Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
December 6, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 14     (14 of 40 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 14     (14 of 40 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
December 6, 2013

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

PAGE 14A Money From page 1A Jewish early childhood lead- ers said they were taken by surprise by Siegal's proposal. While they are eager to bring more families into their doors and wouldn't turn down tu- ition subsidies, they told JTA that they would prefer to see investments made in program quality, professional develop- ment, teacher compensation and seeding more full-day programs that enroll not just preschool-age kids, but infants and toddlers. "I'm thrilled the case for Jewish preschool is out there," said Valerie Lustgarten, an education consultant who is one of five founders of the Paradigm Project, a new group advocating for Jewish early childhood education and offering coaching and other services. "But more than money, it's about quality and engaging parents," she said. "I don't think Jewish families will come in just because it's free." It is unclear just how many people could be served with $1 billion, as annual tuition at Jewish nursery schools ranges from $6,000-$20,000 per year, and Jewish early childhood leaders estimate there are 540,000 Jewish children under age 5 in the United States. While most American Jew- ish children receive a preschool education, fewer than a quarter do so in a Jewish program. Ac- cordingto Rolland, enrollment has declined since then due to the recession and competition in several states from universal pre-K programs. Studies suggest that Jewish preschool can play a vital role not just in education, but in connecting families to Jewish community. A 2010 study by Brandeis University's Mark Rosen outlined the high sig- nificance of the first years of a child's life in cementing family patterns and friendships. Peter Blair, one of several Jewish early childhood educators who helped Lustgarten launch the Paradigm Project last year, says new parents are at a life stage when they are particu- larly open to connecting with Judaism. "Many people step away from Jewish life for years af- ter their bar or bat mitzvah, and it's when they have their own children that they start thinking about what it means to raise Jewish children and what they want to pass down," Blair said. But Jewish preschool has not gotten much attention in the Jewish organizational world. The Jewish Early Child- hood Education Initiative, a national effort launched in 2005 to strengthen Jewish preschool programs, closed after just six years in part be- cause it was unable to attract sufficient funding. Salaries for early childhood teachers are notoriously low, quality and Jewish content are inconsis- tent, and many synagogues and JCCs that host early child- hood programs expect them to be moneymakers rather than drivers of Jewish engagement that require investment. In recent years, as many Jewish federations have re- structured or eliminated central agencies for Jewish education, support and train- ing for Jewish early childhood educators has been cut. Nei- ther the Avi Chai Foundation nor the Jim Joseph Founda- tion, the two largest national funders of Jewish education, have made preschool a major spending priority. Maxine Handelman, the early childhood education consultant for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, says early childhood needs a national advocate and coordinatingody to generate funds and expertise, similar to the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, or PEJE, did for day schools in the late 1990s. While tuition may be one thing deterring families from enrolling their children in Jewish preschools, Handelman HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 6, 2013 said that's not among the top reasons. Studieshave shown that convenience, word-of- mouth and where friends go are the most influential factors in Jewish parents' decisions about where to enroll their children. In addition to serving younger children and offer- ing more full-day options, advocates say preschool direc- tors and teachers need more training, not just in educating tots and infusing Judaism into their curricula, but in connect- ing parents to Jewish life and helping them form friendships with other Jewish parents. Shellie Dickstein, directorof early childhood and family en- gagement at New York's Jewish Education Project, said profes- sionals in the field need to see themselves as "family net- workers, relationship-builders and concierges." "That requires some train- ing, and we need to be more mindful about the kind of skills it takes," she said. There are a few other rela- tively new efforts to bolster Jewish preschool. The Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College are recruiting for their third cohort of the Jewish Early Childhood Educators Leader- ship Institute, a 15-month program that provides new and aspiring directors of Jew- ish preschools with studying, mentorship and community- building opportunities United Synagogue recently - launched a training program for new early childhood direc- tors, and the Reform move- ment is exploring how to seed more full-time child-care programs. The JCC Association of North America in recent years has increased its support and professional development for both preschool