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May 30, 2003 - Image 75

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Independent Living with Assisted Services

OPEN HOUSE

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 12-6 pm
Join us for a tour and refreshments

• Luxurious one and two bedroom

four rounds of the Bee before missing
on the word "banns.
From the pained look on his face
and four minutes of hemming and
hawing as he is gently encouraged by
Bee officials awaiting his answer, it is
clear the Jewish speller does not know
that, according to Webster's, it's a word
meaning "a public announcement
especially in church of proposed mar-
riage."
In the movie, Harry's mom later
jokes that if a kid from Texas had got-
ten stuck with a Yiddish word, it
would have been all over for that poor
speller, too.
Yes, "banns" is a pretty out-of-the-
way word, especially for a boy from
Glen Rock, N.J., who claims he barely
studied at all.
"I didn't really have a study system,"
says Altman in an unusual admission
that sets him apart from the other
spellers in the movie, all of whom
spend hours a day studying arcane bits
of language.
But judging from his performance
on the Bee stage and in later interviews
with the documentary team at home,
it's hard to imagine Altman sitting still
for more than five seconds in a row.
His approach to spelling is engaging:
bits of mumbled advice to himself,
jokes with the judges — all sort of jit-
tery but with no nerves in sight.
Director Blitz was so taken with
Altman that he decided on the spot to
put him in the movie; the other seven
contestants had been staked out long
beforehand.
It was actually his bar mitzvah that
Altman claims kept him from three-
peating as a New Jersey regional cham-
pion. (Altman says his party had no
theme, laughing when it's suggested he
should have chosen dictionaries.)
"It kept me really busy," he says of
the rite-of-passage, leaving him little
time to do even the small amount of
studying he says he'd done the year
before to advance to the Bee in D.C.
He returned to the national stage
after a one-year, Haftorah-laden hiatus.
Nowadays, Altman keeps his dis-
tance from spelling, working more
with computers and participating in
math competitions for the magnet
high school he attends in Bergen
County, N.J.
"I'm not very good in English," he
admits. Can anybody spell "irony"?

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"



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JN2003

IrN ONG HU4

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FOR

************************************************************
-3(

-it

ILAN RAMON

"I call upon every Jew in the world to
plant a tree in the land of Israel dur-
ing the coming year. I would like to
see 13 or 14 million new trees plant-
ed in Israel exactly one year from
now, on the anniversary of the
launching."
—Ilan Ramon

a

a

To plant a tree in Israel
in honor of Ilan Ramon and
his fellow astronauts, go to

Party
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9'

9'

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Available
Order
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www. jewish.com .

Click on Donations to Israel.

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9'

6646 Telegraph at Maple • Bloomfield Plaza • 248.932-0800'



9'

1

************************************************************

RiN

5/30

2003

75

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