teacher of what?"
This is the first lesson. Or at least
what has been said about Victor
Wooten's supposed first encounter with
his new teacher, Michael. The point
here is no one can teach anybody else
anything. They can only show you,
because you have to teach yourself. So
Victor Wooten shows us a different way
of approaching music and learning in
his new book, "The Music Lesson."
In "The Music Lesson," Wooten urges
us to question the traditional approach
to learning music. He asks why children
rapidly become fluent in speaking in a

few years while learning music takes
much longer.
Wooten suggests that the problem is
we don't approach the two subjects in
the same way. When we were children,
we weren't put in a room with other non-
speaking children and lectured on the
structure and process of constructing
words and sentences.
Instead, we spoke with masters.
Everyone around us was fluent in
speech. We were surrounded by
language constantly. Why isn't the
same idea applied to music? Why do we
think music should to be learned in a
different way?
He goes on to say that music shouldn't
be approached so distinctively. We
learned to, speak by speaking, so it
would make sense to learn to play music
by playing music, not by practicing or
reading about it in a book or from a
We don't quite have access to music
masters as we do masters of speaking,
though, do we? Wooten writes that he
thinks this isn't a problem. You worship
Miles Davis? Wooten would tell you to
put on a Miles record and jam with
it! What about James Brown, Herbie

Hancock, The Beatles, B. B. King or
Prince? Most of us listen to these
great musicians. Why don't we jam
with them?
"The Music Lesson" has a
spiritual side, too, approached
with a sense of humor.
"Music is real, female, and you
can have a relationship with her,"
Wooten writes. Two of his more
bizarre friends in the book have a
discussion about life. They're both
sure that life is very much alive-
and are trying to figure out why
anyone would think otherwise-all
the while talking in a Cajun accent.
The book culminates in a powerful
meeting with Music herself. The
crucial lesson: only through the
power of listening can you truly
know anything.
The takeaway message from
the book? If we broaden a sense
of childlike wonderment-of
continuous amazement and
inspiration--we will be better
musicians and will live much more
fulfilling and satisfying lives.
To connect to music, we need to
regain the free creativity that we had



when we were children.
"A child playing air guitar never
plays a 'wrong' note," writes Wooten.


The SHPiEL:Volume 7, Issue 2

visit the new theshpiel.org


Review The Secret article

JAPs across the pond

SHPiEL staff writer

Sinners can reform and atone. They
may receive forgiveness from their
God. However, the path they must walk
to find salvation is often rockier than
the way they had stumbled in the first
It seems that history and art often
show women in particular gettingthe
shaft in chaste, patriarchal societies.
Literature and film are littered with
symbols and themes of repentance,
from Morgan Freedman's character
in Frank Darabon's 1994 "Shawshank
Redemption" to Hester Prynne in
Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 "Scarlet
Prynne's notorious scandal is echoed
in "The Secrets," an Israeli film showing
at the Hippodrome in downtown
Gainesville Feb. 6-12. It is in Hebrew,
with English subtitles.
"The Secrets," written, produced

and directed by Avi Nesher, follows the
complicated lives of two women (Naomi
and Michelle) in an Orthodox Jewish
community. While attending a female
seminary, the two encounter an older
woman, Anouk, who wins their heart.
When they learn that Anouk murdered
someone in a moment of passion, they
decide to use their religious knowledge
to cleanse her through forbidden
Kabbalistic rituals, which must be kept
The interest in the film comes from
its many dimensions. All of the girls at
the seminary came for differing and
complex reasons.
The pressures on Naomi and Michelle
are numerous. As the film progresses,
the two must deal with their own
problems as well.
Take a date to "The Secrets" and
impress him or her with your chic
cultural swagger. Or sit down by
yourself and appreciate an edgy foreign

