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JTNews, The Voice of Jewish Washington for April 13, 2012


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april 13, 2012 21 nisan 5772 volume 88, no. 8 $2

Joel MAgAlNick

At times the rush was frantic, but Emuna David, left, and Laura Hedeen, both undergraduate students at the University of Washington, were able to take a short breather from serving the appetizers gefilte fish and matzoh ball soup during Hillel at the UWs annual Passover community lunch on Tuesday.

Obama administration is ready for Iran talks but is Iran?Ron Kampeas JTA World News ServiceWASHINGTON (JTA) The Obama administration has its Iran ducks in a row: Tehran is coming to the table, Israel is sitting still, most of the worlds major oil buyers and sellers are on board with the sanctions effort, and Congress is in an agreeable mood. Ducks, though, have a tendency to wander off. Iran might not stay at the table, or it might offer delaying tactics that peel off support for sanctions by U.S. allies. Israeli leaders are skittish about alleged Obama administration leaks that they believe are aimed at heading off an Israeli military response. Republicans in Congress, while pleasantly surprised at the administrations diligence at keeping to the sanctions timeline, are worried the administration could offer too much at the talks. Iran is not likely to deliver the concessions the United States is likely to seek, said Alireza Nader, an Iran analyst at the Rand Corp., a think tank that often consults with government. The issue between Iran and the United States is not the nuclear program, he said. There is a perception among Irans leaders that Iran is engaged in a conflict with the United States and the nuclear program is part of the conflict. They believe that if Iran makes compromises under pressure, it makes Iran looks weak. Iran is ready for talks in Istanbul on April 13 with the worlds major powers, including the United States, on its nuclear program. It is not clearX Page 26

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JTNews . www.JTNews.NeT . friday, april 13, 2012

Volunteer at JFS to Make A DifferenceJFS Volunteer Services coordinates numerous rewarding and meaningful activities for people of all ages to get involved throughout the year. Here are some ways you can help: BIGPALS/LITTLEPALS: Designed for children from families seeking additional adult role models, the Big Pal/Little Pal Program matches children with fun and responsible Jewish adults. COMPANIONSERVICES: Discover the satisfaction that comes from making an important difference in the life of an isolated and lonely older adult or a person with a disability. FOODBANKPROGRAM: Theres incredible and rewarding satisfaction that comes from feeding hungry people. Volunteers play an essential role in food distribution, collection, shelving, bagging and home delivery year-round. HOLIDAYBASKETS: Individuals and groups collect food and small gifts, fill baskets and/or deliver the baskets to seniors and people with disabilities each year at Purim, Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah. INTERNSHIPS: Become an intern at a JFS office in Seattle, Bellevue or Kent, and experience working in an acclaimed social service agency that alleviates suffering, sustains healthy relationships and supports people in times of need. REFUGEE&IMMIGRANTSERVICES: Assist or teach English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, provide individual English tutoring in the home, mentor new immigrants, create and/or lead informational workshops for immigrants. YOUTH&FAMILYVOLUNTEERING: Arrange a food drive, hold a fundraiser, help seniors, make holiday cards or gifts, collect grocery bags for the JFS Food Bank, help at JFS events (e.g., food sort or holiday baskets) or create your own project. OTHER: Help with Mitzvah Days, childcare, camp counselors, office work or at Shaarei Tikvah events. Visit www.jfsseattle.org for upcoming volunteer events.

Our volunteers give the most precious gift of all themselves.Back in 1892, volunteers were the backbone of Jewish Family Service. The same is true today. Over the years, our community has donated nearly 2.2 million hours to assist those with needs here at home. On behalf of the over 11,750 people served last year alone, thank you for giving the most precious gift of all: yourselves.For details about JFS volunteer opportunities for individuals, couples or groups, please contact Jane Deer-Hileman, Director of Volunteer Services, (206) 861-3155, e-mail volunteer@jfsseattle.org or visit our website.

