Jewish Journal


March 31, 2005

Young Lobbyists



Congressional staff members heard cogent arguments on the topics of separation of church and state, women's reproductive health and banning assault weapons from some singular constituents recently -- the confirmation class members of University Synagogue in Brentwood. Led by Rabbi Morley Feinstein, the students -- Alyssa Mannis, Sabrina Benun, Ben Marcus, Eric Rosenstein, Spencer Strasmore and Jack Eller -- attended the L'Taken Seminar of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C., in February.

With 250 youth from around the country, the group learned about social justice issues, toured the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, visited Georgetown and reflected Reform Judaism's positions in addresses they prepared for the staffs of California's Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles). The Los Angeles group led the havdalah service at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial on the Washington Mall.

For more information on University Synagogue in Brentwood, call (310) 472-1255.

Shalhevet's Street Fair

Shalhevet High School students are expecting about 2,000 people at a Sunday, April 10 Israel Street Fair, where musicians, artists and Judaica vendors will offer their goods in the Shalhevet parking lot at Fairfax Avenue north of Olympic Boulevard.

Students have worked tirelessly for months to get vendors, sponsorships, entertainment and security for the fair. The $3 admission and 15 percent of all vendor revenue will support Israeli victims of terror, according to student Zach Cutler, who with his Israel Action Committee co-chair Eliya Shachar, headed up the efforts.

Local dignitaries are expected, and kids will be busy with special art and storytelling booths, Krav Maga self-defense lessons and food from Nathan's Famous Hot Dog, King David Grill and Delice Bakery.

"We want people to shop, eat, enjoy live Israeli music, and the best way to do that is to have an outdoor festival under the hot Israeli sun," Cutler said.

The Israel Street Fair takes place, Sunday, April 10 (rain or shine), noon-4 p.m. at Shalhevet, 910 S. Fairfax Ave. Parking is on Fairfax and at Midway Hospital. For more information, call (310) 228-7939 or (310) 462-7201.

Big Money for Big Ideas

For teachers and schools who have been sitting on that great idea, now is the time to put it in on paper and send it to the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE). CAJE is inviting grant proposals for up to $10,000 for innovative educational programs for the 2005-2006 academic year. The grants are available for congregational schools, early childhood centers and day schools, and will be judged on the merit of idea, creativity, the number of people served and the depth of Jewish content.

Applications are due April 15. For more information go to www.caje.org or contact (212) 268-4210.

And the Winners Are....

Three women have been awarded the 2004 Simha and Sara Lainer Distinguished Educator Awards for Early Childhood Education: Delanie Maghen of Sinai Akiba Nursery School in Westwood, Barbara (Bobbie) Match of Temple Adat Elohim Preschool in Thousand Oaks and Jila Parhami of Temple Akiba Nursery School in West Los Angeles were singled out for their excellence in teaching preschool. The $2,500 award is part of the Sara and Simha Lainer Fund for Jewish Education, established in 1989 at the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE), an agency of the Jewish Federation.

For more information contact the BJE at (323) 761-8605 or go to www.bjela.org.

Purim Fun Parents Can Learn, Too

It may be true that children don't come with how-to manuals, but parenting classes can help.

Educator Simi Yellen focuses on creating discipline, dealing with sibling rivalry and instilling Torah and mitzvahs in her Positive Parenting classes at homes in Beverly Hills, the La Brea area and the Valley. Her class is part of the women's learning division of Ashreinu, an Orthodox organization that reaches out to unaffiliated Jews.

When parents engage in constant power struggles with their young children, it sets up negative patterns that will last far beyond the time when they need help with eating, getting dressed and their homework, Yellen said.

"The goal of our class is to create a positive atmosphere in the home," explained Yellen, who learned her methodology of positive parenting from Rebbetzin Sima Spetner, a mother of 13, while she was living in Jerusalem. "Parents and children should not be in conflict all the time. They should be working together."

The main way parents can increase their children's cooperation is to shower them with positive feedback when they are behaving, so they become internally motivated to want to do the right thing.

"We should give children lots of praise and attention when they are acting as we want them to act and very little attention when they are misbehaving," Yellen said.

For more information on Positive Parenting call (323) 651-0177. -- Jennifer Garmaise, Contributing Writer

You can reach Julie Gruenbaum Fax at julief@jewishjournal.com or (213) 368-1661, ext. 206.


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