Amit Magazine Summer 2006.qxd

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Amit Magazine Summer 2006.qxd

Summer 2006 | Kayitz 5766 | Vol. LXXVIII No. 3

Magazine


ARE YOU LOOKING FOR

A POST HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM

IN ISRAEL WITH

TALMUD TORAH

The opportunity to devote

yourself to text based, analytical

study in a beit midrash chavruta

setting, within a framework of

modern religious Zionism?

{or}

Now you can do both!

AMIT PROUDLY ANNOUNCES

MIDRESHET AMIT

AT BEIT HAYELED IN JERUSALEM

Under the direction of Shulamith Cohn, leading educator with 20 years

experience at YUHS for Girls and Camp Morasha.

The unique post high school program for women designed to

enhance your personal learning while you contribute to building

the State of Israel by giving to others.

TORAT CHESED

The opportunity to serve

as a big sister to Israeli children

and make a real contribution to

the land and people of Israel?

Now accepting applications

for September 2007

For more information please call 212-203-4683 or

e-mail: midreshetamit@amit.org.il


HONORARY

ADVISORY BOARD*

David Berger

Phil Blazer

Yaffa Eliach

Malcolm Hoenlein

Sara Lee Kessler

* in formation

PRESIDENT

Jan Schechter

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

Arnold Gerson

EDITOR EMERITA

Micheline Ratzersdorfer

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Charlotte Schneierson

MANAGING EDITOR

Nancy Kroll Margolis

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Raimy Rubin

DIRECTOR OF

COMMUNICATIONS

Barbara Goldberg

DESIGN

Spotlight Design

EDITORIAL BOARD

Joy Bashevkin

Evelyn Blachor

Margaret Charytan

Vivian Falk

Carolyn Finkelstein

Shoshana Glatzer

Deena Heisler

Aviva Jacobs Hoch

Sifrah Hollander

Norma Holzer

Gail Horowitz

Rena Hurwitz

Elona Lazaroff

Helene Lerner

Esther Lopata

Zipporah Marans

Naomi Max

Marilyn Moed

Miriam Muskin

Lorraine Reisman

Rita Schwalb

Sara Smith

Sondra Sokal

Lea Steinmetz

Meryl Weingarten

14

ISRAEL

8 Sderot Redux

The challenges facing AMIT in taking

over a secular school system.

Gila Orr, Photos by Orna Itamar

PROFILE

11 The Journey of Professor Jacob Klein

His many journeys – both geographic

and intellectual – culminate in a

tremendous academic achievement.

Article and Photos by Sarah Bronson

INTERVIEW

14 Q&A

David Solomon

EDUCATION

19

16 AMITing of The Minds/

You Be The Judge

Mediation reinforces the AMIT

philosophy of Beit Chinuch.

Article and Photos by Rachel M. Sprintzer

19 Intelligent Signs of Life

in the Universe

Young scientists from

Beersheva vie for

prestigious Intel award.

Zohar Bat-Shahaf,

Photos by Orna Itamar

MEDIA

TABLE OF CONTENTS

22 Arab Media – All the News That’s

Not Fit to Print

A provocative look at what is published

as truth in the Arab press.

By Eric Rozenman

DEVELOPMENT NEWS

31 After School Programs

32 Music To Our Ears

33 Heads, Hands and Hearts

34 Field Of Dreams

35 David’s Playground

DEPARTMENTS

5 President’s Message

7 On My Mind

25 Looseleaf

26 Dvar Torah

28 Reading Room

29 Insider

36 AMIT Around the Country

31

About the Cover: One of the first students of AMIT

Kfar Batya, Professor Emeritus of Bible and Assyriology

Jacob Klein is the first faculty member of Bar-Ilan

University to be inducted into the Israel Academy of

Sciences and Humanities. The background image shows

a map of the Ancient Near East with all important lands

and cities, including Sumer and Akkad. It is taken from

The Oxford Bible Atlas, 1962 edition, pages 54-55.

Photo of Professor Klein by Sarah Bronson

AMIT NATIONAL OFFICE: 817 Broadway New York, NY 10003 Tel: 1-800-989-AMIT, 212-477-4720, Fax: 212-353-2312, e-mail: amitmag@amitchildren.org.

AMIT OFFICES IN ISRAEL: Jerusalem: 8 Alkalai Street, Jerusalem 92224 Tel: 011-972-2-561-9222, Fax: 011-972-2-561-7076, e-mail miriamg@amit.org.il; Petach

Tikva: 28 Hamacabim St, Tel: 011-972-3-912-3123, Fax: 011-972-3-912-3122, e-mail: cheryl@amit.org.il. AMIT REGIONAL OFFICES: Baltimore: 7707 Grasty

Rd, Pikesville, MD 21208 Tel: 410-484-2223, e-mail: baltdcamit@aol.com; Boston: 7 Brady Rd, Westborough, MA 01581 Tel/Fax: 508-870-1571, e-mail:

amitboston@charter.net; Chicago: 3856 B West Oakton, Skokie, IL 60076 Tel: 847-677-3800, Fax: 847-982-0057, e-mail: amitchicag@aol.com; Cleveland: 13967 Cedar

Rd #250, South Euclid, OH 44118 Tel/Fax: 216-397-1490, e-mail: echamberg@att.net; Florida: 16499 N.E. 19th Ave, #216 N. Miami Beach, FL 33162 Tel: 305-949-

6000, Fax: 305-949-163, e-mail: amitflorida@aol.com; Los Angeles: 1122 S. Robertson Blvd, #9, Los Angeles, CA 90035 Tel: 310-859-4885, Fax: 310-859-4875, e-mail:

amitlac@aol.com; Philadelphia: P.O. Box 342, Wynnewood, PA 19096 Tel: 410-484-2223, e-mail: phillyamit@aol.com; San Francisco: 2232 Judah Street, San Francisco,

CA 94122 Tel: 415-664-6309, Fax: 415-664-4704, e-mail: abrand@hotmail.com.

AMIT is not responsible for the kashrut of any product advertised in the magazine. Signed articles in AMIT do not necessarily represent the opinions of the AMIT organization.

Reproduction of any material requires written permission. AMIT Magazine (ISSN 1085-2891) is published quarterly, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer, for $1.50

per year (included in membership dues) by AMIT, 817 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10003. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to AMIT, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 3


GIVE THE GIFT OF LEARNING

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

IN THE LIVES OF OUR

AMIT STUDENTS.

Sponsor a day of learning in honor or in

memory of loved ones at one of our more

than 60 schools and facilities across Israel.

AMIT educates over 16,000 children from

all walks of life in 21 cities and towns

throughout Israel. Thanks to AMIT,

they are all able to share in the pursuit of

knowledge every day.

Give the Gift of Learning to AMIT students and help build Israel, one child at a time.

For more information contact AMIT at 1-800-989-AMIT or email robinr@amitchildren.org.

This program is chaired by Nechi Shudofsky.

Make your contribution online today!

Visit our secure, award-winning website at www.amitchildren.org.

Have you visited the

award-winning

AMIT website today?

Log on to:

www.amitchildren.org

Sponsorship of a Day of Learning:

For one AMIT Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $360

For an AMIT School. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $500

For an AMIT Youth Village . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,800

For five years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $5,000


When we think of AMIT, what comes to mind are

the faces of the children in Frisch Beit Hayeled

and our other child care facilities, whom we nurture

and care for. But there is another face to AMIT, which

is very much in tune with the rapid development of Israel’s

economy in science and technology.

Hundreds of high school students in the AMIT Network

are excelling in the sciences and taking home prizes in

national and international competitions. For example, 20 of

the 9 th graders at our high school for girls in Haifa were invited

to participate in the prestigious Space Club in Israel,

named in honor of Ilan Ramon, z”l. They attended a series

of lectures on astronomy, astrophysics, planet science and

space medicine, and participated in virtual meetings with the

director of the Israeli Space Agency and with Jewish NASA

astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Kaplan. The girls also competed with 11

other school groups in a Cosmic Knowledge Competition

and – imagine! – they won. This AMIT school offers an

advanced math program in cooperation with the Technion,

and students can do a final bagrut (matriculation) project in

general technology.

Our high school in Givat Shmuel is run cooperatively by

the AMIT Network and Bar-Ilan University. Exceptional

students have the option of earning university credits by integrating

their high school studies with university courses at

Bar-Ilan. Every student carries a full academic program and

also is expected to complete the bagrut in Talmud. This high

school is considered a center of cutting-edge education, training

the next generation of Israeli scientists, and its students

have completed research projects on human cells, the brain

and robotics.

One exceptional AMIT graduate, who attended our high

school in Beersheva, has gone on to complete his Bachelor’s

degree in physics at age 19 and is now studying for his PhD,

which he is expected to finish in a mere year and a half. The

nuclear research center in Dimona has expressed interest in

Whatis

AMIT, founded in 1925, has a

proud history of service to

Israel and the Jewish people.

Our name, in English, stands

for “AMericans for Israel and

Torah.”,Whnt, in Hebrew, is an

acronym for “Irgun Mitnadvot

l’ma’an Yisrael v’Torata”

(Organization of Volunteers

for Israel and Her Torah).

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

having him do his army service

at their facility once he has finished

his doctorate.

Projects undertaken by

other of our young scientists in

Beersheva have included work

in theoretical mathematics,

logic puzzles, and a model for

producing micro products in

more sterile conditions, which

could help lower the cost of

Jan Schechter

producing these items in the

pharmaceutical industry or the micro-electronics industry.

Hand-in-hand with our focus on education in the sciences

and technology has been the role of AMIT in the retraining

of Soviet scientists who arrived as new immigrants to Israel.

Over the years we have provided teaching positions and a

livelihood to many physicists, chemists, biologists, mathematicians

and computer experts, often before they have completed

basic ulpan. And AMIT, in turn, has been richly

rewarded.

Several of our Soviet-born faculty have won accolades

for their teaching and one was awarded the 2005 National

Excellence in Teaching Award. Many young FSU immigrants

now choose to enroll in AMIT high schools because

of their excellent reputation in science education. And

once these youngsters become our students, they also are

exposed to AMIT Torah values and religious Zionist education

as well.

On page 19 of this issue you will find an update on the

recent achievements of some of our students. As supporters

of AMIT we can take great satisfaction in their accomplishments.

Our work for AMIT, which helps so many young

people in so many ways, clearly has fulfilled the dreams and

aspirations of these young scientists.

AMIT enables Israel's youth to realize their potential and

strengthens Israeli society by educating and nurturing children

from diverse backgrounds within a framework of academic

excellence, religious values and Zionist ideals.

AMIT educates and cares for Israel’s youth, including the most vulnerable. More than three quarters

of AMIT students cope with educational, psychological, economic and/or social risk factors.

AMIT approaches each child as an individual, maximizing his or her potential, and enabling our

students to become vital, productive members of Israeli society. The AMIT schools promote

religious tolerance, service to the state and the recognition that every child is blessed with unique

talents and abilities. Founded in 1925, AMIT operates more than 60 schools, youth villages,

surrogate family residences and other programs, constituting Israel’s only government-recognized

network of religious Jewish education incorporating academic and technological studies.

Photo: Courtesy Jane Windsor/ YU Photo

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 5


The Dedication Campaign at Ma’ale Adumim

There are numerous dedication opportunities still available for friends and supporters of AMIT.

You can honor and/or memorialize your loved ones while contributing to this important center of learning.

Junior and Senior High School

School Naming . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Gymnasium (community complex,

separate building) . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 500,000

Amphitheater . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 360,000

Entry Plaza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 250,000

Beit Midrash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Stained Glass Windows . . . . . . . SOLD

Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Soccer Field. . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 100,000

Sefer Torah. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Outdoor Basketball Court . . . . $ 50,000

Furnishings (Library) . . . . . . . . . . $ 36,000

Administrative Suite (offices for principal,

counselors and secretary) . . . . . . . . . $ 36,000

Art Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Biology Lab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

General Science Lab . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Tutorial suite (2 room unit) . . . . . . . SOLD

Computer Lab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Classroom (5 sold, 4 more available) . $ 20,000

Front Gate Mezuzah . . . . . . . . $ 18,000

Soldiers are strengthened by faith,

whatever their background.

We call these “Mitzvah Cabinets”

Students at the AMIT Elaine Silver Technological High School

in Beersheva design and build sturdy wooden cabinets to

safely hold the soldiers’ religious belongings as well as those

supplied by AMIT and the IDF. The cabinets travel with the

soldiers into the field—even under combat conditions.

Our soldiers are asking for additional cabinets. Your contribution

of $1800 dedicates a Mitzvah Cabinet. A dedicatory

plaque is attached to your cabinet and is a daily reminder to

the soldiers that others are thinking of them.

Entrance Door Mezuzah . . . . . $ 18,000

Teacher’s Lounge. . . . . . . . . . . $ 18,000

Ner Tamid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 18,000

Mezuzah (Beit Midrash) . . . . . . . . $ 18,000

Furnishings (Beit Midrash) . . . . . . $ 18,000

Science Prep Room . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Shulchan (for Beit Midrash) . . . . . . . SOLD

Garden Areas (1 more available). . . . $ 15,000

Sefarim (Sidurim, Chumashim) . . . . $ 10,000

Mechitza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 10,000

Mezuzah (Library). . . . . . . . . . . . $ 10,000

Mezuzot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 5,000

Bench . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 2,500

Elementary Schools

Sde Hemed

Library. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 75,000

Science and Prep Room . . . . . . . SOLD

Mathematics Resource Room . . $ 25,000

Educational Testing Room . . . . $ 25,000

English Language Lab . . . . . . . $ 25,000

Special Education Classroom . . $ 25,000

Computer Room . . . . . . . . . . . $ 25,000

Resource Room . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 18,000

Counseling Office . . . . . . . . . . $ 15,000

Science Equipment . . . . . . . . . $ 10,000

Computer Equipment . . . . . . . $ 10,000

Tzemach HaSadeh

Library. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 50,000

Educational Center for

Children with Autism . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Playground for Children

with Autism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Science Lab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Music Room. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SOLD

Art Room. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 25,000

Counseling Office . . . . . . . . . . $ 18,000

Therapy Room. . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 18,000

Computer Lab (2) . . . . . . . . . . $ 18,000

Drama Studio . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 18,000

Classroom (1 sold, more available) . . $ 15,000

For more information, please contact the Development Department at 1-800-989-AMIT, 212-477-4720, or email info@amitchildren.org.

