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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 29, 2014 PAGE 11A I For Orend00ic, NBA breakthrough for women a show of respect By Hillel Kuttler BALTIMORE (JTA) - As a former WNBA president who played in what is considered the first U.S. professional basketball league for women, Donna Orender has been eager for a trailblazing female to join the National Basketball As- sociation in a prominent role. So she was plenty pleased last week .when the world champion San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon, a point guard with the WNBA's Stars of the Texas city, as a paid as- sistant coach - a first in NBA history. "Becky's a special woman, a great player, a student of the game," Orender said last week of the veteran backcourt ace. "I always thought that the real breakthrough would be a woman coaching in the NBA because itwould indicate a real level of respect. I was always waiting for it." Waiting and helping to pave the way. Orender, an All-America guard at Queens College, was one of the few to play all three seasons of the Women's Pro- fessional Basketball League, from 1978 to 1981. She led the Women's NBA from 2006 to 2011, enjoying "incredible respect amongst those of us in the business," recently retired NBA Commissioner David Stern said. Now with a nonprofit orga- nization, Generation W, she is mentoring girls and young women, including by hosting an annual forum of experts in politics, philanthropy, business and self-improvement. The group also provides guidance on getting into college and makingadifference in theworld through voluntarism. Orender, 57, herself serves on the boards of Maccabi USA and theVFoundation forCancer Re- search (established in memory of collegiate basketball coach Jim Valvano), and was co-chair of the Sporfs for Youth com- mittee of the UJA-Federation of New York. During .Orender's eight- year tenure, Sports for Youth more than tripled its annual fundraising, to $450,000 an- nually, said its director, Danielle Zalaznick. "She's an amazing leader. She has very creative ideas," Zalaznick said. Orender puts those ideas to use now as the principal of Orender Unlimited, a Jack- sonville, Fla.-based firm that conducts strategic planning and marketing for companies. Sports, however, remain central to her life. It was in that arena that Orender made her professional mark, despite setting out to be a social worker or sociologist. After doing research at ABC for such sportscasters as Jim Lampley and the venerable Jim McKay, Orender worked 17 years as an executive for the PGA Tour, the main organizer of professional golf tourna- ments primarily for men, before taking the reins of the WNBA. Established by the NBA nearly two decades ago, the WNBA remains the most prominent female sports league in the country. It was her track record from the playing and financial sides that appealed to Stern when he hired Orender for the post. Orender, he told JTA, un- derstood basketball "from the ground up." "She w;is a great basketball player. She was an early player in a league back then and has a passion for the game," Stern said. "She was a ranking person in the PGAwho got to know ev- erything about our sponsorship and our business, and had an understanding of production and production values." Ann Meyers Drysdale, a longtime friend with whom She starred in the backcourt of the WBL's New Jersey Gems, says she and Olender still talk about the WNBA and its role in further advancing women's athletics. Meyers Drysdale, a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, is an executive with both the NBA's Phoenix Suns and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. For Orender, basketball also holds importance for her family and its Jewish identity through involvement in the Maccabi movement. "I love the game," she said. "It's a passion of mine. It helps me stay close to youth, Juda- ism and also connect with my own kids." Orender accompanied her 17-year-old twins, Zachary and Jacob, and their Maccabi USA youth team on a nine-game, 12-day trip earlier this summer to play Maccabi and.club teams in London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Their itinerary in- cluded Jewish heritage sites and a game against a Dutch team of wheelchair-using athletes, with the able-bodiedAmericans also using wheelchairs. Basketball was a means of "spreading good will, develop- ing relationships and meeting some of our Maccabi brethren overseas," said Orender, who also has-two stepchildren. Last summer, the Orender twins played in Israel in the Maccabiah, a quadrennial in- ternational sports festival, just as their mother had in 1985. As they entered Jerusalem's Teddy Kollek Stadium for the opening ceremony, her sons grabbed Orender's hand and said, "This must be a dream for you." "It absolutely is,l' she re- sponded. Hammon, whose 15-year WNBA career will conclude this summer, was "one of my kids' favorite players," Orender said, and they saw Hammon in action numerous times when Orender led the WNBA. Mother and sons often shoot baskets and break down game film. Orender concedes that "it's very hard" to keep mum during games and let the boys' coaches do their jobs. She'll ofer help if they ask, and they do, often seeking tips on in-game strategy, shoot- Donna Orender Donna Orender says she was "always waiting" for a woman to be hired for a prominent role in the NBA., ing and making decisions on passing in the flow of a game, Orender said. She seems to revel in the en- tire sports experience. Orender recalls an Indiana Fever home ptayoff while serving as WNBA president when she climbed to the top rows and gazed upon the sold-out arena. "Itwas avery proud rr;oment that really showcased