• August 1, 2015

Class notes - Cleveland Jewish News: Features

Class notes

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, February 27, 2012 2:47 pm

Teens leaders attend BBYO Conference

Sixteen high-school students from Northeast Ohio were among 900 teen leaders who attended the largest-ever international convention of BBYO, formerly B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, in Atlanta, February 16-20.

For the past eight decades, the international convention has served to unite the rising leaders of AZA and BBG, BBYO’s respective boys’ and girls’ organizations, to set the course for the coming year, determine strategies for strengthening the youth-led movement and connect teens to the worldwide Jewish community.

With a convention theme entitled, “Our Tomorrow Starts Today,” participants set their focus on making an immediate difference in the world as representatives of a movement of more than 31,000 teens. The weekend included “A Day of Service and Advocacy,” in which participants dispersed throughout Atlanta to 18 service-learning sites.

“At IC 2012: Our Tomorrow Starts Today, we were given the opportunity to learn a lot about Israel, bullying and how to effectively advocate to help others,” said Marni Young, 18, of Solon. “During one of the days, we were able to participate in one of many day of service projects, which allowed us to make a direct impact on the Atlanta community. This is my third international convention and my sixth international BBYO event. I feel it is important for me to attend IC because I was able to further expand the skills I have learned at other BBYO programs, spend time with hundreds of teens I have met over the years and learn something new.”

Koby Picker, 17, of Solon, “I attended IC because it gives you perspective on just how powerful this BBYO movement really is. It inspired me to take an active role in helping my community.”

Other local teens in attendance included Brooke Altman, Noah Ickowicz, Shelby Kammer, Jessie Paley, Max Peltz, Jacob Popper, Avielle Saffar, Alyssa Schor, Nate Shiffman, Ilana Siegel, Zoe Smith, Brad Tenenbaum, Sydney Ungar and Emily Weiss.

TOTS INVITED: Congregation Kol Chadash in Solon will begin a new monthly Early Childhood Shabbat Experience: BARRel of Fun with Cantor Laurel Barr for young people ages 5 and under. The first free, open program will be a celebration of Purim at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 9. Participants can come dressed in costume for an interactive Purim celebration. The congregation is located at 6545 SOM Center Road. Call 440-263-5571.


FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE: The Teen Scene Girls of Friendship Circle will open a restaurant on Tuesday, March 6, with seating at 6 and 6:45 p.m. The restaurant, located at Friendship Circle’s building at 27900 Gates Mills Blvd. in Pepper Pike is open to the community. The cost is $10 for adults and $6 for children under 12. The menu will include a pasta entrée, Israeli appetizers, soup-du-jour, salads and dessert bar. Contact info@friendscleveland.com or 216-377-3000, ext. 1004.

Friendship Circle will conduct teen volunteer training on Sunday, March 25 at 5:30 p.m. for boys and at 7:30 p.m. for girls. The program is open to all interested teens. Training will focus on interactive skills for volunteering with children with special needs. Contact info@friendscleveland.com or 216-377-3000.

Adult volunteers are needed Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. to help children of varying abilities with homework and supervision. Volunteers are also needed for special programs. Contact 216-377-3000 or sue@friendscleveland.com.

MAZEL TOV: Justin Bachman, a freshman at Solon High School, has won the bronze distinguished finalist medallion in the 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for his outstanding volunteer work. Based on the number of volunteer hours, he has also received the President’s Volunteer Service Award certificate and a letter from President Barack Obama.

Among his community service projects, Justin planned and co-hosted the city of Solon’s first Tolerance Fair last March, along with his parents Lisa and Ron and Mayor Susan A. Drucker. The fair’s purpose was to help people embrace differences and become involved in charitable work. The Bachmans are members of The Temple-Tifereth Israel.

Justin is an advocate for people with Tourette’s syndrome and speaks from personal experience on the importance of tolerance. He’s a frequent speaker at area schools.

•Laurel School junior Sophie Schwartz of Cleveland Heights won the second-place prize in the first International Teen Photo Photography Contest. Entrants were from more than 15 different countries, including the United States, New Zealand, China, India, Tajikistan, and Jamaica. Sophie was the second-place winner in Division 1 for ages 13-16.

•Jennifer Resto and her daughter Mia have won PJ Library's Refer-a-Friend grand prize of an iPad 2. After receiving their prize, Resto and Mia enjoyed a free Tot Shabbat at The Mandel Jewish Community Center with teacher Debbie Friedman. Born in Lakewood and affiliated with Beth Israel–The West Temple growing up, Jennifer and Mia recently moved back to Cleveland for quality of life and to be closer to family.

Since 2009, The PJ Library of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland has sent more than 60,000 free Jewish books to 2,700 children ages 6 months to 7 years.

RABBI’S VIEWS: Fuchs Mizrachi School head of school Rabbi Barry Kislowicz recently addressed Jewish day school challenges in his article “A Crisis of Inspiration” in the February 16 issue of the Wexner Foundation Newsletter.

“When it comes to day schools it seems that the buzz word of the moment is sustainability: the rising price of tuition, the inability of families to afford our day schools, and the struggle for institutional fundraising to keep up with the cost of education, etc. etc.,” said Kislowicz, a Wexner graduate fellowship alumnus.

Kislowicz said the burden tuition places on middle-income families cannot be underestimated, but there’s also the challenge of long-term growth in the day school movement.

“As a result of our progress we are not just facing a crisis of affordability; we are facing a crisis of inspiration,” Kislowicz said. “We must not only find a way to fund Jewish day schools, we must find a way to re-invent them so that they are again relevant and energizing to 21st century Jews. And, as a corollary, I would suggest that if we indeed succeed in inspiring this generation we will soon find our funding crisis is no longer quite so daunting.”

SUMMER JOBS: Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio has more than 100 paid internships this summer for teens entering grades 10-12. ArtWorks Summer, a workforce development program for high-school students, offers an intensive six-week program, five hours daily. No prior arts experience is necessary. Applications are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, March 30. Contact www.yaneo.org/artworks.

To submit news for this column, send to shoffman@cjn.org (put “Class Notes” in the subject line), fax to 216-454-8200, or mail to 23880 Commerce Park, Suite 1, Beachwood, OH 44122.




Welcome to the discussion.