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November 9, 2012

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PAGE 18A i Etzkin From page 1A nearly 1,200 campers, school's out programming, Saturday nights, birthday parties, el- ementary and middle school after sctoo! programs, middle school community service events, Maccabi sports pro- grams, J-Serve, BBYO, and special family events like a Purim Carnival. However, Etzkin is no Texan; in fact, he grew up right here in Orlando, where he participated as a child in the JCC's Richard S. Adler Early Childhood Learning Center, after school pro- gram, summer camps, swim team played pick-up basket- ball, participated in the road race, and had a couple of his birthday parties. "My favorite memories as a child were playing sports after school in the fields, and of course, what always seemed like endless days of camp at the J," Etzkin said. "We built forts, sang songs, had nighttime swims, over- nights, and later we got to leave the city for five-day teens on wheels trips! Camp was so different when I was a camper here that we used to be able to walk as a group to Kappy's over there on 17-92 for lunch occasionally." His favorite memories at the local JCC, however, were as a counselor, first as a Sports Camp Counselor in 1999 and 2000, and then as the leader of Teens on Wheels from 2001-2003. "For me as a camp staff member, camp was always about knowing every camper personally, being a part of a staff team that shared similar values, and creating memories anti leadership op- portunities for children and staff of all ages," Etzkin said. Etzkin takes great pride in the fact that the JCC of Greater Orlando now em- ploys three of his former campers, and that many others have worked there in past summers. "Ask any of them about the legend of "Leroy" and just watch their face!" he re- marked referring to a legend he created about a man who lived inthe JCC's back shed but always found his way to whatever JCC out-of-town lodging they visited. Etzkin graduated from the University of Florida with honors in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Hu- man Resource Development. He was in the UF Drum Line for four years in undergrad and was the president of the Drum Line during his last three. In addition, he was a resident advisor (RA) for three years in the dorms as well. He continued at UF for Graduate School, earn- ing his Master of Science in Adolescent Development, in the Department of Family, Youth, & Community Sci- ences. In graduate school, he was a teaching assistant (TA) for three years and was the university's mascot, Albert the Alligator, for two years. While Etzkin was complet- ing his Master's degree in 2004, he applied to become a full-time JCC professional. He was offered two JCC jobs, ultimately selecting the camp director position at the Weinstein JCC's Camp Hilbert in Richmond, Va., where he oversaw, their off-site, 114-acre summer camp and supervised the after school program, which picked up students from 34 local schools. After three summers in Richmond, Etzkin was ready to make "Our Summer Place" est. 1963 ...Where more and more kids from ORLANDO are swimming, horseback riding, climbing, skiing, biking, boating, zipping,, acting and "blobbing" beneath a million stars each and every summer! For a 2013 application, information about our Family Camps, staff opportunities and details about "the most meaningful and exciting Jewish overnight camping adventure of your Ife", email us at summer@campbarney.orq or call the CAMP BARNEY MEDINTZ office in Atlanta at (770) 395-2554 or our Orlando Parent Representative Stacey Soil at (32.1) 460-2802. Summer Resident Camp of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta Accredited by the American Camping Association his next professional move, which led him to the JCC in Austin, Texas, where he re- mained for the last six years. Etzkin's tenure in Austin was decorated with mul- tiple honors. He won three national awards from the JCC Association of North America for excellence in summer camp-program- ming (twice honored) and for an inclusion program for children with special needs'. Additionally, he was com- petitively selected to par- ticipate in several selective JCCA programs, including an 18-month Middle Man- agement Training Program, the Amy Beth Rosenthal Leadership Program for the continental JCC Mac- cabi Games, the Day Camp Planning Committee for the Professional Staff Confer- ences, as well as to lead two Maccabi Taglit Birthright Israel trips. He was also se- lected for Austin's ,0 Under 40 honor, in recognition of the civic leadership he dis- played through his JCC work and participation in the city's Austin Health Adolescent iaitiative. Though he is from Or- lando, Etzkin was not look- ing to leave his position in Austin. He was very happy in Austin, he explained, but the opportunity to continue his meaningful and rewarding JCC journey at his hometown JCC vas something he felt compelled to consider. "The idea of giving back to my own community was a huge factor because of my Jewish experiences here, such as religious school and bar mitzvah at Congregation Ohev Shalom, participation and graduation from Beit Hamdrash, BBYO's AZA Rebels, and through the help of the Jewish Federation, my experience at Alexander Muss High School in Israel," Etzkin said. "It was a good match both professionally and personally with so much family here. The more I learned about the position and how I could affect posi- Women From page 2A. after he faced frequent bullying. "After one play date, he came home in tears because kids would taunt him about not having a father," she said. ',He never asked questions before then, but it did open a can of worms. It was heart- breaking answering him." Things have improved since he switched schools, she said, and Rachel is now undergo- ing IVF treatments to have a second child. Wolper says it's d.aunting to think about how her decision to become a single mother will affect her child, but she's