SHPiEL staff writer

Every Jewish American Princess-
JAP, that is-dreams of being a real
princess with fairy-tale images of
lavish gowns, diamond- encrusted
tiaras, Prince Charming and gourmet
food in swirls of pink. Don't we all
wish fiction was for real?
For two Jewish mothers from
London, being a princess is all too
real. They are the Jewish princesses
of food, fashion and being fabulous.
"We are proud to wave the banner
of the Jewish princess," said Tracey
Fine, "We modernized her. It's
fabulous to look nice and take care
of your family. It's contemporary
Fine and her childhood friend
Georgie Tarn have created not just a
brandbut a way of lie.ThenewJewish
princess is sophisticated, loving
and put together, a reappropriation
of the pejorative image of JAPs as
spoiled and materialistic.
To, Fine and Tarn, the Jewish
(English) Princess loves her family
and can whip them up a mean batch
of latkes, all the while walking
around with a tiara on her head. To
maintain her kingdom in the kitchen
and home, -she follows the rules of
Fine and Tarn's book, the "Jewish
Princess Cookbook: Having Your
Cake and Eating It" (which will be
released in the United States under
the t i tle "The Jewish Princess Feasts &
Festivals with Family and Friends").
"We wanted to create a character
that was tongue-in-cheek and funny,"
Fine said."We wanted people to laugh
with us, not at us. And they are."
Along with their books, the
princesses have built a mini-empire,
with a column in the Jewish Chronicle,
consultations with grocery stores,
and a Web site (thejewishprincess.

Tracey Fine and Georgie Tarn are the create
Jewish Princess Cookbook as well as being I
friends. Along with their cookbooks, they h
peared on television cooking with top chefs
a column in the Jewish Chronicle and have
up their own grocery store.

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cor) which bills the pair as "the new
ambassadors for Kosher cooking."
Fine and Tarn have-created a line
of aprons, tea towels and silverware,
as well as princess costumes.
"We're like Thelma and Louise, but
with jewelry," Fine said. "We follow
the PPP ;- To be positive, productive,
and Princess-like in everything we
Fine and Tarn note that though
their work may be based on Jewish
culture, even non-Jews can enjoy
their books. Both agree that their
main goal is "not to preach, but to
"People were buying our books at
Christmas time. I guess they wanted
to wake up with a Jewish Princess in
their stocking," Fine said.
Most of their recipes are based on
traditional foods with a twist and are
quick and easy for the modern world.
Some, however, are not something
your bubbe would have made before
Shabbat dinner.
"We feel out a traditional recipe
and then sometimes we
come across a twist,"
Fine said. "We were
making borscht one
day, and it didn't taste
the way we wanted it
/ to. So we added tomato
juice and vodka and
made a Bloody Mary

What's next for Fine
and Tarn? A third book,
which they describe
as a lifestyle comedy,
and a U.S. book tour
coinciding with the
release of the second
rs of the book in September,
lifelong "It's a wonderful
lave ap-
have ap- challenge. We amaze
, they Write
,then rite ourselves. We can't
ven openedit.
believe it."

* '





visit the new theshpiel.org

The SHPiEL: Volume 7, Issue 2

Spots on free trip to Israel dwindling, disappearing

SHPiEL contributing writer

Taglit-Birthright Israel, which
provides free trips to Israel for young
Jews, is facing hard times in the midst
of the global economic crisis. Because
of a huge budget shortfall, the program
will have to turn down many applicants
forthe first time this year.
Birthright, which is primarily
funded by private contributors, the
Israeli government and local Jewish
federations, has an unclear future.
One of its main financial backers, casino
magnate Sheldon Adelson, has lost
billions in the international economic
Adelson contributed almost half of
all of Birthright's funding in 2006. He
recently appeared as one of "America's
25 Biggest Billionaire Losers" in Forbes
magazine. Although Adelson has cut
down on future giving and has reduced
some of his pledges, he will still give
$20 million to Birthright for 2009 and
an additional $10 million in 2010.
Adelson's losses were accompanied
by those of Michael Steinhardt, one of
the first major Birthright contributors.
Steinhardt lost $2 million when he
indirectly invested in Wall Street
financier Bernard L. Madoff, who
federal prosecutors say ran a giant

