Olympic gold medalist Lenny Krayzelburg returned last week to the Westside Jewish Community Center (WJCC), where he trained as a teenager, to teach young competitive swimmers what it takes to make the gold.
Krayzelburg, along with former coach Stuart Blumkin and senior staff members of the Westside and West Valley JCCs, led 96 swimmers through a rigorous program aimed at boosting their physical and mental stamina, as part of the Lenny Krayzelburg Summer Camp.
"It goes way beyond swimming," said Krayzelburg, who embraces his status as a role model. "It teaches them dedication, responsibility and learning."
The weeklong camp, initiated by the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles, was designed for swimmers ages 7 to 17 who participate in school and community competitions. The program included technique development (boot-camp style), land exercises and goal-setting.
"The children were inspired by him and loved his presence," said Ani Dumas, WJCC health and physical education coordinator, who designed the program with Diego Cevallos, WJCC aquatics director.
Krayzelburg received his first U.S. training at the WJCC and worked there as a lifeguard when he came here from the Ukraine with his family about 13 years ago. He views the summer camp as a way to "give back to the community where I grew up," he said.
Krayzelburg heads this week to Israel for the 16th Maccabiah Games. "I'm very excited. I think it's a great experience to share during this event, and especially right now, with the political uncertainty there." --Orit Arfa
Wilson: It's Not My Fault
The Republican Jewish Coalition, Los Angeles (RJCLA) hosted former Gov. Pete Wilson on June 26 at the Skirball Cultural Center, for a discussion of California's energy crisis. Wilson outlined his administration's efforts and compromises to enact electricity deregulation, and what he called Gov. Gray Davis's failure to avert the crisis. Wilson, a former San Diego mayor and state senator, and a distinguished visiting fellow at the conservative Hoover Institute since leaving office in 1999, entertained the RJCLA with a recollection of his campaign entry into statewide politics. Wilson thanked his Jewish Republican friends for helping him reach out to Jews throughout California. "When I first ran for senator," he said, "I didn't know a shekel from a shmeikel [a swindle]."
Visit RJCLA on the Web at www.rjcla.org.--Mike Levy
Fast Day for Prayer
The Orthodox Union will commemorate the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz on July 8 with a nationwide day of prayer and action for Israel. The event, to be held in Los Angeles at Congregation B'nai David-Judea, will include prayers, information about solidarity trips to Israel, and a video featuring Israeli citizens and officials urging active support. Local elected officials have been invited to participate and to accept a petition in support of Israel.
Program follows Mincha services, 7 p.m. Congregation B'nai David-Judea, 8906 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 229-9000.--Mike Levy