directors and staff. A Chabad early childhood initiative has helped create more than 45 new preschools since 2010, and there are plans to create another 100 over the next four years. Tuition From page 1A things happen for a reason. It's going to make the ride a little easier" for us." For Andrew Schneeweis, the journey to improved fortune began at a freshman pep rally with some 5,000 incoming students. He had been reveling in the evening's charged atmosphere, with the pep band playing and the men's basketball team warming up. Schneeweis was chosen at random for the three chances to sink the long-distance attempt at the tuition prize.. The public address an- nouncer for the evening-- Ryun Williams, coach of the women's basketball team-- revealed the seat number of the lucky shooter. It had been chosen hours earlier, before any of the students had entered the gym. Pausing dramatically for effect, Williams called out the lucky seat number. "First he called Section C, and I said 'OK.' Then he called Row 18, and I said, 'No way.' Then he called 'Seat 5,' " Schneeweis said from his dormitory room in Fort Collins, where he is studying business, with an eye on a ca- reer in sports management. "There was so much ex- citement, and I knew I had a chance to make it," he said. "I ran down to the court, and I really don't remember much. I just remember looking at the hoop, they handed me the ball and I thought, 'Hmmm, let's make this happen.'" Wearing a green univer- sity'T-shirt and a yellow bandana, the slightly built Schneeweis pumped his hands to pump up the crowd, turned around, dribbled twice and from the ram logo at midcourt, heaved the ball from behind his right shoul- der toward a side basket. He took a stutter step in the manner of a shot putter watching the sphere's flight. Schneeweis considered his attempt near-perfect. It went far and stayed straight. But, he wondered, would the ball clear the front rim? It did, prompting a deafen- ing roar. The school's mascot and several students who rushed the court hugged Schneeweis. So did men's bas- ketball coach Larry Eustachy, who was on the hook for a portion of the $7,500 prize. Just that morning, John Morris, CSU's assistant direc- tor for athletics, suggested that Eustachy, Williams and two other coaches--football's Jim McElwain and women's voileybail's Tom Hilbert-- sponsor his promotion idea. The coaches agreed. Morris said Sunday that he'd made the sponsorship suggestion "half-kiddingly." "It's easy for me to say because it's not my money," he said. Morris said the shot and ensuing pandemonium were "icing on the cake for an evening that was already a lot of fun." Avideo of the prize-winning shot went viral on YouTube, and ESPN included it among the day's top 10 highlights." Within two weeks, the coaches wrote out their checks to cover the in-state tuition costs. Just a week before the tu- ition win, Schneeweis sank a half-court shot at a rec center near the family home, now in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village. Did that success provide the boost in confidence that helped Sch- neeweis replicate the feat be- fore thousands of screaming fans with so much on the line? "It's possible. Practice always helps. It could have paid off," he said. "I'd have thought I'd be nervous in front of [thousands of] people. But I was.., calm as ever." Knockout From page 1A police officers to Crown Heights. Several police vans, a mobile command center, police cars and two officers on horseback have been stationed near the corner of Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue, a bustling commercial street with bak- eries, groceries and Judaica stores, and home to the world headquarters of Chabad- Lubavitch and the Jewish Children's Museum. Inside the museum, Mi- chael Harel, the manager of Chocolate and an Israeli who has lived in Crown'Heights for 13 years, said there is plenty of tension between blacks and Jews in the neighborhood, some of it attributable to class resentment. "Back in the days there were a lotofproblems here," he said. "Looks like it's coming back." But Pinchas Wooistone, a cafe patron, said Crown Heights is "light years away" from the era of the riots. Although he has lived in Crown Heights for only six years, Woolstone said he used to visit the neighborhood in the 1970s, when it resembled "a war zone." "No black-person or Jewish person would speak to each other; they hardly looked at each other," recalled the Australia native, who works for a commercial cleaning company. "The latest little flare up is not good, but we shouldn't contemplate it's anything like it used to be." The Rev. Al Sharpton pub- licly condemned the knockout attacks. "There is nothing funny or even remotely enter- taining about attacking innocents walking down the street," he wrote in a column for the Huffington Post. "This is not a 'game'; it is inhumane behavior that has no place in our country or the world." Zaki Tamir, chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, said black and Jewish community leaders have enjoyed good relations in recent years, and the neighborhood has become safer over the past decade, in part due to gentrification. He acknowledged that the latest attacks are shattering the sense of security that had been built up. "Suddenly this is reninis- cent of old times and it makes everyone fee i very vulnerable," Tamir said. Civilian patrols working in conjunction with the police have been stepped up to help