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October 19, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 19, 2012

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PAGE 8A,HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 19, 2912 By Rabbiyanky Majesky Following a lesson on Sun- day, Sept. 9 about the "Book of Life" theme that is central to Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, teens from Chabad of North OrlandoCTeen, local popular teen club, presented personalized journals to children battling cancer so that the children could fill in the pages of their own "books of life." In conjunction with Chai Lifeline, an organization that offers assistance to children with cancer and their families, teens were paired with hospi- talized children for whom they later designed blank journals, keeping in mind themes and images that would appeal to their partners. "Most Chai Lifeline chil- dren are hospital bound," explains local CTeen advisor Mrs. Chanshy Majesky, "so the teens wanted to make something to help them battle loneliness and express their feelings like only a child can. We loved the idea of person- aiizing a blank book for the childrento color andwrite in." "The children were so ap- preciative to see that people were thinking about them and praying on their behalf," says FaigeYudkovsky, director of Volunteer Services at Chai Lifeline. CTeen bowling trip. Top L-R: Reba Wagoner, Jeremy Halpren, Aaron Karr, Gabriel Shames, Rebecca Belkin, Eliana Karr. Bottom: Emilee Dreifus, Allon Braitman, Mrs. Chanshy Mojesky During the time surround- After reflecting on things praying for life itself~,you focus ing Rosh HaShanah, prayer they each pray for, the teens your prayers outwards--to- books leave their shelves and viewed a powerful video by wards others." are embraced by the hands Chai Lifeline that portrayed "The teens learned that andhearts of Jewish worship- stories of childrerj in desper- it is medically proven that perswhoareprayingthatthey ate straits for their prayers hospital patients--health will be inscribed into the Book for recovery to be answered, impr6ves when they know of Life yet another year. With "We pray for good grades, that people are praying for this in mind, CTeen teens ex- for a new dress, or for our them," explains Mrs. Chan- ploredwhatprayerisallabout sports team to win," admits shyMajesky."Everyteenwas with an in-depth discussion CTeen member Allon Brait- determined to show these and interactive activities and man, "but when you realize children that he is pound- games, that there are people who are ing on heaven's doors, be- CTeens making personalized journals for children bat- tling cancer seeching G-d for the speedy hands-on activities. CTeen is recovery of the young cancer open to all local Jewish teens fighters." regardless of affiliation. Visit CTeen is a social environ- www.JewishNorthOrlando. mentwhere teens learn about corn, e-mail Rabbi@Jew- themselvesandtheirheritage, or through giving to others and call 407-878-3011 for more participating in interactive, information. :lmes our we By Michal Kohane Hesitating, I asked if he behalfofthePresidentofthe was sure about all this.United States " It started SAN FRANCISCO(jweek- "Everyone should serve to feel more real: College iy--"Youdon't mind me ap- theircountry,"hesaid."You admittance notices don't plying toWest Point Military did that, Mom, didn't you?" quite look like this. Neither Academy, Mom, doyou?"Growing up in Israel, like did my own flimsy handwrit- "West Point?" I thought, everybody else around me, I tenIDF draft notice, senton surprised, was drafted into the Israel a 3-by-5 card. Butitwasfall.Graduation Defense Forces when I was Our family overseas told seemed like light years away. 18 and served in an elite in- us they knew all about West "Go ahead," I said, trying telligenceunit.Mymomwas Point: " 'Top Gun,' isn't it? to sound casual. "Let me a medic in the same armyAnyway, if he is already know ifyou need anything," 30 years earlier during the thinking army, why not I added on automatic pilot, War of Independence.Thirty come to Israel?" nothavingacluewhatmight years before that, herfather They reminded me there be needed, was an officer in Europeare great programs for lone My son Ohr thanked meduring World War I. Others soldiers, and Ishould know: politely and told me he in our family have donethe The headquarters for Garin wanted to do this bY himself, same, and yet this was Tzabar, which supports Some 1,000 candidatesmandatory in countries far lone soldiers during their are accepted out of more away.Andnoneofthemwere aliyah process and IDF army than 15,000 applicants my kid. service, is right next to my nationally, I told myself, Ohr plodded along. He office