Ponzi scheme.
In an interview for the Jewish Journal,
Steinhardt attributed Birthright's
funding problems to issues such as
increased airfare with El Al, the Israeli
flag airline, and to the recent success
of the hotel and tourism industry in
Even in light of the current downturn,
former Birthright CEO Shimshon
Shoshani is confident that individual
donors will keep their monetary
commitments to the cause. Still, it will
be impossible for Birthright to admit
the same number of people it did in the
past in the upcoming years.
Ninety spots were allocated to UF
students for summer and winter trips.
Last summer, 25,000 U.S. students
None of the upcoming summer trips
have been guaranteed, according to
Corey Smith, the program director at
UF Hillel and two-time group leader for
Danica Samuels, a prospective
Birthright student at UF, said she was
discouraged by Birthright's budget
situation. "A lot less people will be going
on the trips and it's really unfortunate,"
she said.
Alex Aueron, a Birthright alumnus,
said he probably would never have gone
to Israel without the trip and thinks the

Danica Samuels, a freshman at UF, stares into the bonfire at a Hillel event on Jan. 15. She
wants to attend Birthright but knows her chances are slimmer because of Birthright's much
smaller budget. Photo by Stephanie Shacter.

program is very successful in attracting
others like him.
Still, program leaders say potential
trip participants shouldn't be
discouraged. "If it's your last chance
to go, you get preference," said Smith.
"There are also a lot of other options."
"The implication is that it is a

birthright, and I hope that when
people's stock portfolios go up, they
can reinstate more trips," added Smith.
Smith said that students who cannot
fund an entire trip themselves should
look to the Masa Israel program, which
is not free but offers scholarships to
reduce the cost.

Ha rpeiirgioBldtin lattisI [1T ex

JAPs it takes to chop down a tree:

Trees planted by Jewish National
Fund since 1901:

Trees planted byJNF in Jerusalem
that die:

Percentage of land covered by trees:

Percentage of students who
protested Mid-East conflict:

Percentage of students who can
Locate Mid-East on a map:

Trance parties happening in the
Mid-East on any given day:

Probability of having fun at a trance

Probability of having a seizure and
being trampled at a trance party:


240 million








Disclaimer: Most of the above information has been well researched. Some
was conceived while inebriated. We leave it up to you, oh dear, omniscient,
silly reader, to figure out what's what.

Whban" a

Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect those of The
SHPiEL. We encourage comments from readers who possess all points of view.
No, really, we're interested in what you have to say. Feel free to write a letter
to the editor or you can contact us with a column idea. Please send comments
to theshpiel@gmail.com.




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The SHPiEL:Volume 7, Issue 2

visit the new theshpiel.org


Thinking Outside the Lox: Listen to your burning bush

"In every national story of the American people slaves...to greed? To fear? The coun- Moses, and ultimately, partners with
generation, ev- unfolding before our eyes today? try Obama was just sworn into lead God.
ery individual Each story had two protagonists is in worse shape than most can re- Throughout his campaign, Obama
must feel as if who emerged on the stage from out of member, and although Obama gives has been all about hope, bringing
they personally nowhere. We all know about Obama's every indication that he is up for the masses together with the chant of
had come out fast as- challenge, he "yes we can." Although the Israelites
of Egypt." The cent in We all know about Obama's recognizes that were unprepared for Moses' call for a
Passover Seder the politi- he alone can- new life, he too was offering change
UF Hillel Rabbi We recently cal world fast ascent in the politi- not change the they could believe in. But, it took the
started read- and espe- cal world and especially his course of his- Israelites a full generation to finally
ing the second book of Moses in the cially his unique childhood and up- tory. shed their slave mentality. For many
weekly Torah cycle, the story of the uniq ue upTime and of us, the mere presence of Obama
Exodus of Egypt. This is the story of child d bringing. The same. can be time again, being sworn in as our 44'h president
the Jewish people par excellence. It hood and said of Moses. Obama has may have been enough to change our
doesn't get more dramatic than this.. upbring- called on all of outlook in life, and yet deep down in-
This is also the first of two times that ing. The same can be said of Moses us to join in the efforts that lie ahead side, we have to know that the real
we get to read this story the second sent away by his Israelite family in* as he focuses on making service a work still lies ahead.
during the Passover seder. a desperate attempt to save his life, centerpiece of his administration. Just as Moses encountered a bush
However,'this time, the story un- Moses grows up in Pharaoh's court Just like Obama, who deflects the that was not being consumed, we are
folds over the course of a few weeks, only to escape when faced with a burdens and responsibilities by ask- called to turn our eye inward and see
and we are left in suspense from one looming identity crisis. He later re- ing all of us to share in re-imagining the personal un-consuming bush in-
reading to the next. So, I've been in- turns with God on his side to rescue our world, Moses shares the story of side ourselves. How we respond will
tently reading the story of the emer- the Israelites from bondage. the Exodus with the real protagonist be up to us. But we all must respond.
gence of the people of Israel, and I've We know the Israelites were slaves the entire children of Israel. In order It is our opportunity to feel as if we
begun to think are there any paral- in need of saving, but can we also to become free, the Israelites have to too have come out of Egypt and finally
lels between our ancient story to the assert that today we have become imagine themselves as partners with left the shackles of slavery behind us.

