Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Overflow crowd attends Club L'chaim's first awareness meeting


Seminole County School Board member Abby Sanchez ; LBHS student Alana Halperin; teacher Dan Smith; guest speaker Gene Klein; Rabbi Mendy Bronstein of Chabad of Altamonte Springs; LBHS students Jordon Greenberg, Tuval Basher, Ofree Basher, Elie Basher and WPHS student Lily Gaber.

As a response to recent events of anti-Semitism at Lake Brantley High School, a group of Jewish teens who are members of Club L'chaim at Lake Brantley and their teacher, Dan Smith, partnered with Chabad of Altamonte Springs and hosted an evening of awareness and education. Seminole County Public Schools were also a sponsor of this event.

They expected 50 people to come, and planned on holding it in the community room at Lake Brantley. Over 750 people joined the event, which had to be moved to the auditorium to accommodate the crowd, and there was standing room only. Organizers and attendees alike were astonished with the turnout, which is clear testament to how important this topic is to people today. 

Rabbi Mendy Bronstein opened the evening, sharing a message that when faced with hate and anti-Semitism, one can't hide from becoming prouder of their heritage and who they are. He encouraged everyone present to add a mitzvah (a good deed) to their lives, and together make the world a better place. 

Then a few members of Club L'chaim shared a few words about learning from the Holocaust and hate in general throughout history, and the lessons we could learn for current events. The teens who spoke were Alana Halperin, president of Club L'chaim; Ofree and Tuval Basher; Jamie and Lauren Benghiat; and Ella Colley.

The keynote speaker was Gene Klein, who shared his life story and a message that we must never remain silent in the face of hate. 

The evening ended with student Jackie Gerber thanking the school administration and the school board for all they've done to deal with the anti-Semitism at Lake Brantley, and for their assistance in putting together the event. 

People left the event feeling empowered, with a message that hate will be stopped with love and kindness, and discussions for hosting the next event have already begun.


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