American school children are vying for the chance to put their personal stamp on the Holy Land — literally.“Sticking Together,” a contest sponsored by the Israeli Postal Authority and Babaga Newz magazine, is asking children to design an Israeli postage stamp. Four winning submissions will be featured on government-issued stamps in December 2005. American and Canadian students, grades one through eight, can enter.It’s part of the Babaga Newz annual “Salute to Israel” competition.
Yosef Abramowitz had the floor at the closing session of the first national Jewish Youth Philanthropy Conference in Denver last April. Striding around the hotel conference room among about 100 teenagers, microphone in hand like a latter-day Phil Donohue, he exhorted them to see themselves as powerful agents of change, as prophets and leaders. He talked about great visions of a Jewish future, quoting philosophers from Zionist thinker Achad Ha’Am to “Star Wars” wise man Yoda. He held their attention for about 20 minutes.
We’ve traveled a long way from the old country, where Jewish life was absorbed by people growing up in their parents’ homes, traditions passed down from one generation to the next naturally, transmitted almost by osmosis in the shtetl square.
Fast forward to modern America, circa 2000, and the reality is that many of us were raised by parents who emphasized the American part of being American Jews and let the Jewish piece fall by the wayside.