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January 27, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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January 27, 2012

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[IIIIIILIIIRJ,[J: lJIJllll.Billi LLII U.J  MJ..: .LI]BI]i.. I_LLJIilIJ } ... _J 1, I [JLLI . L ill L IlL .[ !  _. J 1 . LAILL. Ill:..L[liLI Illl. ! ]lJ[, HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 27, 2012 A day in the life of Jewish Orlando: JCC pre-school By Painela Ruben - poles to my classmates and in English and in Hebrew. I spent the morning as a "trial student" at theJCC in Maitland, in a pre-kinder- garten classroom to find out the answer to the question: Are you smarter than a JCC pre-schooler? Before class, I grabbed a quick cup of coffee in the JCC lobby to make sure my energy level wouldn't crash in the middle of class, allowing me to keep up with my 4- and 5-year-old classmates (it was a big cup of coffee). I met JCC mom Kristi Klein in the lobby. I asked her about the pre-kprogram and she Shared. "The JCC has been an amazing place for my daughter, with its academic. nurturing and Jewish envi- ronment. I don't want my daughter to grow up and leave next year." I left the lobby with great expectations, and made my way to classroom 7, part of the "Gan Rishonim" program with enriched Judaica. My new teacher. Mrs. Rolfes, had the soft smile that comes naturally to early childhood educators. She" gently took my hand. and invited me to join in an open free time. I met a new friend named "J-A-C-O-B" (his name is changed for student privacy), while he was playing with Legos on the rug. It's a good thing I can spell, or his name would have remained a mystery. So far. lwas relieved to find that I still know more than a pre-kindergartener. Then I joined a group at an area of tables, playing with some kind of magnetized shapes. I asked ifI could play, too. Once again, I was pleased by the friendly invitation by my classmates. They told me they were building with "magnetiles," something new since l last attended pre-school. Mrs. Rolfes came over and pointed out the magnetic myself. Even playtime was an opportunity for learn- ing! I took a picture with my phone, to capture these "new-fangled" learning tools, and4-year-old Michael asked me how many "'apps" were on my screen. I had no idea that l had "'apps" on my phone. score another one for the tech-savvy p re-school set. A timer was set. and the class was given notice that circle time .would begin in four minutes. I met Mrs. Ari- elli. co-teacher of our class. and she was just as nice as her counterpart. When the timer went off, I followed the kids to the rug, where we all stood up, marched and wiggled, as the music encouraged us to "startOur day with a song." As we jumped around. two students accidentally bumped heads. This is where I saw the "nurturing envi- ronment" promised by mom Kristi Klein. Mrs. Rolfes bounced out of her seat and hugged one'child, as Mrs. Arielli took the other one by the hand for a bag of ice. Every child on the rug shared a"boo-boo" story. A little girl added, "I cry when I feet sad." The class nodded in agree- ment, and Mrs. Rolfes shared that sometimes crying gets the sadness out. Next. it was calendar time, and I discovered each student had a classroom job (I was the "honorary" class secretary, as I scribbled notes during circle time. and am the only one in class who can read cursive). In a few short minutes, with the assistance of the "calen- dar helper," the kids reviewed the date (another point for them. ] can never quite remember the exact date of the month, but am pretty good about remembering the year). Mrs. Rolfes joined inaS we counted the days of the month. All morning there was a lot of counting, both Andrew asked about a day on the calendar marked as a holiday. We learned that day was marked"MLK" for Martin Luther King Day, and that he was a very important man we would learn about as the month continued. I was still keepingup, but these littl guys had a lot of questions. and I hid only had one cup of coffee. Then, our "weather helper" opened the door a crack, like a meteorologist in training, and reported it was partly sunny, with a few clouds. He adjusted the spin dial on the weather meter accordingly. Clearly, our local stations could learn something from this on the spot reporting style. Last, our "children coun ter" was handed a special countingwand by Mrs. Rolfes. and she counted the num- ber of girls and then boys. Our "adorable accountant." connected a stack of cubes representing the number of girls, and then made another stack for the boys. Then {he questions came fast and "furious: How many boys and girls were there all together? What if two children were absent? How many children- would be present if one came back. then the other? Vam happy to say, I kept up with these questions, and