11IIIIlllll1111111111111111111111 lllllll llll1IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIlll1111111111111llli llllllillllIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII III. .

QWlcoum cah Khad: LUa



8- .AJ~~t... S.t

T h e
dust of War
in Gaza is
calming as
I am write
these words,
and both
sides are
living -he
aftermath of

the war.
After recent events in Gaza,
it is obvious that we do have a
fundamental problem in the Middle
East. We care about those who are
innocent, but not when they are from
"the other side."
The Quran has many references
about how Prophet Moses cared for
his tribe, the Sons of Israel, and for
the Pharaoh, who raised Moses while
he was little, but also killed many of
Moses's tribe. Moses continued to
care for his people even after they
showed direct disobedience.
By the way, by saying "his
people" I mean the Sons of Israel and
also the Egyptians: He was sent to
the whole of Egypt, though he was
given specific instructions for the
Sons of Israel. As a kind Prophet,
Moses loved all humanity, and he

wished them to have the proper way
of life. Moses is not unique in this
case. Before, Prophet Joseph cared
about the Egyptians, too. Prophet
Abraham cared about all the people
of the Middle East at his time, and
the peoples in the lands beyond,
and about the people who will come
Before solving the problem of
violence and
terrorism in
the Middle Religion
East, we need
to solve the helping pe
problem of challenges
the mentality
on both is used on
sides. Do criminal ac
they care for
their people?
Do they care
for their own corrupt people in the
proper way: by helping them getting
back in the correct direction rather
than pushing them, directly or
indirectly, in the wrong one? Also,
do they care about the "Pharaohs" on
the "other side?"
Yes, many war criminals, terrorists
or whatever you want to call them
may have a bad end. However, we

should do our duty as Moses and the
Prophets did it before. Simply doing
the right thing for all people.
I can firmly say that this conflict is
not a religious conflict. But, religion is
beneficial in helping people deal with
life's challenges, but sometimes it is
used on both sides to justify criminal
acts, including bombing innocent
people in markets, shooting rockets

is beneficial in
ople deal with life's
, but, sometimes it
both sides to justify

at innocent civilians in many places,
to the exile of other innocent people
from their villages or killing them in
refugee camps elsewhere. People who
claim to be religious should firmly
reject targeting innocents instead of
being extremely flexible in twisting
arguments and interpreting words in
the worst way.
I believe Muslim scholars and

Caring about=

innocents -

Jewish rabbis should take firm stands.
against killing all innocent people in -
conflicts in the Holy Land, all innocent -
people. In particular, these leaders -
should speak firmly against killing -
innocents by some individuals who
think about themselves as religious
while they are very surely not so.
Even worse, they abuse religion.
I think everyone should try to do
their part to counter the killing of =
innocent people and to counter the -
verbal support for this killing by using -
fake justifications, as we hear these
from many people. I think everyone
should speak out against targeting
civilians in any war. You can take -
this stand because you are trying to
exemplify the road of the prophets
or because you are respecting the '*
heritage of your people. Or you
can just see that people are people,
Khader's last column in its final .
form that appeared in The SHPiEL
did not accurately represent his
views, specifically regarding -
the time line of events in the -
Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Questions? Comments? Contact Khader
at khader.abuelfafija@gmail.com

