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June 28, 2016 / 22 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘youth’

Israeli Olympic Team Announced

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The Olympic Committee of Israel approved its list of 36 athletes to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on Sunday.

A final spot will be reserved for a youth ticket to be earned pending the outcome of the European Athletics Championships.

Male Representatives of Israel are Zohar Zemiro for Marathon, Misha Zilberman for Singles Badminton, Alexander Shatilov and Felix Aronovich for Artisitic Individual All-around Gymnastics, Golan Pollack, Ioseb Palelashvili and Ariel Zeevi for Judo, Shahar Zubari for Sailboard, Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela for  470 Sailing, Sergy Rikhter for 10 meter rifle shooting, and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or, Imri Ganiel, Yonatan Kopelev, Gal Nevo and Yakov-Yan Toumarking for  Swimming races,

Female Representatives of Israel are Jillian Schwartz for Pole vault, Valeria Maksiuta for Artisitic Individual All-around Gymnastics, Neta Rivkin for Rhythmic Individual All-around Gymnastics, Alice Schlesinger for  Judo, Lee Korzits for Sailboard, Nufar Edelman for Laser Radial Sailing, Vered Buskila and Gil Cohen for 470 Sailing, Amit Ivry for Swimming races, Anastasia Gloushkov and Inna Yoffe for Synchronized Swimming, and Shahar Peer for Singles Tennis.

Malkah Fleisher

Keeping Our Children Safe

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

How do we teach our children to keep themselves safe from the adult predators in our midst? Are our schools teaching them what they need to know? Are parents teaching our youth what they need to know? Does your child feel safe enough to approach you if their personal space is being invaded? How do you know?

Parents and Educators:
How do you teach the skills needed?

Most abusers are not what we picture in our minds. In other words they are not the repulsive dirty man sitting on a park bench. In fact, most abusers are youths themselves.

More parents and schools need to teach children these basics. Teach your children to say, NO, GO, and TELL you or another parent/parental figure when other children or an adult does something that they know is wrong – or even just feels not right. Unfortunately, most parents admit to not speaking to their children about these issues. I know it is uncomfortable for some, but there are ways parents can speak to their children about staying safe from abuse, without compromising their morality.

The secondary – and more devastating – trauma that children (and later adults) have with sexual abuse is that they feel that they cannot tell anyone, or if they do tell someone, their reports will be discounted. If more children would have the courage and self esteem to speak out, and more parents and educators would have the ability to trust and listen to children when they talk, our world, their world, would be a safer one.

Remember: Children with one or more of the following attributes have an increased risk of being abused:

* Good at keeping secrets. * Often not believed by adults. * Children with poor social skills. * Children with few friends. * Children who crave adult attention.

Some basic tips on how to teach your children to be safe:

* Invite your children to speak to you about anything they would like. You do not have to force a child to speak to you; the invitation is the most important part of the message. Children need to know that they can come to you if they need to. A child who feels comfortable sharing uncomfortable conversations with his or her parents has a much lower risk of suffering the trauma of abuse and the secondary trauma of feeling as if he or she is at fault and/or cannot share experiences with others.

* Ensure that your children know that they can inform you if something or someone makes them feel uncomfortable.

* Teach them that they can share this with you even if the person is a brother, uncle, aunt, cousin, teacher, babysitters, stranger, or family friend.

* Children need to be taught this at a young age (4-8).

* Do not tell children that if anything ever happens something bad will happen to the person who did it. First, you cannot guarantee that. Second, very often, it is someone with who they have a close relationship and may want to protect.

* Model themes related to safety so that your children can become aware if others are violating their rights. These include modeling healthy respect of physical and emotional boundaries; modeling the respect of privacy amongst family members within the home; and modeling the ability to talk about sensitive feelings in an appropriate manner.

* If you know of a child who often seeks close relationships with adults, find him/her a mentor, before he finds his own (or the adult finds him).

Chaim Sender

It’s My Opinion: Protecting Our Children

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary recently testified in a court hearing against ex-Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. The testimony he gave before the jury was sickening on two counts: He described witnessing the alleged details of a sexual assault on a minor child and he admitted he was not vigilant in exposing what he saw. The incident, according to McQueary, took place over ten years ago.

Sandusky had been a greatly admired man. He headed a popular youth charity that funded camps and projects focused on at-risk kids. The coach was a stellar figure in the community.

