BONDING

(Provided)

(Provided)

Marc B. Terrill (center), president, and Mark D. Neumann (third from right), chairman of the board, received the Israel68 Award on behalf of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore at the Israel Bonds International Prime Minister’s Club Dinner on Jan. 31 in Boca Raton, Fla. Also pictured (from left), representing Israel Bonds, are president and CEO Izzy Tapoohi; chairman of the board Richard Hirsch; general campaign vice chairwoman Rina Janet; general campaign chairman Ed Jacobson; and chairman of the Israel Bonds National Campaign Advisory Council Fred Zeidman.

On a Winter’s Day Get out the crockpots and chop and mince

The recent blizzard certainly smacked some wintry sense into us — Game on! Get out your crockpots and containers. Match up those lids with the bottoms. Be ready to label what you put in the freezer. Chop and prep is what tires me out the most. It’s like shoveling snow — exhausting. But once that part is over, it’s easy!

Chop, mince, brown your ingredients the day before. Then you can simply throw things into the slow-cooker or big pot the following day. All these dishes can be made in part or in total in advance. Then you won’t be too pooped to put some pizazz into presentation such as making twists for ribbon salad. Or serve your favorite chili in corn bread muffins. Scoop out the baked muffins and fill with the chili. Sprinkle a few scooped out crumbs on the tops. And no more excuses to eat unhealthy foods, just because you are stuck indoors.

Amelia Saltsman, a cookbook author, advocates “eating out less” and “cooking more” for a healthy 2016.  Her newest book, “The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen,” is focused on tradition and seasonality,  inspired by the Jewish calendar. Her  diverse Romanian and Iraqi background make for some delicious flavors. Try her unique fish and roasted ratatouille recipes (very yummy!).

  • Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Staci Valentine

    Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Staci Valentine

    AMELIA’S “MANTA RAY” CEVICHE
    (Pareve)
    1 pound firm-fleshed fish,  skinned, very fresh fillets, such as halibut, mahimahi or white sea bass
    11/2 cups fresh lime juice  (from 6 large limes)
    1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
    1/2 small red onion
    1/4 cup snipped fresh chives, in 1/8-inch pieces
    1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon ground sumac or more to taste
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
    1/2 teaspoon sel gris (coarse French salt) or coarse grain salt to taste
    Pita triangles or crackers for serving
    > Pat fish dry. Remove any bones and dark patches. Cut fish against the grain into small thick slices about about 3/4-inch thick. Place in a glass bowl and add the juices,  stirring to mix. Cover and  refrigerate, stirring occasionally until fish is opaque, about 2 to 3 hours. Cut onion in half into paper-thin slices.  Soak the slices in cold water for 30 minutes.  Drain well and pat dry. Drain the fish and place in a clean bowl. Add the onion, chives, olive oil, sumac, red pepper flakes and salt. Toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. 6 servings. Serve with pita triangles or crackers.

  • ROASTED ROMANIAN  RATATOUILLE
    (Pareve)
    2 pounds fleshy sauce tomatoes, such as Roma
    4-6 medium-size green or white narrow zucchini, about 11/2 pounds
    2 medium eggplants, about 11/2 pounds
    3-4 sweet red peppers
    1-2 onions, peeled
    6-8 large garlic cloves, peeled
    1 tablespoon sweet or hot paprika, or a mix
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    2 bay leaves
    extra virgin olive oil
    kosher salt and pepper
    > Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roughly chop the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, sweet peppers and onions into about  1-inch pieces. Transfer the vegetables to  a large roasting pan (about 12 inches by 15 inches).  Add the garlic cloves, paprika, cumin, bay leaves and 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and several grinds of fresh pepper. Toss to mix and spread in an even layer in the pan.  Roast without stirring until vegetables are very tender and browned and the tomatoes have melted into a thick sauce, about  1 hour. 10 to 12 servings, warm or room temperature.
  • GREEN TAHINI DIP
    (Pareve)
    1 large clove garlic, cut in half
    1 cup green flat-leaf parsley
    11/2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/2  teaspoon salt
    1 cup tahini
    11/4 cups water
    > Place all ingredients in a food processor.  You may need more water for thinner sauce.  Taste and set aside.  Serve with cooked (fried or baked) chicken strips and/or raw vegetables.  Refrigerate sauce until serving.

