Way to Go!: Brookville teen receives $36G award

September 14, 2018
By Newsday


By Michael R.
Updated September 14, 2018 11:57 AM
Sara Blau, a senior at Schechter School of Long Island
in Williston Park, is one of 15 Jewish teens nationwide
to receive the 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award
from the Helen Diller Family Foundation.
Photo Credit: Chris Shaw

A Brookville teenager who started a nonprofit that provides sports equipment to disadvantaged youths has received a $36,000 award for her leadership and commitment to social good.

Sara Blau, 17, a senior at Schechter School of Long Island's Upper School in Williston Park, is one of 15 Jewish teens nationwide to receive the 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award from the Helen Diller Family Foundation.

The nonprofit, launched two years ago and titled Game Changers New York, has distributed more than 5,500 pieces of sports equipment to 15 partner organizations in three countries. To acquire the equipment, Blau placed collection bins in local schools and synagogues. Volunteers helped organize the items in the nonprofit’s warehouse.

“I’ve always been a very athletic kid, and I wanted to give other children the same opportunities I had,” Blau said. Of the award, she said: “It’s an incredible honor to have.” 

Her other achievements include being a member of the UJA-Federation of New York’s Philanthropic Advisory Council for Teens and involvement in the Jewish Teen Funders Network’s Youth Ambassador Council. She also has received the UJA-Federation’s Light of the Future Award and a gold medal for receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Blau is president of the Schechter School’s Girls Learn International chapter, editor of the school’s newspaper and secretary of the Student Athletic Association. 

Posted in Newsday

LI students join worldwide rallies for Florida survivors, gun control

March 24, 2018
By Newsday

Numerous events were held across the Island as protesters seek stricter laws and demand legislative action.

Click here for original news article.

Thousands of Long Islanders, including children, grandparents, educators and religious leaders, came out on Saturday to speak their minds about gun control in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shootings. Newsday visited rallies from Huntington to Port Jefferson to Long Beach and Farmingdale to capture what they had to say. (Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman / Megan Miller and Ed Betz and Randee Daddona)

Thousands of protesters, some toddlers and grandparents, others educators and religious leaders, filled the streets from Port Jefferson Station to Port Washington on Saturday to amplify a single message — a demand for stiffer gun control legislation.

Students spearheaded March for Our Lives events in a show of unity with Parkland, Florida, school survivors and support their call for stricter gun control. The main rally was held in Washington, D.C., and spawned more than 800 satellite events across the globe just weeks after the Valentine’s Day mass shooting that killed 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

School safety was a common refrain among protesters and elected officials.

“Today, thousands of students across the country have come together to speak up and demand action so they no longer must fear for their safety,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a news release. “Our young people have become courageous leaders who have inspired a nation, and their voices must be heard.”

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said she has teenage twins and when she sends them to school, “I pray that today’s not the day.”

Sara Blau, a student at Schechter School of Long Island in Jericho, attended the rally at Farmingdale State College and told the audience, “We care about the safety of our friends and classmates, whose lives are in danger.”

Rallies were also held in Great Neck, Long Beach, Cedarhurst, Old Westbury and at Stony Brook University. Click here to continue reading.

Posted in Newsday

Jewish Day Schools Across The Country Join Walkouts Demanding Action On Gun Violence

March 14, 2018
By The New York Jewish Week



Jewish Day Schools Across The Country Join Walkouts Demanding Action On Gun Violence


Click here for original online publication

NEW YORK (JTA) — Students at Jewish day schools offered prayers, lit candles and demanded change as part of a nationwide student walkout calling for gun reform in the wake of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

At the Golda Och Academy, students organized a memorial service
in addition to a walkout. (Courtesy of Golda Och Academy)

Students around the country walked out of class for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. Wednesday to pressure Congress to approve gun control legislation and to honor the lives of the 17 victims of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. The national walkouts come a week before the March for Our Lives, a protest organized by Parkland students in which their peers from around the country will descend on Washington D.C. to call for stricter gun control.

At Golda Och Academy, a Conservative day school in West Orange, New Jersey, students organized a prayer memorial service ahead of the walkout. At the service, students and teachers spoke about the Parkland victims and lit a yahrzeit memorial candle. Each speaker was picked so that he or she shared some characteristics with the victim being talked about, such as being in the same grade or teaching the same subject.

Afterwards, the overwhelming majority of students chose to participate in a walkout, where they carried signs, made speeches and sang songs.

Theo Deitz-Green, an 11th grader and the president of the school’s student council, said he and other student organizers planned the event after learning about the Parkland shooting.

“There was a sense that yes it happened at a different school, but it could have just as easily happened at our school, we could have been the school experiencing that tragedy,” Deitz-Green told JTA over the phone.

 Students at the Hannah Senesh Community Day
School in Brooklyn made signs for the walkout.
(Courtesy of Hannah Senesh Community Day School)

“As we saw the Parkland kids start to speak out, there was a sense that something about the aftermath of this shooting had to be different. It was time not just for the country to change but for students to lead that change,” he added.

Another organizer, 8th grader Sarah Farbiarz, was happy with how the event turned out.

“We worked really hard, so most of it seemed really powerful, and really moving, especially at the end when people were singing together, I thought that was a really great moment,” Farbiarz said.

The school was supportive of the students, said the head of the school, Adam Shapiro.

“From a school perspective we supported the desire of the students to carry out this program and make their powerful voices heard,” he told JTA in an email.

Earlier this month, Shapiro led a group of 139 heads of Jewish day schools who signed an open letter voicing their support for students organizing for gun reform after the Parkland shooting.

Students at Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn also held a prayer memorial service. The service honored all victims of gun violence in schools. Students gave out note cards with the names of gun violence victims, lit a yahrzeit candle and prayed for the families of victims.

After the service, students had the choice to stay inside, walk outside the school or walk together with teachers to Brooklyn Borough Hall, where students from other schools gathered. The majority of students took part, said Annette Powers, the school’s director of communications and marketing.

Powers said supporting the walkout was “very much in line with our values.”

Students protest gun laws at Solomon Schechter of Long Island today.
Courtesy of Solomon Schechter of Long Island

“We’re a school that really promotes the idea of social action and not just talking about issues but taking action to make a difference,” she said.

At the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, a pluralistic school in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, students gathered in a parking lot outside the school. They read about the lives of the Parkland victims and heard speeches from students and teachers.

“It was really an incredible sense of togetherness that all these people I’ve talked to about other issues where we might not agree, or just people that I don’t know very well, we all came together and stood together for this issue that we all feel so passionately about,” said Sophia Shapiro, a 10th grader who organized the walkout together with 11th grader Ruthie Cohen.

She emphasized that the walkout was only the beginning of action. Shapiro and Cohen are planning to find ways to keep their fellow students engaged on the issue, including by organizing students to contact their local representatives.

“Our message doesn’t end with this news cycle,” Shapiro said. “When this news cycle ends, our message will continue, and we will continue to fight for what we believe in.”

NFTY, the Reform movement’s youth group, urged members in public schools and day schools to march and share their participation on social media using the hashtag #JewsDemandAction.


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