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October 30, 1998     Jewish News
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October 30, 1998

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20 Southeastern Virginia Jewish News October 30, 1998 Joint Distribution Fellowship attracts v!rglnla ASSOCIaUOn 1,oon. ,or,,ro roon,.,o wor, !i of. -- v ,- -Tnde"enaen* Schools i eyKarenSa d -- "The Goldman Fellowship offers outstanding young What do suburban Jews in peo_ple an opportunity to be involved in projects that Clearly stated mission and philosophy CoUegc preparatory curriculum Rigorous accreditation procedure Small class size Faculty commitment High educational and ethical standards Accountability to parents Strong student involve- ment in sports, arts and community service Nonprofit organizations Financial aid available Cape henry CoUegiate Schm 1320 Mill Dam Road Virginia Beach, VA 23454 (757) 481-2446 Age 3 - Grade 12  Age 3 - Grade 1 Nov. 18, 7:30 PAl Age 3 - Grade 12 Jan. 31, 2 PM Chesapeake Bay Aeaulemy 715 Bakar Roaa Virginia Beach, VA 23462 " (757) 497-6200 t v Kindergarten - Grade 11 K- Grade 11 Please call for an appointment Hebrew Academy 1244 Thompkins Lane Virginia Beach, VA 23464 (757) 424-4327 Age 2. Grade 8 Namemond-Suffolk Academy 3373 Pruden Boulevard Suffolk, VA 23434 (757) 539-8789 Age 3 - Grade 12 Norfolk Academy 1585 Wesleyan Drive Norfolk. VA 23502 (757) 461-6236 Grade 1 -Grade 12 e 2 - Grade 8 v. 10, 7:30 PM Age iS. Grade 12 Jan. 10, 2 - 5 PM Grade 1 Nov. 4, 7:30 PM Ore, 1 - 12 Jan. 24, 3 PM Norfolk Collel#a School 5429 Tidewater Dr. (K - 5) 7336 Granby Street (6 - 12) Norfolk, VA 23505 (757) 48O- 1495 K- Grade l Nov. 15, 2 PM K.rad# 12 Jan. 10, 2 PM vh-s Beach VrUmds Seho 1537 Laskin Road Virginia Beach, VA 23451 (757) 428-7534 Age 3 - Grade 12 The wn,m Seheei 419 Colonial Avenue Norfolk, VA 23507 (757) 627-1383 Kindergartea - Grade 8 Accredited by  Virginia Asmciation of Independent Schools. and z!ovod by the Vir#nia Bo! of Fal " and the National Association of t Schools, The VAIS SchooM admit studenm of any .r, sex, okg and national or ethnicil " andnot fprn  Bergen County, NJ, elderly Jews in St. Petersburg, Russia and newly arrived Ethiopian Jews in Israel have in common? They are three vastly different Jewish communities wrestling with sim- ilar issues. And all three commu- nities have recently influenced and been influenced by Andrea Haas, the charismatic 25-year- old Slovakian Jewish leader who just completed the year-long JDC-sponsored Ralph I. Gold- man Fellowship in International Jewish Communal Service, "Even though each communi- ty was so different, each in its own way was asking the same questions: How do we encourage people to keep their Jewish her- itage in a world with so many options? How do we hlp Jews who are disconnected from their roots?" explained Haas in an interview before she returned home to her native Slovakia. Selected from over 40 appli- cants from around the world, Haas was thrilled to serveas the first Goldman fellow from East- ern Europe. "The Goldman Fellowship offers outstanding young people an opportunity to be involved in projects that focus on the most current needs of the worldwide Jewish community." said Melissa Polen, Coordinator of Special Services for JDC. "Andrea was selected because of her varied involvement and superior leader- ship in her own commumty. She prbved herself as a young Jewish leader from a country where it is hard just to be Jewish." Haas grew up in a small iso- lated town in the Slovakian countryside with a Jewish popu- lation of 50. Amazingly, even under the repressive communist regime, her family managed to keep a fairly traditional Jewish home and instill in her a strong Jewish identity. While attending university in the capital city of Bratislava, she quickly became a leader of the Czech Union of Jewish Youth. "I could not keep my mouth shu during the meetings, so I thought maybe I should do something." She organized many activities and events to help the Jewish students who were struggling with the issue of how to be Jew- ish when their families had been denied that right for 70 years. When she first began her fel- lowship in America last Septem- ber, Haas was awed by the sheer number of choices available. 