Tips & Tricks
Using a sharp veggie peeler, scrape large ribbons for your salad. Zucchini, carrots, cucumbers and even asparagus can be placed flat to get ribbons.
Look for Minneola or Honeybell oranges that are “in season” now for citrus recipes.
Make a unique green tahini dip for raw vegetables and/or chicken strips.

Ilene Spector is a local freelance writer.

L❤ve’s Busy Season That sound you hear is your heartbeat quickening for Valentine’s Day

(istockphoto.com/kativ)

(istockphoto.com/kativ)

Valentine’s Day may not be the most Jewish holiday (well, actually, it’s not a Jewish holiday), but it makes for a busy season for Jewish matchmaker Lori Salkin.

“People really never give up on love,” said Salkin of the online dating service SawYouatSinai.com and its new app, JBolt. “And you see those numbers come up on Valentine’s Day, any time when there are holidays — Rosh Hashanah, Passover.”

Being in the business for seven years, she has some tips to share with those looking for love this season.

First of all: Don’t forget Valentine’s Day

“Do not forget!” she said. “Do  acknowledge Valentine’s Day. Even if you’re working, even if you have a deadline — if you’re anywhere past a first or a second date with somebody and you’re in an established relationship, do something special.”

It can be difficult to make the time, she said, as people are working or on deadlines or don’t have time for a big, elaborate date.

“Sending flowers or stopping by on a lunch break with a single rose, or even stopping by with their favorite Starbucks drink — something that says, ‘I thought of you and I took time out of my life to do something for you and acknowledge you on what is ‘the love day’ is so huge,” she said.

Don’t forget that  Valentine’s Day is for  all couples

“Valentine’s Day is not just for dating couples, it’s not just for engaged couples, it’s for married couples too,” she said.

However, if this is your first date with someone, making it on a holiday where you will be surrounded by couples already coupled and comfortable eating spaghetti in front of each other might not be the best idea.

“If it’s a first date, don’t make it on the 14th,” she advised. “Do not have a first date in a restaurant where everyone around you is coming in with huge bouquets and boxes of chocolate and look like they’ve been in love for months and you’re sitting across the table with someone who’s essentially a stranger.”

Don’t plan a surprise that could backfire

This is from Salkin’s own experience.

Her husband, on one of their first Valentine’s Day dates, had surprised her with a ride on the Spirit of Boston, a dinner-and-dance cruise. But, as he didn’t want to spoil the surprise and tell her anything beforehand that could give it away, he bought her a dress — that was seven sizes too big.

Luckily, she had already been wearing something appropriate, but there was a valuable lesson to be learned.

Overall, no matter how your  holiday goes, taking the time to show appreciation for someone you love is important, she said.

But David Yarus, founder of the popular dating app JSwipe, said Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be such a big deal.

JSwipe is hosting parties in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., to celebrate Valentine’s Day, with an estimated 1,000 attendees in New York and hundreds in the other cities. JSwipe will bring people together from their phones into real life.

“We want to be able to bring people together off [line] as well as online,” Yarus said.

But for JSwipe users, he advised not stressing too much about the holiday.

“Don’t feel like you need to take it so seriously,” he said. “It’s a good way to meet new people and connect.”

If you do have a Valentine this year, Yarus said, just have fun and try  a nontraditional activity, such as  finding an Airbnb and taking a trip somewhere new.

“On the flip side, if you don’t, it’s totally cool,” he added. “We’re in this era of an empowered single life. It’s going to be a good day for [J]swiping.”

But for sites like JMom, matchmaking takes a more familial approach.

Imagine your mother trying to set you up with so-and-so’s son, a nice, young dental hygienist — except now she’s doing it virtually — and without your knowledge.

For about six years, JMom has been allowing Jewish parents — usually  persistent mothers — to create profiles for their children and browse  the website for potential sons- and daughters-in-law. The site is active across the United States, Canada and Israel.

Steve Dinelli, CEO of JMom, has been in the matchmaking business for about a year, and he said thousands of pairings and three marriages have been made since its existence.

Notably, Dinelli said, parents’ surprising their children with potential mates has been fairly well-received — at least after mothers took the time to find the right partner.

“When it’s brought up before — like, ‘Hey can I put you on this site?’ — it doesn’t go over well. But when the parents just do it and find someone for their kid, it goes over really, really well,” he explained.

However, Dinelli noted that parents should keep their children’s wants in mind when browsing for a match that is beshert.

“They don’t want to introduce their child or children to somebody who they don’t think is going to be perfect, so they aren’t afraid to look at every profile,” he said. “If they’re going to be a matchmaker, they really need to look out for what the child wants, not what they [personally] want.”

