Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

Members of Tampa Jewish Federation get closeup look at violence in Israel

TAMPA — Judy Lisi traveled to Israel this month to learn about that nation's culture and performing arts scene.

She didn't expect to get such a large dose of reality.

"I was reminded that we in America live in a bubble most of the time," she said. "I just think it's so sad that people here have to go through this all the time."

Lisi, chief executive of the David A. Straz Center for Performing Arts, was one of about 20 people from the Tampa Bay area who traveled to Israel on Nov. 5. The trip was led by the Tampa Jewish Federation, and included the dedication of a bomb shelter that the group funded last year.

During the last few days of the trip, some members of the group got an up close look at the violent conflict in the Gaza Strip that has shaken the Middle East.

Lisi and her husband were staying on the 24th floor of the Hotel David in Tel Aviv, a city they were told would be unaffected, she said. Then the sirens suddenly warned of a missile attack, and she and her husband rushed downstairs to a bomb shelter on the lower level.

"It made us very, very sympathetic to what everybody has to go through on a daily basis, on both sides," she said.

During the attacks, she said she could hear the launching of Israel's Iron Dome antirocket system. And for a while, she and her husband were afraid they wouldn't be able to get to the airport for their flight home on Saturday, she said.

They were afraid of getting into trouble driving to the airport, or that their plane would be a target on the runway.

"Everything ended up fine, but things that you would normally never think about, you were thinking about," Lisi said.

She and her husband made it back to Tampa on Nov. 17.

Farther south, Jack Ross, an attorney and the executive director of the Tampa Jewish Community Center, was with his elderly mother-in-law in the city of Ashdod, Tampa's sister city in Israel.

Ross once lived in Israel and visits the country twice a year. It isn't uncommon for the city to be hit with rockets on an almost daily basis, he said, but during the 36 hours he was there the city was hit about every 30 minutes.

"The arts are often bridges to peace," Ross said. "Here we were exploring different vehicles often used to advance peace, and all of the sudden we were slammed by indiscriminate rocket fire."

He said it was almost like a game of Russian roulette. He could hear the rockets firing and felt the walls and windows rattling, but he couldn't tell where the next rocket was going to hit.

"It creates a psychology of terror," Ross said.

David Scher, another member of the Tampa Jewish Federation, was in the same Tel Aviv hotel with Lisi when the first attack occurred.

He said everyone in the city carried on the best they could, though they were ready to run for cover if necessary.

Scher, who has relatives in Israel and makes frequent trips there, called it "surreal."

"It was pretty scary, and just taking off from that Tel Aviv airport, the plane was very quiet," he said. "I think there was a big sigh of relief when we hit 10,000 feet."

Comments
The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Get ready for a wet morning as the forecast calls for scattered showers and storms to start the day. There could even be thundershowers and lightning out there, according to 10Weather...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

It’ll still be June when Boy George arrives in Florida this week to kick off a summer U.S. tour with Culture Club. But the LGBTQ icon says it won’t feel quite like a Pride parade. "I also bake cakes for straight people," he laughed. "Tha...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Updated: 6 hours ago
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

His name was Berry and berry was his passion — the strawberry that put his beloved Plant City on the map.Alfred "Al" Berry was born with the name, but he took on his role as chief promoter of Plant City through his four decades of work with the commu...
Updated: 30 minutes ago
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Updated: 7 hours ago