June 5, 2008
Briefs: Jewish educators award scholarships, State accredits Jewish teacher training
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Harkham Hillel Students Win Essay Contest
Two students from Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills took home top honors in a nationwide essay contest on the theme of Israel at 60.
The Jewish Heritage annual essay contest, sponsored by Torah Atlanta and open to middle school students from sixth to eighth grade throughout the United States and Canada, promotes ideals of Jewish education and Jewish identity.
First-place winner Sammy Azair, an eighth-grader at Hillel, took home $500 for his essay, "Impossible Dream." "Even though Israel seemed like an 'impossible dream' 60 years ago, it is now a reality," Sammy declared in the winning essay.
Second-place winner Leona Fallas, also a Hillel eighth-grader, received $250 for her essay, "I Love Israel." "The tiny country that nobody thought would succeed is now leading in technological advances and exporting expensive items, insuring its financial longevity and economic growth," Leona wrote.
Hillel student Dari Kreitenberg took home an honorable mention for "Israel at 60: A Miracle Revisited."
Third-place winner was Michal Freundlich, 13, a student at Torah Day School of Atlanta.
More than 100 students from Hillel submitted essays, and each essayist was awarded a certificate from the Jewish Heritage Foundation.
To read the winning essays, visit http://www.jewishheritagecontest.com/ or http://www.hillelhebrew.org/.
Camp Offers Preview for Creative Teens
The BIMA program, Brandeis University's summer arts institute for high school students in Waltham, Mass., is offering a preview weekend of its arts camp for students grades nine to 11. BIMA trains developing artists in instrumental and vocal music, visual arts, writing and theater, while observing Shabbat and providing meals in Brandeis' kosher dining hall.
Teens can get a taste of the summer camp during the preview that will run from July 31 through Aug. 3. Attendees will get a $250 discount for the monthlong camp in the summer of 2009.
Attendees will participate in field trips throughout Boston and the Berkshire Mountains and have access to onsite facilities, such as libraries, student centers and athletic facilities. The camp connects Jewish values with the arts, deepening campers' creative imagination and spirituality.
For more information, call (781) 736-8417 or visit http://www.brandeis.edu/bima/.
L.A. Boy Participates in Leaders Conference
Traveling from his home in Los Angeles, Jack Bloom, 11, visited the nation's capital last month with sixth- and seventh-graders from around the country to attend the National Junior Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C.
Nominated by his English teacher at Palms Junior High School, Jack, an avid sports fan, was selected to attend the conference because of his scholastic achievements and leadership abilities.
Jack feared the trip might be boring but was surprised to find it exciting and rewarding. The group traveled to Philadelphia to learn about the Revolutionary War, West Virginia to re-enact the Civil War and to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials.
The baseball, basketball and soccer player learned leadership traits during interactive workshops and classes, and formed bonds with other students who share his thirst for learning about U.S. history.
"It was a great experience," Jack raved. "We learned about what makes a good leader."
Jack hopes to use the valuable lessons he learned during the conference and continue to develop his leadership abilities. Jack, who attends Hebrew school at Temple Isaiah and Camp Alonim each summer, plans to have his bar mitzvah in Israel.
New Jew Plans Summer Session
New Community Jewish High School in West Hills is offering an educational summer session open to all high school students from June 16 through July 18. Classes will include history, math, science, visual and performing arts, world languages and writing courses. For more information, contact Eric Sloate at (818) 348-0048, or visit http://www.ncjhs.org/. -- CS
Fourth-Grader Raises $10,000 for Darfur
Pressman Academy fourth-grader Michelle Hirschhorn raised more than $10,000 for Jewish World Watch and the children of Darfur. The 10-year-old organized "Jump-4-Darfur," at Temple Beth Am on March 24. During the fundraiser, more than 60 children were sponsored to jump rope in order to raise money to buy backpacks for children in Darfur.
Kids and parents jumped more than 19,100 times in about 45 minutes.
After learning about the situation in Darfur at Camp Ramah last summer, Michelle became motivated to educate other children and young adults. With help from her parents, Gary and Lilia, she exceeded her initial goal of raising $3,600.
"We are so blessed here in America. I knew I wanted to do something to help the children in Darfur," Michelle said.
Big Sunday Brings Big Smiles to Sick Kids
Hundreds of Sinai Temple members and community volunteers delivered care packages and compassionate messages to sick children for Chai Lifeline's "Bundles of Happiness" project on May 4, part of Los Angeles' Big Sunday effort.
Putting together colorful backpacks filled with toys, gifts, games and craft kits donated by companies across the nation, members of all ages united to cheer up hospitalized and homebound children.
The community service project was one of many that occurred throughout the city during Big Sunday, Los Angeles' annual weekend of community service. More than 50,000 people participated in Big Sunday projects.
Volunteers from Chai Lifeline's West Coast Sohacheski Family Center delivered backpacks and handmade cards decorated by children. "Over the past three years, Chai Lifeline has delivered more than 1,000 backpacks to children, and each one has elicited smiles and happy responses," said Randi Grossman, Chai Lifeline director.
The organization provides emotional, social and financial support to help families cope with life-threatening pediatric illnesses.
For information, call (877) 374-6331, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.chailifeline.org/locations.php.
L.A. Group Awards Graduate Fellowships
The Professional Leaders Project (PLP), a Los Angeles-based organization that educates and connects Jewish lay and professional leaders in their 20s and 30s, awarded five graduate fellowships in business and public administration. PLP will fully fund their graduate programs and offer mentorship and career guidance in exchange for a three-year commitment to serve the Jewish community.