Monthly Archives: April 2010

Parents of American killed in terror attack promote tolerance with free iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad app


Daniel Wultz with Computer, April 2006

Four years after a terrorist attack that claimed the life of 16-year-old Daniel Wultz, his passion for doing good deeds continues through a free app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Four years after a suicide bombing that claimed the life of a 16 year-old Florida youth, two local nonprofits have teamed up to release an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad application to promote tolerance in the world.

Daniel Wultz, a student at the David Posnack Hebrew Day School, was visiting Israel with his parents, Sheryl and Tuly Wultz, during the Passover holiday on April 17, 2006 when a suicide bomber targeted the restaurant where Daniel and his father were having lunch. Both Tuly and Daniel were seriously injured. Daniel died 27 days later, on Mother’s Day, in a Tel Aviv hospital.

Throughout his young life, Daniel was particularly fond of performing good deeds, known in Judaism as “mitzvot.” As the fourth anniversary of the event approached, Sheryl and Tuly Wultz met with staff at the Weston-based PAIRS Foundation to consider ways to continue promoting tolerance and good deeds in Daniel’s memory. Following Daniel’s death, the Wultz Family created the Daniel Cantor Wultz Foundation to develop educational and sports programs that promote tolerance and acceptance.

Mitzvah Pjoject app

Free app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad guides youngsters through identifying and completing projects that promote tolerance and good deeds.

The group came up with the idea of creating an iPhone app called “Mitzvah Project,” designed specifically to guide youngsters preparing for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah to perform good deeds that help them learn about tolerance and launch projects to help families, peers and communities.

Steven Steinberg, a technical specialist at PAIRS Foundation, volunteered to oversee development of the project, including design, working with team members and programmers on implementation, and assuring Mitzvah Project was released on iTunes to coincide with the event that led to Daniel’s death. Other PAIRS team members, including Veronica Nijamkin and Seth Eisenberg, volunteered to work with the Wultz family to create more than a dozen projects that promote tolerance.

Click here to learn more about Mitzvah Project on iTunes or visit the Daniel Cantor Wultz Foundation online.

Parents key to reducing youth violence


sad young person

Telling children not to feel what they feel can lead youngsters to stop confiding in trusted adults, giving more energy to bottled up feelings that can become destructive.

Why are they so angry?,” columnist Ana Veciana-Suarez asked rhetorically in a recent Miami Herald (“Senseless rage sparks inexplicable tragedy,”  4/2/10), listing five tragic examples of teen-on-teen violence that have received national attention this year.

While each story is unique, the issue of young people’s feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and frustration turning deadly is not. For each example, there are dozens more that have not been featured by the local or national media. The murders of three teens in nearby Liberty City during the first three weeks of March alone went almost unnoticed by the press.

This month marks the 11th anniversary of the horrific killings at Columbine. More than a decade later, many schools have implemented valuable lessons. Yet millions of families and communities across the country are tragically missing in action when it comes to taking actions to make America safer for all our children. While school administrators, counselors, and educators struggle to assure the safety of children on their campuses, they cannot succeed without active community support that begins in each of our homes and neighborhoods.

Rarely is violence against children as premeditated as the attack that left 15 dead and 24 injured in Littleton, Colorado. More typically, it’s a result of young people without constructive, healthy outlets for upsetting feelings either unleashing stored up emotions inward or outward. Parental messages that urge children not to feel what they feel (“Don’t be angry,” “Don’t be sad,” Don’t be scared.”) often lead youngsters to stop confiding in trusted adults, giving more energy to bottled up feelings that can become destructive.

Emotions turned inward show up as sadness, depression, and at the extreme, suicide. For those who release their feelings outwardly, they can be unleashed as anger, rage, and at another extreme, violence.

parents fighting in front of daughter

Many young people do have much to be upset about. The financial stresses that are impacting millions of families touch their lives too, both as they witness increasing conflict and uncertainty within their families and become innocent victims of marital and family breakdown.

Many young people do have much to be upset about. The financial stresses that are impacting millions of families touch their lives too, both as they witness increasing conflict and uncertainty within their families and become innocent victims of marital and family breakdown. For others approaching the end of high school or college, educational and career aspirations may feel unobtainable as traditional paths to independence become increasingly elusive. Pressures to fit in, achieve academic success, and beat an uncertain path to a successful future lead many young people to despairingly surrender their dreams altogether.

Those who do stay the course often have assets in their lives – human assets – that support, encourage, and urge them forward:

  • Parents who model healthy conflict resolution skills within their families; ·
  • Parents whose actions regularly show children they are valued and loved; ·
  • Parents in whom they can safely, consistently confide and seek comfort.

Communities in which children are regularly deprived of these vital family resources are far more likely to produce angry adolescents who are a threat to themselves and others.

Programs that encourage caring, responsible adults to spend hours each month mentoring youngsters have proven themselves invaluable when children aren’t able to seek support from their own parents.

While some parents may not naturally have the skills to model healthy conflict resolution within their homes and create relationships in which it’s safe for children to seek counsel and comfort, educational programs that teach relationship skills to adults have been shown to make a difference.

Assuring more children grow up with two parents who are actively engaged in their lives within neighborhoods where caring adults are regularly a positive influence is the most important contribution we can make to a future that’s safer for all of our sons and daughters.