Friday, June 13, 2008

Children and Summer Camp: Tips for Parents.

Children and Summer Camp: Tips for Parents

Over 10 million children go to summer camp each year. For most, it’s a fun and rewarding experience full of challenges and excitement. In addition to physical and athletic activities, kids learn about independence, cooperation, competition and teamwork. They also learn that they can survive away from home.

For many children, summer camp is also a time of significant emotional growth, development and transition. Parents often note that their children come home seeming older or more mature than before they left. Although most children are excited about going to summer camp, for some, it can be a scary or anxiety provoking experience. In general, parents should not push or force kids to go to camp if they feel frightened or uncomfortable. The following tips are designed to help parents prepare their kids for summer camp and deal with issues that may arise:

  1. Choose a camp that is suited to your child’s personality, temperament and interests. If your child likes music, art or horseback riding, it makes sense to pick a camp with strengths in that area. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with encouraging kids to try new things or to have a variety of experiences. In general, it is best not to force kids to do things at camp that they really dislike or simply cannot do. Repeated negative experiences can have a significant effect on a child’s self-esteem.

  2. Involve your child in choosing the camp. Review brochures, videos and websites together. Ask for the names of other families you and your child can talk to about the camp.

  3. Don’t push kids to go to camp at too early an age. The “right” age will vary from child to child. Some kids are “ready” for “sleep away” camp at five or six, while others would not even consider the idea at 14 or 15. If a child doesn’t seem ready for a full summer away, consider a camp which has one-month sessions. It may be an easier transition and a more positive experience.
  4. If your child is shy, consider a camp where they know and like at least one other person their own age. Having one friend makes it easier to meet other kids.

  5. If you choose a camp that is driving distance, consider an off-season visit to help familiarize your child with the setting. It’s not unlike visiting a new school with your child.

  6. Encourage kids to bring favorite toys, books, music or other reminders of home such as photos or even favorite foods, if allowed by the camp.

  7. If kids have issues or problems with other campers, encourage them to try to work things out themselves before intervening. Suggest that they ask a counselor or the camp director for help or suggestions. Remember, part of camp is about learning how to deal with new people and different situations.

  8. Don’t be surprised if your child gets “homesick”. It’s a normal reaction to being away from family and friends, especially for the first time. Don’t criticize a child who feels homesick at camp. Telling them to “buck up” can sometimes make them feel worse. Instead, be supportive, reassuring and consistent. Tell them you understand that it’s hard to be away from home, and that you miss them, too. Try to focus on intermittent goals, like Visiting Day or special camp events. Regular, scheduled and predictable phone contact may also be helpful. For most kids, episodes of homesickness pass within a few days.

  9. If homesickness persists or seems severe, or if your child seems truly unhappy, talk to the camp director. Is your child having a particular problem with another child or a counselor? Is there an activity or expectation that is causing difficulties? Are they being pushed to do things beyond their level or capacity, like long distance swimming or extended hikes? Or is it just the wrong setting for your child? In the end, trust your instincts. If you are convinced it’s just not working out, do not be afraid to let your child come home. It’s not the end of the world for you or for your child, and it’s better than being truly miserable or unhappy for an entire summer.

  10. Help children keep in touch with friends from summer camp. Plan times for them to get together with kids who live nearby. For friends who live at a distance, letters, phone calls and e-mail can help them maintain contact during the school year.

Most kids enjoy camp. They often look forward to returning year after year. However, careful camp selection, preparation and planning can increase the likelihood of a positive experience.


Traveling with Children – Tips for Parents

Summer is here and many families will be traveling to a variety of vacation destinations. Many children enjoy traveling. It is an opportunity to see new places, meet new people and have new experiences. However, travel can also be anxiety provoking for some children. Being in large crowds, flying, sleeping in a strange bed, or eating unfamiliar foods can cause concern for some children.

The following suggestions may help parents minimize a child’s anxiety when traveling:

  • If your child is old enough, let him or her help plan your trip. Let them learn about where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

  • Leave plenty of time. Nothing is more stressful for parents or children than rushing to catch a plane or trying to reach a destination on time.

