Gloria Eisenberg has vivid memories of her youth in Russia. She remembers the small town she first lived in before the White Volunteer Army troops entered her house during the anti-Jewish pogroms. Along with her mother and siblings, Eisenberg was robbed of her belongings and evicted from her home, with nowhere to go. Earlier, her father had moved to America, and she didn’t remember him.
As the new school year begins, thousands of Jewish students will gather at their local synagogue or temple once a week or more to learn about their religion and mingle with their peers.
Committed to engaging their pupils, teachers and educational directors are thinking outside the box to keep older students enthusiastic about spending Sunday mornings or weeknight evenings away from their computers, sports practices, and teenage pastimes. Offering diverse electives, infusing Jewish texts into discussions of current events, and incorporating arts into the curriculum are just some of the many ways teachers are shaking things up for the 2017-2018 school year.
Rabbi Marc Blatt, middle school Tanach teacher at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS), is coordinating an effort across the school to create and send mezuzot to Texas and Florida for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Terilynn Platt’s high school 3D-printing class is partaking in this initiative, and fired up the printers for the first time this school year to help these communities, and our fellow Americans, rebuild.
Kindergarten teacher Xani Pollakoff (L) and students look on as kindergartener Annaelle S. blows a resounding tekiah at MILTON in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of MILTON)
Fourth-grade students from Krieger Schechter Day School in Baltimore participated in a 9/11 ceremony sponsored by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), in partnership with the Embassy of Israel, at the Pikesville Fire Department.
For people with food sensitivities, community awareness, clear communication, and a little empathy can go a long way.
From holidays to life-cycle events, food is central to Jewish culture and social interaction. This is particularly true on Sukkot, with its mitzvah of eating meals in the sukkah and the tradition of inviting guests. Yet for some members of the Jewish community, the Torah directive to “be happy on your holidays” with food and drink can be a fraught subject.
When the Torah illustrates the characteristics of good leadership, the two major attributes are humility and concern for people in the community. With over 8,000 residents at Leisure World, a gated community for adults ages 55 and older in Silver Spring, Maryland, opportunities abound for acts of service. Here is a brief look at one of the more active yet humble people in service to the residents of the Leisure World community and beyond — Dave Weiss.
As the school year begins, we sometimes forget that school isn’t only a place to learn, but also a place where we can experience Judaism in a fun way. Ending one of the first Shabbatot of the year together as a school community reminded me of why I love this school and Shabbat. As we stood in a circle listening to Havdalah, I looked around the room and noticed the smiles on everyone’s faces and I could feel the sense of community in the room.
Middle school students at Beth Tfiloh in Baltimore helped members of Baltimore Yachad raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Yachad serves Jewish children and adults with disabilities. The funds raised will go to Houston Yachad to distribute among schools in that area.
(Photo courtesy of Beth Tfiloh)
Local Jewish organizations provide therapeutic, recreational, emotional, and social services to thousands of people each year. Always on the lookout for ways to keep their efforts funded for maximum impact, organizations no longer rely solely on donations from private funders, banquet dinners, galas, or silent auctions. In the past decade, many non-profits have started utilizing a grassroots approach to fundraising by involving individuals in their communities.
Many college students choose to kick back and relax during their summer vacations, but Jessica Serber highly recommends taking the opportunity to travel and do work you are passionate about.
Through the program Onward Israel, Serber, a nursing student in her junior year at George Mason University, spent eight weeks this summer volunteering with ALEH, a network of state-of-the-art facilities in Israel for children with severe, complex disabilities.
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