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|I  iII|IIIIIllII!|llUlI i HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 31, 2009 PAGE 8A i GOSIE chaperones also are making memories First person by Mary Geartner Hio the GOSIE 09 parents. It's Monday... wait I'm not Captain Kirk and Callie [Geartner] is not Zulu. We are the chaperones for the Greater Orlando Summer Israel Experience '09 pro- gram [July 6-27]. Must be All the teens got the message that we mean business. We have spent the week getting better acquainted with each other. We have found that each and every one of the tens is unique and special in his or her own way. The group has really bonded. In our secondweekwe met up with the Kiryat Motzkin The addition of the Kiryat for three weeks. They all are Motzkin teens has brought a having such a great time. We much better understanding of what it means to be Jew- ish. It has brought a greater understanding of what it is like to be an Israeli and to live in a country with so many complicated issues. It has also opened up an emotional connection to our shared know how bitter sweet it will be to come home. Truthfully, we think it is going to be one big cry fest. Everyone, including the chaperones, have made Israeli friends that we now consider to be our Israeli "family," We can say, without hesitation, that GOSIE teens grab som'e grapes. everyone,s eyes to our shared lifestyle and shared destiny. The connection is greater than we could have ever imagined. You can read all you want about a country, a people, or place, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you connect with the people--whether hiking, cooking, singing or sharing endless hours on a bus. GOSIE teens and chaperones had to remind their guides during their hikes that Florida is flat. the heat talking. It has been teens. All of the adults from hike mania and everyone is coming home in better shape than when they left. We have reminded our guid e during our hikes that we are from Florida--where it's fiat! Alas, so far it has fallen on deaf ears. Our second week started and finished on amuch better foot. Israel have said that this is a very special group, It is amaz- ing to us how quickly the two groups have connected. When you combine people of differing cultures you are not sure what the result might be. We have seen that this combination has helped open things we have learned from the hosts that have so gener- ously taken us in. We have not heard one complaint on the housing front. Everyone is a bit tired and It's not the Tour de France. GOSIE participants enjoy a a little homesick. This is bike ride. normal when you are gone Kiryat Motzkin hosts GOSIE ,cle00egation GOSIE teens find the grapes are great in Israel. history. We join the teens in this has been an unbelievable having been surprised by the trip. The trip has been truly life changing. The memories and friendships will never be forgotten. We hope that you will see what your support, time, and financial commit- ment to the Federation and the pa:tnership program has produced. i!iii!iiii!!ii.iiiiiiiiiii!iEii{ iiz I Students at Kiryat Motzkin play host to Orlando teens on a trip to Israel through the Greater Orlando Summer Israel Experience program. First person by Mor Bar Kiryat Motzkin Student Council president This past week, the mem- bers of the Kiryat Motzkin Student Council have had the honor to host a group of teens from Orlando who have come to travel Israel and visit our city. We have joined them on field trips across the country. We started off with a visit to the Karakal Army Base in the far south of Israel. This army base has been adopted by the partnership [The Partnership By Joshua Mitnick New York Jewish Week TEL AVIVIIf there is a prayer for a pinpoint passing shot or a booming ace or a GOSIE teens enjoy an Israeli beach on their GOSIE trip. 2000 Program known as P2K] this past year. We were treated to joint activities with the sol- diers, learnedaboht their army experiences and saw first-hand life on a real army base. We did rafting on the Yarden. volunteered at theAhavaboard- ing school for children at risk andtouredYadVashemin Jeru- salem. One of the highlights of the visit was a special Kabalat Shabbat prepared by the local teens, and we celebrated Mary's birthday. (Mary is anOrlando chaperone and a member of the Partnership 2000 Steering Committee.) We still have Tel GOSIE teens touring Israel. Aviv ahead of us. and we dread the daywe have to say goodbye, even if it's just for now! We are having such an amazing time. the connec- tions have become so strong. There is no doubt we will remain friends and family for many years to come. In spite Israelis euphoric over Davis Cup victory just-out-of-reach lob, Israelis will be reciting it come Sept. 18, the eve of Rosh Hashanah. That's when the Israeli Davis Cup team, fresh off a historic upset of powerhouse Russia July 12 to advance to the semi- finals