~: 11 1111 1111 1111 1111c:, -111


visit the new theshpiel.org

The SHPiEL: Volume 7, Issue 2

Outlaws captured (on paper)

., SHPiEL staff writer

Social commentary is becoming
cool again. Too often artists blunt their
point in excessive layers of pretension.
However, there are some striving to
create works that make meaningful
state;nents that are still gratifying.
Graphic artist Rachel Schmeidler's
work, being shown at the UF Hillel art
gallery starting Feb. 2, is a layer cake
of aesthetic pleasure and cerebral
Schmeidler, born in Germany, lives
in Los Angeles. She was educated at
Carnegie Mellon University and holds
two master's degrees. Her German
background, Schmeidler said, influenced
her work.
"In 1933, it basically came to an
end. Artistically with film and art, right
before World War II it all disappeared,"
she said. "That's what really inspires
me, in terms of being German."
"Hollywood Most Wanted" is one of
Schmeidler's most notable projects. She
juxtaposed the mugshots of Lindsay
Lohan with that of Martin Luther King
to suggest that not all arrests are the
"Some people get arrested for a

movement, some people get arrested
for no good reason. Just because you
get arrested doesn't mean you did
something wrong," said Schmeidler. "We
shouldn't judge people right away."
The process of making the thought-
provoking images is complex. "There's a
lot of image restoration. I do two things:
I use digital printing and I combine that
with silk screening," she said. "I apply
paint on already printed canvas that
has been digitally reproduced. I sort
of want to trick the eye. Ideally, I want
the viewers not to know whether it had
been done with a computer or done by
Her exhibit is called "Jewish
Mobsters," and will be welcomed with
an opening Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. in The
Living Room Gallery. This collection
makes use of the same-style crazy-color
silk screens, except all of the mugshots
are of Jewish mobsters.
As an evolution of.the original idea,
this exhibit seems better thought out.
The pieces are similar in their aesthetic
value, but this time, the work has a more
consolidated theme. These images show
the rigors of an illicit life; they are raw
and fascinating in a way similar to "Fear
and Loathing" by Hunter Thompson.
Even if somewhat derivative (think

The Hillel Living Room Gallery is featuring L.A. artist Rachel Schmeidler's show "Jewish
Mobsters" on Monday, Feb. 2 at 8 p.m.

Andy Warhol), the work is striking.
For Schmeidler, "Jewish Mobsters"
is deeper and more personal than
"Hollywood Most Wanted":
"Jews are generally looked at
as helpless and defenseless,"
Schmeidler said. "In the early
20th century, there were a lot
of gangsters and mobsters and
they got arrested. There is a

whole history that's not really
looked upon in American Jewish
history. I was kind of glad to find
these mobsters because I was
tired of Jews being portrayed as
Rachel Schmeidler will be present at
the exhibit's opening. Come down and
form your own opinion. Oh, and dress
as a mobster. We all will be.

Do you enjoy singing?

Would you like a chance to sing a variety

of music from Israeli to pop?

Challah back is the premiere co-ed

Jewish a capella group in Gainesville.

Our first meeting is on Wednesday,

February 4 at 7pm at Hillel (across the

street from the O'Connell Center)

Join our Facebook group: Challah Back

for more information/,or contact Danica

at: dsamuelsl@ufl.edu

All levels of musical experience



t ,

The SHPiEL:Volume 7, Issue 2

visit the new theshpiel.org


Crossword #18

See next issue for solutions to this puzzle

1. Sue Bird org.
5. Western Israeli border
10. "Gingy"
13. Grasp
14. JPSA founder, Cyrus
15. Wiesel
17. Seth's boy
18. Userer's request
19. Tsahal base
20. Also
21. Comes before shin
22. Av or Tammuz
23. 601
25. Chassidic sect
28. Jewish law
31. Wouk and Barron
35. Elijah disciple
36. Rounds for Koufax
37. Dike
38. Many-colored garb
39. First Temple condition
41. Cass Elliott'
42. Echad (Eng)
43. Airline
44. Nuremberg considerations
46. Samson's sweetie
48. Menorah member
49. Afternoon prayer