To a soldier in the IDF, access to tallitot,

tefillin and siddurim can be a great comfort.

Join us in this wonderful Mitzvah

that supports Israel, the IDF and the

students of AMIT.

To sponsor a Project Sid Katz Mitzvah Cabinet please call 1-800 -989-AMIT or

212-477-4720, contact AMIT at info@amitchildren.org or

write AMIT, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.

PROJECT SID KATZ

Spirituality For Israel’s Defense

Endorsed by the IDF Chief Rabbi


“Knowledge has power. It

controls access to opportunity

and advancement.”

On My Mind

By Arnold Gerson

Executive Vice President

—PETER DRUCKER

In a recent article by Dina Kraft in

the Long Island Jewish World titled

“Retooling Israel’s Schools,” she

outlines the serious challenges facing

the Israeli school system. She points out

that some educators believe that the

school system has been on a downward

slide for two decades.

For a people who pride themselves

on being referred to as the “People of

the Book” this is indeed astonishing and

somewhat disheartening. While there

are clearly reasons for this downward

spiral and serious consequences for the

Jewish people, let me point to a ray of

hope for our children’s future.

As some of you have heard me say, I

believe that the mission of AMIT can

be encapsulated into three words:

Values, Excellence, and Compassion.

We provide a values based education for

every child within our system, which is

rooted in Torah and Zionism, we promote

educational excellence, and we

make sure that every child who needs

our help will be dealt with in a compassionate

manner.

On my recent visit to Israel I became

aware that the word ‘impact’ needed to

be added to the description of our mission.

I had the opportunity to see how

the AMIT Network, which we support,

impacts each school for which it is

responsible. A significant focus is on

our ability to raise the percentage of

Photo: Andrew French

children who qualify for the bagrut

(matriculation examinations). Without

this bagrut, children enter Israeli society

with a handicap and are unable to reach

the highest levels both academically and

economically.

AMIT is meeting this challenge

head on. We are looking at each school

and determining which ones need additional

resources to raise the percentage

of children who qualify for bagrut. We

are searching for ways to assist our children

and to help them understand that

they can accomplish anything to which

they set their minds. We try to find the

unique potential in every child and help

them realize their aspirations. Many of

our children don’t believe in themselves

and it is our role to nurture their confidence

and provide them with the tools

for success.

In February 2005 Bill Gates commented

while addressing the National

Governor’s Association that “when the

students don’t learn, the school must

change.” This is core to the AMIT philosophy.

If our children are not achieving

success we need to adjust the environment

to better enable them to succeed.

We are taking the lead in innovative

approaches to education with the

hope that as we develop different models,

and learn from our successes, we will

serve as an example of educational

excellence for the entire country. We

will then share this expertise to benefit

all students in Israeli society.

Of course, innovation requires

resources and we need to significantly

increase our resources to be able to take

the lead in Israeli society in the area of

education. I ask all of you to consider

how you can help us change the face of

Israeli society through your commitments

to AMIT. Let’s instill our children

with a passion for excellence and

provide them with the tools to realize

their dreams and aspirations.

COMING SOON!

Details Regarding the New Generation

Board of Directors…

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 7


8

ISRAEL

Sderot Redux

The Challenges Ahead

By Gila Orr Photos By Orna Itamar

REDUX (adjective) - brought back,

especially in being restored to

importance.

This is the second part of an article

on AMIT in Sderot, the northwestern

Negev development town that for the

past five years has suffered numerous

attacks of Kassam rockets fired from

the nearby Gaza Strip.

The First Steps

In September 2005, AMIT took the

first steps in the process of taking over

the entire state educational system in

Sderot. For the first time in the history

of AMIT (and for that matter in the

State of Israel), the religious Zionist

school network is assuming responsibility

for running not only state religious

schools but also the regular [secular]

state schools.

AMIT has been in charge of the

state religious educational system in

Sderot since 1997. In only a few short

years, the network was able to turn a

troubled system into one whose students

consistently test above the

national average. It did this by emphasizing

not only academic excellence but

also those Jewish Zionist values essential

to maintaining a strong, Jewish

Israel in the face of adversity.

In light of the proven track record of

AMIT, Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal asked

the network to step in to turn around a

declining state school system.

This venture into the secular education

system is, on one hand, a tribute to

AMIT. But, on the other hand, it represents

an unprecedented challenge to the

network in reaching out to a new and

often difficult population.

“Sderot is really a great challenge for

AMIT,” states Dr. Amnon Eldar, director

general of the AMIT Network. “We

discussed this at a special session of our

spiritual council before we accepted the

Mayor’s offer. Our council reached the

conclusion that this move has special

importance – and can even be viewed as

shlichut [a mission]. We are moving into

the state system not just to improve

academic achievement, but also to create

a program in Jewish heritage. And

this is being done in complete agreement

with the parents.”

As a first step, in September 2005,

AMIT took control of the town’s secular

secondary school – the Charles and

Regina Gutwirth Junior and Senior

High School. Over the next two years,

Sderot’s four secular elementary schools

gradually will be integrated into the

AMIT Network.

Two Systems In One

Arie Maymon was chosen to head up

developing the AMIT school system in

Sderot in general and integrating the

secular system in particular.

“My job is two fold,” explains

Maymon, “to develop and upgrade the

religious education system and to integrate

the secular system.”

Today, there are some 4,600 children

in the Sderot education system. Of

these, 1,300 are AMIT students in the

religious education system. Another

630 joined AMIT from the Gutwirth

High School. So AMIT is now respon-

“Sderot can be viewed as shlichut [a

mission].” Dr. Amnon Eldar, Director

General of the AMIT Network

sible for the education of approximately

half of Sderot’s students.

“The secular educational system has

been declining for years,” Maymon

continues. “Three years ago, the

Gutwirth School had 1,100 students.

Today, it has 630. Every morning, some

1,400 children flee this city to study in

educational institutions outside because

they feel they cannot get the education

they want in Sderot. This is one of the

reasons why the city wants to upgrade

education.”

The Gutwirth School is a challenge

with a capital C. Over the last four

years, the school changed principals

four times. Enrollment dropped almost

by half. Standards declined. Last year,

only 26% of the students graduated

with the Israeli matriculation certifi-

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


cate, and most of these did so with certificates

on the lowest academic levels.

Physical conditions are not good. There

were serious behavior problems. And

the school ended last year with large

budget deficits.

First Things First

Martine Ovadia, a no nonsense educator,

was appointed principal in

September 2005. Her first task – to

work on the lack of discipline.

“The kids did not respect the teachers,”

she relates. “They came to school

dressed sloppily. They would smoke in

the halls, cut classes and there was a

high rate of truancy. Previous principals

did not back the teachers with respect

to discipline. In short, all the limits had

been blurred. There were no clear rules

or regulations.”

The first thing Ovadia did was to

introduce a uniform dress code. Now,

every student must come in jeans and

the school shirt. She drew up a set of

rules and presented them to both the

parents and the students. “Nothing was

clear to these kids. We had to spell

everything out – no smoking on school

premises, no cutting classes, coming on

time, etc.,” she notes. “We started a policy

of zero tolerance. No problem is

swept under the carpet, no matter how

small. And we involve the parents in all

problems. You need to be both stubborn

and sensitive, and to apply the rules

equally to all.”

In parallel, Ovadia started a pedagogic

mapping and follow up of each

child. She had short-term plans drawn

up for this year’s 12 th graders and

longer-term plans for younger students.

“We have only a short time to make a

difference with our 12 th graders, but I

am not willing to write any child off,”

she insists.

Many of the children arrive in 7 th

grade with great educational gaps.

These are the children of poor, immigrant

families. Their Hebrew is not up

to par. And they need extra lessons in

English and math as

well.

AMIT has provided

the school with money

for extra tutoring and

extended pedagogic

support. There are now

two teachers in each

junior high school class

to help weaker students.

“I think we can say

we have turned a corner,”

Ovadia continues.

“The situation is no

longer catastrophic. The

kids come dressed neatly.

They have good

manners and our academic

results are improving.”

As for the fact that AMIT is a religious

Zionist school network, Ovadia

only has praise. “If you read the AMIT

platform, it is based on the same principles

that we value in the secular system

– tolerance, democracy and Jewish heritage.

We are on the same wavelength.

There are no problems concerning values.

We see eye-to-eye,” she states.

“The parents were apprehensive at

first,” relates Ira Cohen, head of the

Gutwirth Parents Association and

mother of a 10 th grade student. “We

were the first school to join a religious

network. There were all kinds of

rumors. But now that we see the

progress, we welcome this change.

AMIT is investing in our children.

They are learning to respect their teachers

and elders. They talk more respectfully

and the level of violence has

dropped. I see this as very positive.”

Planning Ahead

In the religious system, AMIT plans

to upgrade, both with respect to building

new physical facilities and to raising

the level of religious education. AMIT

currently offers three elementary

schools – AMIT HaRoe Elementary

School, which is a regular state religious

school, AMIT Torani Madai

ISRAEL

Putting their heads together (l) Amit Orenbuch,

Rosh Yeshivah of AMIT Sderot Yeshiva High School,

(r) Arie Maymon, the head of the AMIT

educational system in Sderot

Eli Edri, principal of AMIT Sderot

Religious Junior and Senior High School

Elementary School for those gifted in

the sciences, and AMIT Torani

Chadash Elementary School for more

observant children. The religious comprehensive

school is divided into a regular

boys’ secondary school, a girls’ secondary

school, and a yeshiva and ulpana

for the more observant.

“In building our system, we hope to

create competition and balance,”

Maymon explains. “Graduates of the

Torani elementary schools don’t remain

in the city. Therefore, we need to

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 9


10

ISRAEL

Hizme

Creations

5 Generations of Family Jewelers

Personalized Hebrew

jewelry designed to

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upgrade the religious content in our

ulpana and yeshiva. This upgrading will

also raise the level of our religious comprehensive

school.”

The first step will be upgrading the

ulpana, followed by the yeshiva. Plans

are also in the works for building a new

campus so that the entire religious comprehensive

high school will be located

in one place and not scattered as it

presently is.

What makes Sderot a real challenge

is the socio-economic and security situations,

which are constantly hovering in

the background. Most students cannot

afford even the most minimal extracurricular

activities. Some cannot even

afford basic school supplies. And the

boom of the Kassams makes it difficult,

if not impossible, for some students to

concentrate.

“The security situation is catastrophic,”

Maymon continues. “It has gotten

to the point where the children live in

fear on almost a daily basis. When the

alert goes off, the children start to

scream and run. The teachers are also

under pressure. Afterwards, how can

they teach and the children learn? It

takes hours until the children can concentrate

again.”

“Outwardly, we seem to have gotten

used to the booms and learned to live

with them,” says Eli Edri, general principal

of the AMIT Religious High

School in Sderot. “But this is a small

town and everyone knows everyone

else. The brother of Ayala-Haya

Abukassis [a 17-year-old high school

student killed by a Kassam while protecting

her brother] is in our school.

The two older brothers of the

Ethiopian babies killed are our students.

The father of one of our students

was killed. Ten of our students and five

of our teachers have had Kassams land

in their homes. The students have fears

and anxieties. AMIT has been very

good in providing us with trauma professionals,

but the fear remains.”

Nevertheless, Maymon is adamant in

On May 21, the

AMIT Sderot Religious

Junior and Senior

High School was hit by

2 Kassam Rockets.

Turn to page 24 for details.

insisting that, “The children of Sderot

should not be viewed as poor, unfortunates.

They don’t need pity. They need

the tools and the help to succeed in life.

And that is what AMIT is here to give

them.”

“Sderot means a lot to AMIT. It is a

town under fire. Many of its children

come from difficult backgrounds. For

nearly a decade, AMIT has been working

with the town to develop its religious

education system and to give its

children a better future. People see the

results and they know AMIT can deliver,”

concludes Jan Schechter, president

of AMIT.

Help Build Israel -

One Child at a Time.

Show the children of Sderot that

you care about the daily difficulties

they face. For more information

about how you can help, contact

AMIT at 1-800-989-AMIT,

212-477-4720, or e-mail

info@amitchildren.org.

Make your contribution online

with a major credit card today!

Visit our award-winning,

secure website at

www.amitchildren.org

where you can read about the

on-going campaign for Sderot.

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


The Journey of

Professor Jacob Klein

Article and Photos By Sarah Bronson

Standing at about five feet, with his

grandfatherly and gentlemanly air,

Jacob (Yaakov) Klein could easily

be mistaken for any other kind, aging

Holocaust survivor who arrived in Israel

after World War II and made the best of

what he had. But under his gray hair and

behind his smiling eyes, Professor Klein

possesses one of the greatest academic

minds in Israel. He is one of the most

world-renowned experts in the field of

Assyriology, the study of the culture of

ancient Babylonia and Assyria.

In recognition of his contributions to

academia, Klein, one of the first students

of AMIT Kfar Batya Youth

Village, was recently inducted into the

prestigious Israel Academy of Sciences

and Humanities, the membership of

which is capped at 70 university professors

at any one time (35 Science and 35

Humanities). According to a spokesperson

of Bar-Ilan University, Klein is only

the second Assyriologist in Academy history, and the first

faculty member from Bar-Ilan, to be inducted.

The Difficult Early Years

Klein was born in Hungary in 1934. When he was nine

years old, his father was taken into “military labor service” and

never seen again. A year later Jacob himself was deported and

eventually found himself in an Austrian labor camp. “I was

starving and closed up,” he remembers, “working hard, with

no decent heat, sleeping in barracks. But I was fortunate,

because I was with family and other people from our town.”

The group was slated for shipment to Bergen Belsen, but an

aunt persuaded the owner of an electric company to take

them in as laborers.

Jacob and his brother made aliyah in 1947. Since their

mother, who worked long hours as a seamstress in Rishon

LeZion, could not support them, the two boys moved imme-

a.

b.

