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April 17, 2015     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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April 17, 2015

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 17, 2015 PAGE 11A Ann Gobey (seated) celebrates her lOOth birthday with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. By Pamela Ruben May 11, 2014 was a special Mother's Day for Ann Gobey of Altamonte Springs. The resident of Life Care Center celebrated the national holi- day and her 99th birthday all on the same day. This year Mother's Day will fall one day short of Gobey's birth- day, so her 100th birthday will have a special day of its own. On Saturday, March 29, Gobey's children, gandchil- dren, great-grandchildren and members of tie Jewish Pavilion gatheredtogether for an early celekation of the momentous o:casion. Though Gobey nade note that she was not quite 100 as of yet, she welcomed the outpouring of affection from family and friends. Daughter, Carolyn Kimel- man, commented that her mother had a talent of bringing people together, and always talked to every- one. Kimelman lives locally and is a regular visitor at Life Care. Son, Ed Shouel, and his wife, Michele, drove up from .Naples, where the snowbirds from the North- east spent the winter. Shouel smiled at his mother, ask!ng her to share the name of her favorite (and only) son. He revealed that Gobey had worked in retail in women's apparel (Lerner Shops and Lord & Taylor) into her 80s, and lived independently un- til her mid 90s. The Bronx native relocated to Florida 44 years ago, and has resided in elder facilities for the past several years. Jewish Pavilion volun- teer Pat Rubenstein visited Gobey first at Horizon Bay in Altamonte Springs and then followed her to Life Care Center. Rubenstein noted, "Ann watches over and cares about her neighbors wher- ever she resides. She will say to me something like, 'I haven't seen one of our residents in the halls lately. Can you check on her?'" Pavilion volunteer and friend Elaine Gamson shared that Gobey was a friend of her late mother, Rebecca Gaeser, and kept a watchful eye over her, as well. For several years Gamson brought mah jongg players to Horizon Bay so Gobey and other mah jongg enthusiasts could enjoy a regular game. When Kimmelman cut into her mother's birthday cake (with the wording "Happy t00th Birthday Mamama"), the room broke into applause, smiles, and celebration, with 100 rea- sons to celebrate Ann Gobey. O By Uriel Heilman BOULDER, Colorado (JTA)--Omer Mei-Dan has jumped off more cliffs than he can count--not to mention helicopters, skyscrapers and bridges. Just don't call him a skydiver. An orthopedic surgeon and extreme sports athlete, Mei- Dan, 42, is'a BASE jumper-- one of an estimated 1,500 to 3,000 worldwide who jump from the fixed platforms for which the sport is named: buildings, antennas, spans and earth. Skydiving is a cakewalk by comparison. Because BASE jumpers leap from much lower alti- tudes, they often have mere milliseconds to deploy their parachutes. And for leaps that involve hazards below, like craggy mountainsides or steel structures, the risks are exponentially greater. To guide and control their fails, jumpers often don wingsuits, which make them look like bats or flying squirrels. Perhaps not surprisingly, BASE jumpers are killed with alarming regularity. Even a tiny mistake or misfortune-- a gust of wind, impeded visibility, an equipment mis- hap-can mean sudden and violent death. But that's all part of the thrill. "I like being afraid, I like the fear, I enjoy it," Mei-Dan told JTA in an interview in Boulder, where he lives with his wife and three children. "In BASE jumping, every small thing dictates life or death. It makes me feel vibrant. Extreme sports athletes have the ability to sustain, cope with and enjoy the amount of stress other people would define as bad experiences." Mei-Dan, who was born in Israel and moved to this city in 2012, stands out among BASE jumpers because he has found a way to combine his passion for extreme sports with his other area of expertise: medicine. A highly sought-after orthopedic sur- geon with a robust medical practice at the University of Colorado in Denver and Boul- der, Mei-Dan studies extreme sports athletes, operates on them and helps other physicians understand how to guide their rehabilitation. While he was in medi- cal school, Mei-Dan was a Red Bull-sponsored extreme sports athlete. He did stunts for corporate sponsors like McDonald's and Coca-Co- la. Last winter, the doctor starred in a 10-episode show on Fox Sports called "Cut- ting Edge, MD" that focused on Mei-Dan's treatment and rehabilitation regimens for injured professional athletes. Mei-Dan's own extreme athletic activities are not limited to BASE jumping. He does backcountry skiing and ice climbing in the winter, whitewater kayaking in sum- mer, and rock climbing and mountaineering all year long. Raised on Kibbutz Ein Hamifratz north of Haifa, Mei-Dan's outdoorsy pursfiits began on a surfboard in the Mediterranean at age 10 and quickly escalated. His father was a pediatrician and Mei- Dan was always interested in medicine, but his drive to become a physician was strengthened in the Israel Defense Forces, where he says he couldn't abide standing on the sidelines while comrades were injured. A paratrooper, Mei-Dan also found he really liked jumping. While studyingmedicine