the fan passion, the ability to grow a business, the athletes," she said. Chicago business donates ambucycles t) United Hatzalah CHICAGO- Chicago kosher restaurant, MILT's BBQ for the Perplexed, has donated three ambucycles to the Is- raeli emergency response or- ganization United Hatzalahin memory of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, who were murdered earlier this summer. The donated ambucycles were inducted into the United Hatzalah fleet on Tuesday morning, when United Hatzalah volunteers drove the bikes along a sym- bolic route from the bus stop at which they were abducted in Gush Etzion to the point where the boys' bodies were uncovered. The donor spoke of his donation: "We wanted to com- memorate Naftali, Gilad and Eyalwith away of saving lives, and be diametrically opposed to the murderous ideology that ended their lives." "(This) generosity me- morializes the boys and will help save future lives,' said United Hatzalah president and founder Eli Beer. "Their memories will encourage us to act for the sake of others, to save lives and improve public health in Israel." "We see this as a perfect memorial," said Rachel Fraen- kel, mother of Naftali. "Three ambulances with two wheels, rushing to save lives, with the energy of youth. I can see Eyal, Gilad, and Naphtali on each of these ambucyles. They would want to do good in the world and save lives." With the discovery of the bodies of the boys, the mem- bers of the Chicago Jewish community were moved to commemorate the mur- dered teenagers. Moses Seville, deputy mayor of Gush Etzion, who participated in the memorial journey, said that "The lives of three young men were taken from this place. These ambucycles are designed to do good and save lives. When it comes to saving lives, every minute counts and we are full of faith that these ambucycles will fulfill their mission and come quickly to anyone who needs help." United Hatzalah is Israel's first and largest fully-vol- unteer emergency rapid re- sponse service. With a fleet of over 300 ambucycles, United Hatzalah's 2,300 volunteers respond to nearby emergen- cies from mobile-alerts and are able to arrive first on site to administer urgent care within minutes from the initial call of distress - bridging the gap between emergency and ambulance arrival. United Hatzalah is a fully non-profit organization that relies solely on the gener- ous gifts of supporters world- wide; all emergency medical treatment is administered by fully trained volunteers that do not charge for their life saving service. Depression00it's a heavy word, bl0000lrj can help The Centers for Disease Control estimates that de- pression impacts one in 10 Americans. On Aug. 11, Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams took his ownAife after bat- tling with depression for countless years. It's a taboo illness that can strike any- body, at any time in life. JFS Orlando recognizes depression may be far more common amongst our peers than we may realize, and offers counseling to those fighting the mental illness. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Ad ministration estimates that 90 percent of all suicides are linked to depression or another related mental illness. The death of a public fig- ure is tragic, but in times of darkness there are glim- mers of light. JFS Orlando is mourning the loss of Robin Williams alongside the rest of the world, but his death helps pry open a closed door and shed a much-needed light on a very dark topic. JFS Orlando understands  that depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day; depression is real and is not a weakness. It is a mental health illness that brings on long-term, per- sistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthless- ness that are unshakeable. These feelings linger, often interfering with a person's relationships and daily re- sponsibilities. Everybody experiences depression differently, and it is imperative to remember that stressful and sad events occur in everyone's life, but constant feelings of misery and emptiness are not normal. Depression is a treatable condition, and JFS Orlando can help. We have identified some of the major symptoms of depression below: Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping more than usual Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased ap- petite and weight gain, Loss of pleasure and interest in once-enjoyable activities Restlessness and irrita- bility Difficulty concentrating at work or at school, or dif- ficulty remembering things or making decisions Fatigue or loss of energy Feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless Thoughts of suicide or death If you or anyone you know experiences five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, it could be signs of depression. JFS Orlando's professional mental health therapists can see you through the tough times. Change begins with a phone call. Call us at 407-644-7593 Jewish Pavilion volunteers visit residents for Shabbat services Jewish Pavilion volunteers visited residents at Madison House and Health Center Windermere last Friday. The Madison House chef prepared a Shabbat lunch of chicken matzoh ball soup, with challah and apple crisp for dessert. Jewish Pavilion volunteers Laurie Levine and Gloria Green led the short Shabbat service. Too Jay's also provided black & white cookies for dessert. At Health Center Windermere, volunteer Marian Bromberg distributed challah rolls and bags of black & white cookies (also compliments of Too Jay's) to seven Jewish patients. Shown in photo above are (l-r) Beverly, Judith, Milton, Dottie and Kathy at Madison House; and in the photo on the right are volunteer Marian Bromberg with resident Alvin at Health Center Windermere.