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February 12, 2016     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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February 12, 2016

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Editorio,s ................ ........... 4A N Op-Ed .......................................... 5A Calendar ...................................... 6A Synagogue Directory .................. 7A B'nai Mitzvah .............................. 8A Scene Around ............................. 9A When parents of students in grades K-5 gathered for Orlando Jewish Day School's annual spelling event on Tues- day, they were both amused and surprised to find that it was more of a high-tech school spelling performance. A large welcoming screen greeted the audience, with student names projected in various colors onto a large, white wall. Soft music played in the background, as the participants were introduced to the rules of the bee. "We think of this more as a spelling celebration," said Dini Druk, the bee's coordina- tor. "We are celebrating the achievement of all of our stu- dents in spelling, and we are excited to present you all with 4 --" O~ -- ) "-" O O') - a. z .0 what they've accomplished." The bee began with a pre- sentation by Simcha Dubov, a student with Down's Syn- drome who attends the school with the assistance of a personal para. "My name is Simcha, and I'm 11years old," he began, before proceeding to read and spell a series of words presented to him by his para, Ms. Christina. The students clapped and cheered for Simcha, as they seemed to be genuinely proud of his accomplishments. Next up, the kindergarten class surprised the audience with their own segment of the spelling bee, in which they successfully spelled almost two dozen words while watch- ing their names light up on the wall with every point scored. Before moving on to the more competitive element of the bee, students in grades 1-4 participated in a live game show, during which teams of students worked to unscramble and correctly spell words presented on the screen in real time. Parents were invited to try their luck as well, and students cheered Maya Sinberg, Orlando Jewish Day School's spelling bee champion. Chani Konikov, the school's director. According to Koni- kov, the school's high-level ac- ademics surpass Florida State standards yet remain highly individualized, thus allowing for students on multiple levels to each be challenged. "A large percentage of our students are great spellers, and we are encouraging them to aim for Washington, D.C.," she said, referring to the final level of Scripp's National Spelling Bee of which the school is a member. "Other students have different strengths, but that doesn't have to stop them from participating in the school's spelling program." In the final round, awinner was selected from every grade level, with third-grader Maya Sinberg taking the trophy as the school's spelling cham- pion. A representation from Orlando Jewish Day School will participate at the county level bee later this month, sponsored by the Orlando Sentinel. For more information about Orlando Jewish Day School and its offerings in South Orlando, visit www. them on, clearly delighted to see their parents involved in the spelling competition. As the bee progressed, students were invited to move onto more competitive segments, culminating in a traditional spelling bee for the school's top spellers. "The beauty of this type of spelling bee is that we are promoting rigorous academ- ics and encouraging healthy competition, while still allow- ing every child to shine," said Simcha Dubov with personal para, Ms. Christina. The Holocaust Me- morial Resource and Education Center of Florida has an- nounced that they will be honoringVale- ria and Jim Shapiro at their annual Dinner of Tribute on April 7. According to the Center's Executive Director PamKanch- er, they were chosen for their long history of building bridges among local organi- zation. "Jim and Valeria thrive on bringing people and organi- zations together," Kancher said. "They understand that encourag- ing people and groups to work together strengthens all of us. It is because of this passion for making those vital connections, and their dedication to the Holocaust Center and its mission, that we're taking this opportunity to honor them." The Shapiros have been actively involved with the Center for many years. Jim has served as aboard member for 15 years, including two terms as president and Valeria chaired the Dinner of Tribute twice. Most recently they spearheaded the Holocaust Center's partnership with the Orlando Shakespeare The- atre, where Valeria is a board member, to produce "The Best of Enemies" a powerful play about race relations and school desegregation in the Jim and Valeria Shapiro 1960s as part of our Center's 50th anniversary celebration of the Civil Rights Act. Kancher calls them re- markable leaders "who are passionate about making the world a better place." Besides the Holocaust Center, Jim serves as a board member of Seniors First, and last year they received the Jewish National Fund's Tree of Life award for their commitment to community involvement and devotion to peace. The Dinner of Tribute will be held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel on International Drive. Opportunities to be part of the tribute--reservations, program ads and auction donations--are offered. More information is on the Center's website (www.holocaustedu. org) or by calling 407-628- 0555. By Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA)--Israel's government approved a com- promise to expand the non- Orthodox Jewish prayer sec- tion of the Western Wall, put- ting to rest the decades-long fight between Women of the Wall and Israel's haredi Ortho- dox religious establishment. The deal achieves what had been an elusive goal: an inter- denominational consensus on Judaism's holiest site with official recognition. The non- Orthodox prayer section at the wall will become much larger and more accessible. But embattled women's prayer group, will move its monthly services from the Orthodox Jewish main prayer section to the non-Orthodox one. Still, the Conservative and Reform movements can de- clare victory. The size of the non-Orthodox section of the Western Wall will double to nearly 10,000 square feet-- half the size of the Orthodox main section just to its north. Acommittee of non-Orthodox leaders and government officials will manage the non-Orthodox section. And a single entrance will lead to both sections. haredicontroloftheOrthodox The Western Wall's hare- section~ill also be solidified, di Orthodox management, thoughfion-Orthodox lead- called the Western Wall ers have long protested that Heritage Foundation, also monopoly, safeguarded its interests. The deal, a copy of which Non-Orthodox leaders had JTA obtained ahead of the campaigned for a share of Cabinet vote, still contains a few unknowns. It is unclear Wall on page 15A how long construction will take. It does not say whether clear signage will direct visitors to the non-Orthodox section. Nor does it say exactly when Women of the Wall, an %)