escort children home from the train at night, as well as women and those considered easier targets, according to Tamir. The community is "more organized than ever before in terms of preventing crime and keeping streets nonviolent," he said. "People realize Crown Heights is not a haven for hoodlums anymore." At a press conference Mon- day at the Crown Heights Youth Collective, sever- al Brooklyn elected officials, including Eric Adams, the incoming borough presi- dent, condemned the attacks, and Tamir's group offered a $1,500 reward for informa- tion leading to the arrest of perpetrators. Nathan, a Chocolate cafe employee who did not want to give his last name, said news of the attacks prompted him to stop allowing his three children, the oldest of whom is 8, to play unattended outside the lobby of his apartment building. Survivors From page 1A He receives $1,200 every three months in reparations from the German government and another $120 per month from Israel, but it's not enough. Jakobovitz skimps on buying medicine to save money. He doesn't buy new clothes, and purchases only the cheapest shoes--they hurt his feet. Only rarely does he splurge on orga- nized day trips for the elderly. And he's not alone. A report this year by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel found that a majority of Is- rael's 192,000 survivors are struggling economically. An- other 40 percent report fee ling "very lonely." Two-thirds are unsatisfied with government assistance for survivors. And 92 percent feel the govern- ment doesn't invest enough in their welfare. "There are still gaps be- tween the respons andwhat's needed," said Roni Klinsky, the foundation's CEO. In the past, "people got less help and weren't organized enough to get assistance. The state always has troubles. There are wars and new immigrants. But the survivor issue wasn't a high priority." The issues are pressing now, Klinsky says, because of the dwindling number of survivors--it's the last chance to make a substantive differ- ence for many of them. An estimated 37 survivors die every day in Israel, a rate that within five years would nearly halve the survivor population to just over 110,000. In the state's first decades, some Israelis reacted to survivors with ambivalence, deriding them as passive and weak. The Dorner Report, a 2008 government study on public assistance to survivors, charged that "as they built, developed and defended the land.., successive govern- ments of Israel neglected the right of survivors to personal reparations." Klinsky says attitudes have changed and Israelis now respect the resiliency of Ho- locaustsurvivors. The govern- ment also has dedicated $1 billion in additional funding to survivors over the past four years. Recently elected Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who often references his fa- ther's Holocaust experience, has added about $28 million in aid to survivors annually over the next five years. "The State .of Israel is try- ing to aid them to not only die with respect, but to live with respect," said Menachem Wagshel, the Social Welfare and Social Services Ministry's coordinator for Holocaust survivors. "We need to look at the coming years as critical, when we can still assist them to give them the best care." Among the challenges facing the government in meeting that commitment is defining just who qualifies as a Holocaust survivor. Fol- lowing the Dorner Report, the government expanded its definition to include those who escaped or performed forced labor, doubling the number of recognized survi- vors. Klinsky and Wagshel are now formulating for the first time a unified list of Israeli survivors that they hope to finish within two years. Wagshel also is creating a government office that will handle all survivor concerns, consolidating a sprawling ap- paratus. One potential beneficiary of all that is Ruth Eizenberg, who escaped from Kiev to the Ural Mountains as a child, arriving in Israel in 1972. Eizenberg, 79, has asthma and trouble walking. She lives in a fifth- floor walkup in Jerusalem. A government-funded care- taker who visited her twice weekly was dismissed recently because, Eizenberg said, a nurse misjudged her ability to live unassisted. Eizenberg is requesting the caretaker's return, but thus far without Success. Eizenberg's most reliable help comes from Yedida Freilich, 25, a student who visits once a week as part of Adopt-a-Saffa, a volunteer program founded last, year to provide company for lonely survivors. During her last visit, Freilich helped Eizen- berg acquire a cane from Yad Sarah, a nonprofit that aids the disabled and elderly. "When you know you're seeing the same person on the same day at the same hour, it gives structure to a life that is otherwise inactive," said Jay Schultz, Adopt-a-Safta's founder. Another new initiative to address survivor loneliness is a community center founded two years ago in a bomb shel- ter in central Jerusalem. In newly renovated rooms, the center hosts holiday celebra- tions, lectures a'nd activities for 120 regular attendees, Jakobovitz frequents a similar center in Tel Aviv. The programming is nice, he says, but the government needs to take more responsibility. "I want to rest," he said. "I don't have a lot of demands. I'd like to live a little better, to go into a store and buy a shirt or shoes that are comfort- able. I know this is my last stop and I'm too old to want. I don't need money to spend, just to live."