PROFILE

a. Tools of his trade: Ancient tablet, magnifying glass, modern computer keyboard, tribute book about his

work (note the title). b. Man and his God: The professor’s copy of a new fragment (l) from the Sumerian

poem ‘Man and his God’ (or “The Sumerian Job”), a prayer of lament of a righteous sufferer to his personal

god, who, like the case of the Biblical Job, accepts his prayer and restores him to his former health.

diately to AMIT Kfar Batya Youth Village. At 13, Jacob had

only a third-grade education. His first impression of Kfar

Batya’s “four beautiful houses, huge dining room, and clinic”

was that the campus “was very clean. Not very developed –

there were no gardens or trees—but it was very clean.” Soon,

Jacob set to work with hundreds of other young Holocaust

survivors in the task of catching up with the rest of their lives.

The principal then was the legendary Chaim Zvi Enoch, a

master pedagogue and strict disciplinarian whose holistic

educational philosophy was felt in every aspect of the children’s

village. “It was the first time in three or four years that

I had a decent place to live, a daily routine, school, and a

framework,” Professor Klein told AMIT Magazine. “I repeated

8 th grade for 2 or 3 years, before I was entitled to the junior

high school diploma.”

Klein remembers Kfar Batya as having “a wonderful team

of teachers” and a “liberal, enlightened Orthodox atmos-

uWxa, .he ,Whnt

11


12

PROFILE

phere,” which he appreciated after his Orthodox schooling in

Hungary. He soon established a committee with other students

to campaign for a self-governing student body. With

Enoch’s permission, Klein and his peers organized many noncurricular

aspects of village life, such as waking up students,

rotating chores, organizing various cultural activities, and creating

beautiful gardens on the bare campus. “It was useful

training in leadership,” he said.

When Klein first arrived, the educational philosophy at

Kfar Batya and other Youth Aliyah institutions was that the

children should be trained in vocations, rather than for regular

matriculation. Young Jacob, slated at first to become a

metal worker, studied the profession during his first two years

of high school – an endeavor in which he remembers being

“mediocre” at best.

The War of Independence

The war of 1948 intervened in his vocational studies,

drawing much of the faculty into the army and leaving AMIT

Kfar Batya with a shortage of teachers. Enoch chose five of

the top students, including Klein, and offered them a creative

deal: to receive academic tutoring and study time toward regular

matriculation diplomas in exchange for teaching the

younger children.

One of his friends in the small and elite study group was

Professor Yaffa Eliach, now renowned as a pioneer scholar in

Holocaust studies. She said that Klein’s intelligence “was clear

even then,” and that “we studied outstandingly together.” The

two have remained in touch.

The training in subjects such as mathematics, English, and

Talmud was the first step in what was to become Klein’s long

academic career. But at the time, studying was rough going,

with much of the material being self-taught among the small

but motivated group of high schoolers. Klein excelled in

math, but he had to re-take two other exams in order to qualify

for the matriculation diploma.

Though his devotion to Assyriology was sparked long after

he left the gates of Kfar Batya, Klein acknowledges that he

was “very much influenced in my way of thinking by Enoch.

He did not appreciate memorizing things. He would teach

several classes on one mathematical principle, but after that, I

never had to memorize a formula. I knew them because he

taught me how to think. So later, when I studied Talmud and

science, I could understand it better than others, because I

learned how to think logically.”

“Kfar Batya gave a fine education to those orphans,” Klein

said. “They equipped us with a good background for life.”

Finding His Life’s Work

At 18, Klein left Kfar Batya and joined the Israeli army.

During his military service, he completed Nechama Leibowitz’s

Dead Sea 1952

THEN

Yaakov Klein (seated far right), Principal Rabbi David

Eliach (directly behind), and Kfar Batya classmates

weekly “gilyon” worksheets on the week’s Torah portion – which

were based on classical commentaries and on logic. Leibowitz

herself spent 20 years at AMIT Beit Zeirot Mizrachi in

Jerusalem, teaching Bible, Prophets, liturgy, and other subjects.

She also was in charge of the cultural program there.

When Klein later enrolled at Bar-Ilan University as an

undergraduate, Leibowitz hired him as an assistant to teach

Rashi to foreign students at Bar-Ilan. After observing his

work, she once asked “where did you come from?”

“Kfar Batya,” Klein remembers answering. “I felt it,”

Leibowitz reportedly replied. “I could tell you were a student

of Enoch.”

Klein was a member of Bar-Ilan University’s first graduating

class. Since the college then lacked departments in Hebrew

and Semitic languages – Klein’s interests – he majored instead

in Bible, with a minor in Talmud. Inspired by Professor Pinhas

Artzi, a Hungarian Assyriologist he’d encountered as an undergraduate,

Klein chose for his Master’s thesis, also at Bar-Ilan,

to do a comparative study between Biblical prophecies and

similar phenomena in Mesopotamian literature.

Babylonia and Assyria, also known as ancient

Mesopotamia, flourished for three millennia between 3000

BCE and the beginning of the common era. The founders of

this culture were the Sumerians, a non-Semitic people, who

lived in what is now southern Iraq. The Sumerians eventually

assimilated with the Akkadians of northern Babylonia.

Akkadian society later split into Assyria and Babylonia, and

around the time of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, Professor

Klein explained, Akkadian was the lingua franca of the entire

Ancient Near East.

Until about 1500 BCE, when the Canaanites invented the

alphabet, the common form of writing was “cuneiform,” a system

of symbols carved into clay tablets. Though in the first

millennium CE Aramaic, which used the alphabet for writing,

became the “international language,” in Mesopotamia and

Persia scribes continued to write in Akkadian and Sumerian

with the traditional cuneiform signs.

Having completed his M.A. degree in Bible and

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org

Photo: Courtesy of Professor Yaffa Eliach


Assyriology, Klein now had to find a home for his Ph.D. He

headed for the University of Pennsylvania, whose Department

of Near Eastern Studies included several renowned experts –

mostly Jews – on both Assyriology and the Bible.

Upon arrival in Philadelphia, Klein renewed his contact

with AMIT. The members of the Wynnfield Chapter “greatly

assisted” him, he said, and due to their help he

was an “adopted” member of the Lower Merion

Synagogue in Bala-Cynwyd for eight years.

Just as his training had changed from metal work

to liberal arts in the middle of his Kfar Batya career,

Klein was once again faced with a mid-program

switch in focus. At University of Pennsylvania he

had been studying under Ephraim Avigdor Speiser,

whose specialty was Akkadian and other Semitic

languages. But after three years, Speiser succumbed

to cancer, ending Klein’s trajectory into Akkadian.

Instead, he became a student of world-famous

Sumerologist Samuel Noah Kramer, of whom he

speaks with obvious admiration. It was then he

began his life-long commitment to teasing meaning

out of ancient cuneiform tablets and making

Sumerian language and culture more approachable

not just to other academics, but to the masses.

Klein’s interest in Mesopotamian culture stemmed

from his desire to always “get to the bottom of everything,”

he said. “I knew that this is the background

to the Bible. You cannot understand the Bible without it. I

started as a Bible student, but became distracted by Assyriology.

This culture is fascinating.”

Poetic Pairing

About 10 years ago, Klein formed a unique partnership

with Israeli poetess Sh. Shifra, with whom he anthologized a

collection of Akkadian and Sumerian poetry, translated into

Biblical Hebrew. The book became popular not just among

Assyriologists and historians, but also poets and other writers.

It won the Tschernichowsky Award for poetic translation.

Klein credits his induction into the Israel Academy of

Science and Humanities to this book of poetry, as well as to

his decades-long research about the hymns of Shulgi, who

was the king of Sumer around 2,000 BCE, at least 300 years

before Hamurabi. He also acknowledges the efforts of

Professor Haim Tadmor, the only other Assyriologist in the

Academy. Klein believes Tadmor championed Klein’s candidacy

for the Academy before Tadmor’s death.

The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities is a government-sponsored

organization tasked with promoting

scholarly research and advising the government on matters

related to scientific planning. Klein said it was a “double surprise,”

though a welcome one, because Assyriology is such an

Photo: Courtesy of Professor Yaffa Eliach

PROFILE

esoteric field. Also, he modestly added, Bar-Ilan’s faculty

includes “greater scholars they could have elected.” But, he

acknowledged, “It’s a huge honor.”

Klein’s long list of remarkable academic accomplishments is

too long to list here. They include the founding, with other colleagues,

of Bar-Ilan’s Samuel Noah Kramer Institute of

Tel Aviv 1999

NOW

About ten Kfar Batya friends stay connected through the effort of Yosef

Pesach (4th from right), standing between his wife Malka, and Rabbi David

Eliach. Professor Yaffa Eliach is on the far left, and Professor Klein is far right.

Pesach films the group yearly in hopes of creating a documentary.

Assyriology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies; the establishment

of the Israel Society for Assyriology; and important contributions

to the Sumerian dictionary. He has authored and

edited several books, including two volumes of the Encyclopedia

Olam Hatanach, and published more than 50 articles.

Today Klein spends most of his time in his book-lined

office at the university, with students knocking on his door “all

day.” He lives in Givataim with his wife Ahuva. She is a sabra,

descended from prominent Hassidic and Hungarian rabbinical

families. They have raised two children. Avinoam, 32, “has

a higher IQ than mine,” Klein says proudly, and works in

Quality Control at a major Israeli pharmaceutical company. A

younger son, Yuval, studied law at Bar-Ilan, and works “tirelessly”

on behalf of disabled children. “They have presented

me so far with three cute grandchildren,” Klein said.

“I’m grateful that AMIT gave me a home when I came to

Israel, after all the suffering,” Klein said. “I’m lucky that I was

brought to Kfar Batya, their most prestigious institution. It

was their baby, and you could feel it in the quality of the

teachers. It gave me my background for everything.”

Sarah Bronson’s work has been published in The New York Times, Glamour,

Hadassah Magazine,The Jerusalem Report, The New York Jewish Week, the

Baltimore Jewish Times, and World Jewish Digest. She is a former staff reporter of

Ha’aretz English Edition and former New York correspondent for the Jewish

Chronicle of London. She lives, works, and plays in Jerusalem.

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 13


INTERVIEW

QA &

14

You just made a generous

gift through the Jewish

Funders Network. How

did you learn of this

opportunity? I saw an ad

in the Jewish Daily Forward

which alerted me to a

unique program matching

gifts to Israel-related causes

cosponsored by the Sacta

Rashi Foundation and the

Jewish Funders Network.

We are grateful to the Sacta

Rashi Foundation, the

largest private funder of

programs in Israel. They

stepped up to match our

gift – along with many,

many others – dollar for

dollar. I also wish to thank

the Jewish Funders Network

for the idea of a matching

gift program to inspire

younger givers to participate

in a bigger way.

Do you come from a

family where philanthropy

is a key value?

Absolutely. Our parents

have always taught us that it

was critical to be generous

with our time and resources

and they led by example.

How did it come about

that you selected AMIT

for your donation? My

mother, Mona Solomon,

was president of Margalit,

our Kew Garden Hills

QUESTIONS FOR…

David Solomon

Teaching Children To Fish

AMIT chapter. Although

I was only six or eight

years old, I vividly recall

her co-chairing the

Queens Fresh Air Fund

Luncheon. I even visited a

local plant nursery with

her to make sure every

detail, such as the flowers,

was just right to ensure a

successful AMIT function.

Even then I was impressed

with her devotion to the

organization.

The funds will be used

to provide tutoring and

counseling at AMIT

Kiryat Malachi Junior

and Senior High School.

Why was this of particular

importance to you?

Kiryat Malachi is one of the

poorest towns in Israel.

The tutoring and counseling

provided by AMIT is one of

the highest forms of

tzedakah (charity) as it

teaches our children to fish,

rather than just providing

them with sustenance.

AMIT gives children from

the poorest, most challenged

homes, the opportunity

to learn a profession or

trade. This helps them to

support themselves and

their families, ultimately

benefiting the communities

in which they live, and

Israel as a whole.

The plaque that hangs

in AMIT Frisch Beit

Hayeled honors many of

your family members,

including those who

perished in the

Holocaust, z”l. How

does it make you feel

that you can honor their

memory in this fashion?

I can think of no greater

tribute to our relatives who

were murdered al kiddush

Hashem (sanctifying God’s

name) than to help underprivileged

children, especially

those from some of the

toughest neighborhoods and

difficult family circumstances.

They will have a

chance in artzeinu (our

homeland) to grow and

become productive members

of Israeli society.

You work in the fastpaced

world of high

finance. Does an act

like this have an influence

on your every day

business dealings?

Certainly. First, I work at a

firm that is incredibly

involved in the community.

Secondly, getting involved

in projects like this gives

me perspective as to what

life is truly about. In addition,

I am able to utilize

skills that I have honed in a

professional context to help

bring our community in

Israel and the Diaspora to

greater levels spiritually and

economically.

You are only 33 years

old. Do you think more

young people can add to

the quality of their own

lives by helping Israeli

children in need?

Absolutely. The only reason

I agreed to do this interview

is to show other young people

that they are capable and

indeed best positioned, to

accomplish great things benefiting

AMIT and other

Israel related causes. AMIT

welcomes with open arms

the ingenuity, input, time

and precious resources of

young donors. Jewish

organizations need young

blood to take things to the

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


next stage. To all you young

people out there: I cannot

express what type of impact

these commitments will have

on your lives. I guarantee

you will not regret it.

There are many good

causes out there. Why

do you think the work of

AMIT is so important? I

believe in the aforementioned

concept of “teaching children

to fish,” which I think really

is the bedrock of AMIT.

There are many worthy

causes deserving of support,

particularly as Jewish poverty

and the dire need for social

services, compounded by the

horror of terrorism, has gotten

acutely worse in Israel

over the last few years.

AMIT is working on longterm

solutions to these problems,

utilizing education,

training and counseling to

give students the opportunity

to earn a living to provide

for their families without

reliance on public aid.

In my mind there is no

comparison between giving

someone a fish versus

teaching them to fish for

themselves.

