Hanukkah Lights Day Five- Cantor Moses on “Adopting” a US Soldier

imageThe other day we focused on Ron Gross’ involvement with Friends of the IDF. Support for Israeli soldiers is important. Thanking and supporting our own troops is as well. That’s exactly what Cantor Moses does by “adopting” a members of the US armed services.

From Cantor Moses:

When I married my husband I also married into a family with a long and honorable military background. My brother-in-law, an active duty Marine was stationed in Iraq just after I met him. It was during his tour of duty that I really wanted to support him and the other amazing young men and women who, sometimes in spite of their personal politics, have chosen to serve our country. Whatever your personal feelings about the operations in which the men and women of our armed forces are engaged, they deserve our thanks, our respect, and even a little treat now and then to …

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Hanukah Lights Day 3- Jamian Probber on His Work with Community Hope

IMG_3973-0.JPGSince 1985, our non-profit organization Community Hope has provided housing and essential services to young adults and individuals in recovery from a debilitating mental illness. In 2004, we channeled our experience in residential recovery programs to help our former servicemen and women in dire need, opening the largest transitional housing program in New Jersey for homeless veterans. Community Hope was started in 1985 by families and mental health professionals seeking a safe haven in the community where young adults could continue their recovery from chronic mental illness. They opened our first therapeutic residence and recruited caring, professional counselors who could assist individuals in making a successful transition back to community and family life after many months, often years, of repeated psychiatric hospitalization.

I was initially introduced to Community Hope through a good friend and associate in the not for profit world after I had expressed an interest in becoming involved …

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Hanukah Lights Day Two- Emma Joy On Starting, “Girls Helping Girls. Period.”

lights2I learned something recently that really upset me.  Feminine hygiene products are not covered by food stamps. Girls and women all over the country, and right in my hometown, miss school and work because they simply can’t afford these basic necessities.

Facts and figures related to this issue aren’t easy to find.  But I managed to do some basic math.  Studies show women use approximately 20-25 items (tampons and/or pads) each month.   The best seller on Drugstore.com is Tampax Pearl, at $8.99 for a box of 36.  22 items a month, 12 months in a year… a woman will need about eight boxes each year.  That’s about $70 worth of feminine products.  Maybe that’s not so much to you or me.  But for a woman or family that is already struggling to get by, $70 is simply an impossibility.  And that’s heart breaking.  Basic care products should not be considered …

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Hanukkah Lights Day One- Michael Schwamm on His Work as an Advisor to Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding

Screenshot 2014-12-17 09.23.59As a long-standing member of the TSTI community, I have listened to and participated in many discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I believe, however, that I am the first to bring a Palestinian to a TSTI Shabbat service.

The Palestinian was a young man named Alaa Handam, who lives in Acco – a beautiful walled city on the sea near Haifa. Alaa is an alum of the Israeli – Palestinian Emerging Leaders Program, an initiative sponsored by an organization called Outward Bound Peacebuilding that I have been involved with and supported since 2007. He came to TSTI in May of 2013, along with one of the Israeli Jewish participants, Liat Hadad,and together they shared their story of their experience with the Outward Bound Peacebuilding program.

In his own words Alaa stated, “In the Emerging Leaders Program, Israelis and Palestinians meet for the first time in the wilderness, in the middle …

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