Local people, places, travels and simchas

Travel odyssey

Sarah and Leonard  Schultz ride an elephant bareback in the water at Luang Prabang, Laos.
Sarah and Leonard Schultz ride an elephant bareback in the water at Luang Prabang, Laos.

Around the world in almost 80 days. From Aug. 19 to Nov. 2, Sarah and Leonard Schultz boarded 15 flights to 10 countries in 76 days. Booked online through AirTreks, the couple traveled from west to east, taking only carry-on luggage, and chronicling their journey with an iPhone for photos and journaling. Hotels and some tours were pre-booked, others taken on the spot.

Jewish moments on this grand adventure included:

• Visiting the Sydney Jewish Museum and The Great Synagogue (Australia)

•Witnessing a holy cleansing ritual involving water, prior to a Balinese Hindu temple festival of prayer — reminiscent of tashlich (“casting off” one’s sins at Rosh Hashanah) — that took place around the same time as the High Holidays.

• Attending Kol Nidre at Chabad of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City.

• Davening at Shabbat services at the Even Chen synagogue in Bangkok, Thailand, followed by a sit-down kiddish/luncheon.

Other highlights included Leonard joining in an indigenous Maori tribal dance in New Zealand; obtaining last-minute, by-chance tickets to a production of “South Pacific” at the Sydney Opera House; visiting the Taj Mahal in India, Temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and excavations in Petra, Jordan; and then “coming home” to Israel, their last stop.

In Israel, the twosome didn’t feel like tourists, having traveled there many times. They visited relatives and the cemetery where Sarah’s parents are buried. Sarah and Leonard spent a few days with their close friends and former neighbors, Carol and Dan Karsch, at their home in Modi’in. The couple had lunch with Tucsonans Sarah and Don Persellin at La La Land restaurant on the Tel Aviv beach. The Persillins also have family in Israel and are frequent visitors. The Schultzes enjoyed Shabbat dinner with one of Leonard’s Pittsburgh childhood friends, at the home of the CEO of the Israel Tennis Center, Danny Gelley.

Super Extraordinary Sunday

Eleanor Jeck practices chest-compression-only CPR on Super Extraordinary Sunday.
Eleanor Jeck practices chest-compression-only CPR on Super Extraordinary Sunday.

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Super Extraordinary Sunday, on Jan. 27 at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, was not only a day for soliciting much-needed campaign dollars for here and abroad, but also for performing mitzvot.

Added to past Red Cross Blood and Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry drives was a third lifesaving procedure — chest-compression-only CPR. Claudine Messing, vice president of the Steven M. Gootter Foundation, served as liaison to make this training available. The foundation focuses on education, awareness and research to conquer sudden cardiac death. Melissa Ludgate, UA Sarver Heart Center staff member and CPR trainer, conducted the classes, assisted by first-year medical students. They demonstrated to 40 participants the “3 C’s” of chest-compression-only CPR: Check … Call … Compress.

1) Shake and shout: “Are you all right?”

2) Call 911 — Emergency

3) 100 forceful chest compressions per min­ute. (Hint: Compress to the beat of the song “Stayin’ Alive” — apropos!)

4) Use an automated external defibrillator if available.

Claudine echoed the favorite saying of her mother, Paulette Gootter, from the Talmud: “And whosoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”

Last year, volunteers wrote letters to U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan. This year, community members, adults and children, wrote personal cards of support to families in the Federation’s Israeli sister city of Kiryat Malachi and the Hof Ashkelon region, which were devastated by missiles from Gaza.


Time to share

You know the drill. Keep me posted — 319-1112. L’shalom.