How does it resonate for

you knowing that

because of your generosity,

children will receive

the tutoring and counseling

they might not otherwise

have? There is no

greater feeling in the world.

Do you have children

and do they know how

you are helping those

less fortunate? Miriam

and I have a wonderful eight

month old son named

Menachem. God willing,

we look forward to integrating

Menachem into the

communal work we are

involved in. This is the

chinuch (education) with

which our parents – and our

grandparents before them –

have entrusted us. In addition,

our parents have always

given their unconditional

love and moral support, and

the Almighty has showered

us with blessings.

Do you plan to visit

Kiryat Malachi to see the

results your gift made

possible? We absolutely

plan to visit Kiryat Malachi

in person to witness the dramatic,

impactful work that

AMIT does every single day

in our holy land.

—Nancy Kroll Margolis

It feels better just to talk about it.

After-School

Programing

That’s why we’re here. Our staff is made up of caring

and sensitive individuals. Together, we can

help you explore your options. We can refer you

to recognized professionals for counseling, legal

advice or help in finding a safe environment. We

can also put you in touch with some very special

Rabbis. But in order for us to reach out to you,

you must first reach out to us.

INTERVIEW

There are AMIT schools

where no afternoon

programs exist, and

schools where the programs

need additional

funding. Students attending

an AMIT after-school

program receive help in

academic subjects with

which they are having difficulty.

Others have an opportunity to use computers

since they do not have them at home. Some receive

their only hot meal of the day. All of these children are

given a safe place to spend three to four hours after the

school day ends. The tutoring they receive helps them

to pass their matriculation exams, which opens the door

to success in Israeli society.

If you are interested in learning more about

after-school tutoring or counseling, please

contact our Development Department at

212-477-4720, 1-800-989-AMIT, or

visit our website at www.amitchildren.org.

Confidential Hotline (Toll

Free) 888.883.2323

(NYC Area) 718.337.3700

Do it for yourself.

Do it for your children.

Shalom Task Force is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

POB 137, Bowling Green Station, NY, NY 10274

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 15


16

EDUCATION

AMITing of the MINDS

Article and Photos By Rachel M. Sprintzer

It is typical of the AMIT Network

that a system-wide initiative to train

student leaders in mediation, public

speaking, and negotiation skills was

started by a recent graduate.

Former National Student Council

President Adi Arieh of AMIT Kiryat

Malachi Junior and Senior High

School wished to solve the problem of

“verbal violence, general misunderstandings,

and lack of real communication”

in the schools – a problem all too

common among high school students

the world over.

Adi approached Edna Titkin, head of

the AMIT Beit Chinuch Progam for

Values Education. Titkin, in turn,

engaged the services of retired army and

police officer Ora Bar-Gil, who is now an

attorney, certified mediation

specialist, and lecturer

at the Bar-Ilan University

Faculty of Law. Bar-Gil’s

mandate: to train selected

student leaders from 31

AMIT schools in the arts

of active listening, com-

promise, and cooperation.

Building Bridges

A total of 102 student

representatives, mostly 11 th

It started three years ago when a new, young teacher, Rabbi

Baruch Avivi, was teaching his students at Beersheva’s AMIT

Afikim B’Negev Elementary School about the Jewish laws

regarding how people should treat each other, and about the

methods of the ancient Sanhedrin, a 71-member rabbinical

body which adjucated disputes and enforced Jewish law.

Meanwhile, there was the problem, common at schools

around the world, of students getting into personal conflicts

that were outside the purview of school rules — such as subtle

psychological pressure between fifth-grade girls — or incidents

which escalated into playground scuffles.

“We wanted to create a new solution that comes from the

students,” Rabbi Avivi said. So he “threw the ball into the students’

court,” by creating a literal one.

No Rush to Judgment

The Little Sanhedrin at Afikim B’Negev started with 23 students

from grades 3 to 6 who were trained to run recess-time

Ora in the court

Ora Bar-Gil, the lawyer

who teaches the mediation

courses to AMIT high

school students.

YOU BE THE JUDGE

graders who serve on their respective student

councils, each completed 10-18

course hours. The program is called

Gesher ha’Gishur (Bridge

of Mediation), since it fosters

ties between the

AMIT schools as well as

empowering individual

students. The course provided

the high schoolers

with the skills they need to

pursuade other students to

participate in school activities

and maintain a calm

and cooperative atmosphere

on the campuses.

“trials” for their peers. Students approached them voluntarily

with disputes, and the Little Sanhedrin members would take testimony,

research the issues, and release a decision. The second

year, in order to allow more children to participate, ten students

were chosen as year-long members. Then, every trimester a

group of 13 others would rotate through the program.

This year, the Little Sanhedrin underwent a fundamental

shift, not only in members, but in focus. Under the guidance

of student advisor Ayelet Hashachar, who studied mediation

in college, 12 to18 members of grades 4 to 6 are chosen on

the basis of their emotional maturity and trained not to judge

disputes, but to mediate them.

The children themselves eloquently and intelligently explained

the difference between being a judge and being a mediator.

“In a court, the judge decides what will happen,” said Orluz

Cohen, a fifth grader. “In mediation, the two sides decide

between themselves how to solve the problem. Also, in a court,

one person is always right and the other is always wrong. In

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


“Mediation is not just a way to facilitate

problem-solving, it is a way of

life,” Bar-Gil said. “It is a way of speaking,

of communicating. We are giving

the students the skills to become better

negotiators and better able to relate to

each other.”

The students themselves had their

own goals for the class. Bar-Gil said

that they emphasized a desire to create

a school culture in which all students

wish to “give back,” to participate in

activities and contribute their talents.

Bar-Gil was immensely impressed

with this vision. “Everyone has something

to give,” she said, “if not material

things, then knowledge. A person

needs to share what they have in order

to grow. The question is, is a person

strong enough to give? Does he realize

what he has to contribute? This is what

we want to give to the Student

Council, so that they can pass it along

to the other children – to inspire them

to participate.”

She also said that “their desire to give

is typical for AMIT. I teach also in a

state religious school, and they too have

volunteer programs. But I’d never seen

anything like AMIT until now. The

ideal of giving is theirs; it springs up

from the students.”

Developing Self-Awareness

In the weekly class, students completed

many simulations in order to

learn. For example, they practiced listening

to all parties in a negotiation

while maintaining eye contact, so that

all the parties feel “honored.” They

learned how to prepare a speech, then

critically analyzed each other’s performances.

The exercise included skills on

how to give constructive feedback, so

that the listener can improve without

feeling hurt.

In another activity, students who

interrupted someone else, whether verbally

or with a distracting facial expression,

voluntarily put a piece of paper

with his name into a cup in the center of

the group. The exercise forced the students

to mind their own behavior, and to

become aware of how often and easily

Little Sanhedrin Members Adjourn For Recess

Pictured (l-r): Tohar Maimon, Orea Bokobza, Principal

Avishag Tzilik, Ayelet Bokobza, Orluz Cohen, Yiftach Tzabary, Netanel

Avraham, Matan Hajbi, Tagabu Bakala

EDUCATION

they might otherwise interrupt others.

“The point was to show how, by

remaining silent and respectful, they

made the speaker feel safe,” Bar-Gil

explained. “Children often laugh when a

peer is trying to present. They don’t realize

that when someone laughs, it makes

it harder for the speaker to continue.”

“The kids see the Knesset on television,”

she continued. “They know that

respectful silence is not the modus

operandi in this country. We’re trying to

create a new model for Israeli society.”

The Verdict Is In

The students reported that they

found the course most helpful in their

leadership work in the Student Council,

but there have been opportunities for

them to act as traditional mediators as

well. They also told AMIT Magazine

that the course helped them become

more “kindly,” “confident with people,”

and interested in helping others – evidence

that Gesher ha’Gishur successfully

instills the values of Beit Chinuch.

“We learned you don’t have to use

mediation, both sides are right, and afterward

they are friends.” As Ayelet Bokobza, another

fifth grader, explained, the goal of Little

Sanhedrin mediators is not to declare a winner,

but to help both sides find a win-win solution.

Little Sanhedrin—Big Results

Under the new framework, children at Afikim

B’Negev who are involved in a dispute approach

(again, voluntarily) the Sanhedrin member of

their choice. They fill out a form together

explaining the story, and then the Sanhedrin

member sets an appointment with them during

recess or after school.

Examples of cases they might mediate

include two girls who wish to schedule their bat

mitzvah for the same day. They might decide to

have a joint party, or perhaps have one in the

morning and the other in the evening. Or, take

the case of a soccer captain who “fires” his

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 17


18

EDUCATION

Club Med As students learn to mediate, they can help solve student-to-student conflicts in school.

Pictured (l-r): Ido Abergen, Yair Guzi, Uzi Neeman, Ran Hagbi, Erez Hason,

Rosh Yeshiva Houri, Snir Vadavker, Hen Benmukha, Uriel Manzur

violence to solve problems,” said Ido

Abergen, a 7 th grader at AMIT Berman,

“You can use words. We learned to

respond in a different way. Ora was a

good teacher.”

Bat-El Zafrani, an 11 th grader at

AMIT Beit Shemesh Ulpana High

School, raved about Gesher ha’Gishur.

“My powers of persuasion are much

better,” she said. “I can talk to people

untalented goalie, hurting the booted child’s feelings. The

matter might be resolved when the captain more clearly articulates

the reason for his decision, or he might agree to coach

the former goalie and help him improve his skills. After the

two sides reach an agreement, they sign a contract.

The mediation training by Hashachar has helped the Little

Sanhedrin members improve their ability to “relate to others

and understand people,” Orluz said.

It has also improved the morale of students throughout

AMIT Afikim B’Negev, and reduced the number of discipline

cases that must be handled by teachers. “From the start it

made them a bit more interested in their studies about the

ancient Sanhedrin,” Rabbi Avivi said. “But they were much

more effectively. I know now to start

with what is important to the listeners,

to help them advance in what they

want. Now the students come to me

more. It helped all of us become better

listeners and better leaders.”

Rachel Miriam Sprintzer is a native of Boston and

former resident of Manhattan. She now lives in

Jerusalem where she writes and edits for non-profit

organizations, including the Jewish Agency for Israel

and several religious seminaries and yeshivot.

Mediation is in keeping with the AMIT

Network’s emphasis on Beit Chinuch,

turning schools into centers of values

education. The educational staff and

students concentrate on achievement while

creating acceptable personal and group

behavioral norms. For more information

about furthering programs such as Gesher

ha’ Gishur, please contact the Development

Department at 1-800-989-AMIT,

212-477-4720, or visit our award-winning,

secure website at www.amitchildren.org.

more interested in the school. The students in the program

became more participatory and more responsible. The number

of violent incidents has gone down, though we’ll know

the real impact better in five or six years.”

There have been cases of students who dramatically

improved their behavior because the “reward” of being eligible

for the Sanhedrin was a tremendous motivation. “I had one boy

who always wanted to get in,” Rabbi Avivi remembers. “He was

a violent kid. He hit his classmates and the like. I told him that

if he behaves OK, I’ll get him in. We had to talk about what

‘O.K.’ means, with very specific ways to improve. It took him

several months, but finally, after three rotations of the Sanhedrin

members, he made it in. He was very good after that.”

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


Signs of Intelligent

Life in the Universe

Few high schools can boast that

their students are qualified even

to consider entering the annual

Jerusalem Bloomfield Science Museum’s

Young Scientists Competition. Even

fewer have five such students, and it is

rare indeed for all the entries from one

school to reach the finals.

And yet, the AMIT Harry and Bina

Appleman Junior and Senior High

School in Beersheva has just such a dis-

By Zohar Bat-Shahaf Photos By Orna Itamar

Young Scientists to the Fifth Power Pictured (l-r): Leon, Danny, Polina, Rita, and Doron displaying their finished products

tinction. Students there receive the

encouragement and guidance of physics

teacher Dr. Victor Melamud, a former

winner of the National Excellence in

Teaching Award, presented jointly by

the Ministry of Education and the

Office of the President of Israel. (AMIT

Magazine, summer 2005). This year,

five Appleman students entered three

research projects, two in math and one

in physics, and all three projects were

EDUCATION

among the 40 entries, out of 100 from

around Israel, to reach the finals. The

contest is affiliated with the prestigious

International Science and Engineering

Fair (ISEF), the U.S. competition funded

by Intel. Winners go on to represent

Israel in international competitions and

receive scholarships from Intel for academic

studies in Israel.

Said Dr. Melamud: “I’m so proud of

these students. When they accept those

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 19


20

EDUCATION

All For One Pictured (l-r): Danny, Leon, and Paulina test their project at the Jerusalem Science Museum.

prizes, they are wearing kippot. They

speak well for Judaism and of the school

system that helped them. Without people

like Drora [Gopas, principal of

AMIT Appleman] and Jan Schechter,

the president of AMIT, this success

would be impossible. They help so

much. Whatever we needed to go forward,

we received. The results speak for

themselves.”

Into The Future Rita Paverman

imagines where her project may lead.

Maybe They Are Rocket

Scientists

Perhaps most remarkably, one of the

students to reach the finals in the prestigious

competition is only in tenth

grade. Doron Levine emigrated from

Russia in 1993. Dr. Melamud suggested

Doron enter the contest after Melamud

encountered another Israeli who had

become a finalist three years in a row.

“Why shouldn’t Doron be able to reach

a height like that?” Melamud asked

rhetorically with a fatherly look. “Tenth

graders are so often overlooked as possibilities

for greatness. But look, he’s

done it. And there is no reason he can’t

do it again next year, and then the year

after that.”

Doron’s project involved creating an

algorithm to describe and solve

Poisson’s equation, a mathematical formula

created by the 19 th century

French geometer and physicist Siméon-

Denis Poisson. Doron showed that

Poisson’s equation has uses in other

areas of math, including problems with

invariants, and games. He invented a

helping tool to transform different

problems in mathematics into the

Poisson Equation area.

For his part, Doron confirmed that he

is currently working on two new projects,

one for next year’s competition and

one to submit during his senior year.