of the worldwide tennis event, laces up its sneakers next to play defending cham- pion Spain in the Spaniards' own country. It's a tall order, playing Spain on clay, hence the need for prayer. But for now, Israel, once again the scrappy little country that could, is tennis crazy, having made th Davis Cup semifinals for the first time ever. Once formel world No. 1 Marat Satin's fol ehand volley sailed long and a tennis David hadvanquished (;oliath in an improbable 3-0 ;weep, the euphoria was irstant. explosive and contagJ us. Despite the karma Of play- ing at the NokiaArena which is home to the European champion Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team. andwith only one player in the top 100. no one gave Israel's team much of a chance to beat Russia, which had won the competi- tion twice since 2000. So sweepingwas the victory that doubles partners Yoni Erlich and Andy Ram said that the Davis Cup quarterfi- nal win (it was their five-set win that clinched the overall team victory) trumped their Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open. The players and coaches gave kudos to the rabid Israeli crowd. "With all due respect to the Australian, the [Davis Cup] achievement is on a different level." Erlich told The Jewish Week. "When you play in front of your crowd at home and have 11,000 people cheering for you, and you're playing for your country that makes it one of the biggest matches." Sports commentators quickly declared the victory one of the most important mo- ments in Israeli sports history. Then Eyal Ran. Israel's Davis Cup captain, Contributed some nationalistic rhetorical flourish for good measure: "This is a major league crowd. This is a major league coun- try," he shouted, echoing Tal Brody's "We're on the map!" exultation after Maccabi Tel Aviv won its first European basketball championship. Suddenly, Israel had gained entry to an exclusive club:"the " four best tennis teams in the world," sports commentators declared. "Tennis Empire," trumpeted the lead headline on the daily Yediot Achronot. But beyond the hubris, the elation over the victory reflected a desire to reclaim some of Israel's original nar- rative: a scrappy country that figures out a wayto overcome larger powers by making more out of less. Moreover. the Davis Cup team's ability to convert an individual achievement into a celebration of the col- lective "team effort" is what Israel aspires to as a modern country. "The whole is bigger than the sum of its parts," Ran told The Jewish Week. "When you play for the flag and the state. [the players] reach higher levels than they usually do in their careers." Like most Cinderella runs, Israel's national team got an unlikely boost along the way. Because of a tide of interna- tional outrage over Israel's January war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Swedish Davis Cup officials who feared match interruptions from local pro-" testors forced March's Round of 16 matches in Sweden to be played before an empty arena. That neutralized a home- court advantage that could Bar Mitzvah Randy Adam Seidler. son of Lucy and Stephen Seidler of Lake Mary, Fla., will be called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009 at Congregation Beth Am in Longwood, Fla. Randy is in the seventh grade at Greenwood Lakes MiddleSchoolwhere he is ac- tive in drama, the symphonic band and the jazz band. His hobbies and interests include guitar, saxophone, lacrosse. debate, and he is a black belt in karate. Sharing in the family's simchawill be Randy's sisters, Aimee and Dara of Boston; grandmother Pearl Seidler. of Orlando; grandparents Jacob and Aida Leiman of Miami; uncles and aunts from Iowa and Miami; and family and friends from around the country. of the distance between us. we found so much in common and learned so much from one anotherIwe are one people. one nation, after all. Thank you to everyone who made it possible for us to get together and learn to love one another. have very likely tipped Israel's 3-2 win back the other way. Harris Rosenblatt. a Rock- ville. Md.-based mortgage banker in Israel to compete in the 18th Maccabiah Games tennis tournament, said he followed the matches from outside the arena along with 300 fans who could hear the crowd roaring before watch- ing the actual points on a large-screen TV. "1 just wanted to feel the experience." said Rosenblatt. a 40 -year-old part-time tennis pro. "It's a different home- court advantage than other tennis matches. The Davis Cup here is different. Israelis are more spirited than other countries. Because when you have 11,000 people who want their team to win there's little you can do to keep them quiet." Even the normally acerbic sports press got swept away. Indeed, theDavis Cup perfor- mance struck a stark contrast with Israel's national soccer team, known forwilting in the spotlightofmarquee matches. "There is noway to describe Davis Cup on page 23A