  • Keep children occupied, especially on car or plane trips. Bring food, books, and games.

  • Try to establish a relatively regular routine, even when traveling. Children are reassured by predictability.

  • Let your child bring something familiar from home. It may be a stuffed animal, blanket, or a favorite toy. Encourage kids to bring pictures of friends, family, and pets.

  • Plan plenty of bathroom and snack breaks. Try to keep kids comfortable and well fed.

  • If traveling for an extended period, help kids keep in contact with friends back home. Let them call, send letters, postcards, or email to friends.

  • Don’t force kids to tolerate extended “adult activities” like long museum visits, formal dinners, or plays in languages they don’t understand. Plan child oriented activities -- children’s museums, parks, zoos, and toy stores.

Most children like to travel and welcome the opportunity to spend time with one or both parents. Despite the excitement, a certain degree of anxiety about being away from home is common. However, some children experience extreme anxiety that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for them to travel. They may be anxious about flying or worried about getting lost. They may be uncomfortable sleeping in an unfamiliar place. If such worries persist, or a child experiences episodes of intense anxiety or panic attacks while traveling, parents should talk to the child’s pediatrician or family doctor, who can provide a referral to a trained and qualified mental health professional.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Haaretz: Interpol suspects Brazilian Jewish community hid rabbi wanted for child abuse

What a surprise! A Jewish community harbors a suspected vicious child abuser. Haven't we seen this act before?

By Jonathan Lis and Paula Idoeta, Haaretz Correspondents

SAO PAULO - Interpol suspects that the Jewish community in Sao Paulo hid an an ultra-Orthodox rabbi suspected of seriously abusing Jerusalem children, one of whom is in a vegetative state.

Local police arrested Rabbi Elior Chen Wednesday on a street corner in the Bom Retiro neighborhood after conducting an extensive search through the Jewish neighborhood.

"Apparently he was being protected by the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Sao Paulo, who supposedly didn't know about the accusations against him in Israel," said Menoti Barros de Oliveira, the Interpol sheriff in Sao Paulo. "He was found alone, in the street of Julio Conceicao, so we think he was already separated from his peers."

Chen is considered the spiritual leader of a Jerusalem sect that was found to have abused young children, two of whom, aged 3 and 4, were hospitalized in March in critical condition.

On Wednesday, Chen was reported to have turned himself over to the Brazilian police. Later in the day, however, Sao Paulo police informed their counterparts in Israel that he had not turned himself in, but was arrested.

Chen's lawyer Ariel Atari denied reports on Wednesday that Chen had been arrested and insisted he had turned himself in. "When Elior Chen arrived at the Sao Paulo police department in the morning, he threw police into great confusion. None of them expected him to turn himself in," Atari said.

"Israeli police did not ask the Brazilian police to carry out an extensive search for him," said Moti Edri, a police official in Jerusalem. "It was the Brazilian police's own initiative, undertaken due to a similar case of child abuse there recently."

Police sources say Chen's extradition is currently awaiting approval by the Brazilian Supreme Court. They expect him to be extradited to Israel within a few weeks. Chen had fled Israel to Canada with his wife and their four children three months ago after the arrest of a Jerusalem mother, who was apparently one of his disciples, on suspicion that she severely abused her eight children at Chen's bidding. The mother was indicted for allegedly burning her 3- and 4-year-old, making them eat feces and locking them in a suitcase for days at a time, among other charges.

When he arrived in Brazil, local authorities detained Chen's wife and children, yet he evaded arrest. Hoping to pressure Chen's wife into turning him in, Brazilian authorities removed the children from their mother's custody and placed them with a foster family for two days, after which they were returned to their mother.

Israel Police representatives went to Brazil to pursue Chen last week and an international warrant for his arrest was issued in April.

Brazilian Federal Police released a communique Wednesday to the Jewish community in Sao Paulo informing them of the serious offenses Chen allegedly committed. "Elior Noam Chen, also known as Eliyahu Abuhatzeira, frequented a synagogue in Bom Retiro and we're sure that Sao Paulo's Israeli community, upon learning of the torture cases, alerted the religious representatives of the city and prohibited the community to cover for the fugitive," the statement said.

