Adam Bodenstein Tzfat ISRAEL
Spring, 1999: standing on the stage at the Westside JCC auditorium; I am sixteen and accepting the "Jewish Quiz Bowl's" first place prize of an organized trip to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles Teen Services. After an afternoon of tough questions in that year's topic which was 'Jerusalem', I took my winnings and applied it to a six week USY Israel Pilgrimage trip. That trip crystallized my hope to one day make aliyah to Israel.
Many, many aspects of my life influenced that goal. My connection to the WJCC was a piece of that journey.
Quoting an article from "Inside Westside", 1993, "Adam Bodenstein, an enthusiastic 10-year-old member of Westside JCC, won First Place honors for the 'Male under 12' category at the 'Chai 5 Walk', the Jewish Federation event that attracted 600 in Beverly Hills. Adam is active in sports at our Center, and attributes his fast walking/running to his exercise while a member of the Sports Unit of WJCC's Camp Chai; to his participation in Steve Sherman's basketball classes; and to numerous sports activities of WJCC's Cub Scout Pack. Adam also participates in the Elitzur Basketball League at the Center". That same year I earned the Aleph Award through the Jewish Scout troop (#1121) and was honored at an Interfaith Religious Banquet at the WJCC.
Living across the street from the WJCC and having parents who, in their own way, are Zionists, meant that our family was often asked by the JCC to house visiting Israelis. As a youngster, I had opportunities to share meals, shoots some hoops in our backyard, and get to know teenage boys and girls from the Tzofim, Israeli (Singing) Scouts touring the U.S. The WJCC Camp Chai used to have "Shaliachs" to help with Israel programming during summer, and we housed many of those girls. We even had two Israeli pilots from a choir on tour stay with us once.
And here I am, writing to you from my beautiful home in the Upper Galilee. I took my love of history, as shown long ago at that JCC/LA quiz bowl, and my love of Israel shaped by so many "building blocks" of my life, and am now an Israeli tour guide. And yes, building with blocks at the WJCC Nursery School, sliding down the WJCC parking ramp on snow day, learning to swim and becoming a lifeguard at the WJCC pool. . .all played a part. I come to the JCC whenever I am "in town" with my Israeli wife and three children, visiting my mom, WJCC pre-K 'Teacher Dale', and dad. Come visit me whenever you are in my "neighborhood".
Licensed Tour Guide in Israel
Specializing in Tzfat, the Galilee, and the Golan Heights