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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Menifa – Completion of The School Year

Friday, July 6th, 2012

“Every child is a flower that grew and will flourish and will succeed”

“You have all been through a long and difficult journey,” belted Rafi to the group of twenty-five boys at the end-of-year ceremony for Menifa’s Lech Lecha program in Gilo. “I remember the falls and climbs you each experienced.”

Menifa’s Lech Lecha program is located in the Eretz HaTzvi Religious Boys High School in Gilo, a suburb of Jerusalem. Lech Lecha is an alternative high school program for at-risk teenage boys who have dropped out of high school. The program is one of close to forty such programs that Menifa – Leverage for Life runs throughout Israel. Some of the boys in this program have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, others have emotional or psychological problems. There are boys with a history of crime, from broken homes and families with severe financial difficulties and then there are those who come from normative situations. The uniting factor for each boy who enters “Lech Lecha” is that he is unable to remain in a regular high school program and requires an alternative framework that will allow him to grow and develop.

The end-of-year ceremony was quite emotional, as it should not be taken for granted that twenty-five boys who were thrown out of multiple schools and spent time on the streets are now celebrating the completion of a school year. A big part of this success is the staff’s devotion. Rafi, the life coach, recalled some difficult times but emphasized that he never lost faith in any of his boys. “I would call five times and ten times and fifteen times and you would not come to school. You would say, ‘Nu, don’t you get it, I am not coming’. After twenty times, you walked into the door.”

Perhaps the most moving part of the evening was the distribution of certificates to the seven graduating seniors. Some of these boys spent three years in the program. Each graduate will be continuing in either military service, a pre-military preparatory academy or yeshiva study. This is certainly an accomplishment for boys who were thrown out of school and were wandering the streets.

Natan* will be going to a pre-military preparatory program next year. He came to Lech Lecha three years ago, after having been thrown out of multiple high schools. The first two years, he rarely came to school. It was very difficult for him to sit and learn. However, the staff did not give up. They encouraged him to stay in the program, even if it meant not showing up for classes. In the third year of the program, a revolution occurred and he began coming to classes and participating in field trips.

Roi* was chosen by the other graduates to speak on their behalf. “After three years, I learned a great deal. You helped me learn more than in any other school I was in. You enabled me to advance and to stand up.” Roi will be enlisting in the IDF in the coming months.

When the boys who will be remaining in the program were asked what they want to see next year, they responded almost unanimously, “a water cooler”- something so basic and essential, yet clearly missing. The “Lech Lecha” program is located in the basement of the Eretz HaTzvi school. There are no windows and the conditions are sub-par. The bathroom is in need of serious repairs and the boys do not even have a water cooler where they can take a break and get a refreshing drink. Due to limited funds, Menifa is currently not able to refurbish the center.

The parents left the ceremony with hope. The teachers left with pride. The graduates left with dreams. The younger students left with a promise, “By the start of the school year, you will have a water cooler.”

A water cooler costs $1,000. Donations towards this project can be made payable to the P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds, Inc. 317 Madison Avenue, Suite 607 New York, NY 10017. Please make sure to write in the memo Menifa- Leverage for Life. For further information please contact Alisa Bodner: alisa.menifa@gmail.com or (561) 914-9482 or in Israel 052-7710135.

Jan Karski Honored In N.Y.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

A Manhattan street corner has been named after a Polish World War II hero who brought early eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust to the West. Madison Avenue at 37th Street was designated Jan Karski Corner. A statue of him stands there, in front of the Polish Consulate.

 

During the war, Karski was a clandestine Polish Government diplomat – in exile – in London.

 

On a secret mission to Nazi-occupied Poland, the Roman Catholic Karski met with leaders of the Jewish underground. They told him about what they called Hitler’s war against the Polish Jews.

 

 

Jan Karski (seated) being honored at the Polish consulate in NY

with Rabbi Chaskel Besser in 1996.

 

Yad Vashem recognized Karski in 1982 as Righteous Among the Nations. He was made an honorary citizen of Israel in 1994.

 

At the time of his death, nine years ago in Washington, Karski was a history professor at Georgetown University. President Clinton had been one of his students.

 

Friends Of The Shalom Foundation Launched In N.Y.

 

On Sunday, April 26, 2009, the Friends of the Shalom Foundation of Warsaw will present Jewish Life & Culture of Poland Musical Soiree, a special event celebrating the vitality and cultural vibrancy of Polish Jewish heritage. Hosted by board members Chairman Sigmund Rolat, President Lydia Sarfati, Lea Wolinetz, Rivka Ostaszewski, and Paul Dykstra, the event marks the launch of the Friends of the Shalom Foundation in the U.S. Featuring Golda Tencer, Originator and General Director of the Shalom Foundation Poland, Cantor Joseph Malovany of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue and the Ariyon Ensemble of Chicago.