To Infinity and Beyond

His partner for next year’s project is

Rita Paverman, an 11 th grader who this

year won a finalist’s spot for her entry

about Pell’s Equation, x 2 - dy 2 = 1, where

x and y are the numbers we seek (there

are an infinite number of solutions),

and d is a positive integer whose square

root is irrational. She researched ways

to find new solutions, and showed how

the formula could be used to solve different

problems. Like Doron, Rita is an

immigrant (from Moldova), and first

started researching her project not for

the purposes of the Young Scientists

competition, but for her own intellectual

enrichment. Both students are

members of an after-school math club

sponsored by Ben Gurion University.

She had never heard of the Young

Scientists competition until Dr.

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


Science Prodigy

Tenth Grader Doron Levine

Melamud, her physics teacher at AMIT

Appleman, encouraged her to enter,

and now says “I’m so happy. It’s exciting.

The three-day competition was a

great experience.”

The third entry by AMIT

Appleman students has its genesis in a

final project in the school’s physics and

technology class. Twelfth graders

Paulina Kortzur, Leon Levitsky, and

Danny Zastenker, all immigrants from

the FSU, worked on a way to reduce

the production of dust particles and

other pollution in industrial assembly

lines, which can ruin small products

such as computer chips. They created a

way to revolutionize production lines

by using superconducting levitation –

the same technology used in highspeed

trains— to separate the product

from the line itself. Their invention

could soon see computer chips “float-

Role Model Dr. Victor Melamud –

inspiration and mentor

ing” in mid-air as they are being

assembled.

Again with Dr. Melamud’s support,

the three seniors decided, as Leon said,

that “it’s much better to be working

toward something more than just a

grade,” and entered the Young

Scientists contest.

“Our education here [at Appleman]

gave us the basis for understanding the

science and technology we needed,”

Paulina said. “Because of how well we’d

been trained, we weren’t afraid of studying

superconductors.” We wish the

same success to these young scientists as

that of Ilya Gurevich, also of AMIT

Appleman, who won the competition

last year.

After graduating from New York University with a

Master’s degree in Newspaper Journalism, Zohar

Bat-Shahaf made aliyah to Israel. Besides building

a career as a freelance writer, she enjoys hiking in

the Galilee and studying at the Pardes Institute.

The AMIT family mourns with the parents and family of

Daniel Wultz, z”l, of Weston, Florida. Daniel, only 16 years old,

was visiting Israel with his family and became the innocent

victim of the recent homicide bombing in Tel Aviv. We extend

our heartfelt condolences to Daniel’s mother Sheryl, a member

of Chaverim, and his father Tuly. May they be comforted

among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

EDUCATION

Investing in

the Future

If you have been kind enough

to include us in your will,

have created a Charitable

Remainder Trust or established

a Life Insurance Policy

with AMIT as a beneficiary,

we thank you for your generosity

in investing in our

future. Please let us know

and we will be delighted to

include you in the AMIT

Heritage/Moreshet Society.

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Rothenberg at 561-739-6033 for

more information about Planned

Giving, including Charitable Gift

Annuities and Trusts.

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latest news from our AMIT

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uWxa, .he ,Whnt 21


22

MEDIA

Arab Media—All the News

That’s Not Fit to Print

By Eric Rozenman

Thou Shall Not Bear

False Witness... Unless

It’s Against Israel.

IIn its propaganda war against

Israel, the Arab side has an advantage:

it doesn’t have to tell the

truth. As David Pryce-Jones wrote in

The Closed Circle: An Interpretation

of the Arabs, “If honor so demands, lies

and cheating may become absolute

imperatives.” Among the Shi’ite sect of

Islam, for example, “precautionary dissimulation”

— taqyia — is permitted.

This differs from Winston Churchill’s

famous observation that “In war, truth

goes accompanied by a bodyguard

of lies.” Regarding Israel, Arab

disinformation — taqyia — perpetually

attempts not just to

obscure reality, but to replace it.

During the 1982 war against

the Palestine Liberation

Organization in Lebanon, Fathi

Arafat, PLO chairman Yasir

Arafat’s brother and head of the

Palestinian Red Crescent,

charged that the Israel Defense

Forces had killed 10,000 Arabs

and left 600,000 homeless. The

International Red Cross initially

repeated these figures and then

repudiated them; they were, as

New York Times’ correspondent

David Shipler noted politely,

“extreme exaggerations.”

Twenty years later, the

Palestinian Arab leadership

attempted to portray a limited

Israeli counter-terrorism operation in

Jenin as “a massacre.” Palestinian U.N.

representative Nasser al-Kidwa insisted

to Cable News Network that “there’s

almost a massacre now taking place in

Jenin. Helicopter gunships are throwing

missiles at one square kilometer packed

with almost 15,000 people in a refugee

camp.... I mean this is an all-out assault

against the whole population.”

Saeb al-Erekat, a top Palestinian

Authority negotiator with Israel and

long-time mouthpiece for Yasser Arafat,

told journalists that Israeli troops had

killed “at least 500” people in Jenin.

But after initial international press

reports suggested large-scale casualties,

“Palestine” is still jailed behind barbed-wire

waiting for the liberation of the "key". [AL

AYYAM JULY 29, 2003]

a United Nations’ investigation confirmed

there had been no massacre. Of

the 52 Arabs killed, more than half

were combatants. Twenty-three Israel

Defense Forces soldiers also died in 12

days of building-to-building fighting in

a few square blocks.

Nevertheless, a fraudulent documentary,

“Jenin, Jenin,” partially financed by

the PA, kept the “massacre” myth alive.

This even though film maker

Muhammad Bakri admitted that one

invented atrocity scene was an “artistic

choice” and Pierre Rehov’s counterdocumentary

“The Road to Jenin”

exposed many other false claims.

Let’s Go To The

Videotape

The attempt to rewrite the

Jenin battle as a massacre failed,

but Western news media — let

alone public opinion in the Arab-

Islamic world — have yet to catch

up with the story of Mohammad

al-Dura. Al-Dura was the 12year-old

Palestinian boy supposedly

shot and killed by Israeli

troops in the Gaza Strip in 2000.

The image of the terrified child

and his father allegedly caught in

a cross-fire between Israeli forces

and Palestinian gunmen became a

globally-recognized icon testifying

to Israeli brutality.

Except that, beginning with

James Fallows’ “Who Shot

Mohammed al-Dura,” (Atlantic

Monthly, June 2003) through

“Myth, Fact, and the al-Dura

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


Affair,” by Nidra Poller

(Commentary, September 2005)

several in-depth examinations

indicate it didn’t happen that way.

The sole videotape showing the

besieged father and son — provided

by a Palestinian cameraman to

a French network — suggests that

if the boy was shot and killed, he

was hit by bullets from the

Palestinian position. But just as

likely, no shooting such as that

reported on French TV and

rebroadcast world-wide occurred.

Judging by videos recorded in

Gaza by other news agencies at

the time, Palestinian Arabs apparently

were staging scenes to

demonstrate Israeli aggression and

their own heroism. Nevertheless,

as Mark Twain observed,” A lie is out of

bed and half-way around the world

before the truth gets its boots on.”

Two related falsehoods aired on

Palestinian Authority Radio. The first,

that forewarned Israelis stayed away

from the World Trade Center the day of

Osama bin Laden’s terror attack; and/or,

that the mass murder resulted from an

Israeli-U.S. plot to make Arabs and

Muslims look bad. Less than a month

after the September 11, 2001, assaults,

the network reported that “U.S. law

enforcement officials have nabbed three

cadres of Mossad operatives in New

York in connection with the September

11 attacks.” This conspiracy theory still

echoes in the Middle East.

Stranger Than Fiction

The insidious Israelis of the

Palestinian and Arab-Islamic imagination

stand accused of many fictitious

crimes. Among the charges compiled by

“Palestinian Statue of Liberty”

Crowned with guns, carrying a baby and a

sling shot [AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDA, SEPT. 29, 2003]

Michael Widlanski, an Israeli specialist

on Palestinian media, and the Zionist

Organization of America:

>> Official PA communications

media — such as Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, a

newspaper owned and controlled by the

Fatah faction and considered the PA’s

official daily, PA Television and the

Palestinian news agency WAFA —

have accused Israel of killing Arabs by

radiation poisoning.

>> Former Palestinian leader Yasser

Arafat, his wife, and the Palestinian

media frequently accused Israel of using

“radioactive weapons” such as “uranium

artillery shells and “uranium bullets,” as

well as “poison gas.” In July, 2004, for

example, Arafat told reporters that

using deplete uranium bullets was part

of Israel’s strategy to “cause cancer that

is like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Never

mind that hospitals in Ramallah and

Bethlehem detected no increase in Arab

cancer rates.

MEDIA

>> When Arafat — who told

the press at least once that Ariel

Sharon belonged to an extremist

group involved in the assassination

of Yitzhak Rabin — died in

2004 of a still-undisclosed illness,

the PA ambassador in Sri

Lanka, Attallah Quiba, declared

that Israel killed the Palestinian

leader with a high-technology

laser. Quiba informed a news

conference that two Israelis who

met Arafat on the day he fell ill

“used a laser device to attack”

him, and that tests of Arafat’s

blood in 16 countries revealed

that he had been poisoned by

high technology.

>> Al-Hayat Al-Jadida editor

Hafez Barghouti told PA TV in

2004 that “secret Zionist gangs” in

France were “blowing up synagogues”

to force French Jews to emigrate to

Israel. His paper also has reported that

Israel steals body parts of slain Arab

“martyrs” (echoing Arafat’s 2002 statement

to the Arab satellite television

network Al-Jazeera that Israelis “murder

our kids and use their organs as

spare parts”) and that “the occupation is

using naked women to hunt down

intifada youth.” (This may have been a

variation on an earlier claim in the

Egyptian press that Israel exported

chewing gum adulterated to stimulate

sexual activity by Egypt’s young people,

thereby undermining society.)

Early last year, the Egyptian news

weekly Al-Osboa speculated that an

Indian nuclear experiment, in which

Israeli and America experts participated,

“possibly” caused the December,

2004, earthquakes and related tsunamis

that devastated many shoreline commu-

Two of the most important symbols in the PA are the Map of “Palestine” which incorporates all of Israel, and

the ”Key” expressing “ownership” over the Land of Israel. The “key” is also used to symbolize homes in Israel

claimed by “refugees.” The two symbols appear together regularly, symbolizing the Palestinian claim of ownership

over all of Israel and /or their goal of Map of Israel under Palestinian flag.

Note that Chain on hands is broken in response to Palestinian rule over Israel.

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 23


24

MEDIA

nities along the Indian Ocean. Both the

United States and Israel “showed readiness

to cooperate with India in experiments

to exterminate humankind.”

Remember Iraqis looting Baghdad’s

museums and banks after the U.S. invasion

of Iraq in 2003? They really were

Israelis, according to Wasef Mansour, a

PA diplomat in Morocco. He also

asserted that the American invasion

would help “the Israeli entity” reach “its

historic goal of establishing the State of

Israel from the Euphrates to the Nile.”

Rewriting History

Not only current events fuel the

Arabs’ disinformation machine. In

2003, PA Mufti Ikrima Sabri told a

German publication that “there is not

the smallest indication of the existence

Too Close For Comfort

On May 22, the morning after Kassam rockets hit

the building housing the AMIT Sderot Religious

Junior and Senior High School used by students

in the Yeshiva Track, AMIT Director General Dr. Amnon

Eldar called President Jan Schechter to report on the

incident. “It was a miracle no one was hurt,” he said.

“How many more miracles do we need to rely on?” Mrs.

Schechter asked.

His silence was telling.

The students were returning from morning prayers

when they heard the sound of the first missile hitting.

Things were running later than usual because Rosh

Yeshiva Amit Orenbuch delivered a special dvar Torah

that morning. The timing couldn’t have been scripted

any better. If not for Rabbi Orenbuch’s impromptu

speech, the students would have been in the classroom

when the rocket struck. Students commented that on

their way from services, they heard the “Red Dawn

Alert,” allowing them roughly 20-30 seconds to get to

the safety of concrete shelters if attacked. However,

having heard the alert so many times before, they have

become desensitized and simply did not run for cover.

They quickly regretted the decision.

The two rockets badly damaged a classroom and restroom.

One student left the minyan early and tried to

open the door seconds before the rocket hit. As a matter

of precaution, teachers must lock classroom doors

when not in use, thus preventing a possible tragedy.

of a Jewish temple on this place

[Temple Mount]. In the whole city,

there is not even a single stone indicating

Jewish history.” Arafat made similar

assertions, and Hamas leaders make

them now — even though in 1930, the

supreme Muslim body in Jerusalem

published a booklet stating that the

Temple Mount’s identification with the

First Temple is “beyond dispute.”

From Palestinian Arab allegations of

Jewish massacres of Arabs in Haifa and

Deir Yassin in 1948, through Syrian

insistence that Israeli troops destroyed

the Golan Heights town of Kuneitra in

1973, to charges in the 1990s that Jews

were undermining Al-Aqsa Mosque on

Temple Mount, and the 2002 Egyptian

television broadcast of a 40-part series

connecting Israel’s founding with “The

Protocols of the Elders of Zion”

(rebroadcast in numerous other Arab

states), pernicious fiction about Jews

and Israel too often displaces fact.

In his 1984 expose, Double Vision:

How the Press Distorts America’s View

of the Middle East, Ze’ev Chafets

noted that Western media cover open

societies, like Israel, warts and all. But

closed societies like most Arab regimes,

use disinformation, intimidation and

censorship to manipulate coverage. And

when Arab sources and media focus on

Israel, their disinformation invents as

many warts as possible.

Eric Rozenman is Washington director of CAM-

ERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East

Reporting in America. Any opinions expressed

above are his own.

Graphics printed with permission of Palestinian Media Watch. Established in 1996, PMW

analyzes PA culture and society from numerous perspectives. They document the contradictions

between the image Palestinians present to the world and the messages seen by

their own people in Arabic. For further information, go to their website www.pmw.org.il.

When the classroom finally opened, the teacher’s chair

was shattered. It was the chair he would have been occupying

had the schedule not been delayed.

