“I covered the story from the beginning…in early 2007,” says “barefoot bandologist” Jackson Holtz. The Herald of Everett reporter just released his book, Fly, Colton, Fly, about “Barefoot Bandit” Colton Harris-Moore, the teenage Camano Island burglar who branched out into national and international theft before being arrested in the Bahamas.
The book draws on the 100-plus articles Jackson wrote working the paper’s crime beat. After the bandit’s 2010 arrest, Jackson felt there was a strong enough narrative, and certainly enough material, for a book. His proposal was picked up by Penguin’s New American Library.
He wrote the book in “just over a month” so it could come to market while interest still abounded. The pace was daunting, he says, but as a runner he compared it to “any endurance event…you have to pace yourself and work at it every day.” And, no, he hasn’t interviewed Colton. No one has.
A founding board member of West Seattle congregation Kol HaNeshamah, Jackson is “somehow…back on the board again after almost six or seven years off [it].” The 8-year-old congregation got its start when — after much talk — “a group of eight of us had dinner at Buddha Ruksa in West Seattle” and created the progressive congregation.
“We’re a synagogue that got its start over Thai food,” he says.
It’s a natural fit for Jackson, who grew up in Boston attending Temple Israel, where he and his dad were both active members.
He finds “a Jewish lesson” in Fly, Colton, Fly about community and community responsibility. “It’s a cautionary tale,” he says.
We’re captivated by a story about a modern American outlaw folk hero, “but it’s also a sad story about a child who was neglected and began stealing to survive.”
Jackson has moved to features reporting for The Herald, but he still covers the bandit when news emerges. He lives in Seattle with his partner, Jeremy Moser, and their cat Emily. “I love to cook,” he says, and last summer he and Jeremy started a pea patch. Find more information at www.jacksonholtz.com.
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Jacob Goren, Ben Spear and Zac Zilz have been schoolmates, friends and campers at Camp Solomon Schechter for many years. Last summer that all coalesced into a business. They were emceeing the camp’s evening shows, and putting on skits. One night they asked if they could DJ a dance, and a new DJ business was born.
Back in the Seattle area, Benzacob — a mesh of their names — quickly began getting work in and outside the Jewish community. They’ve played for youth groups and schools, for Bar and Bat Mitzvah parties and family events, and organize independent dances for high schoolers using Facebook to publicize the events.
With Seattle residents Jacob and Ben graduating from Interlake High School in Bellevue and Northwest Yeshiva, respectively, and Zac from Mercer Island High, Benzacob will be on partial hiatus for the next few years. Jacob will attend the University of Washington and has access to the equipment if he’s needed; Ben will study at Derech Eitz Haim yeshiva in Israel; Zac is attending University of Redlands. Although the three will be at Schechter this summer, they can get away for bookings. (Ben will return to the UW next year.)
Aside from school and Benzacob, Jacob has been active in the business leadership organization DECA. He also plays “a lot of soccer and other sports,” he says. Ben plays on the Yeshiva golf team (yes, the yeshiva has a golf team!). A budding filmmaker, he finds similarities in audio editing and running a sound system.
Zac is involved in B’nai B’rith Youth and spent this year helping the Eastside chapter increase their membership. A “connoisseur of all kinds of music,” he also plays water polo. He says the best part of Benzacob is “all the new people we meet.” It’s been great, he says, to learn to “approach people and take risks,” all skills he expects he will be able to use in the future.
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A correction: I transposed information about Inge Marcus in the last issue: She retired from Saint Martin’s University in Lacey as an assistant professor in biology in 2007 and only taught very briefly at Pacific Lutheran in 1985.