Dinelli is in a relationship, but he’s sure his mother would know where to go if he wasn’t.

mstern@midatlanticmedia.com and  rkurland@midatlanticmedia.com

On Stage but Out of the Spotlight Puppeteers debut at Creative Alliance, honor an icon

Anna Fitzgerald and her cast of five perform “Reverse Cascade.” (Photo Adam Lobelson)

Anna Fitzgerald and her cast of five perform “Reverse Cascade.” (Photo Adam Lobelson)

Anna Fitzgerald, 31, likes to tell stories, but she doesn’t need paper and pen; she uses two pieces of cloth, a ball and several cast members who are good with their hands.

Fitzgerald is a puppeteer and director of “Reverse Cascade,” an upcoming show at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson on Feb. 18. The Baltimore native has been interested in theater arts since high school.

“I like to say [puppeteering] is using objects to tell a story,” said Fitzgerald. “Sometimes [the] object looks like the object, and sometimes the object is created to look like a creature.”

The performance, named after a common juggling trick, is based on the true story of Judy Finelli, a world-class juggler and performer whose career was shaken when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“Judy was instrumental in the new circus movement, where things like Cirque du Soleil came from,” said Fitzgerald, who studied with Finelli at the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco. “All of a sudden, she started dropping [juggling] clubs and couldn’t figure out [why].”

Finelli wasn’t diagnosed until her 30s and eventually lost the use of her arms and legs. Fitzgerald decided to tell Finelli’s story through puppetry. She began the project while pursuing her graduate degree in puppet arts at the University of Connecticut.

“The fact that there is no dialogue really adds to the piece,” said Moira Horowitz, one of Fitzgerald’s five cast members. “It allows people to take away from it what they [will], and it makes it a more personal experience.”

Fitzgerald added that the piece will be performed internationally for the first time in Izmir, Turkey, home to the International Puppet Days Festival. With no dependence upon dialogue, Fitzgerald can cross language barriers while telling Finelli’s story.

Horowitz, 31, grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Goucher College. She met Fitzgerald through an online request for people interested in puppetry. Although she was already involved in theater arts, puppetry was new to her, and she wanted to experiment.

“I like the idea of bringing life into objects that are not what they appear to be,” said Horowitz.

Sarah Nolen, 29, another member of Fitzgerald’s cast, echoed Horowitz’s sentiment about bringing objects to life. For her, the appeal of puppetry is about performing without being in the spotlight.

“[Puppeteers] are a very humble bunch,” said Nolen. “We all share a sense of empathy and community with each other because we know the show isn’t about us.”

Horowitz joked that the puppetry community can be very “manipulative and controlling.”

Nolen, who is from Texas, became interested in puppetry at an early age and filmed her first puppet shows because performing in person intimidated her. She leans toward filmmaking and puppetry because they allow her to tell a story without being the center of attention.

“It’s very interesting to think about [how] people view puppetry,” said Nolen. “Because it’s always a surprise that it is not just for kids anymore.”

Horowitz added, “[Puppetry is] an art form that has been done for thousands of years. I think most people don’t realize that it is just another form of theater.

 

‘Reverse Cascade’
at Creative Alliance at the Patterson
3134 Eastern Ave. Baltimore

Feb. 18 at 8 p.m.
$15, $12 for members and $3 at the door

For more information, call 410-276-1651 or visit creativealliance.org/events/2015/reverse-cascade

 

jkatz@midatlanticmedia.com

Lives Saved Reflecting on the legacy of Sir Nicholas Winton

Sir Nicholas Winton’s heroic efforts to save Jewish children during the  Holocaust were popularized in 1988 on the BCC’s “That’s Life.”

Sir Nicholas Winton’s heroic efforts to save Jewish children during the
Holocaust were popularized in 1988 on the BCC’s “That’s Life.”

The story of how Sir Nicholas Winton saved hundreds of Czechoslovakian children during World War II has become a viral sensation.

“He saved 669 children during the Holocaust … and he doesn’t know they’re sitting next to him!” screams one headline that has made the rounds on social media. But the story of how Winton rescued 669 Jewish children by arranging for their transport to the United Kingdom is remarkable even without the ‘clickbait’ headlines that link to a video of Winton being reunited with the children he rescued during a 1988 taping of the BBC program “That’s Life.”

Daughter and biographer Barbara Winton was joined by Alice Masters, one of the children rescued, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum last month to discuss the legacy of the man they cherished.