Dr. Eldar went to Sderot to meet with the Minister of

Education Yuli Tamir, Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal, and the

Minister of Defense Amir Peretz. In a show of solidarity,

the entire AMIT Pedagogy Department joined Dr. Eldar.

The Yeshiva Track has about 140 students and is

located roughly a quarter of a mile away from the main

campus, which includes a general track of about 340

students. The school also has an Ulpana with more than

150 girls.

The Islamic Jihad has taken responsibility for the

attacks, which amounted to five launched rockets.

Though the school goes to extreme measures to ensure

the safety of our students, it never hurts to have a miracle

on our side. —Raimy Rubin

To help the children of Sderot, contact the Development

Department at 1-800-989-AMIT or 212-477-4720.

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


Looseleaf

Anna Olswanger, a Life Member of AMIT, is an author,

literary agent, and Jewish genealogist, to name just a

few of her endeavors. Ms. Olswanger traveled to St.

Louis to research her own family

roots. Without even knowing the

names of her great-grandparents,

she discovered an article in a local

Yiddish newspaper from 1919, concerning

the theft of Passover wine.

“In the middle of the night on a

Thursday, two thieves - onions

should grow in their navels – drove

to the saloon of Reb Elias

Olschwanger at the corner of

Fourteenth and Carr streets in St.

Louis.” So begins her children’s book, Shlemiel Crooks,

which was recently named a Sydney Taylor Honor Book

by the Association of Jewish Libraries. (Illustrations by

Paula Goodman Koz, New South Books).

In addition to honoring Jewish culture through her

writing, Ms. Olswanger’s commitment to the Jewish

community is apparent in a variety of ways. She is the

coordinator of the annual Jewish Children’s Book

Writers’ Conference at the 92 nd Street Y in New York.

She has also helped Holocaust survivors who live near

her New Jersey home to write their stories. Ms.

Olswanger speaks around the metro NYC area on “How

to Write and Publish a Jewish Children’s Book from the

Literary Agent’s Point of View.” She would be happy to

visit AMIT chapters and can be contacted through her

website, www.olswanger.com, via email at

anna@olswanger.com, or by phone at 201-791-4699.

LOOSELEAF

OH, YOU

BEAUTIFUL

DAHL!

Students of Ulpanat

AMIT Beersheva Junior

and Senior High School

recently presented their

17 th Annual English

Musical, “Charlie And

the Chocolate Factory,”

by Roald Dahl in the

auditorium of The Beersheva Theatre.

Mitzi Gefen, an English teacher at

Ulpanat AMIT Beersheva and the students’

advisor, has been awarded the

Outstanding Teacher Award by the British Council and

the Ministry of Education.

Mitzi teaches and coordinates the English Department

at the AMIT Harry and Bina Appleman Junior and Senior

High School in Beersheva, where she has produced eight

annual English musicals with unflagging support from

principal Drora Gopas. She was the director of

“Charlie,” scenes from which are shown here at Ulpanat

AMIT Beersheva, working in conjunction with Principal

Michael Benson.

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uWxa, .he ,Whnt 25


26

DVAR TORAH

A New Reality

In the Torah portions we read at this

time of year, the Jewish people face

a new reality: God sentences them

to forty years in the wilderness, where all

but two of them will die before entering

the Promised Land. This pronouncement

is made in Parashat Shelach, in

which twelve spies are sent to evaluate

the Land of Canaan. After forty days of

scouting, ten members of the group

return with fine things to say about the

land but with dire predictions regarding

its inhabitants and their unusual

strength. The other two,

Joshua and Caleb, confirm

God’s assurance that the

land flows with milk and

honey and urge the people to

retain their faith in God who

will settle them in the

Promised Land. The community

responds to these

reports by suggesting that

they appoint a new leader

and return to Egypt, where,

after all, their physical needs

were provided for.

God reacts by decreeing that the ten

spies who bore the dire report will die

immediately. All of the Jews who came

out of Egypt will wander in the wilderness

for forty years, one year for each

day of the spies’ mission. Only Joshua

and Caleb, who retained their faith, will

survive the forty years and will enter the

Promised Land.

What Was The Sin?

Our sages discuss the nature of the

Unintended

Consequences

By Dr. Susan Hornstein

Jewish people’s sin and the punishment

that resulted. Many agree that it was

wrong to send spies into the land since

God had already promised that the land

would be good. Nachmanides disagrees,

pointing out that it is perfectly reasonable

for a nation to scout out a land they

intend to conquer in order to apply the

best military strategy for the situation.

Furthermore, he explains, the spies

would be able to raise the morale

of the people and

strengthen their faith, by bringing back

fruits – concrete examples of the truth

of God’s promises. What, then, was the

sin for which such a severe punishment

was meted out?

The sin is found in the response of

the community. The Jewish people,

enslaved for so long, were not able to

make the transition to freedom.

Freedom comes with uncertainty and

responsibility. When enslaved, they

always knew what was next – they

would be fed, and they would be work-

ing. It may not have been ideal, but it

was certain. As a free nation, they had

to place their trust in God, and they had

to follow laws they did not always

understand. When the Jewish people

showed, once and for all, that they were

not ready for this lifestyle, their actions

inherited natural consequences. The

people who were enslaved were not

capable of inhabiting the Promised

Land. Only the young people, born

after the captivity had ended, could

proceed to Canaan. Reared on freedom,

they were the future of the Jewish people

in their own land. The spies who

had borne the ill report died immediately,

so as not to poison the hearts and

minds of the young people. The only

exceptions to this consequence were

Joshua and Caleb, who had made the

transition from servants of Pharaoh to

servants of God, and would lead the

Jewish people in this new endeavor.

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


A Different Mind Set

The lessons from this episode in our

history are significant for us today. Our

lives are as complex and uncertain as

those of our ancestors. The challenge to

be God’s chosen people is formidable.

How can we rise to this challenge and

ensure that the future of the Jewish

people is a bright one?

We all know that the answer lies in

educating our children. Only those

born after the servitude, reared on

freedom and responsibility, were capable

of carrying the nation forward.

Only those brought up with an understanding

of the commandments could

establish the type of society that God

envisioned for His people. The commandments

oblige us to establish fair

courts of justice, to treat employees

well, to care for the less fortunate

among us, and to follow God’s commandments.

We must manage our

own time, setting aside days for the

I wish to make arrangements with AMIT to

memorialize my loved one. Please contact me.

Name _____________________________________

Address ___________________________________

City/State/Zip ______________________________

Phone (day) _____________(evening) _____________

E-mail_____________________________________

Name to be Memorialized _____________________

Hebrew Name ______________________________

Date Deceased ______________________________

American Express MasterCard Visa

Account # ___________________Expires _______

Card Holder's Signature _______________________

Please fill out and mail the coupon above to

AMIT, 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

or call 1-800-989-AMIT.

observance of the Sabbath and holidays.

We must support our sages and

religious leaders. None of these actions

are within reach of slaves, whose time

is managed for them and whose energies

are directed toward their own survival,

not toward caring for those

around them.

We must train our children to

establish the type of society that God

expects of us. We begin when they are

very young, teaching them to treat

each other fairly and to respect one

another. We instill a love of Torah in

them and rear them on the performance

of mitzvot. We celebrate Shabbat

DVAR TORAH

We all know that the answer lies in

educating our children. Only those born

after the servitude, reared on freedom and

responsibility, were capable of

carrying the nation forward.

Arrange Kaddish for Your Loved One

and Save a Jewish Child

visit us online at

www.amitchildren.org

and holidays in our homes. And, as

they mature, we train them as leaders,

showing them how to care for the

community as a whole, how to ensure

that the future of the Jewish people

will be bright. The forty years in the

wilderness gave our ancestors a chance

to raise a new generation of free Jews,

dedicated to a fair society and service

of God. That new generation led our

people to the Promised Land. May

our children lead us to the final

redemption.

Dr. Susan Hornstein is the Director of Beren

Campus programming at Yeshiva University’s

Center for the Jewish Future. She received her

M.S. and PhD. from Brown University.

More than 16,000 students are cared for

and educated in some 60 AMIT schools,

children's homes and youth villages.

Your one-time tax deductible gift of $500 will

help a child, and also provide:

• A memorial plaque in an AMIT school synagogue

Kaddish recited in Israel at each Yahrzeit

Timely Yahrzeit notification

Daily Kaddish recited for the first eleven months,

for an additional $150

New Option! For $300, daily Kaddish for the

first 11 months, yearly Yahrzeit notification

and annual Kaddish will be provided.

Building Israel. One Child at a Time.

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 27


28

READING ROOM

Book It!

By Sari Steinberg

Julia’s Kitchen

by Brenda A. Ferber

(Farrar Straus Giroux, 2006; 160 pages; ages

10 and up; $16.00)

Brenda Ferber’s debut novel is about

a Jewish pre-teen overcoming tragedy

and reaching resolution. Eleven-yearold

Cara Segal grapples with the meaning

of God, family, and life as she

adjusts to the aftermath of a house fire

that took the lives of her mother and

sister. Cara’s father, absorbed in his

own mourning and guilt, expects Cara

to return to her old routine after the

traditional period of shiva. But Cara

finds it difficult to pull her life back

together. With the help of her best

friend and the tools provided by her

grandmother, Cara revives a part of herself

that she thought was lost forever.

Ferber boldly explores her relationship

with God as she relates the firsthand

fictional account in a young, very

genuine narrative voice.

This vivid and touching story

received the 2004 Sydney Taylor

Manuscript Award and is a Junior

Library Guild Selection.

Jacket illustration (c) 2006 by Pep Montserrat.

JULIA'S KITCHEN (c) 2006 by Brenda A. Ferber.

Used with the permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

A Grandma Like

Yours/A Grandpa

Like Yours

by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum;

illustrated by Barb Bjornson

(Kar-Ben Publishing, 2006; 32 pages; ages 3-6;

hardcover, $16.95; paperback, $6.95)

Children will flip over this book! It’s a 16page

book called A Grandma Like Yours, with

another 16-page book called A Grandpa Like

Yours on the flipside. Your little listeners will delight in the shofarblowing

llama sabas, candle-lighting kangaroo savtas, flag-bearing zebra zaydes,

soup-serving grandma giraffes, and matzah-baking porcupine papas.

Barb Bjornson’s richly colored illustrations of smiling, affectionate, industrious

animals enliven every page.

For a chance at seeing your grandchild – or other youngster – featured in next

year’s My Very Own Jewish Calendar, submit a photograph (not returned) of

him/her celebrating a Jewish holiday to photocontest@karben.com or to Kar-

Ben, 241 First Ave No., Minneapolis, MN 55401. Include your name, address,

daytime phone, and email address; the child’s first name and age in the photo;

and a short description of the photo.

Izzy Hagbah

by JJ Gross; illustrated by Ari Binus

(Pitspopany Press, 2006; 40 pages; ages 6-9;

hardcover, $16.95; softcover, $9.95)

Izzy spoke a different language from

the other people in shul, and he dressed

different colors, and he wore a strange

yarmulke and a funny tallis. But he performed

the mitzvah of Hagbah – lifting

the Torah scroll – better than anyone

else. Hagbah became Izzy’s own honor for many years, even as his strong body

began to age. What would happen when he could no longer hold the Torah up?

He would never let anyone else do Hagbah….

Ari Binus contributes illustrations that seem to pop out of the pages, exceptional

facial expressions, and snapshot-like moments of exaggerated movement.

JJ Gross provides enough surprise twists to keep your child engrossed.

Sari Steinberg writes children's books (…And Then There Were Dinosaurs and King Solomon Figures It

Out), articles (the World Jewish Digest and the Chicago Jewish News), a variety of promotional literature

and lunch-napkin notes for her sabra daughter. She can be contacted at(SariScribe@aol.com).

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


THE 80 th ANNIVERSARY YEAR:

WE’VE ONLY

JUST BEGUN

By Raimy Rubin

Eighty years of history, reviewed,

scrutinized, and evaluated – all

in the name of progress – left

80 th Anniversary Chair Sheryle Spar

with a simple conclusion: “The times

may have changed, but the situation is

still the same. Israel’s youth needs our

help now just as much as when the

organization started.”

Celebrated with gala dinners,

concerts and commemorative

award ceremonies

around the world, the 80 th

Anniversary Campaign,

which ended this past May,

allowed AMIT leadership to

reflect upon the organiza-

tion’s successes and to look

for ways to make the next 80

years even more productive.

“Now is the time to use the

energy garnered from events like the

80 th Anniversary President’s Evening

to raise the bar,” AMIT President Jan

Schechter remarked. “We can take

groundbreaking steps toward improving

education in Israel with the unflagging

dedication of our volunteers and the

generosity of our donors,” she continued.

“Our historic timeline is impressive,

but the stakes have never been

higher, and we can’t rest on our past

accomplishments.”

In the tense early days of the State of

Israel, AMIT instructed students in

basic survival techniques. Now, “we are

teaching them to be scientists and even

astronauts,” noted Mrs. Spar. Whereas

we started with one simple vocational

school for girls in Jerusalem, the

Network now educates and cares for

more than 16,000 students throughout

Israel in some 60 schools, children’s

homes, and youth villages. “When I

speak about how expansive our organization

has become, I can sense the

excitement and how inspirational our

mission truly is,” she explained.

“Our work is really

just getting started,”

Executive Vice

Sheryle Spar, the

dedicated chair of the 80 th

Anniversary Campaign

Photo Credit: Andrew French

AMIT President Jan Schechter had

a busy speaking schedule during

the 80 th Anniversary year.

President Arnold Gerson commented.

“Between the accomplishments of the

organization in the past, and the commitment

of our donors to the future,

AMIT has the formula to help Israeli

youth succeed. It is up to us to make

these dreams a reality and to set a bold

path for moving forward.”

Ma’ale Adumim has become the latest

addition to the Reshet. We took a

historic step by becoming the first religious

organization to run a secular

school district as we have in Sderot.

We have implemented new, cutting-

INSIDER

A complex mosaic of student

portraits created a memorable 80th

Anniversary cover.

edge programs such as Tochnit Shmonim,

intended to raise the percentage of

AMIT students who pass the matriculation

exams to 80% - far above the

national average. As we continue to

strive for excellence in education, we

also care and provide for many of the

most disadvantaged children in Israel.