To get involved, volunteer to make a difference.Contact Jane Deer-Hileman, Director of Volunteer Services, (206) 861-3155, e-mail volunteer@jfsseattle.org or visit www.jfsseattle.org(206)461-3240www.jfsseattle.org

friday, april 13, 2012 . www.jtnews.net . jtnews


the rabbis turn

letters to the editorADDITIOns TO THE TImELInE

What happens at the seder (doesnt) stay at the sederRabbi DaviD Fine Union for Reform JudaismYears ago I passed a signboard whose message has remained with me. Religion is what happens after the sermon. Simple and powerful. We are at the tail end of Passover. The rituals of the seder are behind us or are they? I think the true impact of the seder is not on the one or two nights it is observed, but rather as a booster for the entire year. Take these days, a halfway point on the Jewish calendar to Rosh Hashanah, as a marker for what you want your year or your life to be. Follow up on the message of Passover. A scan of just four Passover ingredients, elements of the seder though there are many more will lead us in this direction. Bedikat Chametz: The search for leaven for that which puffs up. Just as yeast left to sit and rise puffs up baked goods, so too arrogance and pride can inflate a person if ignored. At Passover we seek out the leaven in our homes as a way to create distinction. How healthy it is, spiritually and physically, to consciously rid ourselves of conceit. Passover is an opportunity to look inward into the home of our souls and to adjust our own living. Ha Lachma Anya: This is poor peoples bread. We declare this at the first appearance of matzoh at the seder. Who would order an item made solely of flour and water at a festive meal? At Passover we identify with those lacking food choices, who cannot choose what they will eat. How are we going to see to it that others have food to eat? Do we contribute to MAZON A Jewish Response to Hunger? Do we contribute to Leket Israel, which distributes 220 tons of food a week to the hungry in Israel? Do we work at a food bank? Do we grow food and distribute to others? Dayenu: It would have been enough. This is our paean to freedom. We recount the steps of liberation. Each one would have satisfied us, so long as we would have left Egypt Mitzrayim. In Hebrew the word literally means the most constricted of places. How are we fortifying others to depart their own internal or external mitzrayim? Are we working collectively to end slavery, which still exists in Sudan, in the cocoa fields of Ivory Coast, or the brothels of Cambodia and even in the streets of American cities? How are we partnering with others to release economic shackles and bring about justice? Birkat HaMazon: Blessing after a full meal. This is intended to remind us to acknowledge the gifts and blessings that we have, rather than focusing on what we lack. In a larger sense, it calls us to awareness and to express our appreciation to the Divine and to each other. Seek out opportunities for expressing gratitude. This not only increases social capital, but more important it changes our own internal compass, directing us toward our gifts and responsibility to others. The Talmud teaches that one should only pray in a room that has windows (Berachot 34b). One can read this as an admonition to know what is happening in this world even as one reaches out beyond ones self. Passover is an extended prayer. Keeps your eyes and your mind open. Celebrate Passover fully. May it last figuratively long after your seder is complete.

The article A chronology of the cancelled invitations to gay and lesbian Israelis (March 30) left out important details. As one of the people who was present when the LGBT Commission made their decision to cancel the StandWithUs event and who later spoke at the City Council hearing in favor of their decision, I would like to fill in some gaps in the JTNews story. At the Commission meeting on March 15, a group of LGBT Jewish and Palestinian activists urged the commissioners to reconsider their decision. Several Jewish Voice for Peace activists, myself included, explained that while we were not against hearing from individual LGBT Israelis, we could not support a tour backed by StandWithUs and the Israeli consulate. We explained that this event was part of a larger strategy of pinkwashing, the Islamophobic strategy of positioning Israel as an oasis of gay freedom in the Middle East surrounded by uncivilized and homophobic Arabs, especially Palestinians. Two Palestinian LGBT activists described how pinkwashing affected them and their communities. The commissioners were moved by their stories (at least two of the commissioners cried), and said that they hadnt understood that holding this event would marginalize and invisiblize LGBT Palestinians. Later, at the city council hearing, several Jewish and Palestinian activists spoke in favor of the cancellation, and Stefanie Fox, a Jewish Voice for Peace organizer (not Dean Spade as the JTNews states), presented the letter of 3,500 signatures in support of the cancellation. Why did the JTNews interview only people who were against the cancellation (Rob Jacobs, the regional director of StandWithUs and Zach Carstensen f