Winton became the “British Schindler” accidentally. In the winter of 1938, he was scheduled to travel to Switzerland for a skiing holiday. When the holiday was canceled, having already taken two weeks off from work, his daughter explained, he joined a friend, Martin Blake, in Prague. Blake was an associate of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia in the modern-day Czech Republic.

Barbara recalled that her father saw a distinct lack of services being provided to children, and rather than weeping as another colleague did, Winton set to work arranging for Jewish children to be put on “kindertransports” to the United Kingdom. His mother, who had been born a German Jew but who had converted to Christianity, aided him from the United Kingdom by securing permission from the Home Office to bring the children into the country.

Masters, who lives in Bethesda, Md., was put on one of the trains along with her two sisters in a moment that was dramatized in the movie “Nicky’s Family.”

“Most of the people in the village would say, ‘You don’t have to send the children away, nothing is going to happen here.’ But my mother knew what was going on in Europe, so they decided to go ahead and try to put us on the train.”

Masters’ parents knew what was going on because their mother’s brother had lived in Berlin during the 1930s and was able to get passage to London. The sisters thought that they were going to live with him, but when they arrived, they discovered that since he himself was a refugee, he could not take them in. Instead, they went to live in a group home with other Jewish children, most of whom were German.

Though her time in the group home was happy, Masters worried about her parents and family trapped back home. Unfortunately, her parents perished in the camps. The Holocaust museum recently unearthed documentation verifying their demise.

Masters donated to the museum clothing her mother had handstitched for her and a blanket her father purchased for his girls just before they made their way to the train station, where they would see each other for the last time.

Like many of the children rescued, Masters did not know the name of her savior until much later.

Winton didn’t go about touting his rescue efforts, but in 1988, when his wife discovered his records in the attic of their home from the kindertransports, they decided to turn the scrapbook over to Elisabeth Maxwell, a Holocaust researcher. The wider world got a glimpse of his records when the host of “That’s Life,” Esther Rantzen, featured Winton in two episodes on the program.

Barbara recalled that her mother didn’t attend the first taping, thinking that the show would follow the same formula as previous episodes. When she saw her husband introduced to a survivor, she suspected something big was in store for the next episode and made sure to be by her husband’s side at the second taping.

It is that second episode that has been so popular on social media.

Rantzen asks, “Can I ask if there’s anyone else in our audience tonight who owes their life to Nicholas Winton? If so, could you stand up please?”

More than a dozen men and women stand, and an overcome Winton can be seen marveling at them before wiping tears away from both eyes.

Winton formed close friendships with many of the children, including Masters. The children continue to gather for reunions and even took a commemorative train ride from the Czech Republic to London on the occasion of Winton’s 100th birthday.

“My father wasn’t someone who talked about the past. He was not particularly interested, and it’s quite ironic that for someone who wasn’t particularly interested in talking about the past, he spent the last 25 years being interviewed incessantly about the past,” Barbara said to laughter from the audience.

“But he took it in good spirits and tried to use that interest in convincing people that if they were interested in what he’d done, then maybe they should think about what they should do to make a difference themselves.”

Barbara Winton chronicled her father’s actions in her book “If It’s Not Impossible …: The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton.” She was able to share a draft of the book with her father before he passed away last July at age 106.

Of all the good that Winton did in his life, perhaps his greatest legacy, Barbara believes, lives on in the more than 6,000 descendants of the 669 children he rescued.

A ‘Finished Project’ Leading violinist to play Towson professor’s concerto

Left: Gil Shaham (photo by Luke Ratray) Jonathan Leshnoff (photo by Erica Hamilton)

Left: Gil Shaham (photo by Luke Ratray)
Right: Jonathan Leshnoff (photo by Erica Hamilton)

Jonathan Leshnoff is a man of many hats. He’s a musician, teacher and composer. But on Feb. 14, he’s going to be an audience member watching one of the world’s best violinists play his concerto.

Grammy Award-winning violinist Gil Shaham, called “the leading American violinist of his generation” by Time magazine, will perform Leshnoff’s “Chamber Concerto for Violin and Orchestra,” along with other works, with the Knights, an orchestral collective, as part of the Shriver Hall Concert Series “Born in Baltimore.” The special project is in celebration of its 50th anniversary season, featuring three new commissioned works from composers with strong ties to the city.