AMIT programs help new olim

become productive members of Israeli

society. With poverty unfortunately on

the rise, we provide food with our Food

For Thought Campaign. If the family

cannot afford basic necessities, we assist

with school supplies. We offer tutoring

and psychological counseling. We

encourage individual talents. Music,

art, and sports are all encouraged to help

the whole child develop with feelings of

self-esteem and a desire to succeed.

“I have seen what AMIT does up

front,” Mrs. Spar noted. “I have been in

our schools and have held hands with a

child AMIT has saved. That is when I

truly understood what we have accomplished

over the last eight decades. I hold

up the reshet map to supporters, show

them the number of schools we run and

the number of students into which that

translates. That map says it all. Still, we

have a lot more work to do.”

Raimy Rubin, editorial assistant of AMIT Magazine,

played a key role in the publication of the 80th

Anniversary Commemorative Issue.

Photo Credit: Orna Itamar

29


30

INSIDER

Special thanks to the members of the

80 TH ANNIVERSARY CLUB

Their significant contribution provided funding toward strengthening our network of

schools, one of only three government-recognized educational networks, in Israel.

We appreciate the

role played by the

following people in

the success of the

80th Anniversary

Campaign.



Sandy April

Roslyn Besdine

Thelma and Harvey Berger

Sally Frenkel

Mildred and Alvin Hellerstein

Sheila Kalish-Fechter

Serita Kolom

Helen Leiderman

Andrea Penkower-Rosen and David Rosen

Pia Pollack

Francine and Marc Sicklick

Barbara Abramowitz

Lillian Adler

Tamara Adler

Sarah and Harry Aizenstat

Libby Anfinsen

Thelma and Harvey Berger

Josef Brandriss

Sunny Brodsky

Phyllis Bosworth

John Chiatello

Liane Cohen

Meryl Cohen

Sheila Cohen

Riva Collins

Richard Covkin

Angela and Melvin Dagovitz

Antoinette and Kenneth

Dauber

Gisela Dollinger

Alexandra Dunietz

Judy Federbush

Hattie Feit

Barbara Fischer

Andrea Forest

Sally Frankel

Helen Freeman

Mildred and Hyman Golden

Philip Goldrich

Frances Golman

Nancy and Gilad Greenberg

Linda Grossman

Norman Hartstein

Howard Heller

Ann Holstein

Raoul Isaac

Henry Isaacson

Annette Jayson

Shirley Jungreis

Lisa and Eliah Kahn

Irving Kanarek

Rita and Dan Kaplan

Rose Klempner

Aileen Konovitch

Joyce and Bernard Kosowosky

Penina Kraut

Ronnie Lesh

Audrey and Haskel Lookstein

Caryn and Lawrence Malitzky

Judith Markowitz

Sandy Maschan

Laurel Meisel

Lewis Mufson

Sylvia and Jerry Nadel

Gloria Nusbacher

Heddy Pilpel

Marilyn Platt


Daniel Post

Esther Robbins

Amy Rubinstein

Estelle and Sam Samson

Elaine Schiller

Iris Schneider

Judith Schreiber

Deborah and Jack Schuss

Miriam Seiler

Judith and Isaac Sherman

Helene and Jack Shrago

Nechi Shudofsky

Rasha Sklar

Shari Sonnenberg-Stern

Eileen Stieglitz

Helen Stone

Dorothy Tamary

Bertie and Fred Tryfus

Marcia Tuchinsky

Zehava Unger

Mildred Weinberg

Mia and Herman Weiss

Murray Zeisel

Eva Zilz

Abraham Zimmer

Ronit Zweig

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


DevelopmentNews

After School Programs

SPRUNG Into Action

Joe Sprung travels to Israel three or

four times a year. On one of his trips,

his West Hampton Beach neighbor,

National Vice President Esther Goldman,

asked if he would have time to visit AMIT

schools. In response to her request, Joe

went to AMIT Frisch Beit Hayeled in

Jerusalem where he distributed 1000

teddy bears as was reported on page two

of The Jerusalem Post in 2003. “While I

was there,” said Mr. Sprung, “I saw children

who needed help, and I was happy to

provide it.” Beit Hayeled, a residential

child haven, is a place where the students

need all the warmth and love they can get

due to difficult circumstances at home. It

became quickly apparent that Joe Sprung

has a tremendous soft spot in his heart

when it comes to children.

During another trip to Israel in

December 2005, Mr. Sprung became

even more familiar with the AMIT network.

Meyer Koplow, chair of the newly

formed AMIT Business Advisory Council,

accompanied Joe on a visit to the AMIT

Religious Technological High School in

Jerusalem. “I was very impressed with

Meyer’s commitment to AMIT and his

humility in giving tzedakah,” he said.

Since his early childhood in

Brooklyn, Mr. Sprung has been passionate

about Israel. He is the son of

Holocaust survivors from Poland and

was brought up in an observant home.

During high school, he became active in

Youth for Israel and began raising

money using his love of sports to sup-

Photo credit: Joe Malcolm

ABOVE AVERAGE JOE

Distributing bears to

children of Beit Hayeled

port his cause. As he matured and

achieved success in financing start-up

businesses, Joe’s drive for philanthropy

developed as well. In 2002 he founded

Bears-4-Kids. Its purpose is to distribute

teddy bears to children facing cancer

and other life threatening illnesses

in order to put “a smile on their faces

and a friend at their side.”

It is therefore not surprising that following

his introduction to AMIT, helping

the children of Sderot was a challenge

this dynamic philanthropist was willing

to undertake. The children of Sderot

live under traumatic conditions. When

an alarm warns of a Kassam rocket, they

have only 22 seconds to run to the nearest

shelter before it hits.

Due to the trying circumstances faced

by the vulnerable children of Sderot, Joe

Sprung decided to fund an after-school

program. For several hours after the

school day ends, students will have the

opportunity to do homework or engage in

a variety of activities, such as computers

or sports. Some students will receive

their only hot meal of the day. But most

importantly, they will be given a safe

haven where they will be kept off the

streets during the critical afternoon

hours when there is no one at home to

care for them. A caring AMIT staff will

help them feel less defenseless. Seeing

children endure hardship makes Joe

Sprung feel profoundly grateful for his

own three beautiful children. They must

think their dad is a teddy bear of a guy.

There are a number of opportunities available to

fund after school programs throughout the AMIT

Network. For further information, please call

1-800-989-AMIT or 212-477-4720. You can also

donate to AMIT by visiting our award-winning

website at www.amitchildren.org.

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 31


DevelopmentNews

The AMIT Kfar Blatt Youth Village in Petach Tikva is distinguished

by a number of characteristics. It is situated in a

quiet, grassy area surrounded by trees. Within this idyllic

backdrop are over 300 students in grades 9 to12. What might

not be apparent to the casual visitor is that these are

teenagers-at-risk living in a unique dormitory arrangement to

provide them with a sense of family. In the mishpachtonim

(family units), a married couple reside with 16 to18 girls or

boys. Most of the students at this residential facility have not

been able to succeed in any other school environment.

Music plays an important role in the psychological and educational

process at Kfar Blatt. The extensive extracurricular

music program encourages children to work in musical ensembles.

This in turn promotes teamwork, minimizing violence,

and the elimination of cultural and economic boundaries. For

some, music can become the means for breaking out of a cycle

of despair and onto a path of success.

For Kfar Blatt, a donation from the Daniel and Ethel

Hamburger Music Fund was like manna from heaven for the student

choir. The choir allows girls and boys to perform for other

students and the community at large. Ronen Lan Reeder is the

choir director, with experience not only in musical production,

but in working with youth.

“As educators we are most anxious to increase instruction

hours. We believe that this will not only improve the choir’s

musical ability and professionalism, but help those students

for whom music is a critical part of their psychological therapy.

An increase of only one hour daily would have enormous

impact on the overall program,” explains Ronen.

The Hamburger Fund is based in Cleveland. Ethel Hamburger,

who was a cellist, wanted to honor her husband’s request to help

32

Music To Our Ears

AMIT Summer 2006

preserve Israeli music. Bill Hartstein, a lawyer for the estate contacted

Edna Landau, managing director in North America of IMG

Artists, and manager of Itzhak Perlman. He thought Ms. Landau

might know of Israeli institutions involved with music education.

In addition to her experience dealing with arts institutions all

over the world, Edna is an AMIT member and close friend of Senior

Vice President Barbara Rascoff. The two discussed this opportunity

which led to Ms. Landau’s recommendation to the Hamburger

Fund of the choir at Kfar Blatt. The directors of the fund are Harold

and Sandra Levine. “We learned that this was a good organization

that was worthy of assistance. The music programs at AMIT

schools are in keeping with our goals,” said Mr. Levine.

The money from the Hamburger Foundation was used to buy

a sound system for the music room where the choir practices.

The choir members meet once a week for two to three hours.

They work on music selected according to the educational

theme the entire village is engaged in at the time. Choir members

learn existing songs but also compose their own. Earlier

in the year they studied three celebrated Israeli artists who all

passed away during the prior 12 months: Ehud Manor, Naomi

Shemer and Uzi Hitman. They studied about each artist and

learned a song by each one. Everyone anxiously awaits the two

times a year when the choir actually records and then performs

for the entire village. AMIT Kfar Blatt is very interested in

broadening the activities of the choir and is especially in need

of additional recording equipment. With the help of interested

parties, like the Hamburger Fund, more and more students

will be uplifted by song.

If you can help identify a foundation that has an interest in the goals of

AMIT, please contact our Development Department at 212-477-4720 or

1-800-989-AMIT or email info@amitchildren.org.


Hands, Heads and Hearts

Photos by Dubi Itamar

AMIT Kiryat Malachi Junior and Senior High School was the

scene of an exciting ceremony in March. Forty-five bar

mitzvah aged boys were recipients of new tefillin and tallitot.

Over 500 students, 60% of whom are Ethiopian immigrants

and 5% of whom are from the Former Soviet

Union, attend the school, which earned the

President’s Prize in Education in 2002.

The tefillin were a gift of AMIT donors,

and the tallitot were a gift of Rabbi Yehuda

Bohrer of Bet El, just north of Jerusalem,

in memory of his daughter, Techiah, z”l.

At the suggestion of First Senior Vice

President Deanne Shapiro, the rabbi created

a fund to facilitate and subsidize the

purchase of the tefillin.

The boys gathered in a beit knesset near

the school where they excitedly davened in

a service led by their peers and the school

director, Rabbi Ofir Cohen (pictured). Prior to their tefilla,

many of the boys put their tefillin on for the first time with the

assistance of teachers, rabbis and more experienced friends.

Many parents attended to participate in the

service and observe this great mitzvah.

Following davening, a group of boys shared

their thoughts on this milestone in their lives

and noted their appreciation for receiving the

tefillin. Rabbi Bohrer inspired the boys by

telling them they have a wonderful responsibility

as new olim to fulfill their parents’ dream of

redemption in Israel.

Fundraising for The Tefillin Fund is headed by

Barbara Wachspress in Israel, to ensure that

AMIT students will have tefillin and tallitot that

they otherwise could not afford.

~

Don’t think that the bat mitzvah girls were left out of the

festivities! They participated in the tefilla and received

beautiful gifts provided by Rabbi Bohrer. Hannah

Cherlow, of the Israel Executive Committee and chair of the

Allocations Committee, represented AMIT by blessing the

girls. Rabbi Bohrer reminded them that they are bnei mitzvah,

DevelopmentNews

and they should be aware of the

ways of bnei Yisroel.

Rabbi Cohen and Rabbi

Yehoshua Priel, the school rabbi,

organized the day’s events. And

their remarks emphasized the

importance of tefillin, and how

proud they were of all their students. In one final act of generosity,

Rabbi Bohrer gave Rabbi Priel a number of kosher

mezuzot scrolls and promised to send batim as well.

To learn more about the Tefillin Fund and other giving opportunities that

provide AMIT students with the basic necessities for the fulfillment of the

mitzvot, contact our Development Department at 1-800-989-AMIT or

212-477-4720. You can email info@amitchildren.org or make a contribution

online with a major credit card. Visit our award-winning, secure website at

www.amitchildren.org.

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 33


DevelopmentNews

Field of Dreams

By Penina Wiesman

Somewhere, Samuel Goldstein, z”l, is smiling

down on a field in Israel as children run across

the fresh lawn, laughter trailing behind them.

This year there will be a new addition to this stretch of

open space that the children from six AMIT schools use

as their playground. The outdoor haven has been dedicated

in the name of Samuel Goldstein by his loving

nephew, Dr. Harold Goldstein. The field will now bear

the name and memory of a special man, known for his

combined love of sports, children, and helping others.

As one of the honorees of the AMIT Major Gifts

Luncheon in Fort Lauderdale, FL, this past March, Dr.

Goldstein reflected on the touching relationship he and

his uncle shared. Those in attendance at the event said,

“He spoke very warmly and emotionally about his uncle.

It was clear that he was really very honored that he was

able to perform this mitzvah in his memory.”

Dr. Goldstein lost his father at a young age and

turned to his father’s older brother, Samuel, who had

no children of his own. The two developed an extremely

strong bond as Samuel became a surrogate father,

and Harold like a son to his uncle. When discussing the distribution

of his estate, Samuel decided that Harold should be in

charge of part of it. The condition was that the money go to

Jewish people in need. Dr. Goldstein’s “familiarity with how

AMIT was helping people in need in Israel worked perfectly”

with the stipulations Samuel had set forth. After a recent visit

to AMIT Kfar Batya, Harold settled on this school as the recipient

of his uncle’s funds.

Born in 1907, Samuel Goldstein lived through the depression

and desperately searched for a job like the rest of American

workers. At one point, he worked as a basketball referee earning

a few dollars per game. This period of history left a mark on

Goldstein. Being in financial difficulty opened his heart to the

plight of those in need. “The underprivileged were an important

part of his thinking,” remembers Dr. Goldstein. “He wanted

to aid those people.” In addition, Samuel had first-hand

experience with anti-Semitism, which served to strengthen his

Jewish identity. “His personality and his whole being were

marked by being Jewish,” said his nephew.

