By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
Mika Stein is no stranger to both the Jewish and secular communities. An outstanding senior at Yavneh Academy, Mika has overcome tremendous obstacles to excel at all he embraces. We are pleased to share the following with you:
Stein has won the Dallas Public Library’s “Express Yourself” 17th Annual Youth Poetry Competition’s 2013 Joe M. and Doris Russell Dealey Award of Achievement.
Mika’s original poem “The Poet’s Burning,” was one of 1,300 student entries submitted this year. Mika’s poem has been published in the Express Yourself 2013 Journal.
Among Yavneh’s many finalists in recent years of the Dallas Public Library’s “Express Yourself” Youth Poetry Competition, are this year’s recognized students, seniors Clara Moskowitz and Max Schnitzer.
Mika is Yavneh’s second top winner of the Joe M. and Doris Russell Dealey Award of Achievement. In 2010, Becky Schisler, now completing her junior year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, received the high honor for her poem, “The Whites of Their Eyes.”
“We are very proud of Mika, Clara and Max, and this is a remarkable achievement,” Yavneh assistant principal Tim Cloward said. He added that Yavneh has had more than a dozen students represented in the last six years. This designation is greater than any other school in Dallas County.
“We offer only one creative writing class to approximately one-third of our seniors each year, and yet we have been able to achieve extraordinary success,” Cloward said. “This really is a testament to the talents of our students and the effectiveness of our English department.”
The son of the late Deborah Stein, and grandson of Moe Stein, Mika will spend next year representing BBYO as its 2013-2014 Grand Aleph Godol/international president before he begins his college studies at New York University.
Mika’s original poem is reprinted below:
The Poet’s Burning
I am a matchstick begging to be struck
Screaming, shouting, shattering the sound barrier
PLEASE OH PLEASE STRIKE ME
Please just light me.
The smell of phosphorous is in the air
Tempting isn’t it, oh I dare!
Just push me down
Let my style flare
Give me a page and I will not simply light it
I will consume
The whole paper
Every square inch
Engulfed by my words
Consumed by my thoughts, my flaming emotion
My hot words burn
My scorching prose scars
I am the matchstick,
And I dare you to light me.
• We love to hear from our readers and subscribers. My former neighbors, Miriam and Al Creemer, and a host of their friends created a team called “Brendan’s Buddies” and participated in the Dallas VisionWalk around Bachman Lake.
The team walked in support of Miriam and Al’s grandson, Brendan Creemer, who was born with Usher Syndrome. Brendan was born deaf, had muscular delay and will eventually be blind.
Brendan, now 14, has bilateral cochlear implants and can hear and speak as any healthy child. After many years of therapy, he can, run, ride a bike, swim and skate. However, he suffers from night blindness and has lost 60 percent of his vision.
The Foundation for Fighting Blindness organizes the VisionWalk to support several avenues of research, including gene therapy in Israel, Europe and the United States. The Creemers hope that a cure will be found to help Brendan and many others that suffer from Usher Syndrome, Macular Degeneration and other progressive forms of blindness. More information can be found at www.fightblindness.org.
Brendan’s Buddies placed fourth in fundraising for the event, raising $8,000 for the cause. Joining the Creemers in the fundraising event were members of their chavurah, “Cheyes of Texas,” who are their fellow congregants at Congregation Beth Torah.
• Ourtowner Kevin Libby recently completed the Multiple Sclerosis 150 Bike Ride to help raise money for multiple sclerosis research. Kevin says that it’s not too late to contribute to this fundraising effort. Donations can be accepted through June 5.
To donate online, visit http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Bike/TXHBikeEvents?px=2673892&pg=personal&fr_id=20386.
Donations by check are also welcome. Please make your tax-deductible check payable to the National MS Society and send it to 11107 Hillcrest Road, Dallas, TX 75230. Be sure to write Rider: Kevin Libby and Sam’s Club MS 150 in the memo section of your check.
End of life issues from a Jewish perspective
Zane Belyea, family services counselor at Sparkman-Hillcrest Funeral Home, shared with us that Sparkman-Hillcrest is sponsoring an educational forum to discuss “End of Life Issues from a Jewish Perspective” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, June 4 at the Sparkman Hillcrest Northwest Highway Location.
Rabbi Peretz Shapiro will speak on the topic. Additional participants include Jewish Family Service’s Debi Weiner; the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center adult program associate Heather Cardova; VITAS’ Elise Power; and The Legacy Preston Hollow-Dallas Home for the Jewish Aged’s Cheryl Weitz. These participants will provide additional information and support.
The event is geared toward a target audience of 55 and older; however, everyone is invited to attend. Zane mentioned that 20 spaces are available, and readers can RSVP to email@example.com. A kosher lunch will be served.
We will share more about Zane Belyea in next week’s issue.