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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 18, 2014 For a trailblazing Israeli lacrosse squad, a pioneer in the nets Larry Palurnbo Andrew Goldstein, a member of Israel's national lacrosse team, says "the landscape has really changed" for gay athletes since he came out in 2005. By Hillel Kuttler BALTIMORE (JTA)--In the years after coming out as gay, lacrosse player Andrew Goldstein recalls being asked on panel discussions whether major American professional sports leagues would include openly gay athletes. It's a question, Goldstein said, that is no longer relevant with Jason Collins in the Na- tional Basketball Association and Michael Sam, who was drafted recently by the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League. "We're in a new era, and at the very least, kids in high school who are closeted can say, 'If I'm good enough in my sport, I can play at any level,' "said Goldstein, one of the earliest U.S. team-sport athletes to come out. "That is a huge change." Goldstein, 31, who twice earned All-America honor- able mention as a goalie at Dartmouth, is playing for a national Israeli lacrosse team that like himself is somewhat of a pioneer. The Israelis will be mak- ing their debut in the World Lacrosse Championships that open Friday in Denver--re- markable for a squad that didn't even exist four years ago. Joining the Israeli squad, he said, "has changed my life, given me something to believe in and work hard for" athletically. Last week, speaking from Vail, Colo., during a break in the team's workouts, Gold- stein spoke about the changed landscape for gay athletes since he came out in 2005 in an interview with ESPN.com and in a report aired on the network. "When Iwas in high school, there were really no openly gay role models in sports that a closeted high school athlete could look up to," said Goldstein, who was raised near Boston. That made his situation "really tough thing to deal with," he said. "If I wanted to be an athlete, I would have to be closeted. If I wanted to be gay, I'd have to quit my sport." But the emotional support he received from his Dart- mouth teammates exceeded all expectations. "I knew I had 30 tough guys on my team who had my back," Goldstein said. "Certainly the team mentality is a good thing when it comes to coming out." Goldstein, a scientist who oversees a LosAngeles labora- tory that conducts research on prostate cancer, returned recently to lacrosse. He's play- ing for a Beverly Hills club in an amateur league in his first competitive experiences since 2006, when he was a member of the Long Island (N.Y.) Lizards, a Major League Lacrosse franchise. In July 2013, Scott Neiss, a Tel Aviv resident and executive director of Israel Lacrosse, which promotes the sport in the country, recruited Gold- stein for the team. "We didn't know if he still had it," said Neiss, who worked for the Lizards when Goldstein played there. "After seeing him try out, we knew that he did." His teammates on the Israeli squad--all U.S. im- migrants and American Jew- ish players--include some intriguing characters pos- sessing fine lacrosse pedigree. They include Reuven Dressier, a standout at Yale before immigrating to Israel and now, as a 41-year-old phy- sician, could be the starting goalie. Midfielder Matthew Cherry, like Dressler a native Philadeiphian, was a 2013 first-team All-America at Dickinson who when the world tournament ends will begin basic training in the Israeli military. Another midfielder, Casey Cittadino, plays with the MLL's Charlotte Hounds. De- fenseman Ben Smith played for Harvard and now serves as the Crimson's assistant coach. Calling Smith "probably the top young Jewish coach" in the sport, Neiss said he could be overseeing the Is- raeli team by the 2018 world championships. It was Neiss and several other American immigrants passionate about the sport who established a lacrosse beachhead in the Jewish state. They secured funding from American Jewish donors, which started the ball rolling. Israel Lacrosse now has an an- nual budget of approximately $700,000, offices in New York and Tel Aviv and 11 full-time employees in Israel who pro- mote lacrosse through free clinics at Israeli schools and programs charging participa- tion fees. This year, 250 paying par- ticipants were enrolled, with a goal of 700 next year, Neiss said. Still, it remains a niche sport. "We're shooting for the stars," Neiss told JTA last year during an exhibition game, when Israel defeated the Philippines' national team. "We want to make lacrosse the national sport of Israel." Israel played other friend- lies in the lead-up to Denver, including in Ashkelon last summer against Turkey; in September in Syracuse, N.Y., against the Iroquois Nation; and in March in Ireland. Its first of three opening- round matches in Denver will be Friday afternoon against Sweden. Goidstein had been invited to try out for the U.S. team competing in the 2006 world championships but was cut. He had visited Israel as a 10-year-old, but didn't return until this year, when he helped run clinics with fellow Israel Lacrosse members at high schools in Ashkelon and Tel Aviv. Gathering in Colorado, it was the first time many Israeli team members met one another. The 46-man squad will be trimmed to 23 for the tournament, with the remainder staying in Denver to play exhibitions. Goidstein comes from an athletically gifted family. His sister, Lauren, and their fa- ther, Irwin, played hockey for Brown. Irwin's father, Sol, was a goalie for a semi-pro hockey team in his native Montreal. Andrew's brother, Bryan, was a lacrosse player at Amherst. His spouse, Jamie Du- neier, isn't a big sports fan. But Goldstein said Duneier enjoys coming to games and practices, and has fit right in with the wives and girlfriends of the Israeli players. "We like to say he's the first lacrosse husband," Goldstein said. Goldstein clearly has new- found energy for his sport. "Recapturing a little bit of the lacrosse magic is pretty exciting," he said. "There's this amazing feeling ofbeingon the field and just doing what you were born to do, and leaving everything else behind." Helmsley Charitable Trust gives $1.75 million in grants to Israel to help the disabled and their families JERUSALEM--The Helms- ley Charitable Trust has announced 1.75 million dol- lars in grants