We are all following the news these days...
I recently received the following letter (in part) from Rabbi MARVIN HIER, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center:
"I know you have been following the news from Israel with increasing alarm as a wave of murderous stabbings, shootings, bombings and car rammings have been unleashed by Palestinians against their Jewish neighbors.
This barbaric and relentless new surge of terrorism has enraged Israelis. And you can see why when you consider the victims, which include a 12-year-old boy riding his bike, babies, young parents, scholarly rabbis, a 71-year-old woman waiting for a bus, and more, including the recent killing of a soldier and wounding of 10 other Israelis at a Beersheba bus station. Not even our history is safe, with a large Palestinian mob recently torching Joseph's tomb.
World leaders have been tepid in their reactions, and important mainstream media continue to cast Palestinians, not Israelis, as victims. Meanwhile, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) criticized not the Palestinian terrorists, but Israel's attempts to stop them.
I ask you, when will the international community hold PA president MAHMOUD ABBAS accountable for his racist incitement? Abbas' disgusting speech at the U.N., his praise for terrorists who murdered Israelis in the past and his denigration and demonization of Jews exercising their religious rights at the Western Wall, all of these actions only encourage further murderous attacks in the name of the Palestinian cause."
(How depressing! To learn more, you can go to the Wiesenthal.com website. )
LOREN LONDON's wonderful idea...
RAISE (Recognizing Abilities and Inclusion of Special Employees) is a 6-to 12-month work and social skills training program that provides paid part-time employment at partnering agencies and helps prepare adults with disabilities to transition to permanent jobs.
A program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando (JFGO), RAISE is the vision of Loren London, program director and a community leader who experienced firsthand the hurdles that exist in the job market as she tried to assist her brother with special needs in his struggle to secure meaningful employment.
"Being different was hard for my brother... Although when he walked through the door of The Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando (JCC), he felt friendship, a sense of belonging, respect and kindness and that inspired me to create RAISE," says Loren.
The program includes a cadre of degreed professionals, volunteer job coaches and agency representatives who support the RAISE employees and their family liaisons.
According to Loren, RAISE employees work part time and "for the most, this has been their first opportunity to earn a paycheck." Jobs are matched to the capabilities and interests of each individual. And when one employee gets a job in the community, it's time to celebrate and open up the application process once again.
RAISE employees attend a curriculum-based weekly group social skills program called Lunch & Learn, created and run by RACHEL SLAVKIN, M.Ed. Rachel is the director of Employment and Education and the professional force overseeing day-to-day operations. Rachel provides job coach supervision, assessment, evaluation of performance and social skills training.
"The Dream Team," as Loren refers to those with whom she works, also includes CAROL MILLER, LCSW, director of Social Bridges® and RAISE Program Adviser KEN SCHNEIDER, ED.D, former director of Exceptional Student Education in Orange County.
"Involving community volunteers as job coaches is fundamental to the successful functioning of the program," says Loren. After an orientation, each job coach works one-on-one with an employee. "Watching the personal relationships develop as job coaches witness disabilities turn into appreciated abilities has kept our volunteers committed to giving of their time," she says.
RAISE works alongside Vocational Rehabilitation and job placement centers to help educate RAISE families and to prepare, connect, and match employees with prospective community employers.
RAISE has relied entirely upon the generosity of community donations for funding. Every dollar raised has come from families and individuals who understand the need and benefit of this life-changing program.
If you know of an adult with special needs who may be interested in applying to RAISE, there is an open position now.
RAISE is always accepting volunteers to serve as job coaches as well as contributions to support the program. For more information please call Marisa at JFGO: 407.645.5933 ext. 236 or read more and apply online at jfgo.org/RAISE
A wonderful event, a wonderful family...
The wonderful event I refer to is Chabad's recently sponsored Chanukah in the Park celebration held in downtown Winter Park on Park Avenue.
It was truly a joyous event (as it is every year) and the most wonderful people attend.
Among them this year was Dr. SCOTT COHEN, his lovely wife, SARAH, and their sons, JACOB, 6, and ZACHARY, 4.
Dr. Cohen is a superb periodontist with Chace, Horvat and Cohen, located at 801 W. Morse Blvd, in Winter Park.
A diamond in the rough...
Tomorrow night the city of Mount Dora will present a salute to (I'm just guessing here) Neil Diamond with a show called simply DIAMOND. It is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and for location, ticket prices and any other information, you can phone 352-383-2165.
One for the road...
(I love this joke)
Two guys, Julie and Joey, are standing at Heaven's Gate, waiting to be interviewed by St. Peter.
Julie says, "How did you get here?"
Joey answers, "Hypothermia. How about you?
Julie responds, "You won't believe it. I was sure my wife was cheating on me so I came home early hoping to find the guy. I accused my wife of unfaithfulness and searched the whole house without any luck. Then I felt so bad about the whole thing I had a massive heart attack."
Joey then responds, "Oh man, if you had checked the walk-in freezer, we both would be alive!