Highlands wins four titles in elementary, junior high divisions

Posted on 18 December 2014 by L.Moore

sports121814By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy (HCA) showed there is reason to be optimistic as two elementary school and two junior high programs finished on top in their respective leagues.

Daniel Copeland Del Toro and David Jesus each scored a goal as the Knights Elementary School soccer team defeated defending league champion St. Paul Lutheran, 2-0, in the Elementary Soccer League (ESL) championship game to finish the season at 7-1-1. Cameron Brooks earned the shutout.

The 2014 Elementary Soccer League consisted of Abundant Life, Highlands Christian, Sagemont, St. Paul and Trinity.

The Knights of Highlands Christian defeated all the schools during the season except their long-time rival, the Falcons of St. Paul. The first meeting between the two teams ended in an exciting 4-4 tie. The second meeting was for the League Shield and for home field advantage in the playoffs. The two teams battled throughout the regular time with a score of 1-1. After the overtime play, the result was the same, and St. Paul eventually prevailed in penalty kicks.

The Knights defeated the Falcons with a score of 2-0 earning the Champions for the second time of the Elementary Soccer League.

The Junior High School volleyball team ended the year at 11-5 and swept Westminster Academy (WA), 25-20; 25-20 in the finals to take the South Atlantic Coast Conference (SACC) title.

The Junior High volleyball team of Highlands Christian Academy had a great season,” said Coach Shannon Ratzlaff. “With some big wins over Boca Christian and The King’s Academy, the girls improved significantly throughout the course of the season. It was nice to play WA in the championship game this year as they defeated us for last year’s SACC Championship.”

Knights’ eighth-grader Aiyana Garcia had 12 service points in the second game of the championship to seal the win.

The Junior High School football team completed a perfect season by winning all six of its games, while the HCA Elementary School volleyball team downed Sheridan Hills to win the SACC Championship. The team finished 6-2.

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FLICKS: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 &The Grand Budapest

Posted on 18 December 2014 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games literary trilogy has been stretched out to four separate stories on the cinematic big screen. This practice of stretching out the final book began with the Harry Potter series (worthy) and continued with the Twilight series (unworthy). Mockingjay is a 400 page young adult novel, which means that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay –Part 1 is full of exposition that should lead to an epic big screen grand finale.

In the previous motion picture, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) challenged the federal status quo with an act of public defiance. Mockingjay opens with Katniss adjusting to her new role as a rebellious public symbol – the Mockingjay. Her new title is a creation of rebel leader Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and her agent Plutarch (the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Katniss, Alma and Plutarch are in direct conflict with ongoing villain President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

In her previous act of defiance, Katniss lost track of her beloved Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), her ally (and possible love interest?) from the government sanctioned Hunger Games. Now, President Snow uses Peeta as a government propaganda pawn to confront the growing rebellion. Katniss is put in an emotional vice as she tries to separate her public obligations with her personal needs.

Director Francis Lawrence does an excellent job presenting this conflict for Katniss. It helps that Jennifer Lawrence is the perfect conduit for audience empathy, for much of this story is told through her eyes. We have watched young Katniss age in the past two years; the stress and betrayals are revealed on her face. With this type of emotional connection, the well-directed action scenes take on more depth and one eagerly awaits the grand finale with part two next year.

As we wrap up 2014, mainstream critics are presenting their top films of the year, with The Grand Budapest Hotel being consistently nominated. By the end of the month, this film will be on cable. Much like his previous motion pictures Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tennenbaums, The Grand Budapest Hotel is another peak into the vision of Wes Anderson. With high brow cinematography and low brow comedy, this film tells the tale of M.Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge with contacts everywhere. Art theft, international intrigue and the onset of a world war … this film has something for everyone.

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CLERGY CORNER: Let there be light

Posted on 18 December 2014 by L.Moore

By Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Some of the stories in the Torah seem like what we would hear about on the TV news; stories about families not getting along, threats and killings, stories about lies, deceit and rape. The stories are about wrestling, not only with others, but with ourselves.

I often ask people who are low in spirits and feel stuck in darkness some questions. One is what they do in the morning and often their answer is they turn on the news.