at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Mei-Dan spent about three months a year traveling abroad indulg- ing his extreme hobbies. He picked up sponsors like Red Bull and Nissan, did stunts for National Geographic and Discovery, and launched his own production company, ExtremeGate, to document his adventures. His mostly Israeli production team in- cludes his wife, Hagit, whose sport of choice is open-water swimmiflg. In Israel, Mei-Dan has jumped off the Azrieli towers in Tel Aviv, went cliff diving near the Dead Sea and jumped from all manner of flying vehicles. His medical interests de- veloped in tandem. Mei-Dan studied orthopedics, became a sports surgeon and devel- oped a subspecialty in hip preservation. Hip injuries are common among extreme sports athletes. Extreme sports athletes differ from other sportsmen in their physiology, endocri- nology and even psyches, and need to be treated differently, Mei-Dan says. For example, a doctor who knows when to clear an injured soccer player to resume playing may not know enough to do ;o for rock climbers or BASE jumpers. The doctor might mt realize, say, that a dislocate~shoulder injury could lead b a BASE jumper's death ifh~ loses the dexterity to pull ~is chute while in flight. Mei-Dan outline different approaches to trezment in a medical textbool he pub- lished in 2013, "~lventure and Extreme SportInjuries: Epidemiology, Tratment, Rehabilitation anc Preven- tion," and last Jue he or- ganized an intenational conference on extreme sports medicine in Color o. .Mei-Dan says hisesearch suggests that extree sports athletes are not sub.ct to the post-traumatic shss that" might affect othersvho wit- ness gruesome fatlities or undergo frequent nar-death experiences like th6e facing BASE jumpers. "These types of l~ople are wired completely dierently," he said. "BASE jurpers are immune to PTSD." The Israeli doctowho has the trim physique f a rock climber, hasn't es~ped all his feats unharme. A two- inch scar on. his clea-shaven scalp is the result ostriking a cliff. He also has c~ked his pelvis, dislocated h ankle, torn his elbow ancracked ribs. On average, lei-Dan says he needs on or two reparative surgerie~er year. He's also seen ma, of his friends die right ifront of him--something t shrugs off with the insou~nce he says is necessary fo;xtreme athletes. "Seeing fatalitie: experi- encing near-missesnjuring myself and having srgery-- it's all part ofjumpig," Mei- Dan said. In his younger ad more careless days, Mei-hn often would give his jum]s a twist to make things mce excit- ing-and perilou. When he jumped from he Eiffel Tower, Mei-Dan ~nd his jumping partner, Jo Corliss, compounded the &nger by jumping through tie center of the monument raher than off it, falling throJgh the hollow centers ofth:viewing platforms before ceploying their chutes some 200 feet above the ground. Mei-Dan easily c0Jld have been killed: missin~the hole and smashing into a)latform, deploying his chutetoo early Omer Mei-Dan jumps into the Cave of Swallows, a 1,200-foot-deep site in Mexico. and getting it snagged on the steel latticework, or deploy- ing his chute too late and crashing into the ground at breakneck speed. "The margin of error was about one-tenth of a second," Mei-Dan recalled, noting that a jumper that tried soon af- terward to replicate the stunt died in his attempt. One thing Mei-Dan does not do before he jumps is appeal for divine help. "No prayers will come out of this mouth," he said with '4 ' a chuckle. I m more atheist than anything else." Mei-Dan came to Boulder three years ago, lured by a great job, proximity to the mountains and a culture that reveres the outdoors. When fresh snow fell in Colorado in late February after a long dry spell, Mei-Dan woke early that Monday morning to ski the backcountry some two hours from his home before zipping back to the city to see patients in the afternoon. "I love the life here. I feel it's exactly what I want and what I need," he said. "I can walk five minutes to the flatirons"--the 1,500-foot rock formations just outside Boulder--"and climb them with my children. It's a lifestyle." The Mei-Dans are also involved in the local Jew- ish community. His kids go to the JCC Ranch Camp in Colorado in the sum- mer, his wife is involved in the Jewish federation and the family is connected to other Israeli expats in the Denver area. Though he has lived on five continents in the past 10 years, Mei-Dan said he didn't imagine a long-term future outside of Israel until about three years ago, when he got the job offer in Colorado and realized that in Boulder he could both maintain his extracurricular pursuits and do the kind of clinical work he finds interesting. "Instead of looking into these activities that I like to do so much as just hobbies and just do them once in a while, I can actually live this life and enjoy them in a place that also offers me the university and the clinical practice," he said. "Here you can snowboard, ice climb, mountain bike and rock climb in the same day, basically, and kayak and skydive and BASE jump and do whatever you want to do. This is how I want to live my life. I didn't have to compromise." Learn Modern Hebrew At Home Experienced tutor, author and former UCF Instructor available for lessons. Contact 407-580-1948 HANDYMAN SERVICE Handy man and General Maintenance Air Conditioning ! Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available -STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960