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Early Learning Is Key
I enjoyed your day camp story April
23 ("Ready, Set Go?" AppleTree, page
Many times when parents are con-
sidering where to begin their child's
earliest education, questions arise as to
location. Do I start my child off in the
closest location to my home? Do I fol-
low what my friends are doing? What
is the "rule of thumb" for my choices?
As a teacher and staff member of a
Jewish preschool environment, I can-
not expound the virtues of the setting
enough. You might ask what difference
it makes where my child is learning.
My answer is, "more than you realize."
Your child is experiencing the begin-
nings of a Jewish environment, which
will be their foundation for life. Not
only are the teachings of Judaism con-
stantly present, but the sights, sounds
and memories are powerful tools. Your
child is getting a first-hand view of
their Judaic background, including
such sacred places as a sanctuary and
Of course, their classroom in this
setting is of utmost importance, too,
bringing them closer to Judaism's love
of learning, whether learning about
Jewish holidays, Hebrew language or
socialization and sharing.
Our children, our future Judaic lead-
ers, play a dynamic role in the conti-
nuity of our heritage. We, the Jewish
educators, and you, the parents, are
laying the bricks of the very founda-
tion of our Jewish legacy. We are
building together. Where do I begin
my child's education? Right here in a
Judaic environment that is filled with
love, laughter and Jewish teaching.
assistant director, Samantha Erin Rosen
Nursery School, Congregation Beth Ahm
Answering A Need
As Israel's economic situation deterio-
rates, the Friends of the Israel Defense
Forces prides itself in adapting its goals
to answer the most urgent needs of the
A group of these most needy soldiers
are known as "Lone Soldiers" —
young 18-year-olds, who out of sheer
love for Israel, decided to leave their
families and friends in their native
countries and come to serve in the
Visiting Israel this year, I spent
Passover night with 500 of these new
immigrants. The highlight of the
evening came when a Russian immi-
choir leading a Shabbat nigun, I
grant found the afikoman and negoti-
jumped out of my seat and led a hora
ated her winnings with the chief of
line all around the room. There we
staff. The young soldier wanted to
were, Jews from all different parts of
become an IDF officer.
the religious spectrum, snaking around
Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon offered her a the dining hall. I did not even have to
trip to Russia, but she refused, insist-
leave Jerusalem for a visit home ... a
ing that she wanted to enter officers'
little bit of home came right to me.
course. Gen. Ya'alon offered to bring
her parents for a visit, but she wanted
to become an IDF officer. Realizing
the woman's determination, Gen.
Ydalon agreed to enlist her into offi-
A Miraculous Journey
cers' course and to bring her parents
from Russia to proudly congratulate
Those of us who participated on
their brave daughter.
Federation's Michigan Miracle Mission
Seated there with these soldiers —
4 understand that our experience was
hearing their stories and their determi- truly miraculous in so many ways.
nation to serve in the IDF, an obvious
We have visited Israel many times
choice for them, not brave but obvious over the last 30 years, but must
— was what made this trip so worth-
acknowledge that what the leadership
of this Mission pulled off was truly
The heart of Israel is the IDF. The
heartbeat of the IDF is the soldier.
Picture this: The El Al jets picked us
Without the latter, the former has no
up in Detroit; we then landed and
chance. We must join together in help- boarded the busses on the tarmac and
ing our soldiers strengthen all of our
went on to our first tour stops in Tel
hearts, through donations and in other Aviv and then on to Jerusalem for the
first of five nights; our room keys were
Anat Borenstein-Tsafrir waiting for us and our luggage in our
executive director, rooms. This trip's logistical success was
Michigan Friends of the IDF just beginning.
The bonding on our bus with 35
others will be a memory all of us cap-
tured and will be retained well beyond
A Special Visit Home
this trip. Sharing this trip with so
For me, choosing to live in Israel was a many first timers made it even more
choice. I was not being persecuted, not special.
economically broken, not running
Many people, upon our return, ask
away from anything. I chose to live in
us to identify the one highlight of the
Israel and thereby chose to live a very
trip. That is very difficult for a simple
reason: every visit, every stop was
Things here are constantly changing, unique in itself and so special.
shifting, thrown into upheaval, settling
The ability, on the ground, to touch
back down again. Within one day are
so many real situations allowed all of
experiences, feelings, thoughts, conver- us to see what the "real deal" is for our
sations and happenings to fill at least a Israeli brothers and sisters. Whether it
week elsewhere. It's like summer camp. was soldiers at the bases or kids in the
schools in the Central Galilee (in our
I made aliyah over nine months ago,
Partnership 2000 region), or home
and I am starting to come to terms
hospitality experiences with families,
with the intensity of living here. The
moment after moment, every stop, we
visit from Federation's Michigan
connected with the challenges of daily
Miracle Mission 4 was a welcome dis-
life for Israelis.
Every possible detail was thought
Rabbi David Nelson of
out and implemented virtually without
Congregation Beth Shalom, the syna-
a flaw. It is hard to imaging any travel
gogue my parents attend in Oak Park,
experience so well executed.
called me up and invited me to
Talk about security. The press makes
Shabbat dinner with "400 of his clos-
one believe we were on our way to
est friends." In some ways, the
Iraq. The security detail with us was 'A
Michigan Jews have a much better
plus." Every place we went, we had
sense of what community means than
tremendous confidence as a result of
the systems laid out by the United
Dinner was a miracle. I saw family
Jewish Communities, the umbrella
friends and parents of friends I have
organization to the Jewish Federation
not seen in years. Inspired by the army of Metropolitan Detroit.
The participants, the guides, the
Israelis, the soldiers, the bases and the
incredibly meaningful experience of
being there for Yom HaShoah, Yom
HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut made
this trip truly remarkable.
Todah rabah to all the sponsors and
leadership for making this trip a
It truly was a miracle to be in Israel
and experience it in this way!
Bob and Nancy Schostak
Memories Mark Mission
Speaking as a co-captain of Bus 9 and
as a president of an Orthodox syna-
gogue, I feel that Federation's
Michigan Miracle Mission 4, cospon-
sored by the Detroit Jewish News and
Michigan Board of Rabbis, was an
There was a tremendous feeling of
togetherness. Planners took into
account everyone's religious sensibili-
ties during a truly memorable Shabbat.
Looking forward to the next mis-
The Bush administration has been
criticized in the Arab world, which
charges that Bush "sides" with
Israel. This is especially so since the
last Sharon visit to Washington,
when Bush changed the U.S. policy
on Palestinian refugees and Jewish
settlements to a position more
favorable to Israel. A broader look
at the situation reveals otherwise.
BEHIND THE ISSUE
The U.S. relationship with.
aid to — several Arab countries,
most notably Egypt, Jordan and
Saudi Arabia, is nearly as close as it
is to Israel. In addition, the U.S.
continues to criticize some Israeli
military actions and has declined to
recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli
Allan Gale, Jewish Community
Council of Metropolitan Detroit