Read the article at:


Speaking of the crazy lunatic Hasidim such as Elior Chen, one may be tempted to the throw the Netuei Karta pitiful screwballs into the mix of crackpots and scumbags (in Bill Clinton speech).

They were crashing the Israeli Day Parade, standing with Palestinian flags raised high, eyes closed at times, mumbling to themselves, shouting the same words over and over - 'Israel is a Zionist state' to anyone who cared to give them the attention they craved. Every once in a while they'd go to their bags and take a drink from Poland spring water bottles. A few sympathetic anti-Israel news media outlets came to interview them. The police were working on maintaining order. The perimeter was barricaded and separated from the rest to protect them from being harmed. A few Pro-Israel hecklers threw some Israeli paraphernalia at the Netuei Karta Dreks. The Dreks would proceed to destroy that item and seemingly get it out of the environment.

The best were the Jewish children who marched and showed support, some putting on quite a show and shutting up these dreks. The many Non-Jewish marchers who came to show support was so incredible and a big kidush hashem. Many colored people were there showing their love for the state of Israel as well. It was a total unification of people from all diverse backgrounds and faiths. It was quite a scene to behold.

All in all a very successful 60th birthday!

No Good Samaritans in Hartford

A 78-year-old man is paralyzed after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in Hartford, Connecticut. A surveillance tape showed that pedestrians walked by without aiding him. Watch the video here:


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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rabbi Menachem Genack - administrator of the Orthodox Union’s kashrut division: speaks about the Agriprocessors scandal.

The Jewish Standard -
OU weighs in on Agriprocessors scandal
Josh Lipowsky
By Josh Lipowsky
Published on 05/30/2008

Rabbi Menachem Genack tells a Teaneck audience that if Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat producer in the country, is found to be criminally liable, the Orthodox Union will withdraw its certification. photo by josh lipowsky

The problems at Agriprocessors that resulted in a federal raid at its Postville, Iowa, plant earlier this month highlight larger issues in America, rather than in just the kosher industry, according to the administrator of the Orthodox Union’s kashrut division.

"This issue of undocumented workers in plants is not a Rubashkins’ story, it’s an American story," said Rabbi Menachem Genack, who spoke Tuesday night at the Jewish Center of Teaneck to some 80 listeners. "It is standard in many manufacturing facilities that workers have documentation but are not legal."

OU weighs in on Agriprocessors scandal

The problems at Agriprocessors that resulted in a federal raid at its Postville, Iowa, plant earlier this month highlight larger issues in America, rather than in just the kosher industry, according to the administrator of the Orthodox Union’s kashrut division.

"This issue of undocumented workers in plants is not a Rubashkins’ story, it’s an American story," said Rabbi Menachem Genack, who spoke Tuesday night at the Jewish Center of Teaneck to some 80 listeners. "It is standard in many manufacturing facilities that workers have documentation but are not legal."

Rabbi Menachem Genack tells a Teaneck audience that if Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat producer in the country, is found to be criminally liable, the Orthodox Union will withdraw its certification. photo by josh lipowsky

Genack, of Cong. Shomrei Emunah in Englewood, said that a faulty American immigration policy was creating these problems, which, he added, are widespread in factories across the country. He said that he did not know if the Rubashkins, the Brooklyn-based Lubavitcher family that owns Agriprocessors, were aware of workers’ falsified documents, but he urged members of the audience to be patient as the investigations continue.

"We have to see where the facts take us," he said. "If [the Rubashkins] are found to be criminally liable, then we would have no choice but withdraw the supervision."

Laws guaranteeing workers’ rights have their basis in the Torah, Genack said. Still, he defended the OU’s position of not monitoring working conditions at the factory. Jewish companies should "just be conforming, not better, not worse" in their compliance with labor laws.

If the charges against Agriprocessors are accurate, he said, that signifies that dozens of federal inspectors already in the plant have failed at their jobs. Allegations include violations such as paying below minimum wage and physical abuse.