And when I ask the same people what they do before going to sleep, they tell me that they get into bed and turn on the news. There goes any hope of having sweet dreams.

Many get so upset over the newscasts that they wrestle with themselves and with the covers on their bed all night long. And then they can’t figure out why they feel so miserable in the morning.

We are surrounded by bad news and it often seems that we are surrounded by bad people as well.

Have you ever watched someone who is behaving wickedly? If you have, you might have noticed an odd thing. You see, the first time someone commits a particular sin, you can actually tell from their facial expression and body language that they are wrestling with themselves as to whether they can actually do such a thing. But as they keep committing the same wickedness over and over they can become immune to that inner struggle, that self wrestling match.

We have people who thrive on stirring up trouble. They may try to tell themselves that they are doing it for a holy purpose, but they soon become victims of their own point of view and refuse to accept any other version of events. They stir the pot and others are grossly affected.

Take the case of the recent killing in Ferguson.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know who was in error, but I do know that the pot was stirred to the point that, if anything but the verdict that the mob wanted was given, well, the threats were already there.

And, as could have been predicted, there were those who took it as an excuse for looting, for hate and destruction.

And those who sat glued to the news went into the usual diatribe that things have never been this bad, that the world as we know it is falling apart.

But if you watched the news really closely, you might have caught a moment where the darkness was overcome by a very bright light.

A police officer noticed a young boy crying and motioned for the lad to come to him. Can you imagine how scared that young boy must have been being called over to a white police officer.

He was shaking a little but the officer calmed him.

Why are you crying?” the officer asked.

The boy replied that he was sad about the protest and sad about all that was going on in the world…

The officer and the 12-year-old went on to talk about school and summer vacations. Having comforted the boy, the officer looked down on the ground and saw the sign the lad had been carrying (“Free hugs”) and asked if he could have one … and there it was for all to see on the news.

That little boy and that officer are wondrous examples of how things can be. I would reward 12-year-old Devonte and Sgt. Barnum with kindling the first two candles on the Chanukiah (The Chanukah Menorah) as they are great examples of adding light to take away the darkness.

And I would give them a coupon book good for unlimited hugs whenever and wherever they should need them.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

And while you’re at it, why not stop by Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach (201 S. Military Trail, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442) on a Saturday Morning for services and a free hug! And believe me, you haven’t had a hug until you have been hugged by Rabbi Ezring. LOL.

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FAU ends with loss to Old Dominion

Posted on 11 December 2014 by L.Moore

sports121114Finished season 3-9, 6th Conference USA

By Jacob Shendell

Old Dominion defeated Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in the final minutes last Saturday on a 27-yard field goal 31-28. Much like FAU’s other losses this year, they could do nothing but watch as Old Dominion held onto the ball for the last five minutes of the game, much like four of the other games the Owls played this season.

FAU recognized 19 players in a pre-game ceremony who were playing their final game at FAU Stadium.

In the midst of what looks to be another failure of a season, the Owls did land a $16 million donation from Richard Schmidt to help build a new athletic facility to boost the football program, and, hopefully, propel them to the next level.

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FLICKS: The Homesman

Posted on 11 December 2014 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


The writings of Glendon Swarthout ages like a fine wine. While best known for penning John Wayne’s last movie, The Shootist, Swarthout also inspired the South Florida Spring Break cultural phenomenon with his book Where the Boys Are. His best-selling novel featured the subject of veterinarians, with a title that became a pop hit song in the early 1970s, Bless the Beasts and Children. Swarthout has been gone for 21 years, but his writing is about to enjoy a renaissance with the new movie, The Homesman.

Written and directed by, and starring, Tommy Lee Jones, The Homesman tells the tale of Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), a spinster who is a wealthy land owner in the rural frontier. When three mentally unbalanced wives disrupt domestic life in this small community, a preacher (John Lithgow) approaches Miss Cuddy. The two determine that the three wives must be transported east toward civilization. After recruiting the scoundrel named George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) to be “the homesman,” the five disparate characters travel east to Iowa.

Along the way through the barren wilderness, the five encounter rain, snow, sleet, hail, bandits, Apaches and their own existential loneliness. As they draw closer to their goal, one strong member of this party encounters their personal heart of darkness.

With such a simple narrative and unique characters with conflicting motivations, The Homesman keeps the audience guessing until the final credits roll. This film unfolds like a John Ford epic western, but tainted by modern day sensibilities. There are many shots of wide open places and the cinematography is beautiful. There is a darkness to this film, much like No Country for Old Men, but there is no denying that Tommy Lee Jones has directed his best film yet.

While Jones’ acting is not much of a stretch from the curmudgeon characters that he usually plays, he has managed to surround himself with first rate talent. Meryl Streep is given a maternal cameo, while her daughter, Grace Gummer, portrays one of the mentally ill wives. Both are convincing and help bring some heart to the film’s climax.

The Homesman is held together by Swank’s tough performance. This actress has won two Oscars for portraying vulnerable women who exude strength under duress. Her Mary Lee Cuddy is no exception and her performance is earning critical buzz just in time for award’s season.

Like the Glen Campbell documentary I’ll Be Me, The Homesman is a good movie, but with underlying sadness.

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CLERGY CORNER: Give & receive

Posted on 11 December 2014 by L.Moore

It is that time of the year when we give gifts to others. It is the time of year when we do not think about ourselves but others and what they want or need. God knew in His infinite wisdom that we would need help with our lives. Not only do I find that I need God’s help, I have also come to realize that I need His help every day of my life. God does not always give me what I want, but He always gives me what I need.

ROMANS 12:6-8

6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.

7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.

8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.


Our goal in serving God is to be able to continue to serve Him throughout our whole lives. Growing up in church I always heard the phrase “stay full of the things of God.” It took me a long time to understand what that actually meant. When my car runs, it uses gas and I have to fill it up when it gets empty, so it will continue to run and I can use it. So, when I give out things that God has blessed me with in life, I need to find spiritual things in my life so I can fi ll back up the same way I fill my car with gas. The more love, compassion, peace and hope we give out then, the more we need to stay full of the things of God. We can read the Bible, pray, go to church or even sing hymns and worship songs to fill back up. What a great cycle in our lives to have. We can continually give and receive.

When you get a gift, either you like it and use it or you do not like it and hide it somewhere. Gifts from the Father are to be used and not wasted or just put on the shelf. Gifts from God come as He wills (any gift at any time) for the profit of all. You should not only welcome the gifts from God, but also expect them in your life. We all know it is better to give that to receive. However, if we do not receive, then we have nothing to give. We have a responsibility to stir the spiritual gifts in our own lives. God has blessed our lives with many different gifts and there are many people that can use them. You have the gifts; you might as well use them instead of letting them go to waste. The good thing is that no one person has all the gifts. It takes many different parts to make one complete body and that is true for the church body as well. Gifts do not clash or compete, but they all work together to serve the same goal or purpose. Giving gifts is not about serving your agenda and making you happy; it is about serving others and bringing joy to others.

Tony Guadagnino is the pastor at Christian Love Fellowship Church, located at 801 SE 10 St, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441.

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Smith signs with FAU

Posted on 04 December 2014 by L.Moore

sports120414By Gary Curreri

Kaitlyn Smith won’t be far from home when it comes to playing collegiate sports. The Highlands Christian Academy senior will be playing just 6 miles up Interstate-95 from the school’s campus.

Smith, 18, a Ft. Lauderdale native who lives in Deerfield Beach, will play sand volleyball for Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Smith has been at Highlands Christian Academy for 12 1/2 years.

I have been playing sand volleyball for five years,” Smith said. “One of my friends (Kealey Wik) asked me to play one time and I have loved it ever since. She is an inspiration to me.”

Smith said she loves how the sport keeps her in shape and how it is a beautiful atmosphere on the beach.

I have made a lot of relationships and it presents both mental and physical challenges, which have made me strong and who I am today,” Smith said. “Winning is important to me, but how you get there is what matters. When I play, I worry about how I play, how I can help improve my partner and my game. I also make sure that I supply good sportsmanship.”

She also plays for the Tribe indoor volleyball club and DVA Sand volleyball. She played in the Junior Olympics in California and competed in the High Performance All-Star program in Deerfield Beach.

Smith carries a 4.0 gradepoint- average and is dual enrolled at FAU. She selected the Boca Raton school over four other schools, including Stetson, Florida Gulf Coast, University of Florida (UF) and the University of Central Florida. She visited all of the schools except for UF. She plans to study criminology and math.

I chose FAU because it is close, a great school and [has] incredible coaching,” Smith said. “Head coach Capri (Grotowski), and her assistants Kendra (Van Zwieten) and Tammy (Pelski), are a few of the best there is … so, who wouldn’t chose FAU?”

Smith said she was pleased with the Knights indoor volleyball season. The team finished 16-9. She finished with 13 kills, 75 service points, 27 assists and 718 digs. Smith is the No. 1 ranked libero in the state, according to MaxPreps, and is ranked No. 65 in the nation.

We had a great season,” Smith said. “Even though we didn’t finish how we planned, I learned a lot. As always, I kept my skills up while I was away from the sand.”

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FLICKS: I’ll Be Me

Posted on 04 December 2014 by L.Moore

By Dave Montalbano


Glen Campbell is one of those artists that we often take for granted, mostly because of longevity.

I was introduced to him as John Wayne’s costar in the original True Grit. Campbell’s music recalls some great memories about my father and I driving around Long Island. Campbell’s song “Wichita Lineman” became a staple of AM Radio.

While most honored as a country singer, Campbell’s career was more prolific as a studio session musician. He performed guitar licks with The Champs, the Beach Boys, and Frank and Nancy Sinatra. Much like musician Steve Hunter, Campbell performed the soundtrack of my generation and most of us never knew it. Now stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease, Campbell himself does not know the impact his music has had upon the world.

The documentary I’ll Be Me is Campbell’s swan song and it opens this weekend. Upon completion of his album with tour dates contracted, the Campbell family learns of their patriarch’s malady. The family decides to continue the tour as a farewell tour to the fans.

From Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, for 151 performances in 425 days, the tour becomes a rollercoaster ride of emotions. At first, Campbell is able to hide behind his humor, with jokes and his impression of Donald Duck. When he gets confused onstage, he relies on his banjo -picking daughter Ashley to get through the musical numbers. These are sweet and humorous moments.

Yet, as the disease progresses, one witnesses the deconstruction of a celebrity. It is hard to watch the paranoia of a 76-year-old strong man. It is even harder to watch Campbell exit a tour bus with a knife in his teeth, as he tries to extract a delusional cavity.

Yet in an operetta sense, I’ll Be Me is a life-affirming movie. As Campbell’s musicianship fails, his ticket-buying fans provide an outpouring of love. Bruce Springsteen, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and Sheryl Crow discuss how Glen Campbell inspired their vocation.

Go see I’ll Be Me on the big screen, with a full blown sound system. It is a full concert experience. You will laugh and maybe shed a tear. However, there is no denying that you will leave the theater wanting to listen to more Glen Campbell music.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: As we watch the demise of newspapers

Posted on 04 December 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen



Here’s how I know that “The Holidays” are imminent and that “the season” is upon us.

I am “this close” to having to hire a derrick to lift my newspapers up from my front door. Pregnant as they are with advertisements — the very same kind that bulk up my mailbox and almost cause my e-mail to crash, I can’t help but wonder how much longer we, who love to “hold” and “coddle” a newspaper, will be privy to that particular predilection.

And how much longer will we continue to fell trees to indulge the excessiveness of waste when there is a perfectly viable alternative.

For so long have I resisted reading newspapers online, but that resistance is merely a function of an age-long habit. Once I’m booted up, I realize how very much more civilized it is to read off the screen.

This is particularly true if you are, as I am, a lifelong reader of any standard-sized daily newspaper: New York Times, L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal et al. And I keep wondering if everyone reading them goes through the same ugly contortions that I do.

If I read it at a table, the table must be one that is the same (or close) circumference as the length of the paper, in which case I find myself stretching my neck, to see the top or having to stand up to read it, plus having to engage the assistance of a magnifying glass. Or, I find myself folding pages to a more accessible size, a most frustrating and time-consuming task often ending in a hodge podge of newsprint in non-sequential order, and hands that look like I just emerged from a coal mine.

While sitting down in my “comfy” chair, I often try to indulge in a newspaper read, but the process sucks the “comfy” out of the chair. Again comes the folding and stretching and fluttering and stubborn pages that require two hands to unmangle the aberrant folds. And oh, the “continued on page …. X. Isn’t that a precursor to road rage?

And when I see those folks on trains do the “commuter half-fold gig” on their newspapers, I watch with awe as they maneuver their readings and almost always seem surprised when they actually DO alight on the proper continuation of material in which they are so passionately invested.

And by the way, where were editors when the class was taught “less is more?”

And why is it that a convenient newspaper format often referred to as tabloid gets so little respect that all major national newspaper are reluctant to copy that format? As you are holding this paper in your hands, it is not necessary to indulge in acrobatics in order to comfortably turn its pages.

And so, in summation: Standard-sized newspapers represent a throwback to the dark ages, especially in this day of digital competency and awareness of the environmental consequences of bulk waste. And since the powers that be in daily newspaper circles have not succumbed to the tabloid, it is easy to see how online reading will be de rigueur within only a few years.

Meanwhile, in order to maintain our free society we NEED newspapers to survive even as they are tottering on the brink of seismic changes. So read the ads, be sure to recycle them, buy only what you can afford, and become accustomed to “logging on,” cause times, they are a-changing.

And have yourself a very Merry Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Winter Solstice – and whatever else you celebrate.

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CLERGY CORNER: Greatest gift

Posted on 04 December 2014 by L.Moore

Many people had family come in from out of town to be with their loved ones during Thanksgiving. Many invited friends over to join in. And those friends came bearing gifts.

Giving gifts can be a marvelous expression of love. In the Torah, we read that when Jacob first saw the love of his life, he wept. The Sages ask, “Why did Jacob weep?” Some say he wept in joy. But that’s just one of many answers.

Rashi gives several reasons that are all indeed possibilities. But there is one particular one he gives that stuck out during this time where everybody is busy looking for gifts. You see, one of Rashi’s explanations is that Jacob cried because he had no gifts to give her. He had been robbed and, at that moment, he had nothing.

I thought about that a lot and I wondered what I would say to someone who came to me crying that he or she had no gifts to give, and my response would have been, “But you do have a gift you can give, you can give of yourself. You can give your love and devotion. You can sing or make someone laugh. You can hold a hand and give a hug. You can give of your time, of yourself, and that just might be the greatest gift of all.

What good is giving a bunch of flowers on the holiday if your usual behavior throughout the year does not show your love? I watched during Thanksgiving as various friends and family members came to express their love in the health centers and I caught some very odd behavior in a few cases. I saw one longtime friend come to visit a patient and she brought her a giant box of chocolates. The only problem was that the patient was a severe diabetic, which made that chocolate a very unloving gift. Another patient had a relative who brought them two bottles of wine, but, guess what? That’s right; the patient was a recovering alcoholic.

There is a tale in the folklore of our people about a man who comes to his Rabbi in the middle of a crowded place and goes on and on about how much he loved the Rabbi, about how wonderful the Rabbi is, and about how he adores him. The Rabbi responds, “You don’t love me. If you did then you would know how much I dislike such displays.”

Speaking of gift giving, you probably missed a special day that happened on the 2nd of December. It is known as “Giving Tuesday” It is a day to think about donating your time and your money to those in need.

Our bellies are filled from Thanksgiving and will soon be filled with latkes and jelly donuts for Chanukah, but there are so many who hunger and thirst for food, for health, for love. Let us show our thanks to G-d by being there for those who are more in need of gifts than we have ever been.

I should tell you that I am not a fan of Thanksgiving. I am not a fan of Mother’s Day either. I think the idea of acknowledging your mother should be a daily event and I feel the very same in regard to giving thanks.

What do you have to give? Give of yourself. Give “With all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.”

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach. Join us for worship on Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and give us the gift of your presence.

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