Despite stunning testimony by McQueary and three alleged victims, Sandusky denies the charges. He is accused of abusing 10 minor children over a 15-year span. He is charged with 52 criminal counts involving these alleged assaults.

McQueary said he went to head football coach Joe Paterno the day after witnessing the incident and to Penn State officials a week later. He spoke of being vague and non-explicate when explaining the incident.

“Mind your own business” has become a catch phrase of contemporary culture. We all have our own troubles. We all have our own worries. We hesitate adding to them.

The Jewish nation has another take on the issue. The Torah admonishes that we cannot “stand idly by.”

Most educators and youth leaders are fine and dedicated individuals who care about the youngsters in their charge. The impact that they have on young lives can be incredibly positive.

A minority, unfortunately, gravitate to children for other reasons. Their impact is always devastating.

We are now in the more relaxed summer season. Children’s activities are less structured. Sleepovers, field trips and camp experiences are the standard. Parents, grandparents and administrators need to be especially vigilant.

Let your children know they can and should go to you with anything that makes them uncomfortable. Let your children know they can say “no” even to an authority figure. Keep the door of communication wide open.

Shelley Benveniste

Jewish Residents Apprehensive as Peace Now, Arabs, Count the Days for Migron’s Fall

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

A group of young children parade in a circle, waving Israeli flags against the clear blue sky. They are directed by several youth leaders who are trying to keep the kids in line. It is a few days before Israel’s Independence Day and Migron is preparing for the upcoming festive ceremony, held for the entire community.

Some of the mothers come out to watch their children perform. Among them stands Aviela Deitch, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who has been living for the past year in Migron, a tiny community of 49 families, located 14 miles north of Jerusalem. She lives in a small mobile home with her husband and six children, in a community considered “illegal” and “unauthorized,” and even marked as a “wildcat outpost” by those who oppose its existence – and subsequently described as such in the international press.

For Aviela, the terminology does not matter.

“We chose to live here because we wanted our children to know the responsibility of building a community in a place that has wonderful people,” she says to the Tazpit News Agency.

Migron children preparing for Israel's Independence Day. Photo: Anav Silverman, / Tazpit News Agency.

Migron children preparing for Israel's Independence Day. Photo: Anav Silverman, / Tazpit News Agency.

“There is a certain quality of life in Migron and a very strong sense of community. The youth are bright and polite and their parents are involved. Our children attend great schools in nearby communities, while the younger ones go to Migron’s community daycare and kindergarten. There is almost a zero-percent crime rate.”

Established in 1999, Migron is made up of mostly young professionals who served in the IDF and national service, graduated from universities, with many now working primarily in social work, special education, rehabilitation, elderly care, computer programming and mechanical engineering.

Until 2006, the residents of Migron lived quietly, certain that their children would continue to flourish in a safe and happy environment embodied by the values of their community.

“I couldn’t imagine raising my kids anywhere else,” says Itay Harel, one of Migron’s founders who established the community 13 years ago.

But an unexpected battle began after the Israeli anti-settlement movement Peace Now, which aims to eliminate any Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, to be replaced by a Palestinian state, claimed that Migron was settled on privately owned Arab land.

“Who are these organizations to dictate to us where our homes should be?” asks Harel. “We received the proper authorization to establish this community over a decade ago.”

Migron residents claim that the Arabs were not even aware that they supposedly “owned” the land until Peace Now instigated the petition on their behalf.

In an unprecedented ruling in August 2011, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Peace Now’s attorney and ordered the government to evict the Migron settlers. The evacuation and dismantling of Migron is scheduled to take place this coming August.

Itay Harel says that the land was barren when he first arrived. “No Arabs were living in this area. There was nothing here when we came to set up this community, which was one reason why we chose build here in the first place,” he says, pointing out the rocky landscape.

Harel runs a horseback-riding therapy clinic for youth at risk with his wife. “Our clinic currently caters to 80 children from across the country, many of whom come from broken homes and could not fit in a traditional school system. They have abused drugs and alcohol, and some are physically-challenged. They are given necessary life-tools and skills through the therapeutic experience of learning to ride and maneuver horses”

An idealistic 38-year-old social worker, Harel speaks warmly about the Migron community. “I helped found Migron with the idea that it would serve as pillar for troubled youth.” He says.