 

The event will serve as a celebration of the culture and arts that flourish in Poland commencing a weeklong of events in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 21, 2009). The Foundation is hoping to encourage membership and support. The Shalom Foundation of Poland was established in 1988 at the initiative of Golda Tencer, an actress and director of the Ester Rachel & Ida Kaminska Yiddish Theater in Warsaw.

 

Amongst the Foundation’s achievements are:

 

1.The creation of the exhibition “And I Still See their Faces,” shown in over 29 museums throughout the world.

 

           2.The establishment of the, “I.B. Singer Warsaw, Jewish Cultural Festival,” an annually scheduled event that draws together outstanding artists and interpreters of Jewish Culture.

 

3. Publications, including:

 

A.     We, Polish Jews, by Julian Tuwim

B.     The anthology, Children of the Holocaust.

C. Accuse, a volume of poetry.

D. Nothing’s a Gift by Wislawa Szymborska

E. Memory.

F. The History of the Jews Before, During and After the Holocaust, edited by Feliks Tych.

 

4. A Center for Yiddish Culture with classes and workshops in Yiddish on various levels, international summer Yiddish language and culture seminars in association with the Israeli organization The National Authority for Yiddish Culture.

 

5. Concerts, documentaries, television and stage productions.

 

The official launch of Friends of the Shalom Foundation will take place at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York under the Honorary Patronage of Honorable Krzysztof W. Kasprzyk.

 

The public is invited to the launching of the Friends of the Shalom Foundation to take place on April 26 at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York 233 Madison Ave New York, NY 10016.  Time: 5- 7:30 p.m.  RSVP required. E-mail: FriendsOfShalomRSVP@gmail.com or call 201-549-4200 x248.

Jan Karski Honored In N.Y.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

A Manhattan street corner has been named after a Polish World War II hero who brought early eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust to the West. Madison Avenue at 37th Street was designated Jan Karski Corner. A statue of him stands there, in front of the Polish Consulate.

 

During the war, Karski was a clandestine Polish Government diplomat – in exile – in London.

 

On a secret mission to Nazi-occupied Poland, the Roman Catholic Karski met with leaders of the Jewish underground. They told him about what they called Hitler’s war against the Polish Jews.

 

 


Jan Karski (seated) being honored at the Polish consulate in NY

with Rabbi Chaskel Besser in 1996.

 

Yad Vashem recognized Karski in 1982 as Righteous Among the Nations. He was made an honorary citizen of Israel in 1994.

 

At the time of his death, nine years ago in Washington, Karski was a history professor at Georgetown University. President Clinton had been one of his students.


 


Friends Of The Shalom Foundation Launched In N.Y.


 


On Sunday, April 26, 2009, the Friends of the Shalom Foundation of Warsaw will present Jewish Life & Culture of Poland Musical Soiree, a special event celebrating the vitality and cultural vibrancy of Polish Jewish heritage. Hosted by board members Chairman Sigmund Rolat, President Lydia Sarfati, Lea Wolinetz, Rivka Ostaszewski, and Paul Dykstra, the event marks the launch of the Friends of the Shalom Foundation in the U.S. Featuring Golda Tencer, Originator and General Director of the Shalom Foundation Poland, Cantor Joseph Malovany of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue and the Ariyon Ensemble of Chicago.

 

The event will serve as a celebration of the culture and arts that flourish in Poland commencing a weeklong of events in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 21, 2009). The Foundation is hoping to encourage membership and support. The Shalom Foundation of Poland was established in 1988 at the initiative of Golda Tencer, an actress and director of the Ester Rachel & Ida Kaminska Yiddish Theater in Warsaw.

 

Amongst the Foundation’s achievements are:

 

1.The creation of the exhibition “And I Still See their Faces,” shown in over 29 museums throughout the world.

 

           2.The establishment of the, “I.B. Singer Warsaw, Jewish Cultural Festival,” an annually scheduled event that draws together outstanding artists and interpreters of Jewish Culture.

 

3. Publications, including:

 

A.     We, Polish Jews, by Julian Tuwim


B.     The anthology, Children of the Holocaust.


C. Accuse, a volume of poetry.


D. Nothing’s a Gift by Wislawa Szymborska


E. Memory.


F. The History of the Jews Before, During and After the Holocaust, edited by Feliks Tych.

 

4. A Center for Yiddish Culture with classes and workshops in Yiddish on various levels, international summer Yiddish language and culture seminars in association with the Israeli organization The National Authority for Yiddish Culture.

 

5. Concerts, documentaries, television and stage productions.

 

The official launch of Friends of the Shalom Foundation will take place at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York under the Honorary Patronage of Honorable Krzysztof W. Kasprzyk.


 


The public is invited to the launching of the Friends of the Shalom Foundation to take place on April 26 at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York 233 Madison Ave New York, NY 10016.  Time: 5- 7:30 p.m.  RSVP required. E-mail: FriendsOfShalomRSVP@gmail.com or call 201-549-4200 x248.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/jan-karski-honored-in-n-y/2009/04/22/

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