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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 4/8/2001

Start's Challenge Day transformed teens

The Challenge Day program held at Start High School last Tuesday was really unbelievable. The goal of the trainers is to promote self-acceptance and respect for others through a series of games, activities, group discussions, ice-breakers, and trust-building exercises. They succeeded.

These teens broke down walls of hate and separation from peers they thought were “different” from them when they came into the room that morning. Over and over, teens who had “hated” each other, ridiculed and teased certain persons, changed their perceptions. They became aware of the hurt they had inflicted and apologized to the other person and asked for their forgiveness.

To witness transformations at such deep levels from a one-day program, to see such positive change in teenagers in one day, was simply miraculous.

It was a privilege and an honor to be a volunteer facilitator, to experience with these wonderful young people over the course of several hours such life-transforming awakenings. The five special students who were in my little group will always be in my prayers, and I know that this day changed them.

We are so fortunate in Toledo that Dr. Jerry Levin and his wife, Karen Kiemnec, recognized the value of this program and arranged to have it brought to our city. I cannot say enough for Richard and Yvonne St. John-Dutra for putting together such an effective, inspiring program.

If anyone in your school begins to talk about Challenge Day and wants to bring it to your child's school, do everything you can to help.

Help to stop the violence, abuse, alienation, and isolation so many teens feel by enabling them to participate in a Challenge Day. It will empower them for the rest of their life.

REV. MARYANN KRELL

Anderson Parkway

Two letters to the editor tried to discredit my letter of Feb 13, describing the effects of the siege on Palestinian cities.

Allow me to make four points:

w It is a well-documented fact that Palestinian ambulances are stopped at Israeli checkpoints and are not allowed to transfer injured Palestinians and patients to medical facilities.

w The ongoing violence is the result of the brutal ongoing Israeli occupation.

w We Arabs do not hate Jews.

w Arabs and non-Arabs, including many Jews, hate the way the Israeli government treats the Palestinians in their own land.

Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman, executive director of the Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights, asked his congregation on Yom Kippur to ask God's forgiveness for “knowingly or unknowingly allowing the Israeli government to continue expropriating Palestinian land, demolishing their homes, building bypass roads, uprooting their trees, and denying them water, in our name, while publicly speaking of peace.”

Moria Shlomot, director of “Peace Now,” said: “The day will come when we will have to explain to our children why the State of Israel starved a whole population and how the army of a people who experienced the Ghettos cut off entire villages with ditches and barbed wire.”

Rabbi Michael Lerner, quoted in the Los Angeles Times, condemned Israeli violence and called for “Israel to withdraw its troops and its settlers to the pre-1967 borders of Israel.”

This would end the so-called “Palestinian violence.”

MARYSE MIKHAIL

Executive Director

Middle East Resource Center

Barbara Streisand is truly a very talented and versatile entertainer. Her voice is a gift from God, and I have a deep appreciation of her acting talents. However, “Babs” should stick to what she knows and does best and keep her opinions, regarding politics and the running of our country , to herself. She, of course, has the right to express her opinion, but she does herself a disservice.

Her “celebrity status” allows her access to national news and entertainment forums, obviously unavailable to most Americans. It is when she avails herself of this access that she begins to look foolish and petulant at best and just plain mean-spirited at worst.

There are many people in this country, Republican and Democrat alike, whose opinions I value and, because of their service and devotion to our country, have credibility. Sorry, “Babs, multimillionaires with too much free time on their hands will never be my first choice when searching for keen, political insight.

Barbara Streisand, Martin Sheen, and Rosie O'Donnell may all be very talented performers, but I can't remember the last time (except in comedy skits) where any of the three were referred to as “cerebral.”

SCOTT SANFORD

Sylvania

I often wonder if I am hearing the same concert as The Blade's music critic. Such was the case March 30 when I was in the audience listening to the Toledo Symphony perform Leonard Bernstein's “On the Waterfront.” According to Steven Cornelius, it was a “lackluster performance.” I strongly disagree!

As a trained musician, I found the performance to be extremely stimulating. The orchestra achieved several different musical timbres while simultaneously maintaining excellent intonation. The solo and ensemble playing were superb. The intensity of the full brass sections created a thrilling contrast to the softer, more exposed woodwind sections. The string sound was beautifully lush. I cannot imagine any audience member saying that this performance lacked luster.

Although I was fortunate enough to be on stage for the remaining two pieces on the program, I again would argue with the opinions of Mr. Cornelius.

Perhaps he is confusing “dour visages” of the orchestra members with total concentration - a look that may appear stern to the audience. Of course we're a little more concerned with putting the right notes in the right place than we are with creating a pleasing face for the music reviewer.

Concerning Michael Daugherty's “Metropolis Symphony,” I suspect that Mr. Cornelius would be surprised to learn how many would want to hear the work a second time and how many audience members felt the tango movement did hold up for a single hearing.

I am anxious to know when you will be taking the stage again, Mr. Cornelius. I'm sure many Blade readers would love to come and hear you perform so that you can demonstrate for us the many musical qualities that you so often find lacking in the Toledo Symphony.

BERNICE SCHWARTZ

Tontogany

I have lived on Collingwood Boulevard for almost three years. Prior to that I lived in Perrysburg (wasn't happy there). Prior to that I lived on Scottwood Avenue (in the Old West End).

I love the neighborhood. There are many reasons that the street name should not be changed, all of them historical.

The world is changing so fast. Think about how computers have changed our lives from only five years ago.

Why change something so dear to Toledo?

Most dark clouds have silver linings. The best thing that has come out of this fight is that I met more of my wonderful neighbors. We are passionate for history. Old West Enders are true crusaders. That is what makes our neighborhood one of the last true neighborhoods.

Whatever the decision is, keep in mind that Collingwood will always be Collingwood to me and almost everyone else.

WENDY GORDON

Collingwood Boulevard

A singular achievement

As the new bridge's single main support looks like a giant number “one”, why not call it “Toledo's Number One Bridge.” With that name it could proudly speak for all of us.

CHARLES R. GINSBURG

South Detroit Avenue



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