The March To Freedom

“When I marched in Selma, I felt my legs were praying.”
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Choice #1 – Write a blog post explaining what Rabbi Heschel meant when he said this. Why would a Rabbi have participated in the march in Selma? Why was this so important to him? If it were NOW would you march?

On March 21, 1965 there was a march lead by Martin Luther King Jr. This was 3 years before his death. The walk was from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama. The march was about racism against blacks which was a big deal back in the 1960s. The march took exactly five days 54 miles to get there. It was a big protest and a lot of people participated in that big event.

I think in my opinion what Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel comment means is that he was taking a stand for what was wrong. He believed what he was doing was right and thats why he felt his legs praying. I think a Rabbi participated in Selma is because they know how it feels to have everyone being racist about them and they don’t want anyone else to feel that same pain and suffering feeling and thats why I think Rabbis participated in Selma. Its so important because no one should feel the hatred of people being racist about them. Its very wrong. Yes I would have marched in Selma if it was today because I believe everyone has rights whether you are boy, girl, white, black, Indian, Muslim, Jewish, Homosexual, or Lesbian. I believe everyone has the same equal rights.



Follow The Leader

For the journal this week we were given a quote that has to do with Hannukah and life. The quote is “The Shamash lights all the other candles – BE a Shamash!” To me this quote has to do with Hannukah and life. This has to do with Hannukah because the shamash is the candle that lights all the other candles. In life this quote means be a leader not a follower. Its saying the leader leads by example not following some random follower.

Tanach Class Is In Session

This week the middle school participated in a participated in a panel about Tanakh. Tanakh the jewish bible. It contains three parts. In hebrew its the torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim. In english its the five books of moses, prophets and writings. In our panel we asked adults in the community what torah means to them. For example we asked questions like how does torah effect your life, etc.

This whole panel stuff started when students started asking questions. For example students asked the teacher, “Whats the point of learning Tanah?” The teacher explained the panel and unfortunately this did not make it clear to most students. This made students want to get to the real reason. Unfortunately there was only one way to do this without hurting anyones feelings. The teachers asked us to write about teaching a Tanakh class.

If I teaching a Tanakh class there would be a few things I would do. First of all my classes would be focused on not doing the material, but to understand it. I would ask the students there opinions on the text we were studying. I wouldn’t give some huge packet. I would make it interactive by creating games and fun projects to understand the material. I would probably focus more on the prophets because you can learn about the torah by going to services. I would want my students to get out of class knowing learning about the Tanakh can be fun and not boring.


My Name Is No Shame

Most of you know my name is Zachary, but do you know anything about what the name Zachary means? According to google my name Zachary means remembered by god. In hebrew my name name means he will laugh. I am named after my Uncle Stevie and My cousin Izador. Izador died a long time before I was born but Stevie died only 7 months before I was born. I am proud to be carrying the legacy of them.

I feel this name is fitting for a couple of reasons. First reason is its connecting because I literally laugh all the time. Second because I do remember god all the time. I feel like god put me on this earth for a purpose but I don’t know what is yet. When I laugh other people laugh and it usually puts everyone in a happy mood. My name is important because its a way I can remember my cousin Izador and my Uncle Stevie. I think it makes my family closer to god.

Remember The Ones Who Are Gone

Last Friday for our mitzvah trip,We went to a Jewish cemetery and we cleaned peoples graves. By doing that we observed the mitzvah of Kavod Ha-Meit. Kavod Ha-Meit is the mitzvah of honoring the dead. This was the first time this year we went there. We cleaned the graves by using gloves and filling buckets with water, soap, bleach, and detergent.

This whole experience was important for a few reasons. The first reason it was important was because we are following an important mitzvah of honoring the dead. The second reason this is important is because we are doing stuff no one else does. Last reason is that it makes people happy.

If I had to choose the most meaningful part I would choose the part when the drivers would send pictures of us cleaning there family members graves because all of them said thank you very much.

Remembering To Remember

Last Sunday night was the start to the Jewish holiday Shmini Atzeret. Shmini Atzeret is a Jewish holiday which is the eighth day of assembly. This holiday comes at the end of Sukkot and right before the start of Simchat Torah. On this holiday we add special prayers and one special service. That one service we add is the Yizkor service. The Yizkor service is a memorial service. We say prayers for the people who died. We also are suppose to remember them. They are a few people I remembered.

The people I remembered during the Yizkor service weren’t just family members. They were friends too. From my family I remembered the part of my family that died in the holocaust. I also remembered, my grandma (bubby), my grandpa (Benard) who escaped the holocaust. I also remembered my two uncles who died. Uncle Louie, and Stevie. Lastly from my family my great great uncle Maury who died on 4th of July this year at the age of 103. I also remembered two people who died who worked for the Jacksonville Jewish Center which were Don Kris and Scott Zimmerman.

