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2016-04-22 digital edition

TODAY in the Jewish World:

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


April 22, 2016  RSS feed
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Community to celebrate Israel Independence Day with kids’ fun, food, speaker

The Jewish community of Pinellas and Pasco Counties will commemorate Yom Ha’atzmaut - Israel Independence Day - and Yom Hazikaron - Israel’s Memorial Day - Thursday, May 12.

There will be a service to remember Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror, a guest speaker who will talk about combatting the anti-Israel sentiment of the BDS movement, activities for all ages and, of course, plenty of Israeli food available for purchase.

The Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties and the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis are organizing the event, which is being held at Temple B’nai Israel in Clearwater from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Most of the activities will be indoors, and therefore will be held rain or shine. There is no charge for admission and the activities are free.

The family-focused event will include:

• two bounce houses for kids

• a petting zoo

• contemporary and traditional Israeli music and Israeli dancing

• A shuk (marketplace) -like space, with food, games and other activities, organized by synagogues and agencies.

Rabbi David Weizman of Congregation Beth Shalom is preparing falafel and there will be Israeli candies and other treats including hotdogs.

The event will begin promptly at 5:30 with a Yom Hazikaron service led by Rabbi Daniel Treiser of Temple B’nai Israel. Following the brief service, the doors to the main event will open and will run continuously through 8 p.m.

At 5:45 pm, community members will have the opportunity to join in a special discussion with Dr. Michael Gizzi in the temple chapel. The discussion will focus on efforts to combat the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, particularly in the mainline Protestant church leadership.

Gizzi, an elder in the Presbyterian Church, USA is an associate professor of criminal justice at Illinois State University, where he also serves as faculty advisor to the university’s Hillel. He will be visiting the Pinellas/Pasco community three times as part of the Federation’s Community Impact Partnership grant from the Israel Action Network.

Gizzi authored a resolution at the 2014 Presbyterian General Assembly opposing a pro-BDS study guide, “Zionism Unsettled,” which was later removed for sale on the church’s website. He is the moderator-elect of the Presbytery of Great Rivers in Illinois and also leads its interfaith group. He is a member of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, a group within the denomination dedicated to seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and works with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Anti- Defamation League in combatting efforts to advance the BDS Movement in the church.

He is also actively engaged in Israeli- Palestinian peacemaking through Friends Forever U.S., a co-existence project that brings Jewish and Arab teens from Israel to the US for two-week “life-rafts.” (Gizzi also will speak on confronting the BDS movement at Shabbat services on Saturday, May 15 at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater)

“This year’s event will really give guests a ‘walk around Israel’ with lots of photo ops!” said Zack Levine, the Federation’s director of Impact Initiatives.

Levine has worked closely with the Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Community Relations Council in planning this event.

Yom Ha’atzmaut honors Israel’s Declaration of Independence in 1948. It’s celebrated on the 5th of Iyar (or within a few days of this date if there is a conflict with Shabbat), and is preceded the day before by Yom Hazikaron, a day which in Israel is marked twice by blaring sirens that bring the country to halt for their two-minute duration. This year, the official holidays are May 11 and 12.

Temple B’nai Israel is located at 1685 S. Belcher Road. For more information, call the Federation office at (727) 530-3223.

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