to two Israeli institutions that help disabled children and adults, as well as their families. These grants are part of a continuing ef- fort to invest in Israel's lead- ing institutions and critical initiatives toward the goal of strengthening Israel in the field of heath care and assur- ing that people with disabili- ties have quality community- based services. The $1,000,000 grant to Shalva, The Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel, is for funding for a dining hall and events floor in the organization's new National Children's Center located in Jerusalem. Shaiva, a leader in dis- ability awareness and inter- vention, currently provides services to more than 500 participants with special needs, including infants, children, adolescents and young adults by provid- ing tailored programs and round-the-clock therapies. By placing an emphasis on social interaction, the child with special needs can bet- ter integrate into the com- munity. The $750,000 grant to Beit Halochem-Tel Aviv is for fund- ing for creation of a profes- sional hydrotherapy facility and renovations to existing pool facilities. About 5,500 disabled IDF veterans, living in the coun- try's central region, are active members in Beit Halochem- Tel Aviv. Including their im- mediate families the overall number of participating members comes to 18,000. At the center, veterans with injuries receive rehabilitation services and have a place to gather to spend time with family. Beit Halochem Tel Aviv initiates and encourages re- search on various subjects, such as sports for people with disabilities and problems re- lated to spinal injury and brain damage. Various sociological and psychological aspects of disabilities are studied at the Beit Halochem rehabilitation center. Since the Helmsley Chari- table Trust began awarding grants to Israel in 2009, over $112 million has been com- mitted to a wide range of charitable organizations. "These two grants dem- onstrate our belief that com- munity-based health care services best serve the needs of families and children," said Helmsley trustee Sandor Frankel. "Both Shalva and Beit Halochem are excellent examples of how state-of-the art treatment and rehabilita- tion can be carried out in the local environment and integrated in the fabric of the community. "The philosophy of inclu- sion of children and adults with disabilities is one that the Helmsley Trust sup- ports wholeheartedly. With respect to these grants in Israel, these two institutions are examples of excellence that will benefit not only Israel, but experts in the field of disabilities in the rest of the world as well." Israeli schoolchildren sing to deal with rockets Shachar Bar, an art thera- pist who teaches in Sderot, became increasingly alarmed after seeing the thousands of children of the western Ne- gev suffering the cumulative effects of trauma due to the ongoing barrage of Kassam rockets from Gazan Palestin- ians. Teachers reported the fear and panic being height- ened each time the recorded alert "Color Red" sounded, giving students 15 second to run for cover. "Children experienced real developmental regressions, some began bedwetting," she said, "They were getting hysterical when the alarm sounded--some freezing in place, unable to seek cover. One day I felt like 'now is the time' and I took this song I'd made up to a kindergarten class." The song begins with the children mimicking the alarm system, chanting"tzevaadom, tzeva adorn," Hebrew for Color Red. (The original alarm was "shachar adorn" (red dawn), but children named Shachar were reportedly being affected socially and the municipality changed it.) "[By mimicking the alert system] we touch slightly upon this threatening thing in a playful way, while in a safe, protected place with people we trust," she explains. "That is the introduction." The song continues, with children seeking cover as they sing: Hurry, hurry, hurry, to a protected area Hurry, Hurry because now it's a bit dangerous "Running to our safe areas or ducking under the table, depending on where we are, coincides with the song," Bar explains. "There is a fact: it is dangerous outside and we must seek shelter." My heart is pounding, boom, ba-ba, boom, boom, boom My body is shaking, doom, da-da doom, doom, doom "I am giving validation and legitimization to my fear and my body's reactions," Bar explains. "It is OK that my heart is pounding, I am even singing about it. It is OK that my body is trembling--I am afraid. Along with the words 'boom-boom' and 'doom- doom,' the movements of arms crossed and pounding on our chest borrowing from the EMDR method of treating trauma and anxieties. The movements help to break out of it and dissolve the anxiety, improving the mood." But 1am overcoming Because I am a little bit different ...The impact.., boom-- now we can get up "Again, we remain in the reality," Bar says. "We hear the impact and we can get back on our feet and begin with the release." Our body we shake, shake shake Our legs we loosen, loosen, loosen Breathe deep, blow far Breathe deep, now we can laugh "We breathe deep and re- lease - a yoga method, even a yoga laughter method when we release the laughter," Bar says. "Laughter releases en- dorphins into our brain and into our entire system." The song concludes: It all passed and I'm glad it's over--Yes!! Bar says the song has spread throughout Sderot and the area kibbutz and moshav schools as well. "The joy that the children display there with the release... Once they learned it they were asking to do it again and again. Suddenly they had atool to deal with all this, that they could hold on to." "The words help you think logically and be a little less afraid," fourth grader Yiska Yifrach of Kibbutz Sa'ad says. Illana Madmoni, a second- grade teacher at the Kibbutz said that it used to break her heart to have nothing to say to comfort the children during the silence between the Color Red alarm and the impact. "There was fear in their eyes the moment the alarm went off. The void during that alarm, where everyone was silent and were just hiding there helpless. Now they are not only less afraid, but the ac- tions and movement empower them and they feel they have overcome the attack and are moving forward." Visit https://www. facebook.com/photo. php?v=10152286173158717 to hear and see the song sung by children during a Color Red alert.