I remember all these people because they loved me. My bubby would always want me to report to her about football. My Grandpa told me about escaping the holocaust and other things. He said I can do anything. My Uncle Louie loved sports. I would talk to him about them with my cousins. My uncle Stevie I never met in my life. He died before I was born. Coincidentally he died right before my mom got pregnant with me. My parents said that we past each other on the way. I was coming down and he was coming up. My great great Uncle Maury was a world war 2 hero in the navy. He helped the U.S. capture a Japanese submarine. He also told me that if you work hard for something, you can achieve it.

NFL Films Presents Throw The Long Bomb

For my first book of the school year I read the sports fiction book Throw the Long Bomb by Jack Laftin.  It is a really old book because it was published in 1967. The book centers around rookie quarterback Ronnie Baxter who was drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the New York Giants. The signed him to a rookie contract (two years) with a signing bonus. The New York had two other quarterbacks who were really good. He made it through training camp but will he make the team? I rate this book 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who loves sports books.

The Good and the Good

On Rosh Hashanah it is the books of life and death are written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed. These are questions which are found from the yikzor prayer book. How many will pass and how many will be created? Who will live and who will die? Who in their time, and who not their time? Who by fire and who by water? Who by sword and who by beast? Who by hunger and who by thirst? Who by earthquake and who by drowning? Who by strangling and who by stoning? Who will rest and who will wander? Who will be safe and who will be torn? Who will be calm and who will be tormented? Who will become poor and who will get rich? Who will be made humble and who will be raised up?

Yom kippur starts tomorrow night. We are now in the last days of repentance. During the days of repentance, we are suppose to do tefillah, teshuvah and tzedakahI have done all of those things during the last ten days. I have done teshuvah. Teshuvah is when you forgive. Not only forgiving but you let other people forgive you. Its also when you say sorry to everyone you hurt and you tell them this is what I will do to make it better. In school and my neighborhood I have been going apologizing for everything I did to hurt them. Thank heavens they accepted my appology.

I have also done Tefillah. Tefillah is prayers. We do them in school Monday through Thursday. I even do more than that. I also went to Sunday morning minyan which starts really early in the morning. The last thing is Tzedakah. Tzedakah is a commandment by god. One is commandents is to give to the poor whether it is food, money, etc. I did tzedakah over the weekend. Since the summer I have been getting rid of my clothes and toys. I sell some of them, but some I rather just giveaway. My parents told me to put everything I didn’t want into bags. I made four big bags of clothes and toys. Plus a Samsung 20 in from the 90s. I never had the chance to give it to salvation army. Over the weekend I did. We added more toys and clothes and we brought it to salvation army.

Shannah Tova Have A Sweet New Year!

On Friday for our mitzvah trip we delivered hundreds of honey cakes to citizens all over Jacksonville because Rosh Hashanah was coming. Our middle school was split up into groups to deliver to different routes. My group was Channah, Jolie and I in Morah Eta’s car. We delivered to honey cakes to patients at a rehab facility. Since it was also 9/11 we got to deliver to first responders. This included the fireman and the police force.


Image Credits: Jolie


The delivery that was most meaningful to me was all of the deliveries we made because it made the person so happy.  At the rehab center one of the people we delivered I didn’t even know him. When we walked in the room, he was so happy to us. This man has parkinsons desease and a broken hip. He told us he could walk from the nurse and back. He motivated me to not quit on anything no matter what. He said,” When you guys deliver to me for Purim I will be walking.”


The deliveries enhanced my Rosh Hashanah because it is starting the new year by doing something good. It made think my year is going to be a lot better than it was and I am glad because you always want to get the new year started on the right foot not the wrong foot.

Forgive Yourself So You Can Forgive Others

What does a disney and the high holidays have in common? Well let me tell you how. Last Friday for our mitzvah trip we stayed in the building and watched the disney movie Big Hero Six. Here is a brief description for those who haven’t watched the movie yet.

Its about a fourteen year old boy Hiro who is obsessed with robotics. He builds robots and uses them to compete bot wars. Some of them were illegal others weren’t. He lives with his Aunt Cass and his older brother Tadashi who attends a robotics university. One night Tadashi offers to take Hirro to his bot war and on the way Tadashi stops at the robotics university. He shows Hirro all the cool inventions they have and he meets all of Tadashi’s friends. Tadashi shows Hirro a secret one that was for Hirro. Baymax the robot that can help you with any medical help. Hirro tells Tadashi he wants to attend the school. Tadashi tells Hirro that they hold a showcase to get into the school. Hirro invents a way where microbots can be built into anything based on what you are thinking. Hirro presents it and gets into the university. After there is a mysterious fire and Tadashi goes in to try to save his professor and they died. The aftermath was depressing for Hirro until he found a little microbot. Where were all the others? Hirro builds a team of his university friends and baymax to find out what happened.

“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20

This quote reflects the movie and life because no one is perfect. We have all done bad things. In the movie Hirro was a good kid who helped people but he let his emotions get the best of him. He wanted revenge on his brothers death. Like I said before this means no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.

This movie relates to the holiday Rosh Hashanah because in the movie the people were doing good and bad things. On Rosh Hashanah we ask god for forgiveness because no one is perfect. We also throw our sins away and get a fresh start for the new year.