PRLog - Nov. 26, 2008 - LAS VEGAS -- Audrey Merkin’s love of children and passion for Judaism was a natural combination. The long time Las Vegan and Executive Board Member of Temple Beth Sholom always encouraged kids to embrace their Judaism, and learn about the history of the Jewish people.
AUDREY MERKIN - Photo by: Ira Ellis/Ira Ellis Photography
Now, nearly three years after her death, Audrey’s legacy lives on through a scholarship fund set up by her friends and family. And, for the third year in a row, high school students will have the opportunity to join the March of the Living program, and travel to Poland and Israel with those scholarship funds.
Sandy Mallin, former Temple Beth Sholom President, and co director of the Audrey Merkin Scholarship Fund (along with Shirley Chaplin), calls this opportunity an experience of a lifetime. “Every year 10,000 students from around the world take part in the March of the Living. Over the years, whenever I speak with returning attendees, they all say the experience has been life changing. This is the mission of the Audrey Merkin Scholarship Fund, to awaken teenagers to their heritage."
The March of the Living is a yearly journey where thousands of Jewish teens from around the world gather in Poland and Israel to mark two of the most significant dates on the modern calendar: Holocaust Remembrance Day and Israel Independence Day. The purpose of this trip is to give students a first hand look at history, and the evils of mankind.
At the annual luncheon held November 4, 2008 - hosted by Freddie Glusman at Pieros restaurant - Audrey’s friends and family gathered to remember her and raise funds to send as many Jewish teens as possible on the March of the Living trip. Carnival Cruise Lines donated a 5 day cruise..which was raffled and won by Harriet Elisofon.
Last year, Brook Weisz, Janna Greenburg and Niki Molin werawarded scholarship funds and thoroughly enjoyed their experience. Scholarship awards are being determined now, to be offered to students for 2009.
This year, the Bnai Brith Youth Organization will play an active role in supervising the group making the trip. “We send teens on the March of the Living program every year,” said local BBYO program director Stefanie Szlamkowicz. “This year students receiving the Audrey Merkin Scholarship will be traveling with us... all the Las Vegas participants will be together.” BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences, Szlamkowicz said.
The Audrey Merkin Scholarship Fund for Teens is administered by the Women’s League of Temple Beth Sholom. For more information on the scholarship, or to make a donation, contact Carol Jeffries or Jon Mitzmacher at 702.804.1333.
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