was not challenged until it was time to get off the rug for our next activity. Finally, it was snack time. I was having a great time. and - still had a song in my heart, but sitting "'crisscross apple- sauce" ("Indian style." said in days of old. is politically incorrect) was killing my kees. Two helpful school- mates grabbed my arms, as I unknotted my legs. My new pals patted their chairs and motioned for me to sit with them. It was impossible to turn down their irresistible "Russian Empire Genealogical Primer" The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando presents internationally ac- claimed and highly regarded expert. Kahlile Mehr. as Speaker of the Month. He will present a"Russian Empire Ge- nealogical Primer," on Tues- day, Feb. 2I from 2 - 4 p.m. at Congregation of Reform Judaism, Mini Sanctuary, 928 Malone Drive. Orlando, FL 32810. This presentation provides an essential foundation for those researching Jewish ancestors who once lived in the former Russian Empire. At the time of the 1897 census, the Russian Empire held the third largest population of the world, covered one sixth of the world's landmass, and included modern day Ukraine, Belarus. Moldova. most of Lithuania, Estoniaand Latvia, a large portion of Poland, and more. Kahlile will help you under- stand the historical context become acquainted with the best sources for genealogical research, the arrangement of records in an archive, op- tions to acquire information fromthe sources, identify and use archival collections, and use the Internet to help do research. Additionally, Kahlile will provide an update of what East European images have been made available on FamilySe- arch. FamilySearch, a service provided by LDS Family His- tory, is the most heavily used free access genealogy site on the Internetwith over 2 billion searchable names and more than 450 million digital im- ages of historical documents. Kahlile Mehr, MA, MLS, AG, has more than thirty years ex- perience working LDS Family History. Currently he is the manager of the Slavic Collec- tion. He has visited archives throughout Eastern Europe. He has published 23 articles and a book on family and local his- tory topics. Hewas the primary author for Tracing your Jewish Ancestors From the United States to Europe, 1850-1930 that can be downloaded from the FamilySearch website. He serves on the boards of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and the Federation of East European Family History Societies. Kahlile will present to the group from Salt Lake City, Utah live via Skype. Whether beginner or expert in researching your Jewish family history, this is the meeting for you. Addition- ally, there will be a raffle for a free one-year membership to GenealogyBank, the largest newspaper archive for fam- ily history research. Don't miss out! The admission is open to the public, there is a $5 fee for non-members; free for members. The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Orlando is a not forprofit organiza- tion dedicated to sharing geneal6gical information. techniques ankl research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and fam- ily history. Anyone may join JGSGO. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $30 for a family. For more information visit our blog at www.jgsgo. For more information con- tact Marlis Humphrey, JGSGO vice president for Programs and Publicity, marlis@vitre- 321-727-3832. PAGE 3A smiles. One offered to pour my water, the other handed me half of a banana, and we munched together after 'ecit- ing a prayer over the snacks. Then the quizzing began from my new little buddies. This time the questions weren't aimed at the pre-k class on the rug, but at me. Did I know the dodo bird song? "No." Have I seen the show "Ben Ten?'" "No." I asked if itwas a car- toon show, or one with real  people. My tablemate told me she was not allowed to watch shows with real people, so it must be a cartoon. Not a minute of class was wasted, so while we waited for the Spanish teacher Mrs. Rolfes started a game of "Simon Says." However. this was no ordinary game. "Simon" cleverly snuck in a vocabulary/anatomy lesson. The kids were asked to touch their hips, their calves, and their spines. Each instruc- tion came with an explana- tion (your spine is a bone that goes all the way down your back and holds up your body). When the kids were asked to touch their ribs, one little boy yelled out. "I don't eat ribs!" Luckily, itwas time for Spanishand not lunch. Mrs. Ortiz. the Spanish teacher, joined our circle. and we all shared our favor- ite colors in Spanish. She passed around a really cool pink microphone so everyone could hear. We said the whole sentence in Spanish. not just the color word. Luckily, my high school Spanish paid Off. andthree decades later. I was able to share my favorite color (rojo). Hebrew was next on our schedule, two languages