trying to stay positive. "I think there are a lot of life circumstances where a child will have to answer difficult questions, like if they are be- ing raised by grandparents or they have two dads," she said. "I know life might be hard for them on the playg'ound." Even in Orthodox circles, there is a growing acceptance of single mothers by choice, according to Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, who is on an Israeli government ethics commit- tee. While some rabbinic authorities object to fertility treatments for single women, HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISB NEWS, NOVEMBER 9, 2012 tive change in a significant way, it was too hard to not consider." Even when Etzkin flew to Orlando this summer from Austin, he was still on the fence. Things changed, however, when he was able to spend a significant amount of time with staff and lay leaders during his two-day interview process. "The more I heard about the Roth JCC, the more I believed it was a perfect fit. Spending time with such highly motivated, passion- ate, and sharp lay leaders was extremely motivating and being able to join a staff team that was so immensely talented sealed the deal for me. Orlando was probably the only JCC that could have gotten me to consider leav- ing Austin." Orlando is a unique Jew- ish community, in Etzkin's view, because of the variety of places from which Orlando Jews come. He recalled that the majority of his JCC friends growing up in the 80s were from other places, but pointed out that now, nearly 30 years later, there is a new generation of young Jews who call Orlando their birthplace. "While this is true for ol;her Jewish communities too, Orlando seems to have a reputation (whether true or not) of being a transient city. This is our challenge, but this is still our com- munity. Ho do we, as a JCC, and how do we, as one Jewish community, meet the growing and changing needs of the Orlando Jewish community of today and five, ten, and twenty years from now?" Etzkin described himself as "extremely excited" to get started in providing a new, additional level of supporffor the "amazing staff." "I am also very excited to help grow our school-age camp program that I once attended and loved and later worked at. Ifitweren't for my positive experiences at what is now Camp J, I would have never pursued a Master's Degree andwould have never pursued a JCC career." Etzkin also looks forward to having the opportunity this June to spend time with the camp staff. "I won't be able to help but stop and think which one of these young adults could be start- ing their Jewish journey just like I did. Better yet, which one of these campers is a future JCC camp director or executive?" "I am really excited to have Robby join the JCC team,7 said Scott Richman, the president of the JCC's Board of Directors. "I very much look forward to the new ideas nd enthusiasm he brings." Etzkin has a very simple goal for the Roth JCC--ex- cellence. "It's excellence across the board, from programs and events, to processes and service. I'm a big-picture guy and like to connect the dots, which often times results in increases in effectiveness and efficiency." Etzkin plans to achieve this goal of excellence by identifying industry stan- dards in each program area and supporting the staff to help them consistently exceed them. "I want our JCC to be 'The JCC' that others from around the country want to repli- cate. I believe if something is worth doing, then it's worth doing at a high level of excellence. Defining what excellence means in every area is our first step," If you would like to share feedback regarding the JCC, its past,, current, or future, you can reach Robby Etzkin at or at 407-645-5933, ext. 231. In addition, if you would like to find out about exciting changes already planned for Camp J for 2013, please feel free to contact him or Abby Paulson, camp director at or 407-645-5933, ext. 238. others say Jewish law, or hal- achah, permits it. "Ideally, it'd be best for these women to get married, to have a traditional family, but we know how important family is," Cherlow said. "Her options might be to adopt a child or marry the first man she dates. Having a child through fertility treatment on her own seems like the best option here." But the Puah Institute, an infertility support center in Jerusalem that provides counseling to Jewish women and Jewish families around the world, refuses to counsel unmarried women about fertility treatments. Instead, Puah recommends that they freeze their eggs to buy them- selves more time. "Our guidance tells us to only help married people be- cause a child should be a prod- uct of a husband and wife," said Rabbi Gideon Weitzman, director of Puah's English- speaking Department for Fertility and Medicine. The freezing option has its limits, Blumenthal notes. The survival rate of eggs from women aged 35 to 38 is 35 percent, and 20 percent for women aged 39 to 40, accord- ing to Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta. Ross says she hopes that someday the entire Jewish community will embrace single mothers. Last year, along with several other women, Ross launched a sup- port group for religious single mothers in Israel that is believed to be the first of its kind. The group, Kayama, now has more than 200 women involved. "It's really become some- thing people talk about," Ross said. "We're trying to create a safe place for support and let women know this is an option." The 41-year-old doctor who just had twins said that having her kids was the best thing that ever happened to her--and has even helped her dating life. "Now I can go out with men and not just see them as a potential father of my .kids, I can actually analyze them as a spouse, someone to spend time with," she said. "I'm not saying its easy being the only one running around, and there are defi- nitely limits to whatyou physi= cally can accomplish in your older years. But at the end of the day," she said, "I wouldn't have it any other way."