The Israeli government identified Migron as a necessary strategic development, standing as it does on a hill overlooking a busy main road, the site of Arab shootings that left countless Israelis dead in the valley below during the Second Intifada of 2000-2005. The Israeli government set up the electrical lines, the running water and the infrastructure for a functioning sewage, as well as a telephone system. It also provided families with mobile homes which are still in use today.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

The Key to Greatness

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Most people never achieve their full potential, either, because they don’t really know themselves, and don’t know where their potential lies, or because they have some barrier in their way.

Meir Kahane knew himself. Even when he was a teenager, he knew that he wanted to help the Jewish People as much as he could. He recognized that Jewish identity and the true practice of Torah had been distorted by the exile and by life in foreign non-Jewish lands. Stemming from this, he recognized the great dangers of assimilation and yearned with a towering passion to cry out and warn his beloved brothers and sisters. He knew what he wanted. He understood his potential. But there was a barrier in his way. He stuttered. That’s right – Rabbi Meir Kahane, perhaps the most dynamic Jewish orator of our time, a speaker capable of inflaming hearts and inspiring the masses, a par-excellence TV debater who chopped the glib intellectual banter of opponents into tiny insignificant scraps, he had a bothersome stutter in his youth, which had to be mastered in order to fulfill his dream of reaching out to the Jewish People.

This is how he did it, as revealed in the gripping biography, Rabbi Meir Kahane – His Life and Thought, written by his wife.

He overcame his barrier. Through his example, we can learn to overcome ours.

Rabbi Meir Kahane – His Life and Thought

From Chapter Three

During his high school years, Meir began to stutter, or at least to become conscious of it. A classmate said he did not stutter when they were together in fourth grade; if he did she would have been aware of it, because her own brother stuttered.

When Meir was 20 and attending the Mirrer Yeshiva rabbinical seminary during the day and Brooklyn College at night, he decided to do something about his stuttering. In July 1952 he enrolled in the Martin Hall Institute for Speech Disorders in Bristol, Rhode Island. In a summary written for a therapist at Martin Hall, Meir related:

“When I was 9 years old my parents gave me a book for my birthday, titled, ‘So to Speak: A Practical Training Course for Developing a Beautiful Speaking Voice.” I did not know then why they gave me the book. In grade school I had no trouble. I recited in class and acted in plays. I recall going to the office, speaking to the principal, Rabbi Braverman, about skipping a grade, and to Mr. Hirsch about being the valedictorian. I was not afraid then.

“In high school I had no trouble, as far as I remember, during the first and second terms [the first year] – except that I would rather read [aloud] than speak in classes. I had trouble speaking in Rabbi Feivelson’s class, and I think he expressed surprise, but I had no trouble speaking to kids or teachers informally. Once in class, Farber poked me to say I stuttered in reading … even though I was better in reading than in talking…. The teacher definitely expressed surprise. I also had trouble in French class. (I think I was AFRAID.) I also had trouble in English at Lincoln giving reports.

“I spoke up in class, especially English … recited, etc. I approached Rabbi Zuroff about a Begin meeting. I was definitely much better conversationally than now, and had no trouble speaking to girls. My friend Victor confirms this.”

One of the most difficult things for a stutterer is making phone calls. Meir names the friends he phoned easily and those he was afraid to call. He has a fuzzy memory of being nervous about making calls for his father. He recalled a Betar meeting where he could not talk to two girls. He was afraid to speak up at the Betar convention, but he overcame his fear, and a friend assured him that he had not stuttered. In college, Meir’s fear of stuttering became worse. He wrote:

“I did do some speaking in class … though in History, I was afraid but wasn’t BODILY afraid…. I was afraid to give a report in economic geography, and walked out of the Bible Hebrew class. I was deathly afraid of speech in my last term. In fact, I dropped a previous speech class when the teacher said I stuttered. I had bad trouble asking for transcripts. I showed a paper to the guidance counselor [instead of speaking]. I stammered controllably at interviews. I had trouble answering when attendance was taken. I was afraid to talk up in sociology…. When I was 19, I couldn’t ask for a stapler at Macy’s.”

Some stutterers discover that they cease stuttering when they are distracted from their usual speech patterns. Almost any novel stimulus, such as tapping a finger, swinging the arms, or stamping a foot, can serve as a distraction (until the novelty wears off). Meir’s trick was to blink, as he did on various occasions in later years.

