The fourth annual 10 Commandments Hike sponsored by the Jewish Committee on Scouting of the Southeast Louisiana Council was held on Friday, November 23.
Hike coordinator Alan Smason, the local Jewish Committee Chair and a member of the National Jewish Committee, started the hike by blowing a special shofar or kudu horn. The shofar blasts (Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah, Shevarim-Teruah, and Tekiah Godolah) usually associated with Rosh Hashanah were called out by minister Ray Cannata of Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
At the Jewish Community Center, the second stop on the hike, Rabbi Uri Topolosky, an Eagle Scout from Troop 613 in Silver Spring, Maryland and the new rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel, delivered the talk on "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they God in vain." He played several songs on his guitar and was presented a "surprise" Jewish Eagle Scout certificate on behalf of the Natiional Jewish Committee on Scouting by Smason. The certificate was devised by the NJCoS following Topolosky's achievement of Eagle Scout over a decade ago, but he accepted it with gratitude as his wife Dahlia and two young sons Elyon and Itai watched.
Following a kosher meal of hot dogs, fresh fruit, chips and lemonade, participants hiked to Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagoue in the South. There Cantor William Tiep sang for the crowd and talked about the Commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery." The audience was able to view several Torah scrolls housed in the unusual wooden ark that is adorned with fleurs-de-lis, the symbols of the city of New Orleans as well as Scouting.
Hikers received collectable water bottles and a special patch with the image of the St. Charles streetcar emblazoned upon it. Almost 50 Girl Scouts also participated in the hike which had nearly 200 total Scouts, Scouters, family members, friends and adults. The hike was divided into two three-mile stretches, the first circle designed for Cub Scouts and the second appropriate for Boy Scouts and older participants for a total of over six miles.
Rabbi Uri Topolosky receives his "surprise" Jewish Eagle Scout certificate from hike coordinator Alan Smason.
Members of the Jewish Committee on Scouting helped distribute kosher food at the LDS Church.
Mark Rubinstein, executive director, left, and Cantor William Tiep with the ark opened at Touro Synagogue.