51. Orthodox minyan
52. Abraham once
55. Oy Vay!
57. Bilhah's boy
60. Plague member
61. 1996 Gold medalist
63. Bissel (Eng)
64. Ancestry
65. Emulate Abba Eban
66. 1,007
67. Hagar and Sarah
68. Kedem offerings
69. Not on Yom Kippur
1. Sharpen
2. Leavening on Pesach? (2 wds.)
3. Beilis accusation
4. Classifieds
5. Nurse
6. Home to Babel
7. __ Epsilon Pi
8. Exodus egress
9. Nizer pleasure
10. Wise's movement
11. Author Amos __
12. Schmutz (Eng)
16. Number ending
21. Drummer Buddy

22. Mount for Mordecai?
24. Kunstler account
26. Not zaftig
27. Nice guy (Yid)
28. Second Temple
29. Moses on the mount
30. Sci fi writer Ellison a
32. Genesis story
33. Items on Schindler's
34. Sound of Kristallnacht
36. Bubkes
40. Reform Judaism Org.
41. Marceau
43. Twelve wells site
45. Sacrifices
47. Graven_
48. Greeting for Dayan
50. Brother to 52 across
52. USA Labor Org.
53. Streiml border
54. Barrett
56. "Rock of __
58. Solo for Bubbles
59. Diamond or Simon
61. Tref female
62. Three: comb. form
63. 3,000


I e

/ r B~s


Photo by Zak Bennett

S Demonstrators in Turlington Plaza on the UF campus and in downtown Gainesville express their
photos by Max Reed views on the conflict in Gaza.





Israeli opens kitchen to w


Volkovich is welcoming, in a motherly you're-
in-my-kitchen-now way. Her enthusiasm for the
restaurant is contagious. "I like the people here,
the energy of the young," she said.
Volkovich hopes the restaurant will become a
place for friends to relax and eat together. In the
sunwner there will be outdoor seating and late-
night closings. Students and workers can pick up
a quick lunch or have food delivered.
The name of the restaurant comes from an Israeli
term borrowed from Arabic meaning awesome or
cool. The food ranges from Mediterranean favorites
to hearty Israeli food.
After my friend and I tried to decide what to
get, Volkovich's daughter Galit encouraged us
.to customize our platters. We oscillated another
ten minutes between falafel and eggplant and
eventually put the fate of our stomachs in more
capable hands by asking Galit to choose our
The result was one plate of hummus, tabouli;
eggplant and the softest pita in Gainesville-an
Israeli Thanksgiving meal-and a basket of perfect
Conversation came to a standstill as we tried
different combinations with the pita and hummus.
The small, white room is empty except for our
leavy winter coats and a Volkovich family friend.
Everything tastes fresh, from the tahini to. the crisp
cucumbers. The flavors are simple and wholesome
with just enough spice.
When I watch food spooned from Tupperware
and prepared in a wide-open kitchen, I feel that we
are in the Volkovich house eating with the family.
"It is exactly what my mother used to cook,"
Volkovich said of her hand-picked menu.
opening the restaurant took a lot of work:
Permits to obtain, codes to follow and the entire

visit the new theshpiel.org

of a
rundown '
With the I
help of

friend and
Sam Silver,
the SaBaBa
after a few
months of
with Jan.
11 as its ..
first day for Liora Volkovich, founder of Sababa
customers. restaurant in Gainesville, prepares
In order baba ganoush from scratch. Photo by
to serve Stephanie Shacter.
fully kosher
meals, Volkovich decided to keep the restaurant
dairy-free and. replaces most milk products with
Tofutti and soy substitutes.
She shared samples of dips and spreads made
with Tofutti products to demonstrate the kosher-
friendly creations.
"I don't mix anything," Volkovich said. "I label
everything clearly so it is perfect for vegans and
We top off our meal with dairy-free ice cream
sandwiches and I coax Volkovich to teach me some
of her Israeli culinary secrets before graduation.
Topping off your meal with dairy-free ice cream
sandwiches is something you can do at home, but,
as long as SaBaBa is two blocks from my house, I
might just let the experts handle my falafel.