“Everyone knows Gil Shaham,” said Leshnoff, 42, from New Jersey and based in Baltimore. “To work with him is such a pleasure; he’s a fantastic guy and wonderful player.

Leshnoff initially met Shaham in Baltimore several years ago; he saw him standing backstage listening to one of Leshnoff’s pieces.

“He said [the piece] was really cool, so I followed up and said, ‘Great! I’ll write you a piece,’” said Leshnoff. Later, Shaham performed their Yiddish suite in New York and Washington, D.C.

“I have many wonderful memories from my performances at [Shriver] and always enjoy sharing music with the fantastic audience,” said Shaham in a written statement. “It is an honor to be part of the 50th anniversary season and to celebrate the great Shriver Hall legacy.”

The commissioned piece was inspired by Leshnoff’s spiritual heritage and is a part of a 10-piece collection that is driven by spiritual concepts, he said. The first movement of the concerto is slow and pensive, and the second movement is fast, lively and spirited.

“This piece focuses on the spiritual concept that is associated with the [Hebrew] letter Hay; that concept is malchus,” said Leshnoff. “The spiritual concept is the ‘finished project.’ The malchus is the final house without anyone living in it, full of potential, but people have to do something with it.”

Leshnoff added the first movement “is extremely bare, extremely open and spacious [when] looking at the notes on the page.”

“What is dependent on making the music happen is the heart that Gil and the orchestra will put in,” said Leshnoff. “Suddenly, that ‘house’ will come to life, and that’s the deeper spiritual movement I’m trying to portray.”

Shaham said he’s excited to perform it and described Leshnoff’s compositions as “deeply spiritual and uplifting.”

“Jonathan has such a great musical mind … and I cannot wait for the performance with the Knights, a group I have long admired,” said Shaham in a written statement. “I feel lucky to join their tour and am grateful that they agreed to play on my upcoming album. It is always a thrill to participate in music making at that highest level.”

The Shriver Concert is just one of Leshnoff’s premieres this year. A clarinet concerto, commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, and an oratorio called “Zohar,” commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, both premiere in April. The oratorio, co-commissioned by the ASO and Carnegie Hall, will be performed in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage later that month.

In addition to being a composer, Leshnoff works at Towson University teaching orchestration, contemporary music and music theory. When asked about his advice for young musicians, his wisdom was concise.

“Follow your inner voice,” said Leshnoff. “Because that’s what got you into this, and that’s what will pull you through, and that’s where you will end up.”

Shriver Hall Concert Series
105 Shriver Hall
3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore

Feb. 14, 5:30 p.m.

Tickets $42 (Students $21)
For more information, call 410-516-7164 or visit shriverconcerts.org/Shaham

jkatz@midatlanticmedia.com

Peacemaker Comes to the Gordon Center Achinoam Nini brings multicultural sounds to Owings Mills on Feb. 6

noa

Achinoam “Noa” Nini (Photo by Roberto Marziali)

She’s performed for three popes, collaborated with Stevie Wonder, Sting, Pat Metheny and Quincy Jones and is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations. But Achinoam Nini, known as Noa, doesn’t let it get to her head or forget why she does what she does.

“All I need to do is remember why I am doing all this: to serve the God of music, not myself,” she said via email. “To bring joy and meaning to people’s lives, hearts and minds. To make the world a better place.”

The Yemenite/Israeli/American singer brings her eclectic jazz sounds to the Gordon Center for Performing Arts on Saturday, Feb. 6.

To understand all the cultural influences she incorporates into her music, one needs to look at Noa’s journey. She was born in Israel but moved to New York City with her family at age 2. She returned to Israel in her late teens, served in the army, studied at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music and began her career.

“It gave me the chance to be exposed to an enormous amount of culture, from my Yemenite grandmother who raised us and her songs, to Hebrew songs my parents loved, the wild abundance in N.Y., ranging from opera to Broadway, jazz and progressive, to my own process of leaving home and learning to live on my own at a young age,” she said.

And then, of course, there are the intangible aspects of the music.

“I dig deep into the roots of childhood, tradition, poetry and literature and a variety of other inspiring places. I also spend a lot of time observing the world around me and trying to reveal new perspectives and unveil hidden secrets of the human soul,” she said. “I try to capsulize ideas and emotions, contracting as I write and expanding as I perform.”

In addition to being an entertainer, wife and mother of three, Noa, 46, dedicates a lot of her time and music to being a peace activist. While she had performed for the cause of peace throughout her career, one performance and the horrible aftermath gave her reason to truly dedicate herself to the cause. She sang at a peace rally in Tel Aviv on Nov. 4, 1995 to support Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. Rabin would be assassinated while leaving that rally.

