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August 27, 2010     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 27, 2010

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_ -~ - : , _ - ill ~~~, ! HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 27, 2010 PAGE 21A i. By Amanda Pazornik j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California On the final day of his 3,930 -mile bicycle trek across the country, Rabbi George Schlesinger found himself at a familiar site--a synagogue. "I just turned a corner, and there it was," said Schlesinger. referring to Temple Israel in Ports- mouth, N.H. "I didn't go in and stop because it was a Tuesday at noon" and anyway, he was wearing his biking gear. "It was a very emotional day." Schlesinger. while on sabbatical from Congrega- tion Beth Ami in Santa Rosa. Calif.. near San Fran- cisco, completed his first cross-country bicycle ride July 27 with the ceremonial dipping of the wheels in the Atlantic Ocean. Congregants' pledges, based on the rabbi's logged miles, raised more than $21.000 for Beth Ami's operating fund. Schlesinger embarked on June 5 with 27 riders who took on the Cross Country Challenge, a coast-to-coast tour through some of the most beautiful and scenic spots in the country. His wife, Paula. surprised him with a visit in St. Joseph, Mo., and he said climbing the Rockies--13 miles at a steep incline-- was a notable accomplish- ment. That, and teaching his Catholic roommate who attended weekly Mass all about Judaism. "From the beginning we would share stories of religion and related issues." Schlesinger recalled. "Ew ery Friday night he wished me Shabbat shalom." But the adventure wasn't without challenges. Riding into Salt Lake City, the group battled 75 mph wind gusts. And toward the end of the ride, driving rain plagued the group for a nearly 85- mile stretch. Schlesinger dubbed those treacherous days as "ones no one would ever ride at home." Now that he's back (with- out his bike. which is be- ing shipped from the East Coast), Schtesinger said he would do it again, but in segments. "The idea of riding cross-country with a dif- ferent route is very ap- pealing," he said. "I don't know that I would do it in 50 days. That was a long time to be away." Reprinted by permission ofj. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California. Rabbi George Schlesinger dips his wheels in the Atlantic. New Era From page 1A missioner from Altamonte Springs; and Bev Reponen, a Maitland councilwoman. Following the '~Big Reveal" ceremony, the guests were guided through the school by eighth grade ambas, sadors. The highlight of the day, however, was when the stu- dents and parent~ returned to the campus after summer vacation. Later that morn- ing the families were part of ribbon cutting ceremony symbolizing the beginning of a new era for Jewish Academy. The students were so thrilled to meet their teachers for the new school year and reunite with their old friends, that they left a flurry of excitement in their wake, a flurrythat is sure to be felt for decades to come. Connect with Jewish Academy of Orlando where accelerated academics meet Jewish value~. Ca11407-647- 0713, or connect to www., the school's comprehensive website. Maitland Mayor Doug Kinson, Rabbi Robert Lefkowitz of Congregation Beth Emeth, head of school Lynne Shefsky, board president Renee Libow and U.S. Congressman John Mica gather under the school's new logo displayed on the school building. Congressman John Mica addresses the crowd with a motivating speech. Head of school Lynne Shef- sky delivers her welcoming remarks to the crowd at "Big Reveal' event Aug. 16. Maitland Mayor Doug Kin- son congratulates the school on its longevity and its com- mitment to academic success. Lynne Shefsky prepares to cut the ribbon symbolizing a new school year and a new era for Jewish Academy of Orlando. 4 Love From page 1A how much Orlandowelcomed them, and promoted Last Minute Travel by saying they were so prompt they could "get you there yesterday." The consulate of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico was represented by its as- sociate consul general, who brought greetings in Hebrew and Arabic, including wishes for a "Ramadan karim" ("A generous Ramadan"). Avidan broke into her med- ley of songs by turning to the young people and saying, "I will sing at your weddings." Toward the end of the evening, a young girl named Diane took the stage to thank LEV, Argov and all those Who had helped her and her friends, and to describe the bonds of friendship she found with other LEV kids on the way to he,recovery. "No one else knows what you're going through." And afterward, at the des- sert reception, KhaledAbed, who is 19 and has cancer, joined his friends May Ya- goda and Galia Schachar, who are teen volunteers with LEV, and 12-year-old Jack Tamar, also battling cancer. Khaled and Jack have become close friends, and they looked after each other throughout the ning, but now the mood was light. Khaled playfully hugged May, saying, "We love each other, and this"-- as together they embraced Ja k--"is our child." They all laughed together as they talked about the fun they'd had visiting Sea World, Cirque du Soleil and other local attractions. And there were other things still to come, including a flight over the city with Uri Argov in one of his company's planes, before the trip back home to continue their fight together. . Lyn Payne Clockwise, from center: KhaledAbed, Galia Schachar, Jack ~ ~ _ Tamar, May Yagoda and Racheli Avia Ashkanezi. Khaled and ..... Lyn Payne Jack are close friends who are both battling cancer; Galia, Famed Israeli singer dviva Avidan leads the audience, and May and Racheli are LEV volunteers. 12-gear-old Jack Tamar, in life-affirming songs in Hebrew.