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Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 11, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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December 11, 2009

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PAGE 8A Family festival fun The Roth Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando held its sixth annual Fam- ily Festival on Nov. 15 at Cranes Roost Park at Altamonte Springs. Every year, the Family Festival draws hundreds of parents and children to enjoy a day of fun, food, games and the spirit of community. Amy Schwartz Deb Lyons, Haley Lyons, Mia Ly and Quyen Ly take a quick break from the activities. Amy Schwartz Amelia Rivard tests out some flashy wheels. Amy Schwartz Anat Taggart of the Israeli band serenades one of her youngest fans, Isar Meitis. Amy Schwartz Carol McNally (top), Tara Harris and Julie Varkonyi were event planners. Amy Schwartz Jonathan Knudsen speaks to an interested parent about the J University after- school program. Amy Schwartz Benjamin Pringle lets out a big cheer. Amy Schwartz Snack time for Dr. Daniel Cohen and Zachary Cohen. HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 11, 2009 Hillel's Mitzner participates on GA panel Jenna Mitzner, program director for Central Flor- ida HilleI, was a panelist at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federa- tions of North America at Washington, D.C., in No- vember. Mitzner was one of five panelists asked to speak at a session titled, "Strengthening Identity Through Jewish Service Learning." With President Obama's call for young people to make a commitment of service totheir commu- nity and nation, this panel discussed how learning through service could help the Jewish community engage a new generation of leaders. Mitzner has been in- volved as a student and staff member inspiring young people who are now committed to having an impact both at home and well beyond their own hometowns--as far, in some cases, as the other side of the world, according to Hillel. Jew- ish service, at home and overseas, can be the key to real global connections, encouraging responsibil- ity and strengthening Jewish identity, a Hillel official said. Mitzner was recognized by the Ameri- can Joint Distribution Committee as an innova- tor in the field of service and as such shared her insights, best practices and important lessons. Central Florida Hillel students attending the conference said they were excited to see one of.their Jenna Mitzner staff members recognized as a leader at such a high profile Jewish convention. Next year's convention is scheduled for Orlando, beginning Nov. 16. Helpful hints on celebrating interfaith holidays The December holidays present particular chal- lenges for interfaith fami- lies. Parents tend to think about their own holiday traditions and what the children will miss, if they have decided to practice one faith. If you can accept that there will be compromises then you are halfway there, says Jewish family Services. While the parents' needs are important, it is better to keep the focus on the children's needs. LJse every celebration of a holiday as a teachable moment. Children should be given knowledge and education of each parent's particular faith, even if they are being raised with one religion. Be sensitive and always be ready with an honest answer to their questions. The parents should be responsible for coming to a mutual decision about how the holidays will be celebrated and share the decision with their chil- dren. Leaving the decision to children may cause them to be confused andworried that they will choose un- wisely and offend a parent. "It is key to help children understand that they can enjoy each parent's holiday without betraying either parent or their religious upbringing," says Susan Weissmann, clinical direc- tor at JFS. It may be agreed upon that both holidays are cel- ebrated in the household, which can give the children a greater understanding of the different ways people observe his or her faith. Allowing them to delight in the full array of tradi- tions will only enhance their awareness of this culturally diverse world. If only one faith is practiced, then find common ground, All religious and cultural holidays have at least the Shared element of harmony. Here are some sugges- tions and questions that may help make the Decem- ber holidays unique family celebrations at your home. What are the symbolic objects you use in your observance? Is there a cher- ished menorah? Can your children help make tradi- t.ional holiday foods? Why not decorate cookies in both holiday designs? What new traditions can your family begin? Will the oldest child begin lighting the candles the first night? Is there a special Christmas decora- tion that has a place in your interfaith home? Do your children appreciate the significance of Christmas for those who believe? Do your children understand the history and meaning Of each holiday? By openly communicat- ing, showing respect for each person's faith, and being flexible, the holidays can be a celebration for all. JFS wishe you a Happy Chanukah, Merry Christ- mas, Joyous Kwanzaa or any other tradition your family celebrates at this time of year. Temple Israel juniors celebrate with seniors Edible dreidels were pre- pared, shared and eaten as resident Ben Rosenbaum played "r Have a Little Dreidel" on his harmonica. Temple Israel's children from 4-6 years old and their parents began the Chanu- kah festivities at the end of November by celebrating with senior residents at Chambrel at Island Lake. This intergenerational event was coordinated by Cathy Swerdlow, program director at the Jewish Pavilion and staffed by social work intern Debra Smith. Ben Rosenbaum and Temple Israel children perform at Chambrel at Island Lake. Says Swerdlow, "Cham- brel is an ideal facility in Longwood for older adults who wish to engage with other Jewish people. There are more than 40 Jewish residents in independent and assisted living. The chef at Chambrel prepares delicious and beautiful Jewish holiday meals for Rosh Hashanah, Chanu- kah and Passover to ac- commodate their Jewish population." Swerdlow has provided many of the recipes the years. Jewish Pavilion offi- cials pledge, "No senior in long-term care will be forgotten." More than 40 Chanukah activities have been planned by the Jewish Pavilion.