atthe San Francisco- perhaps as consolation. I got the highly sought-after based Jewish Community backed offandwatched Ohr ~ commendation letter from Federation's Israel Center. fill out long applications, our congresswoman, DorisAnd what if one day Israel write essays, getrecommen- Matsui, and sometime later, and the U.S. aren't on the dations and train regularly, theletterofappointmentac- same side? Did I thinkabout He watched me trying to cepting him into West Point that? deal with the idea. arrived. The title read, "On Some of my friends told Chabad launches Torah Studies course Chabad of Marion County and The Villages Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) will launch a new Torah Studies course in October. Classes will be held at the Chabad Jewish Center, 3509 S.W 34th Ave Ocala beginning Oct. 17, 6- 7 p.m and at the Lady Lake Public Library 225 W. Gauva St. Lady Lake, on Oct. 18, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and continue for 11 consecutive Wednesdays and Thursdays. Like all of Chabad's courses, this latest adult education offering is designed for people at all levels of Jewish knowledge. ,This course is truly novel in the way it probes the depths of classic Jewish thought to address the issues we face in contemporary Jewish life; says Rabbi Yossi Hecht, the course instructor. "I am looking forward to the great discussions that these texts no doubt will generate. The dialogue among participants is often my favorite part of the class," he added. Some of the topics to be addressed are the Jewish perspective on realizing your true potential, human struggle, and the power of a single action. The season will also touch upon the seasonal holidays. The 11 class season is free. Course textbooks are $12 each. For more info or to R.S.V.P. call Chabad at 352-291-2218 or email Rabbi@JewishMari n' rg or visit The Jewish Learning Institute is the adult education arm of the worldwide Chabad movement. JLI's classes and programs are offered at various locations in more than 300 cities nationwide and internationally. Over 150,000 people have attended JLI classes since its founding in 1998. Every course offered by JLI is taught concurrently in all locations, helping to create a truly global learning community. me to be proud. Others rolled their eyes in dismay. I shrugged, with a sort of half-smile. We had things to do, like book our tickets for R Day -- that's Army shorthand fo? Reception Day. And go to Travis Air Force Base to get some gear, like "low quarters" (Army for "shiny Shabbos shoes") and heavy boots he should break in before basic training. He tried them on in the store -- all this for the cute little toes I tickled when my baby nursed not that long ago. Images of my own mili- tary service came back to me as we sat there. Smells of sweaty uniform, shoes, oily machinery, food in the mess hall. Relief at seeing the sunrise after a long night duty. Missing one vacation after another over a heated situation at the border. Cod- ing phone calls, dealingwith a harsh commander, losing a dear friend, hitchhiking home. I must admit, throughout the process I had moments of"What's gotten into him?" ~nd "Where on earth did he get that idea from?" But then came awards night at his high school. A colonel from West Point attended especially to con- gratulate Ohr as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. His classmates cheered, morns wiped away tears. One of the parents tapped my shoulder. "Great accom- plishment," he said, shaking my hand. "He tells me you're his inspiration." I swallowed hard, caught off guard: all these things we teach, our kids when we have no idea we're even get- ting through to them, while in return they stretch who we are beyond what we ever imagined when they set out on their own journey! In early July, we headed Courtesy Michal Kohane Michal Kohane with her sons Ohr Taylor, right, and Yonatan during the West Point Acceptance Day, Aug. 18. to the academy in upstate New York. While Ohr was called to start his "process- ing including receiving the first free haircut," I walked around the grounds and remembered an earlier visit, whenI dragged my mom to see this grand institution during our trip to the U.S. just before my own service. I found the Jewish cha- pel, where the Torah in a glass display was open to Ohr's bar mitzvah portion. I wiped salty fluids off my eyes and face. The weather started feeling just like a bad summer day in Tel Aviv. I realized, maybe this isn't as far away as I initially "thought. Michal Kohane is direc- tor of the Israel Center at the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federa- tion and a Torah columnist for the j weekly. This piece originally aired on KQED Radio's "Perspectives."