The SHPiEL: Volume 7, Issue 2


deplorable, "I know no person who would find it acceptable
for their family to live under the conditions in Gaza,"
Camil said. "We are all human beings first and none of us
choose where we are born. To allow politics to divide us
and put us against one another is ignorance."
Separate demonstrations at Turlington Plaza on the UF
campus took place on Jan. 15. One was an "Anti-Hamas
Rally" sponsored by the Jewish Student Union's Gators for
"Israel is forced into a corner to eliminate the terrorist
infrastructure harming both Palestinians and Israelis,"
said Brandon Glantz, the group's vice president.
An opposing rally, "Gators for Gaza," was organized
by Islam on Campus and the Arabic Cultural Association,
who said there was a disproportional Israeli response. An
archway of 102 balloons surrounded the meeting. Each
balloon represented ten lives-100 black balloons for
Palestinians and two white balloons for the Israelis. Islam
on Campus vice president Jonathan Bull said that too
many UF students are unaware of what went on in Gaza.
"The bombings are indiscriminate," Bull said. "Israel does
not care how many lives are lost to destroy Hamas."


Two peaceful demonstrations in Turlington Plaza Jan. 15 ex-
pressed opposite views on the conflict in Gaza. Photo by Max

UF diversity director works from Jewish lense

SHPiEL staff writer

Tamara Cohen's inspiring activism
for the rights of women and gays has not
yet achieved the cult status of Harvey
Milk's, but, as UF's assistant dean and
director of Multicultural and Diversity
Affairs, Cohen has helped provide
opportunities for empowerment to
miracities across campus.
Cohen, .a feminist writer and
educator, grew up in Conservative
Jewish household in Teaneck, N.J.
"I grew up believing tikkun olam
was a core aspect of Judaism," she
said, referring to the Jewish concept of
"fixing the world." At Barnard College
in 1994, Cohen co-founded Jewish
Acti#ists Gays and Lesbians, one of the
first organizations aimed at combating
homophobia at the college.
At the time, the group worked to
establish a dialogue with the Jewish
community to begin ordaining gay and
lesbian rabbis.

Cohen was interested in the rights of
Jewish women and established a Jewish
community in which women enjoyed full
involvement in all aspects of religion.
She became program: director for
Ma'yan, a Jewish feminist organization.
She led female seders for 400 women
and co-edited a Passover hagadah with
an emphasis on women's experience in
slavery and in the Exodus.
The seders began inJNew York but
slowly spread across the country.
Cohen was also involved in starting
Ritualwell.org, a Web site devoted to
collecting women's rituals from around
the world.
Cohen moved to Gainesville initially
to be with her partner, but after
commuting back and forth to New York,
she looked for employment here. She
took the job of the first director of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Affairs at the University of Florida.
Her prior experience in working for
empowering both gays and women gave
her "the opportunity to be the first at

something that was both challenging
and exciting."
Originally Cohen established an
office where students could go to
talk about and deal with their sexual
orientation-a bold and important
addition to campus. As director, Cohen
also worked on instituting partner
benefits for the faculty as well as
strengthening the FRIENDS Program,
which promotes acceptance and support
for the LGBT community.
She was promoted in 2006 to director
of the Multicultural and Diversity Affairs
office for the University.
"I get to work with a lot of diverse
people and bring together a team to
educate the whole campus and make
people move outside of their comfort
zone," she said.
In sponsoring different campus-
wide programs, Cohen said she aims to
create dialogue. Last year, the Diversity
and Multicultural Affairs office held
an interfaith dialogue between Jews
and Muslims. Cohen said she would

V 414 rf, a

like to see more programs for religious
minorities to remind them they are "part
of the diversity of the university."
"Part of being a Jew means engaging
in making the world a better place,
engaging in justice," she said.

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