Samuel eventually became a physical education teacher for

34

AMIT Summer 2006

Samuel Goldstein – friend of

children, sports, and the underdog

Children enjoying the open space of the

Goldstein field

Dr. Harold Goldstein (center) being honored at

an AMIT Major Gifts event for donating the

playing field in his uncle’s memory.

He is pictured with co-chairs Judy Aronson (l)

and Marilyn Kaplan (r)

an elementary school, and the

principal of the outdoor summer

school program, both of

which provided the children a

place to enjoy the outdoors in a

supervised manner. Samuel

understood that sports are

important for a child’s development

in the areas of life that

are not measured by test scores

or correct answers. He recog-

nized that “athletics teaches sportsmanship, tolerance…,

integrity, determination, kindness, diligence,” all of which are

essential to a child’s social advancement. “Those are all words

he used himself,” recalled Harold. Several of these important

beliefs will be inscribed on the dedication plaque.

In light of the values that were most prominent in Samuel

Goldstein’s life, his nephew’s choice is both poignant and

appropriate. When referring to that decisive moment when he

saw the sports field at Kfar Batya, Dr. Goldstein’s words are

unequivocal and concise. “It fit.”

We invite you to join the AMIT Heritage/ Moreshet

Society, by participating in our Planned Giving Program

or by leaving AMIT a bequest in your will. You can

choose to include your name on the Honor Roll of the

AMIT Heritage/ Moreshet Society. Please call the AMIT

office at 1-800-989-AMIT or 212-477-4720 for more

information.


Davids’s Playground: The Gift of Fun

By Amy Oppenheim

Since 2001, families from all over

Israel have sought out the AMIT

Irving I. and Beatrice Stone

School for Developmentally Challenged

Youth in Nechalim. Approximately 36

teens attend AMIT Stone, a residential

school designed to offer a basic education

to these youngsters, together with

the specialized love, care, and treatment

they require. Many of the residents

face behavioral and/or emotional

difficulties, developmental disabilities,

and a combination of dysfunctions that

make their lives extremely difficult.

Even the most loving and devoted families

are sometimes unable to cope with

the special attention such students

need. In extreme examples, the stress

can result in physical and mental abuse.

At AMIT Stone, each student lives with

one host family for the duration of their

stay in order to achieve a sense of stability.

They take part in enrichment and

therapeutic activities equipping them

with the skills necessary to successfully

integrate into society.

Long time AMIT member Lillian Hahn

and her husband, Dr. Elliot Hahn, recognize

the importance of the work being

done at AMIT Stone. The Hahn’s son

David is a handicapped adult who lives at

home and attends a day program in

South Florida. The Hahns have firsthand

knowledge of the support that

developmentally challenged youth

require. This led to their decision to dedicate

a playground and park at AMIT

Stone in honor of David. The couple

could imagine the many benefits the

youngsters at the school would reap.

Such a playground and park would offer

Photo Credit: Orna Itamar

The fountain, swings, and basketball court

provide both relaxation and fun.

the opportunity for exercise, play, socialization

and unstructured activity outside

of the classroom.

Construction on David’s Park began in

2004, and Dr. and Mrs. Hahn had the

opportunity to see the early stages of

their gift when they joined the AMIT

Mission to Poland and Israel that year.

This past winter, Mrs. Hahn and her mother,

Helen Helfman, were joined by Mrs.

Hahn’s aunt, Rivka Goldstein, and cousin,

Galila Ben Arzty – both Israeli residents –

at the dedication of David’s Park. “Our

hearts were filled with warmth and joy,”

expressed Mrs. Hahn of the dedication

ceremony, which included a presentation

DevelopmentNews

(Pictured l-r): Rivka Goldstein, Galila Ben Artzy,

Mrs. Hahn's mother Helen Helfman, Lillian Hahn

(l-r): Dr. Hahn, Lillian Hahn, and their daughter,

Aviva Friedman, breaking ground together

by the students of the school. “It

touched us all very much to see the beautiful

completion of this project and the

wonderful work that AMIT does.”

Since the completion of David’s Park,

Shelly Natan, the director of AMIT Stone,

has contacted the Hahn family to say,

“Everyone is thoroughly enjoying the new

addition to their school and home. They

not only have lots of fun on the playground

and soccer field, but they take pleasure in

just sitting and enjoying the beauty of the

fountain.” Of their role in this project,

Mrs. Hahn remarks, “It is very special for

us to know that we can make a difference

in the lives of these students.”

Photo Credit: Saundra Rothenberg

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 35


DevelopmentNews

AMIT Around The Country

Queens, NY: This past winter, the Queens Council

held a Leadership Supperette at Annie Chan’s

Restaurant. The event, chaired by Binnie

Sommer, featured award-winning author Rochelle

Krich, who discussed her newest mystery, Now You

See Me, about a teen at-risk.

Pictured (l-r): President of Queens Jewish Community

Council Jan Fenster, Bette Cyzner, and Eppie Shalom

36

SAVE

THE

DATE

AMIT Summer 2006

Miami Beach, FL: At the AMIT 80th Anniversary Major Gifts Event

this past spring, Dr. Stanley Goldfarb was honored for his recent

donation to the organization. He has demonstrated his unyielding

dedication to AMIT students through his philanthropy and support.

The event was co-chaired by Marilyn Kaplan and National Southeast

Regional Vice President Judy Aronson.

Pictured (l-r): Event Co-Chair Judy Aronson, National Director of

Foundations Saundra Rothenberg, Honoree Stanley Goldfarb, and Event

Co-Chair Marilyn Kaplan

Hollywood, FL: The IMA

Chapter hosted a Mother-in-

Israel Fundraising Event this

past winter.

Pictured (l-r): Event Committee

Members Linda Slomowitz, Mimi

Bengio, Presidiums Judy Goldberg

and Sarah Jacoby, Elisheva

Schrieber, and Marilyn Kaplan

West Hempstead, NY: The Shoshana Chapter held its annual dinner this

past spring. The dinner, co-chaired by Roberta Weinstein-Cohen and

Esther Gerson, honored past chapter presidents Deslie Paneth and Ronnie

Weinstein and Young Leadership

Award Recipient Reva Kirshblum.

Pictured (l-r): Event Co-Chair Roberta

Weinstein-Cohen, Honorees Reva

Kirshblum, Deslie Paneth, and Ronnie

Weinstein, and Event Co-Chair Esther

Gerson

AMIT 2006 ANNUAL

SCHOLARSHIP FUND DINNER

December 3, 2006

Grand Hyatt Hotel

Contact: 1-800-989-AMIT or 212-477-4720, ext. 135

Or e-mail us at robinr@amitchildren.org


Queens, NY: AMIT members in the Tri-State area gathered pre-

Pesach for a fashion show and mini boutique at the Young Israel

of Hillcrest. Shimshon Elchanan, the guest speaker, delivered

an address entitled, “The Jews of India.” The event was hosted

by the Ayelet, Chai Howard Beach, Esther Ben David, Margot

Schnall, and neighboring chapters.

Picture (l-r): Event Chair Binnie Sommer, Author and Speaker Rochelle

Krich, Queens Council President Esther Rotkel

Deerfield Beach, FL: More than 50 members of the Golda Meir

Chapter attended a gala Family-in-Israel Luncheon held at the

home of Corinne Klar this past February.

Pictured (l-r): Presidential Cabinet Member Norma Cohen, Chapter

President Vivian Rosen,

Hostess Corinne Klar, Chair

of the Board Zahava

Ginsberg, Chair of Motherin-Israel

Doris Sklarin

Pictured: The Golda Meir

Chapter enjoyed a festive

luncheon.

DevelopmentNews

Seattle, WA: The Bessie Gotsfeld, Avivah, and Shirley Jassen

Chapters in Seattle held their Annual Donor Luncheon this past

February. Rena Berger, Janet Jassen, and Meta Buttnick, cochairs

of the event, were ecstatic with the turnout, noting, in

several families, the representation of four generations. Rivi

Poupko Kletenik, head of Seattle Hebrew High Academy, spoke

about the importance of Jewish education and the role of AMIT

in achieving excellence in education for our children in Israel.

Pictured (l-r): Event Co-Chair Rena Berger, featured Speaker Rivy

Poupko Kletenik, Event Co-Chair Pam Schwartz, Senior Chair Meta

Buttnick, Event Co-Chair Janet Jassen

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38

What is President’s Circle?

President’s Circle is comprised of the highest level

donor in AMIT. Contributors with a minimum

annual gift of $5,000 allow the organization to allocate

funds where they are needed most. Their generosity

ensures that each child within our network

can maximize his or her potential. Our values based

education is designed to help our students become

vital, productive members of Israeli society. We provide

for the basic needs for those who are most vulnerable,

while also guaranteeing them the exceptional education

offered to everyone in our system.

Why is President’s Circle So Important?

At the 2006 President’s Evening, President’s Circle

Co-Chair Suzanne Doft said, “Membership in President’s

Circle allows us to translate our beliefs into direct support

PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE SCROLL OF HONOR 2006

benefiting thousands of children in Israel. Our contributions

to President’s Circle do not go to construct

buildings; we don’t get a plaque in a classroom

or our name on a computer center. Rather, our

funds go directly to support the basic operations of

the AMIT Network – all the daily services essential

to assuring the success of our schools and the education

and proper care of the children. And what

could be more important that that?”

Currently, one out of every three children in

Israel lives below the poverty line. Join us. Your support

can make a world of difference. Build Israel.

One Child at a Time.

For further information regarding President’s Circle,

please call Robin Rothbort at 212-477-4720, x 135, or

email robinr@amitchildren.org.

AMIT Summer 2006 www.amitchildren.org


$100,000+

Ellen and Meyer Koplow • Ellen and Stanley Wasserman

$50,000–$99,999

Miriam and David Solomon • Joseph Sprung

$36,000–$49,999

Debbie and David Isaac

Harriet and Heshe Seif

$25,000–$35,999

Thelma and Harvey Berger • Micheline and Marc Ratzersdorfer • Joyce and Daniel Straus

Hadassah and Marvin Bienenfeld

Adina and Marc Dolfman

Selma and Jacob Dyckman

Jewel and Theodore Edelman

Norma and Emanuel Holzer

Brenda and Albert Kalter

Edith Agus

Lolly and Harris Bak

Rachel and Martin Balsam

Joan and Shael Bellows

Lee and Louis Benjamin

Zelda and Solomon Berger

Daisy Berman

Anne Bernstein

Evelyn and Isaac Blachor

Rose Blumenthal

Ethlynne and Stephen Brickman

Adele and Jules Brody

Lois and Michael Burak

Carol and Arnold Caviar

Margaret and Chaim Charytan

Beth Chiger

Florence Cohen

Sherry and Neil Cohen

Shevi and Milton Cohen

Peggy and Philip Danishefsky

Selma Ettenberg

Ilse and George Falk

Vivian and Bernard Falk

Chaiki and Ziel Feldman

Peggy Samet-Fine

Myrna Fishbein

$18,000–$24,999

Suzanne and Jacob Doft • Paula Yudenfriend and Arlin Green

Gertrude and Gershon Fox

Sherry Frankel-Deal

Lily and Alfred Friedman

Linda Geller and Mitchell Leifer

Esther and Arnold Gerson

Miriam and Felix Glaubach

Paulette and Max Goldberg

Esther and Jack Goldman

Linda and Martin Gotel

Sharon and Melvin Gross

Felicia Hanfling

Lena and Richard Harris

Mildred and Alvin Hellerstein

Russell Jay Hendel

Aviva and Fred Hoschander

Elaine and Robert Jacobs

Dahlia Kalter Nordlicht and

Meir Nordlicht

Ruth and Jerome Kamerman

Ruth and William Kantrowitz

Tobi and Joel Klein

Liz and Ben Klibanoff

Sylvia and Leon Korngold

Ruth and Daniel Krasner

Rochelle and Seymour Kraut

Ann and David Kupperman

$10,000–$17,999

Rena Kent

Sharon and Solomon Merkin

Barbara and Jules Nordlicht

Barbara and Joel Rascoff

Jan and Sheldon Schechter

Charlotte Schneierson

$5,000–$9,999

Esther and Stanley Landsman

Francine and Alvin Lashinsky

Adele Lassar

Bobbette Renee and David Lew

Dorothy and Robert Lewis

Mindy and Seymour Liebman

Audrey and Haskel Lookstein

Mae Manney

Zipporah and Arnold Marans

Meira and Solomon Max

Manette and Louis Mayberg

Joan and Leon Meyers

Myra Mitzner

Debbie and Samuel Moed

Marilyn and Leon Moed

Nancy and Andy Neff

Dahlia and Meyer Nordlicht

Elissa and Daniel Ordan

Judith and Daniel Ottensoser

Suzy and Paul Peyser

Vicki Deutsch Platt and Jerry Platt

Esther and Donald Press

Evelyn Reichenthal

Sheila and Sidney Rimmer

Shelly Rindner

Vivian and Solomon Rosen

PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE

Elaine and Saul Schreiber

Sondra and Myron Sokal

Robyn Price Stonehill and

David Stonehill

Marcia and Lee Weinblatt

Saundra and Max Rothenberg

Adina Rubin

Tzivia Brody Rubin and Joseph Rubin

Augusta and Herbert Rudnick

Ellen and David Scheinfeld

Rita and Eugene Schwalb

Judith and Phillippe Schwed-Lion

Deanne and Leonard Shapiro

Judy and Isaac Sherman

Chana and Daniel Shields

Ruth Simon

Lorraine and Mordy Sohn

Sheryle and Theodore Spar

Bethia Straus-Quintas and

Paul Quintas

Zahava and Moshael Straus

Lilly Tempelsman

Ina and David Tropper

Bertie and Fred Tryfus

Judith and Morris Tuchman

Vicki and Michael Turek

Meryl and Alexander Weingarten

Marion and William Weiss

Roselyn and Walter Weitzner

Hilde and Benjamin Zauderer

Helene and Gerald Zisholtz

uWxa, .he ,Whnt 39


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