Tzvi Fishman

Original Jewish Press Video: Beauty and Joy of Israel’s Heart – Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The streets of Jerusalem on the special day commemorating the city’s reunification. A celebration of youthful energy, enthusiasm, and love of the Jewish homeland. Everyone is included and dancing together from all backgrounds in an overflowing expression of unity. Original footage 2012 shot by JewishPress.com’s Jerusalem based videographer Natan Epstein. Music by Shlomo Katz, “There Will Be Heard”. Shlomo is seen performing at the concert next to the kotel (Western Wall of the Temple Mount) at the end of the video below.

If you are wondering where all the women are at the Jerusalem Day celebration, you can see them in the video made last year at the event by the Jewish Press’s own Yishai and Malkah Fleisher who captured the ladies side of the festivities in 2011.

Yocheved Seidman

Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part VIII)

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Scholars have debated where precisely the Baal Shem Tov was born, few giving credence to the tiny village of Okopy (pronounced Akup). Most likely he hailed from Kolomyya on the slopes of the Carpathian Mountains and on the banks of the Prut River. Nearly 300 years have lapsed since the passing of the Baal Shem Tov and all the while the stories of his miraculous abilities have increased. Yet all fail to fully portray his greatness.

Orphaned from both of his parents at a very young age, he was nonetheless deemed a wonder-child by all who observed his unusual ways.

In his youth he was hired as a “behelfer” in a cheder, meaning he would escort young boys to their teacher and to shul in order to say “Amen” and “Yehei shemei rabba.”

His love of his fellow Jew – even toddlers – by that point nearly defies description. The Maggid M’mizretch commented upon those days, “Hallevai, if only we would kiss a sefer Torah on Simchas Torah with a fraction of the love the Baal Shem would kiss the young students.”

When he turned 18 years old, legend has it, he went out to the forests, as he was accustomed to doing, for special introspection in honor of his birthday. It was there that he met Elijah the Prophet, the first time that he had seen him alone and not in the company of hidden saints. And it was then that a new path in serving the Almighty was hatched, to be known as chassidus.

Yisrael (the Baal Shem Tov) saw his mission as encouraging the masses to have simple and pure faith and to pray with intense concentration. Critical was ahavas Yisrael and allegiance to pious Torah leaders. And everything was to be done with paramount joy and a constant awareness of G-d’s presence in all of life’s facets.

The Baal Shem Tov and a group of devoted followers would travel to the most faraway townlets to teach the children aleph-beis and rudimentary Judaism. They would establish educational systems for the youth and pay equal attention to their parents.

Focusing first on the lower classes and those most hard hit from the massacres and the pogroms, the Baal Shem Tov would not only raise their spirits but assisted in their livelihoods. Only then would he tend to the scholars who also sought his counsel.

The Baal Shem Tov’s message was not only tailor-made for the people, but it was precisely what they desperately needed to hear. Without fire and brimstone, righteous indignation or even a hint of castigation, he built up the bitter souls with a message of love.

Love for one Jew toward another, and unrestrained love of the Lord.

With boundless love and compassion, the Baal Shem perceived a spark, although sometimes dormant, of holiness in every Jew. It was this ember that he constantly tried to ignite. He never threatened or instilled fear, invoked purgatory or employed righteous indignation. His message was clear, simple and short: a fulfillment of the Talmudic dictum, “G-d desires the heart.”

Another principle that was drilled was that “no place is bereft of G-d’s Presence.” A philosopher once stated, “I took apart the world and didn’t find G-d.” In response, a violinist remarked to him, “That’s akin to me saying I took apart my violin and didn’t find music.” A person needs to look at the harmony of the whole world in order to behold G-d.

The result of the Baal Shem’s approach was magic. The masses flocked to him and found comfort and hope in lives that had been previously miserable and desolate. A heavy burden was lifted from their shoulders.

The Baal Shem Tov’s enthusiasm and pleasant countenance was contagious, and villagers freely welcomed guests into their modest hovels – fulfilling the Talmudic adage, “hospitality is greater than greeting the Lord.”

The concept of evil was thoroughly foreign to him. “What shall I do with my son? He is so wicked!” asked a despairing father. “Love him all the more,” was the characteristic counsel of the Baal Shem who shunned reprimands.

The Baal Shem mesmerized whomever he met, and seeing him meant falling under his spell. His repertoire of anecdotes, parables, metaphors and aphorisms was endless, and he appealed to the heart as well as to the mind. The Baal Shem Tov captured the hearts of the poor and the humble; everyone could approach him. The stories and legends of the Baal Shem Tov shine and sparkle in the darkness.

Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/reb-elimelech-mlizhensk-part-viii/2012/05/16/

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