"The United States government has rules and laws that monitor these activities," Genack said, citing the Environmental Protection Agency, OSHA, and USDA. "The OU position is these are important issues, but we don’t have the expertise to develop standards in these areas. It’s not an easy thing to determine or define."

Because of the number of federal agencies responsible for overseeing the plant, Genack said that the most serious charges involving physical abuse of workers are unlikely to be true. Likewise, he dismissed allegations that workers ran a methamphetamine lab on the premises.

Still, the government has the resources to quickly recognize and address problems as they appear, he said.

"Issue after issue, they should have been handling this," Genack said of federal inspection agencies.

U.S. Attorney Matt Dummermuth said last week that 297 of 389 people detained at the Agriprocessors plant pleaded guilty and were sentenced on felony charges. Criminal charges brought against the detainees all related to the use of false information to gain employment. Of those sentenced, the vast majority received five-month prison sentences followed by three years of supervised release. All those sentenced face deportation. Genack said he told the Rubashkin family that as a first step to fixing the problems in Postville, they should get "independent, professional management and the family should step down [from running the plant]."

Sholom Rubashkin, the company’s CEO who oversaw the Postville plant, announced his resignation earlier this week. "The best course of action for the company, its employees, the local community and our customers is to bring new leadership to Agriprocessors," Aaron Rubashkin, the owner of Agriprocessors Inc., and the father of Sholom Rubashkin, said in a statement. A company statement further said that Agriprocessors is conducting an independent investigation of the immigration issues and is cooperating with the government. The Brooklyn butcher, who founded the company in 1987, added, "The company has begun the search for a new permanent chief executive officer. We have engaged a team of industry experts to help us identify and secure a new leader who can help us meet the needs of Agriprocessors today and in the future. We will make more information on the search process available by the end of next week."

The statement reiterated that "due to pending legal issues," the company would not respond to specific allegations. These include charges of hiring underage workers, sexual harassment, and withholding of overtime pay. If the company hires independent management, then the OU is unlikely to withdraw its supervision, even if the Rubashkins are found liable, Genack said.

According to Eli Rosenfeld, a spokesman for Empire Poultry who was at Tuesday night’s gathering, that company has increased its production and seen "a noticeable increase" in orders in the past two weeks. Despite fears of shortages or price gouging, Rosenfeld said Empire does not anticipate a price hike. Genack said Agriprocessors has enough inventory to avoid a "dramatic change" in prices but calls for a boycott — which have come from a number of Jewish organizations — could change that.

Uri L’tzedek, a project started by students at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, a liberal Orthodox rabbinical school in Manhattan, began circulating a petition this week asking Agriprocessors to pay its workers at least the federal minimum wage, abide by laws pertaining to workers’ rights, and treat employees according to Torah standards.

According to a statement on its Website, the Jewish Labor Committee calls on Agriprocessors "to live up to the responsibilities of corporate citizenship, end its campaign of worker abuse, and respect the rights of its employees including their legal right to union representation. Until Agriprocessors establishes its commitment to these responsibilities, we urge consumers of kosher meat products to seek alternatives to the Rubashkin labels."

In its statement, the JLC asserted that the company had displayed "a clear pattern of employer negligence and even lawlessness," including violating child labor laws and tolerating various forms of worker abuse.

Similarly the Conservative movement’s top bodies have asked that kosher consumers "evaluate whether it is appropriate to buy and eat meat products" from Agriprocessors.

Meat and poultry produced by Agriprocessors is sold under the following kosher and non-kosher labels: Aaron’s Best, Aaron’s Choice, David’s, European Glatt, Iowa Best Beef, Nevel, Rubashkin’s, Shor Habor, and Supreme Kosher.

JTA contributed to this report.

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It is unfortunate that it has come to this. It is a big darn shame it has come to this. It is very hurtful that it has come to this. But yet, IT HAS COME TO THIS. It has come at the price of a GREAT CHILUL HASHEM. It has come to Hashem having to allow his holy name to be DESECRATED so that his CHILDREN remain SAFE. Shame on all those responsible for enabling and permitting Hashem's name to be desecrated! When you save children you save the future. You save the future you save generations. You save generations you save lives. You save lives you have saved the world!!!!!!!