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July 19, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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July 19, 2013
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 19, 2013 PAGE 3A By Debra Rubin (JTA)--As his mother read to him, Levi Davishoff puck- ered and moved his lips in the universal sign indicating that something is sour. He then pointed to the lemon pictured in the library book. His mother, Marla, was thrilled. It was the first time that Levi, then 18 months old, had communicated with the baby sign language he had been learning. He had been in therapy for developmental and cognitive delays since was 2 months old. Davishoff rushed out to buy the book, "Joseph Had a Little Overcoat," by Simms Taback. It would become Levi's favorite. Little did she imagine that 12 years later the book would play an integral part in Levi's bar mitzvah ceremony. In fact, for many years it wasn't clear that any bar mitz- vah service would take place. "His learning disabilities were exacerbated by an ill- ness," Davishoffsaid. "He had a significant cognitive decline that he still hasn't recovered from." Due to the illness, Levi, who attends a therapeutic day school, skipped a year of Sunday school at Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation in Lincolnshire, Ill. But he missed being there and re- Boy finds way to bar mitzvah with help of Simms Taback graphic books ii! ill  .... i ............... .... Tell Draper Levi Oavishoff on the bimah of Kol Hadash Hu- manistic Congregation in Lincolnshfre, Ill. mained eager to have a bar mitzvah ceremony. "I just wanted to be like everyone else,, he recalled. Youngsters at Levi's syna- gogue aren't obligated to read the Torah portion at their bar or bat mitzvah. So Levi decideO to do a project on Taback, who had become his favorite author. He researched the graphic artist who wrote children's books and had been a designer for The New York Times and CBS Records. Levi also con- tacted Taback's daughter, who sent an autographed copy of the"Joseph"--itwas placed in the Holy Ark next to the Torah for Levi's service. "I just love his books; they're very interesting and I just think they're great books," the 13-year-old said. "They're funny and they're good stories." Levi's mother, meanwhile, designed a service booklet for the.May 31 bar mitzvah celebration evoking Taback's use of collages by using im- ages from "Joseph" and his other works.. After the booklets were printed, she added die cuts to each--a signature of Taback's books. For example, at the top of the page with "Hatikvah," she punched out a Star of Da- vid, which peeked through to an image on the next page tak- en from the cover of Taback's book "Kibitzers and Fools." That image appeared near the portion of Levi's speech that mentions the book. On another page, a punch- out of a wine glass was placed next to the Kiddush in the service, revealing on the fol- lowing page a picture of the sun and flower from "Joseph." "As I learned about Simms Taback, I discovered how im- portant books are in my life," Levi Said in his speech. "I am lucky to collect a small library for myself and I try to find new homes for my books when I am done reading them." That is, he said, "if my dog Cocoa hasn't destroyed them first." "Articulating the speech was the hardest part," Levi told The Lifecyclist, his shy- ness about talking to a re- porter coming through."Ijust was proud of myself because I did a good thing." Said Kol Hadash's Rabbi Family affair At the Jewish Pavilion, volunteering is a family affair. Volunteering offers spouses an opportunity to interact with loved ones, young families an oppor- tunity to learn compas- sion and teens the op- portunity to interactvith grandparents. Elizabeth and Emma Bookspan are in the back row and Asa Bookspan and Bea Rozen are sitting in front. From Star Trek to Adam Chalom: "The big smile on his face, his obvious sense of accomplishment and pride, were priceless." Volusia-Flagler Federation giving away back- packs to the needy Abrams & Kaplan Foundation has offered a match up to $25,000 for the school supply project of the Jewish Federation of Volusia & Flagler Counties (FEDVF). For the past 17 years, the Federation has given quality backpacks filled with supplies to more than 65,000 local elementary, middle and high school students in Volusia and Flagler Counties appropriate for their age group. One hundred percent of the donated money goes to purchase th is merchandise. FED VF is now looking for people to meet this match. Only the neediest students receive these backpacks as the counselors of the 80 schools choose the recipients. "We have a full proof system of which the school board has been involved with this project for all these years," says a Federation organizer. "One $25 check purchases one backpack filled with'supplies. We run the Jerry Doliner Food Bank and nearly 590 families avail themselves of our food pantry every week. If families cannot afford food, they certainly can't purchase good school supplies for their children. "We also have a limited supply of a two-day stay at Homewood Suites for first come first serve who donate $50 for this project--first-come, fist served." Mail your tax deductible check to School Supplies Project c/o the Jewish Federation of Volusia & Flagler Counties, 470 Andalusia Ave., Ormond Beach, FL 32174. For more information, call 386-672-0294. Jewish-themed photography By Robert Gluck JNS.org Leonard Nimoy says there is a"strong strain of Judaism" in everything he does--includ- ing his famous on-screen hand gestures. Best known for his char- acter Mr. Spock in the "Star Trek" television show and movies, most recently in his cameo as Spock Prime in this year's blockbuster "Star Trek Into Darkness," Nimoy's Vulcan hand gesture comes from an experience he had at synagogue when he was 8 years old. Nimoy's father told him not to look as worshippers averted their eyes during blessings recited by the kohanim. "The men were chanting, .shouting and praying in an Orthodox service," Nimoy, 82, says in an interview with JNS. org. "It was very passionate, very theaical. I was chilled by the whole thing." Years later, while on the set of the "Star Trek" televi- sion show, Nimoy suggested to the director that Vulcans like Spock should offer some gesture in greeting other Vulcans. "The director asked me what I had in mind and I sug- gested the gesture used by the kohanim," Nimoy says. The gesture went on to be accom- panied by the expression "live long and prosper." Nimoy, born in Boston, re- calls that he grew up"in a very Jewish environment and was bar mitzvahed appropriately when I was 13." "The neighborhood I grew up in had several synagogues, Gage Skidmore Leonard Nimoy, at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona, gives his Vulcan hand gesture from "Star Trek"-- a gesture he said was modeled after the Jewish kohanim. and I sang in the choirs for the High Holidays," he tells JNS. org. "There is a strong strain of Judaism in everything I do. It is a presence that I do not deny and do not want to deny. It is a valuable resource for me and a valuable part of my consciousness." Born to Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jews from Ukraine, Nimoy narrated the documen- tary "A Life Apart: Hasidism in America" in 1997, about the various sects of Hassidic Jews. In October 2002, Nimoy published "The Shekhina Project," a photographic study inspired by Kabbalah. explor- ing the feminine aspect of God's presence. According to Rich Michel- son, owner of the Northamp- ton, Mass.-based R. Michelson Galleries, the best art often opens up  societal debate-- and Michelson believes Ni- moy's religiously contro- versial "Shekhina Project" certainly did so when it was published and shown to the public in 2002. A feminine word in Hebrew, Shekhina is the Talmudic term for the dwelling or set- tling of God's divine presence on Earth. Over time, the concept of Shekhina evolved in more progressive Jewish circles into a softer, empa- thetic feminine counterpart to God who could argue for humanity's sake, comfort the poor and sick, and stand as the mother of Israel. "[Nimoy's] depiction of women--some wearing tefil- lin and nothing else'as the Nimoy on page 19A Dedicated To Serving Our Jewish Community Call on Central Florida's Exclusively Jewish Funeral Home for Details Regarding: Traditional Jewish Funerals Non-Traditional Services Interstate Shipping Pre-Arranged Funerals (Shalom Assurance Plan) Headstone, Grave Markers (Cardinal Memorials) 407-599-1180 640 Lee Rd. 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