How many years have you worked with Kids Kicking Cancer?
Fourteen years. I first started with Rabbi G. in 2007, building the program in California. I worked as a volunteer for about the first eight years.
How did you begin with martial arts?
I began practicing Judo when I lived in France as a graduate student. I began practicing karate-do when I moved to California after living in France.
What lessons have you learned over the years from practicing or teaching martial arts?
I have learned that practice is a way of life. I have learned to work hard to achieve worthwhile goals. I have learned that the practice of the martial arts involves contributing as best I can to make the world a better place. I have learned patience. I have learned to listen to and learn from others.
What inspired you to join Kids Kicking Cancer (KKC) as a martial arts therapist?
When I met Rabbi G. in a chance encounter in Los Angeles, I realized in those first moments of learning about KKC that I needed to be part of the work of Kids Kicking Cancer.
What do you love most about Kids Kicking Cancer’s mission?
I love our ability to alleviate suffering, and even bring joy to children/adolescents/families facing very serious challenges.
Do you have a favorite KKC story or experience you would like to share?
I had an experience that I find memorable. One of our 9-year-old students asked me if she could do a presentation and training for adult women in a residential substance abuse treatment facility where I worked. She wanted to be a teacher and “give back” to others. This was in the Hanukkah/Christmas holiday period. I arranged the presentation. On the day of the event, the student and her father arrived at the facility with a large amount of food, water and sodas for the women in treatment. The dad explained that he too wanted to “give back” to others. The 9-year-old student did her presentation to about fifteen women, all of whom had substance abuse issues, and some of whom had faced serious challenges in their lives. The student led the women in the breathing and relaxation techniques, all of whom engaged completely. In the discussion that we had following the practice of the techniques, I was moved by the impact of the student’s teaching. The women expressed profound gratitude to the student-teacher, for the beautiful spirit and wonderful teaching she brought that day.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy gardening, crossword puzzles, films and reading. I enjoy doing things with my wife and children. And, of course, I enjoy practicing karate-do and teaching in KKC.
What’s your favorite tradition or holiday?
My favorite holiday and tradition is Thanksgiving. I enjoy gathering with family and friends. I enjoy the preparing and sharing a great meal. I embrace the tradition of giving thanks for what we have, and recognizing that we can help others who may have less than we do.
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