be- fore lunch, and this was just a regular pre-k day. At 11:30 Mrs. Arielli contin- ued with Judaic studies. We talked all about Tu B'Shevat. the New Year for trees. learned that our parents would come. and we would plant trees and sing. (I hope mine would be able to catch a flight from Chicago in time for the holiday.) Then we sang a song in Hebrew. with unfamiliar words. My neighbor to my right sugge,sted l follow the motions, and they would match the words in Hebrew. She was right! In no time. and with the help of my meowing classmates. I learned that "cha-tool" means "cat" in Hebrew. What a brilliant way to pick up a language, and out of the mouth of babes! After that, the kids sang a Hebrew counting song that reminded me of a song from the "Sound of Music" one by one each child rolled away from the center of the rug as they pretended to be sound asleel. However, itwas easy to" tell they were wide awake, as they could not stop laughing as our classmates disappeared one by one. At this point, it was time for me to disappear, as well. Unlike my classmates. I desperately needed to take a nap--a real one. And.'I had to go home and feed my cha-tool. Just like-Mrs. Klein promised, I didn't want to leave my classroom, and grow I up, either. Am ] smarter than a pre- schooler? For now. but I can only imagine how much they'll know when they're 29, like me (their counting skills may be a little stronger than my own, they do practice .daily). To find out more about the JCC Pre-School. voted the top pre-school in Orlando by Nickelodeon. contact or call a407- 477-44986. This is the second in an occasional series by Pamela Ruben. an Orlando .author, educator and social action writer. She can be reached at, press "contact us." Multi-platinum selling Feinstein to perform Raised inColumbus. Ohio. Michael Feinstein learned to play the piano by ear at age 5. After high school, he landed several piado bar gigs. At 20. he moved to Los Angeles, where he was soon introduced" to his mentor and legendary songwriter, Ira Gershwin. He worked :for Gershwin for six years while growing into a distinguished composer, performer dnd songwriter. Feinstein's commitment to music alOng the long road to stardom has resulted in multiple p]atinum records. five Grammy nominations and prestigious recognition as "The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook." Today, the Jewish Ameri- can entertainer is one of the world' most renowned performers of American stan- dards. He will perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 1 at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne.  Feinsteinlives and breathes music, and not only when he is on tour. Founder of the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, he strives to celebrate song through A.J. Mast Michael Feinstein, a distinguished composer, performer and songwriter, will perform Feb. I at the King Center in Melbourne. many educational programs. master classes and his national scholarship program, the High School Vocal Academy and Competition. He is the artistic director for The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. Ind., director of the Lincoln Center's Jazz and Popular Song Series, and he presents chart- topping jazz artists at his New York nightclub, Feinstein's at Loews Regency. Having collaborated with countless names from Barry Maniiow to Maya Angelou. his resume is brimming with honors and accolades. He is recognized for his original songs as well as his interpreta- tions of many great musicians such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and Duke Ellington. Tickets start at $39. plus applicable handling fees. Visit or call 321-242-2219 to pur- chase. Ticket office hours are from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. For more information on Michael Feinstein. visit www. HolOcaust Center seeks volunteers for anti- bullying puppet show The Iolocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center i looking for adult vol- unteers o perform its new light and shadow puppet show--part of, its UpStanders: Stand Up To Bullying initiative--in local schools. The sow, called "The Ultimate Consequence, ;' was created for the Holocaust Center by MichLee Puppets. This powerful production is 15 minutes long and addresses the issue oP. bullying and teen suicide. It is done with shadow puppetry, a 21st century adaptation of an ancient art form, using overhead projectors, graphic images and a dramatl soundtrack. The show will be presented by Holocaust Center volunteers trained by MicheLee Puppet The volunteers will work with middle school students throughout Central Florida uring school hours. Orange County Public School policy requires that vol- unteer applicants be subject to a background check. If yoare interested in being trained to perform "The Ultimate Consequence" in local schools call Carol Dierksen at 407-628-0555 or email i