My Brilliant Cheder Career
Kudos: Warming Souls
You're coordinator of the Waterford-Bloomfield
chapter of Project Linus. How did you get involved?
Project Linus is a national, nonprofit organization
that provides blankets to children who are in need of
some extra comfort — because of illness [cancer
patients], trauma [domestic abuse, accident victims]
or loss [of a parent
I'm a nurse and
work as a rehabili-
— but in my off
hours, quilting is
my passion. I
Project Linus on
Quilt and applied
to start a chapter in
Who makes the
where do they end up?
Every month, I distribute about 50 blankets —
child-friendly, washable, handmade and new
Regular recipients include Jewish Family Service,
St. Joseph Mercy-Oakland Hospital, Gilda's Club,
Lighthouse of Pontiac and the Waterford Police and
While we focus on local needs, we've also sent
blankets to Alyn Hospital in Israel and to the victims
of Sept. 11.
Scout troops, schools, synagogues and individuals
all have contributed blankets — knitted, crocheted,
quilted or no-sew polar fleece — in sizes from 3 feet
square up to afghan size.
Did you have a "blankie"?
I don't remember if I had a blankie, but my daugh-
ter, a second-year law student, still has hers.
As a trained RN, I've been allowed to hand out •
blankets in the hospital, and I've seen the faces of the
kids who receive one and find out it was made by a
stranger. They derive great comfort, as do their par-
ents and the professional staff that works with them.
— Gail Zimmerman, Arts 6 Life editor
Contact Lori Steinlauf at (248) 618-9523 or
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the other day try-
ing to locate a
I call it a
GEORGE library because
that makes it
Reality Check sound impressive.
Actually, it's just a
that we put some wood shelves in
But in my search I came across
a small black volume with its
binding coming loose. It was a
siddur [prayer book], and when I
opened the front cover there was
written in a mixture of Hebrew
and English: "To Yehuda Cantor
(that would be me) for winning
the Pesach prize, United Hebrew
Schools, Central High branch."
What I had to do to win the
aforementioned prize I have no
idea. Maybe it was a mat2ah-eat-
ing contest, but that seems unlike-
ly because I can't stand the stuff.
The possibility that I could
have won this siddur in some sort
of scholastic competition is even
more improbable. My record of
academic achievement as a yeshiv-
ah bocher was spotty, to put it
The four afternoons a week in
which I was expected to attend
classes resolved themselves into a
battle of wills between me and my
I was a highly inventive youth,
and the list of maladies I could
come up with when it was time to
George Cantor's e-mail address is
attend cheder [place of Jewish
study] was endless — anything
from headaches to rapture of the
When classes were switched to
the old B'nai Moshe on Dexter,
my enthusiasm diminished even
further. Sometimes, my mother
would even walk me to the bus
stop to make sure I boarded the
vehicle, only to be confounded
when I walked back home half an
hour later pleading the onset of
vertigo and a ringing in my ears.
Eventually, we arrived at an
accommodation. I attended class
only on those days when I was
given bar mitzvah lessons and on
Saturday mornings for junior con-
gregation. We all could live with
that arrangement and after my
13th birthday, I never looked
But I must have learned some-
thing. Otherwise, how can I
explain this inscribed siddur?
My years at UHS also proved
useful many years later. I was leav-
ing Israel after a reporting assign-
ment in 1998 and my photogra-
pher and I had to go through the
tough security interview at Ben-
I was asked where I had stopped
in Israel and mentioned a kibbutz
at which I had done
some reporting. The
lady conducting the
interview had family
there and so did I.
That seemed to
"Do you speak
Hebrew," she asked.
"A little," I said.
"Where did you
"At cheder," I
She decided right
then that I was no
threat to anyone and
waved me through.
The entire process
had taken less than
later when my pho-
tographer caught up
with me in the
departure lounge, he was aghast.
"They only now let me
through," he said. "What did you
say to her?"
It's a Jewish thing, I told him.
Maybe I should have told her
about winning the Pesach prize,
too. That might have cut my time
Or maybe not. No use pushing
"The Shabbat candles are a symbol of hope. They make me think and be absorbed in thought and
feel peaceful inside."
— Lisa Kottler, 12, West Bloomfield, Ealy Elementary School student
Friday, Feb. 27, 6:01 p.m.
Friday, March 5, 6:09 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 28, 7:03 p.m.
Saturday, March 6, 7:11 p.m.
To submit a canellelighting message, call Miriam Amzakzk of the Lubavitch. Women's Organization at (248) 548-6771 or e-mail• firstname.lastname@example.org