After only one year, UCLA's meal plan offering hot kosher meals to students has come to an end. The failure of students to sign up for this dining option is in part the reason for its demise, as participation dwindled from five students in the fall trimester, to only three in the winter, and eventually one lone student in the spring.
The program, which was available to students living in the residence halls, cost an extra $400 per quarter on top of the already mandatory "room and board" fee. Cost is thought to have been a large deterrent for students who had initially expressed interest in the program. William Calder, associate director of operations at Hillel, said that although the university, the dining services and UCLA Hillel worked together to support the program, the initial interest was not enough to continue it for the 2008-2009 year.
Calder believes that if the program had the funds to sustain itself longer, interest might have grown over time.
Sharona Kaplan, a staff member of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, stressed that although this particular meal option has been revoked, students who keep kosher on campus still have a host of meal options, including some unheated, kosher prepared foods offered in the dining halls as well as the hot-food menu offered in the Hillel restaurant called The Shack.
-- Molly Binenfeld, Contributing Writer
Jewish Little League Sends All-Star Team to Israel
For the first time in its 20-year history, the Blue Star Baseball League sent a group of 12 children, ages 10 and 11, to Israel to compete in the Israeli Association of Baseball's youth league.
Blue Star is a competitive Sunday baseball league in North Hollywood for youth who can't play on Saturdays due to religious reasons. Started by the Emek Hebrew Academy in Sherman Oaks, which remains an active sponsor, Blue Star featured more than 300 member players this year, ages 5 to 12. The league's season runs from mid-March to early June.
The dozen players selected for the trip served as the league's All-Star Team as they challenged three teams from Israel's Little League and played two games against Israel's own youth All-Star Team.
One of the players, Noam Nuckiewitz, who was slated to pitch and play a combination of second base and shortstop in Israel, talked about his enthusiasm for the trip on his way to the airport last week.
"I'm excited to go to Israel, but I'm really excited to just go with my friends and be able to play my favorite sport," Noam said.
During their downtime the players were scheduled to take day trips to see Israeli sights and attend two bar mitzvahs.
"It's exciting because we are incorporating not only the baseball aspect but also the fact that we're going to the Holy Land," league manager Ira Leibowitz said.
For more information about Blue Star Baseball League, visit http://www.eteamz.com/bluestarbaseball.
Youth Camp Implements Israeli Defense Forces Training
Km-X: Ready for Life summer camp, for children ages 6 to 12, features Krav Maga, the same training techniques used by top soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Israeli martial arts will be paired with programs offered by Activities Children Enjoy in a blend of educational and physical activities including rock climbing, sports conditioning, yoga, water activities and team-building games.
During Krav Maga clinics, instructors will train students to enrich their minds and strengthen their characters and bodies. Campers can look forward to daily catered lunches and special appearances by members of the Los Angeles Fire Department and Los Angeles Police Department, who will emphasize the importance of personal safety, common sense and skills needed to lead a positive, healthy lifestyle.
Two weeklong sessions are offered in two locations: Aug. 11-15 at Pan Pacific Park, 7600 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles and Aug. 18-22 at Beeman Park, 12621 Rye St., Studio City.
For more information call Matt Romond, (310) 966-1300 or visit http://www.activitieschildrenenjoy.com.
-- Celia Soudry, Contributing Writer