'Where is no other country in the world where you can choose from so many products, meet people of so many different ori- " gins and see so many cultural and religious backgrounds," said Haas. "At first I was over- whelmed and later impressed by the Jewish population and the organization of the community. ..The hoices - oLsynagogues, .kosher,foods Jewish schools, focus on the most current needs of the worldwide Jewish community." said Melissa Polen, Coordinator of Special Services for JDC... institutions, and community cen- ters. Yet, all this choice can make it difficult to keep the Jewish heritage alive in a country which offers so many possibilities." Helping to organize a warm clothing drive for needy Jews in Minsk, sponsored by the UJA- Federation of Bergen County and North Hudson, New Jersey, gave Haas a first-hand look at the cre- ative ways in which the Ameri- can Jewish community is dealing with the all-important issue of assimilation and continuity. The clothing drive reached out to all members of the com- munity -- Jewish kindergartens, adult volunteers, Bar Mitzvah kids and high school students and involved a wide variety of cooperating Jewish organizations throughout the county. i l Through special events and educational lectures, everyone actively participated in learning about the situation of the Iews in Minsk and the Jewish tradition that all Jews are responsible for one another. "What was primarily intended to be a project to help Jews in Minsk also united and strength- ened the local Jewish communi" ty," said Haas. ,While in St. Petersburg, Haas worked with another community struggling with identity issues. Her work organizing highly suc- cessful Kabbalat Shabbat cele- brations and Passover Seders in St. Petersburg gave her insight into how communal traditions vaguely remembered from the past can re-ignite a passion with- in a Jewish community. "The common celebrations of holidays present an outstanding opportunity for Russian Jews to reconnect themselves with their roots. It helps them to strengthen their identity and brings them closer to Jews around the world." said Haas. Working with newly arrived Ethiopian families in Israel, Haas saw the challenges of adapting to a new society. The Jewish life that the Ethiopians lived in rural villages was acutely different from the modern high-tech life they face in Israel. "The Ethiopi- ans are a wonderful people. 1 don't think anybody quite real- ized how different they were and the impact of their coming to .Israel," said Haas ...... ./.,!s)psea!e intema- tional torch to Chaim Motzen, a Montreal native who recently completed his Rabbinic studies at New York's Yeshiva Universi- ty and is just beginning his year as a Goldman fellow. Motzen is a young leader with eclectic talents and interests ranging from leading high holiday services in Austin Texas, to running the Nansivik Midnight Sun Marathon in Baffin Island. Cana- da, to singing lead vocals in the Yeshiva University Jazz ensem- ble. His college backpacking expeditions around the globe first ignited his interest in the world Jewish community. "One Erev Shabbat, I arrived at the synagogue in Gibraltar scruffily dressed in my backpacking clothing, and within 10 minutes I had four invitations for" meals and four places to stay. I was amazed at the instant connection with another Jewish community," said Motzen. He is currently at JDC headquarters in New York getting an overview of the global Jewish communities and charting a course for his international assignments. While Motzen begins his fel- lowship year, Haas has returned to Eastern Europe to bring back to that part of the world what she learned during the fellowship year. Her first stop is in Budapest where she has accepted the posi- tion of Regional Coordinator for Steven Speilberg's Survivors of the Shoah Oral History Founda- tion. She is brimming with ideas and excited by the challenge of taking a future leadership role in re-energizing and organizing the Jewish community in Eastern Europe. Reflecting on what she experienced in the three commu- nities and the new challenges that lay in front of her HaaS observed: "Throughout Jewish history, one of the factors Which caused us to remain Jewish was danger from the outside. Our challenge today is to use inside forces to attract people to Judaism." The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is cur- rently selecting applications for the Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship in International Jewish CommU- nal Service. The deadline for a letter of intent is Nov. 1. For more information call (212) 687- 6200, write to the American JeW- ish Joint Distribution Committee, 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 or check out the JDC Web Site at Activities of the JDC are funded by the regular campaigns of the United Jewish Appeal ant! Federations throughout the Unit- ed.tates..,.