Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A lot in two days

Israel Scouts performing for the New Orleans JCC Day Camps
A lot of things have happened in the last two days. Locally, the Israeli Scouts (Tzofim) have come down to the uptown Jewish Community Center for a stellar performance in front of several hundred Day Camp kids. It was an amazing thing to see the Caravan Golan in performance and to see how the children reacted to the ten singing and dancing 17 year-olds. Along with 20 others in two other caravans, they had been selected from among 1400 hopefuls. After practicing for five months of weekends in their native Israel, they began a tour a few weeks ago that will take them from the East Coast through the South and Southwest and on to the West Coast. The five boys and five girls will begin their years of military service to the country following their return to Israel at summer's end. The caravan is led by two 25-year-old veterans of the Tzofim, one man and one woman and I was pleased to meet with them briefly after the show and let them know how great they were. Many of the songs were sung in Hebrew, but it didn't matter. The youngsters in the audience were having a hard time keeping still and not dancing and gyrating to the music with the very friendly and energetic troupe of Israelis.

Later on Tuesday night, the Florence Melton Mini-School, an adult Jewish education course graduated its latest class in ceremonies at the Metairie J.C.C. It was especially interesting for me to see this class graduate because the ceremonies mark the mid-point for me as a first-year student and give me some insight into what my graduation will be like next year. All of the students spoke glowingly of the rabbi instructors, two of whom are now leaving for other posts or pulpits with spouses.

On the national front: Cyd Cherise, the dancing partner of Fred Astaire and others passed away from heart failure at the age of 87 in Hollywood and Tim Russert was eulogized and later buried in private services in Washington, D.C. Life goes on, but not with the same sweetness as it had when they were still among us.

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