“I was devastated. That very night, I decided that if this great man could pay with his life for peace, for humanity, for values, for the future of our children, I too would pay a price,” Noa says in a soon-to-be released TED Talk. “I would act, I would speak out, I would carry this torch forward stubbornly, fearlessly.”

While that meant death threats and canceled concerts, it also landed her gigs at the White House and the World Economic Forum as well as knighthood in Italy among a long list of honors.

Noa supports a long list of progressive, pro-peace causes, including many that bring Arabs and Jews together.

“I believe with all of my heart that only the people and their ability to communicate, to learn about each other, to listen to each other, to understand each other’s humanity, to mitigate fear and share hopes and dreams, to recognize each other’s humanity, can bring change,” she said.

Of course Noa’s messages would need a powerful musical vessel, which is where longtime collaborator, musical partner and guitarist Gil Dor comes in.

“A friend once called us a two-headed monster. I usually come up with the ideas, I write lyrics and music, normally a cappella, then Gil and I work out all the details together, harmonizing, adding parts, arranging and producing,” she said. “We do it all together, with a lot of resonance and sometimes telepathy. We also argue a lot, but it is always done with respect and love. We are lucky to have found each other!”

Noa performs at Gordon Center Saturday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $36 or $72 for VIP and available at jcc.org/event/noa-achinoam-nini.

mshapiro@midatlanticmedia.com

Sticking It to Israel Taking Maryland’s quintessential sport to the Holy Land

Jules Jacobs (center) poses for a photo with Israeli players at a lacrosse clinic in Netanya. (SportPic)

Jules Jacobs (center) poses for a photo with Israeli players at a lacrosse clinic in Netanya. (SportPic)

Could soccer-crazy Israelis fall in love with lacrosse?

After spending winter break touring the country on a service trip with the Israel national team, Jules Jacobs is convinced that the sport with indigenous roots in the Native American Iroquois people is primed to take off in the Holy Land.

“The kids are embracing it. The communities are embracing it. It’s great for everyone, and it’s really becoming something that I think Israel is really going to adopt fast,” said Jacobs, 17, a junior at Wootton High School in Rockville and the only Marylander on the trip.

Jacobs, son of former Washington Jewish Week editor-in-chief and current Jewish Women International executive Meredith Jacobs, said the Israeli kids would “light up” when the lacrosse players showed up. Clinics were held in Netanya, Ashkelon and Haifa.

The Israeli national team is headquartered in Ashkelon. The southern coastal city is a sister city of lacrosse-hotbed Baltimore. Charm City is an  official partner of Team Israel lacrosse.

Scott Neiss founded the Israel Lacrosse Association — the official governing body of lacrosse in  Israel — in 2010. The executive director and Oceanside, N.Y., native got the idea for Israel Lacrosse while on a Birthright Israel trip and founded Israel Lacrosse soon after. The Israel Lacrosse Association is a  member of the Federation of International Lacrosse and the European Lacrosse Federation.

Jacobs was struck by the passion Israeli children have for the sport of lacrosse despite facing at times adverse conditions in the volatile Middle East. One child they were teaching recounted a time when he was practicing and Iron Dome shot down a rocket over the field.

“He hid under some benches and the Iron Dome just blew up this rocket that was going on above him and debris fell — and he just went and continued playing lacrosse,” Jacobs said. “This is life for them, and they don’t have the luxury  of having nice fields or having these places that  they can really feel safe. So, lacrosse is an outlet  for them to really express themselves and to  develop as people.”

At the conclusion of the service trip, Jacobs, who plays long-stick midi and close defense, participated in tryouts for the men’s national U-19 Israel lacrosse team that will play this summer at the World Championships in Coquitlam, British  Columbia, Canada.

Non-Israeli Jews are eligible to play on the Israeli national team because lacrosse is such a new sport there. But Jacobs is confident that lacrosse will continue making inroads into Israeli society and that one day the roster will be fully Israeli.

“We’re going to see a rallying around lacrosse in the future because it’s something that Israelis are so good at, and it’s something that will become  ingrained into the culture,” said Jacobs. “Give it 20 years — lacrosse is going to be everywhere. Every kid is going to be holding a stick. Every kid’s going to be out there practicing on the wall. I really think it’s just a matter of time.”

jmarks@midatlanticmedia.com