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July 23, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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July 23, 2004

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JEWISH NEWS, JULY 23, 2004 PAGE 9B :s win Bright from Gold Medal vide World Thau, Jason Friedman Epstein, and teacher Karen against 1,200 students win the Gold Student modern day school, 25 kids in its middle school, has a one- woman science department, who coached the four students through the process. Every year, more than 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for play- ground related injuries, 70 percent of which are caused by falls on tough surfaces. Statistics like these prompted this team to test and develop what they consider to be the safestand cleanestplayground surface--recycled rubber. By dropping eggs, growing mold and conducting shoe invasion tests with different playground surfaces, the stu- dents determined that rubber would absorb the impact of falls, stay clean of mold and weeds, be most accessible to handicapped visitors, and be less likely to track into children's shoes and inside buildings. The students researched the various surfaces through their own tests, data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Handbook for Public Playground Safety and design experts. They plan to educate township and school officials about the benefits of recycled rubber to encourage them to renovate existing playgrounds that currently have blacktop or other surfaces. "'In the near-term, we would like to improve the playground at our school by installing recycled rub- ber over the mulch surface that is there," the students said in a released statement. "'Ultimately, we hope to con- vince community leaders that recycled rubber is the way to go to improve safety at all playgrounds." The team won an expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World, along with seven o.ther finalist teams, to experience the science behind the thrills as part of the Chris- topher Columbus Academy. In addition, each of these team members will receive a $2,000 U.S. Savings Bond. During a recent seven-year period, the small school has also won first place five times in the Connecticut State Sci- ence Fair. "'We're proud of our little school that could," said Hillel's president Bill Rappoport. "'These klds are driven and are determined to find the best way to protect kids at play, using innovative science they explored for this project. The prestigious Christopher Columbus prize sends a mes- sage to all kids that hard work can be exceptionally reward- ing." Hillel does not plan to have the project end with the prize. Rather, it is working on a local level with SPARK (Safe Playgrounds and Recreation for Kids) and the Fairfield Parks and Recreation to edu- cate the community about this safety issue. Nationally, it is working with Beneficial-Design Inc. of Utah, to explore moving the project forward. Beneficial Design's ma- chinery helped the students through the testing process. J becomes newest affiliate of the Union for Judaism meeting in the Union for Board of to accept the rlSm (ECERJ) - a organization of edu- school directors for the formal education of under six as the Union's "By officially voting to accept our group as an af- filiate, the Union has placed an historic stamp of approval on the field of early childhood education, and validated us as members of the profession of Jewish education," said Nancy Bossov, the Union's Director of Early Childhood Education. Currently, the Union boasts more than a dozen affiliates, including profes- sional organizations of temple educators and temple administrators. "We stand at an historic moment in the history of our Movement," said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism. "One of the most significant new frontiers in Jewish education is precisely this area. This is going to be a very important arm of our family, and we are looking O for Tzedakah program going year. Beauti- baskets are for luncheons, and most income raised project helps Pearlman Pan- Services families in commu- L for tzedakah as now have a choice styles of baskets, icker baskets. baskets are cellophane An example of the cen- terpieces available in the Centerpieces for Tzedakah program. and filled with colorful faux fruit and vegetables. The wicker baskets are stuffedwith bright/unfilled boxes of food wrapped in clear cellophane. Centerpieces and buffet bas- kets are available in both the wicker and silver-tone styles. The large bima trunk comes in wicker only. Jewish Family Services would like to thank all the families who have supported Centerpieces for Tzedakah during the past five years. JFS urges the community, "For your next simcha, in lieu of flowers, consider Centerpieces for Tzedakah and help fill the shelves of the Pearlman Pantry." The rental fee of the baskets is tax deductible. Delivery and pickup is free. Call Jewish Family Services a' 407-644- 7593, ext. 246 for additional information. ity service hours at JFS earn their community service hours by volunteering for Jewish Family calI Marlene Farber at 407-644-7593, ext. 227. Pictured is volunteer Diana Ermann. forward to helping our con- gregations to develop this important program." The group that would become the ECERJ first assembled at a conference for early childhood educa- tors in 1999. At the time, its members agreed that early childhood education was a key gateway into Jewish life for both children and their parents, and that standards of excellence should be set for both early childhood programs and the educators who run them. During a con- ference in January 2003, the group voted to name itself the ECERJ, decided to petition for recognition as a formal affiliate, and ad- opted a mission statement, which can be read online at ecerj mission.shtml. The goals of the ECERJ are manifold. First, it hopes to in- crease the number of Jewish children who make the leap from early childhood pro- grams into religious school; of the 30,000 children under six who attend Reform early childhood programs, only half are enrolled in religious school when they enter kin- dergarten. Other goals include strengthening the mem- bership base of Reform congregations through the inclusion of families with young children; clarifying and strengthening existing early childhood programs; and providing a professional network for early childhood educators to pursue continu- ing education, and to share and discuss new ideas and programs with one another. For more information about the Early Childhood Educators of Reform Juda- ism, visit the group's web- site at childhood.shtml. The Union for Reform Ju- daism, formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, is the syna- gogue arm of Reform Judaism in North America, and unites 1.5 million Reform Jews in over 900 congregations in the United States and Canada. URJ programs include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to intermarried and unaffiliated Jews, edu- cational programs, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC. SOLOMON E SCHICK 9 Solomon F. Schick, C.F.P. Certified Financial Planner Million Dollar Round Table Member Beth S. Schick, J.D LL.M. Estate Planning Million Dollar Round Table Member Estate Planning and Disability Income Fixed and Variable* Life Insurance Employee Benefits, Long Term Care and Mutual Funds* PLANNING YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE FOR YOUR PEACE OF MIND 204 N. 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