September 13, 2001
Young Judaea Sends L.A. Youths to Israel
Five students from the Los Angeles area left for Israel on Sunday, Sept. 2. They will spend the next 10 months living, studying and working in Israel with Young Judaea's Year Course program. While getting a firsthand look at Israeli life through volunteering, travel and contact with Israelis, they will earn college credits to take back with them to the United States. This year's Hadassah-sponsored Young Judaea Year Course program is the largest to date. Attending are 150 participants from the United States, 75 participants from FZY (Federation of Zionist Youth) in Great Britain and five Israeli tsofim (scouts).
For more information about Year Course call (310) 709-8015 or check the web at www.youngjudaea.org
Ventura County Celebrates Judaism
"The Jews have gone West," said Joel Aaronson, president of the Jewish Federation of Ventura County, as he surveyed the Ventura County Jewish Festival on Sept. 9. Aaronson says they plan to make the event an annual one, especially after the turnout of more than 5,000. "We may not be millions," said Cheri DeKofsky, executive director, "but we are mighty." Held at Cal State Channel Islands in Camarillo, the festival was designed to bring together Jews of every denomination with food, arts and crafts and entertainment.
Aaronson was very proud that Jews and non-Jews throughout the county, regardless of denomination, were able to work together. "If we can do this, the world can do this."
The Ventura Klezmer Band started off the festivities with a lively mix of Hebrew and Yiddish tunes -- with a little Gershwin thrown in. A children's stage and play area allowed the whole family to enjoy the festival. "This is really incredible," said Karen Cardozo of Ventura. "It really pulls the whole Jewish community together." Planning will begin in late fall for next year's festival. To get involved with the 2002 festival, contact (805) 647-7800. -- Shoshana Lewin, Contributing Writer
The American Orthodox community suffered the loss of one of its guiding lights with the recent passing of Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Pam, head of the Torah Vodaas Yeshiva in New York. Scores of Angelenos, many of them professional educators, regarded him as their chief mentor and guide; hundreds more turned to him for counsel and his characteristic loving smile. In reminiscing about Pam, a few vignettes emerged as favorites.
Pam stepped into a cab in New York on a cold, winter night with a student, who later recounted the details. As the driver began to pull away, Pam noticed that the meter was not turned on. When he pointed out the assumed oversight to the cabbie, the cabbie said: "I should make a lot more money than my boss pays me! The fare is $12 bucks. Why should you care if I moonlight a bit?" Pam was adamant. "It's not honest." The driver was just as insistent, until Pam offered to pay him double, with half going to the boss.
The driver agreed. At the end of the trip, the meter read $12. Pam paid him $24 -- and added a $2 tip!
The cause dearest to his heart was the organization Shuvu (Return), which he founded in 1990 to provide Jewish education to Soviet immigrant children. Too weak to attend its recent annual fundraiser on his own, he arrived by ambulance, and came into the hall on a stretcher. Even though he had not met the 10,000 children, he would not let them down.
-- Contributed by Shelly Fenig