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    Newton men organize program focusing on Roots in Israel

    Temple Emanuel Brotherhood members distribute customized Jewish National Fund collection boxes to children at the temple's annual Kickoff Barbecue in September 2012. Pictured, from left to right, are Roots in Israel Committee members Danny Mandeau, David Beckman (the current Brotherhood president), Bruce Gold, Dennis Buchenholz, Rob Finkel, Peter Matusow, and David Greenfield.
    Temple Emanuel Brotherhood members distribute customized Jewish National Fund collection boxes to children at the temple's annual Kickoff Barbecue in September 2012. Pictured, from left to right, are Roots in Israel Committee members Danny Mandeau, David Beckman (the current Brotherhood president), Bruce Gold, Dennis Buchenholz, Rob Finkel, Peter Matusow, and David Greenfield.

    DEEPENING ROOTS:David Greenfield  said he and fellow

    Temple Emanuel Brotherhood members Dennis Buchenholz (right) and David Greenfield of Newton load bulk mailing bags containing 1,100 Jewish National Fund collection boxes onto a mail truck for delivery to congregation families at the West Newton Post Office in October 2012. The project is part of the brotherhood's Roots in Israel initiative.

    Temple Emanuel Brotherhood members Dennis Buch­enholz  and Danny Mandeau have sensed a growing loss of appreciation for what life was like for Jews before the United Nations  recognized Israel in 1948.  

    Adding to the Newton residents’ dismay, according to Greenfield, is the news media’s focus on Israel “through a lens of conflict” with its Middle East neighbors, while overlooking its contributions in humanitarian aid and innovative technology.


    Last fall, the men’s group launched Roots in Israel, an initiative designed to strengthen the congregation’s connection with Israel. According to Greenfield, this objective is being addressed by sharing stories of Israel’s accomplishments in the temple’s weekly newsletter and monthly bulletin, and in photo essays documenting Roots in Israel events.

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    Through a grant from the New England chapter of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, customized Jewish ­National Fund collection boxes were distributed to all 1,100 families in Temple Emanuel’s congregation. The contents are collected on holidays for donation to the Jewish National Fund, as a lesson for children on the value of supporting their historic homeland.

    Ultimately, Greenfield hopes other Jewish men’s clubs will implement similar programs nationally and internationally.

    “Israel’s reestablishment ­after 2,000 years is miraculous, and it continues to be a beacon to the world in so many ways,” said Greenfield, whose parents were both Holocaust survivors. “We want the pendulum to swing back to a time of celebrating, supporting, and standing with Israel while countering misrepresentations against it.”

    NOW YOU SEE IT: At recent count, 85-year-old Wellesley resident Gil Stubbs  (inset) had perfected ­approximately 248 magic

    Gil Stubbs of Wellesley will lead a four-week magic course for seniors beginning April 4 at the Wellesley Community Center.

    tricks, many of which he invented. In April, he will lead a four-week course so other seniors can share their love of magic.

    Designed for people age 60 and older, the workshops will take place on April 4, 11, 18, and 25, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., at the Wellesley Community Center, 219 Washington St. in Wellesley Hills. Stubbs will provide participants with a set of notes reviewing sleight-of-hand techniques and tricks ­using cards, coins, dollar bills, string, rope, rubber bands, pens, paper clips, tableware, napkins, and handkerchiefs.

    A retired electrical and space engineer, Stubbs has written many articles on magic, and was the longtime newsletter editor for the Massachusetts chapter of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He has taught a magic seminar at Wellesley High School for the past five years, and regularly performs and teaches workshops at libraries, schools, parties, retirement homes, churches, hospitals, and on YouTube.  

    Only a small investment of time is needed to acquire a repertoire of tricks, Stubbs said, with good presentation far outweighing manual dexterity.

    And there are other advantages.


    “Magic is good brain therapy because it’s a challenge to learn to do it,” he added. “You also get a lot of pleasure out of giving other people pleasure.”

    Registration opens to Wellesley residents on Tuesday, and to nonresidents on Thursday. The fee is $30. To enroll, call the town’s Council on ­Aging at 781-235-3961.

    CELEBRATING RICHARD: Friends of actor Richard Italiano Jr.  of Saugus are invited to celebrate his work and offer their support as he battles stage

    Actor Richard Italiano Jr. (left) of Saugus is pictured with actor and comedian Lenny Clarke. The pair worked together on the 2008 movie "What Doesn't Kill You."

    4 pancreatic cancer at an event being held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St. in Arlington.

    Italiano, who is married and has 13-year-old twin daughters, was diagnosed in July 2011.  

    Elisangela DiAlencar, an ­actress who is helping to organize the event, said volunteers have produced a montage of Italiano’s acting clips. A member of the Screen Actors Guild, he has performed in dozens of feature and independent films, televisions shows, and theater productions alongside actors such as Ethan Hawke, Mark Ruffalo, Amanda Peet, Lenny Clarke, and Donnie Wahlberg.  

    “His biggest dream was being a well-known, successful ­actor, and having a movie theater full of people watching him on the big screen. It’s the least we can do to help make this dream come true,” said DiAlencar, noting Italiano (inset) will be watching from home via Skype. “We want him to feel like he’s being honored, and people love him.”

    Admission is free, with raffles to raise money for Italiano’s medical expenses and other necessities. For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.youcaring.com and search for Italiano.

    ADVISING TROOPS: Medfield resident Brendan Sheehan (inset) recently volunteered his time and expertise to assist members of the Massachusetts National Guard.  

    Sheehan, a financial planner with Michael Scott and ­Associates in Westborough, presented “Ten Steps Toward Financial Readiness” at the West Newton Armory, with topics including credit reports, debt, investments, and savings plans. He then followed up with individual sessions for service members who are scheduled for deployment this year.

    Sheehan has volunteered for five years with the Financial Planning

    Pictured, left to right, are Hal Estabrook, director of the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts Military Pro Bono program; clients Lt. Brian Barrows and Lt. Michael Brisebois; and volunteer financial planner Brendan Sheehan of Medfield.

    Association of Massachusetts Military Pro Bono program, which offers free coaching and other assistance to service members and their families, both before and after deployment. His commitment stems from an experience early in his volunteerism, when he watched service members who had not yet been deployed being videotaped as they read children’s bedtime stories.

    “That hit me hard,” recalled Sheehan, who said reading to his 6-year-old and 7-month-old children is his favorite part of the day. “Not only are [servicemen] risking their lives, but they’re sacrificing those moments for months or a year at a time. I can certainly carve out a day or two every month to help in the best way I can. I give them all the credit in the world.”

    NEW ROLE: State Representative John J. Lawn of Watertown, has joined the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Waltham. Lawn had been the owner of Charles River Real Estate in Watertown since 2004.  

    A longtime resident of Watertown, Lawn won a 2010 special election to replace Peter Koutoujian, who resigned his House seat after being appointed Middlesex County sheriff. The Democrat was reelected to the 10th Middlesex District seat in November.  

    Lawn is vice chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Service, and a member of the Joint Committee on Housing, and the Joint Committee on Financial Services. He previously served on the Watertown Town Council for six years.

    People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@ globe.com.