Friday, February 25, 2011

A Word from the Director: 2/25/2011

The week started with excitement with the NBA All Star Game on Sunday shown at Aish. Rabbi Neuberger opened early and stayed until closing. I told him to close after the game since he had been there for so many hours. His response was that if there are guys here, we will stay open for them. We thanked him for his commitment. Over the past two months, we have opened our doors on Saturday nights from 9:30-11:30, per request from the boys. Presently, we are open two Saturday nights a month.

In other news, the gym room looks different every day. This week they painted and put in carpeting. Next week we will be getting some exercise machines delivered. The boys are excited about its opening as are we. We, Baruch Hashem, have a beautiful building and the more we can provide here in our environment, the less they have to look for elsewhere. Again, we want to thank David Hagar and Elliott Dolin for helping make this project possible. We are still looking for an Elliptical and a Flat screen TV. If you are interested in donating, please be in touch with me.

This Saturday night is the Aish Tamid Minyan's first dinner. The Minyan is a very warm and accepting place to daven at, which provides awesome chizuk from Rabbi Leibovic in a laid-back environment. While we encourage all those to attend the Minyan and their dinner, the Aish Tamid Minyan and the Aish Tamid organization are two separate entities. We wish them much Hatzlacha.

This Shabbos, I will be attending the Yula Shabbaton in Woodland Hills. I was asked to participate on a panel discussing boy-girl relationships. My introduction is going to revolve around self-esteem and how in order for us to have healthy relationships, we must first have a self. And to have a real relationship, we have to have self-respect to feel that we are worthy of being respected for who we are and not for what we can provide. Unfortunately, a large majority of our boys and girls suffer from a lack of self-worth and low self-esteem. Many of our boys don’t always excel or fit in at school. They feel that they have no strengths and when you sit with them, they are completely hopeless. My first question to them is “what do you like to do?” and “what are your strengths?” Usually, they don’t know. If we can find an activity or skill that our children and students can excel in, which can be uniquely theirs, that could make a tremendous difference in their lives and help to develop a healthy self-esteem.

Have a beautiful Shabbos!

Gavriel Hershoff

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Word from the Director: 2/18/2011

Hope everybody had a wonderful week. It's been busy here at Aish. We went with a few guys to see Matisyahu in Thousand Oaks which was awesome and inspirational. He even wrote a song for us called Aish Tamid! It felt like a Melava Malka in the Old City. Matisyahu has a way of taking a large group in a large setting and making it personal and getting the crowd into it.

I have a boy who just came back from the Israli army to visit his mom in the hospital. He told me he doesn't recognize her. He hasn't seen her in three months. He was asking me to bring him Tefilin. Please have her in your tefilos: Dana Sorah Sterna Bas Ninet. We should never have to come home to such news.

Some of our students are signing up to take their high school exams. They are excited but also nervous. Part of what we do – besides preparing them to take the exam – is also to teach them that if they don't pass it is not the end of the world. And they can take it again. Many of our youth today are never taught how to deal with failure and disappointments. I had a boy come in last week and say to me “they are going to fire me at my job and my life is over.” He went to his therapist who told him to stop blowing things out of proportion and it’s up in your head. I disagreed with her and said that even if they may fire you, your life will not be over and you will find another job. Teaching people how to deal with setbacks and disappointments is one of the most important things to teach young people. We live in an environment where everything is sugar coated. We are not helping them by not giving them coping mechanisms to deal with the challenges in life.

You should have a restful and meaningful Shabbos.

Rabbi Hershoff

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Word from the Director: 2/11/2011

We had a busy week here at Aish Tamid, with the big Super Bowl party. We had two big screens with the game on and we had two separate pizza deliveries. A big ‘thank you’ to Ben Zion Levin for helping with our technical needs and coming in late Saturday night to take care of the last minute setup. I also never formally thanked the Gohari family for donating their couches to Aish Tamid. It has definitely given Aish Tamid a well-needed facelift and is much appreciated by all.

In other news, a big ‘thank you’ to David Hagar and Elliot Dolin for helping us with our gym renovations. We expanded the area downstairs and it is ready for us to set up the gym. The boys are very excited and keep asking if we are going to charge them to use the gym. Of course not. This week we should be able to start moving equipment in to the room and hopefully we can open for business by the end of the month. Anyone interested in getting involved with the project should please contact us for more info.

There has been about four to five requests this week that we should have a Shabbaton in some type of resort. I personally have never thought about doing it but we are considering it, based on the request. I find it flattering that the boys are so comfortable that they want us to take them away for a weekend. Until recently, we have never been successful in organizing small trips and we found that the boys just want to come to the center and when they want to go on trips they go on their own time.

Just to make people aware, I have slots available during the week to meet with parents about their teens with or without their teens present. We have been getting many calls not only about the boys in the community but about teenage girls as well. We work a great relationship with the many schools in the community as they refer their families to us. Please call the office if you would like to schedule a meeting.

And lastly, I apologize for repeating myself: we have many students who are looking for employment, both for financial reasons and for self advancement. Please consider hiring one of the many Jewish boys in the neighborhood. We have a boy who we set up at Coffee Bean; he spent Super Bowl Sunday working and feels like a million bucks that he has a job and has structure in his life.

Have a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Word from the Director: 2/4/2011

It’s Super Bowl XLV and we are having our annual Super Bowl Party (without beer). The boys are excited and we will hopefully have two big screens showing it in two different venues in the building this year. We will of course have lots of food and nosh and hopefully even have a mincha minyan during some boring commercial.

In other Aish Tamid news, our gym is progressing and this week we plan on doing some minor construction to enlarge a room downstairs. Our goal is to have five or six different exercise options in the room. We are really excited about it and we want to thank Elliott Dolin for all his time and effort and making this project into a reality. Anyone interested in getting involved should please get in touch with me at the office. Also, we are looking for another flat screen TV for the gym. Anyone interested in donating one should please be in touch with me.

Thank you again for those that have offered job opportunities to our students. We have recently placed some boys in temporary and permanent jobs. We look to you, our community, to hire these boys and give them a chance to be successful. A student - let me rephrase - two students came over to me and gave me some money. When I asked, “what is this for?” they said “it's maaser from the job that you helped us out with.” For me, there is no bigger sign of appreciation as when they come and give a little back.

Finally, we have a student who is soliciting money for himself, going door to door and stating that he is a student of Aish Tamid. We do not suggest that you give him money and that he should be in touch with us.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff