Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Steering a Safer Course

Riva Pomerantz

Shlomi Katz could have been irrevocably broken after the tragic passing of his three-year-old son, accidentally dragged by a school bus when the little boy’s jacket got snagged in the automatic door. Instead, he and his wife gathered the shards of their heartbreak and created a way to make Israel’s notoriously dangerous roads safer for others.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Teetering precipitously on the edge of hastily assembled chairs, peyos flying in every direction, hundreds of boys of all ages cheer, stab at the air, and excitedly mark their papers as the brightly colored PowerPoint pictures appear on the screen.

“What’s the correct way to get onto a bus?” urges the presenter, cool and unruffled in a perfectly starched white shirt as his microphone soars over the din. 

“Wait till the bus comes to a complete stop!” shouts a particularly exuberant hand-waver.

It’s a regular Tuesday morning in this typical Israeli chareidi cheder. Yet alongside a rich, packed curriculum of limudei kodesh and a smattering of mathematics and language arts, these cheder boys are being taught a new subject — one that will remain with them for life. Literally.

Shlomi Katz is the 39-year-old instigator behind a nationwide wave of change: educating the public about the basics and the finer points of road safety. His organization, Cheftzeinu L’Chaim, which operates throughout the country, is saving lives onIsrael’s dangerous roads every day, educating all demographics including the very young and the elderly, all across the religious spectrum.

His voice still hasn’t given out an hour later when we exit the school building, leaving behind eight grades of rambunctious kids with their heads full of the material they have just reviewed.

“You couldn’t pay me to stand up there for even one minute,” I remark.

He just laughs. As a former rebbi and a beloved camp counselor since his early teens, Shlomi Katz isn’t intimidated by children, noise, or planning and executing large-scale projects. But although community activism is a part of him, it was a personal tragedy that kindled the spark of what is now a full-fledged operation Shlomi and his wife, Etty, tirelessly pursue today.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"