Jewish Children Who Urgently Need Our Help
Two-year-old Chana and her brother, four-year-old Menachem Yosef, have been placed with two different foster-care families in Rensselaer County in upstate New York. One family is headed by a couple that has pledged to raise the child as a believer in Jesus; the other is headed by two women.
Both families hold beliefs or live lifestyles that are protected by laws we are duty-bound to respect. Nevertheless, we must question the judgment of assigning these children – whose mother has expressed the desire that they be brought up in an Orthodox Jewish environment – to these particular households. The case has taken on added urgency now that adoption seems to be imminent.
Our passionate protest is needed. The unfortunate mother, who is unable to raise the children, is understandably upset. A number of Jewish families have indicated their eagerness to adopt Jewish children. The Jewish community is privileged to have several organizations that are in place to help in such situations.
The proper handling of foster-care assignments and adoptions must become an absolute priority, and it is vital that we communicate our concerns to our elected representatives in the State Senate and Assembly.
Rabbi Noson Leiter (cell and text: 845-642-1679; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) has taken the lead in this matter. He cannot, however, carry the campaign alone. He needs help in this holy cause.
Agudah Convention 5773-2012
This year’s Agudah Convention, which had been scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend in November, was rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy. Instead, the convention was held from December 27 through December 30 at the Hilton East Brunswick in New Jersey. This year’s theme was “Our responsibilities to One Another in Times of Challenge.” Rabbi Menachem Lubinsky, of Lubicom Marketing Consulting, served as convention chairman.
The Thursday evening opening session was addressed by Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, Novominsker Rebbe and Rosh Agudath Israel; Rabbi Yitzchok Scheiner, Rosh Yeshiva Kamanetz Jerusalem; Rabbi Uren Reich, Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Woodlake Village and son-in-law of Rabbi Shneur Kotler, zt”l (1918-1982), Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha Lakewood (BMG); and by Rabbi Yaakov Bender, Rosh Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Far Rockaway. The session was chaired by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel.
The Thursday late night session included a much-needed meeting to discuss “New Strategies in the Shidduch Realm.” Friday morning’s session included a meeting for Agudah-affiliated congregational rabbis on dealing with the increase of divorce in the observant community. A second meeting focused on the issue of traditional circumcision rituals now under attack. A third meeting focused on building on the success of the Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas, held last August at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The Friday night Kabbalas Shabbos session was privileged to hear Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Vodaath. Rabbi Belsky, the preeminent halachic authority in the American yeshiva world, just returned from leading an important Torah support group trip to Russia. His participation in the convention was particularly gratifying to all those present, as he had recently come through a medical emergency.
The Motzaei Shabbos Centennial Banquet honored Agudah’s 100 years of service since its establishment in Katowice, Poland.
Rachmestrivka Shabbos In Lakewood
The chassidishe community in Lakewood is geared for an intense Shabbos to be led by Rabbi Chai Yitzchok Twersky, Rachmestrivka Rebbe in Boro Park. Shabbos Shemos, January 4-5, will have the Rebbe lead tefillas and tisch. Thousands are expected to participate. Special committees have been working tirelessly in preparing every detail, especially in arranging lodging and hospitality for the many chassidim who will come to Lakewood for the important Shabbos.
Today’s Rachmestrivka Rebbe is the son of Rabbi Yochanon Twersky, zt”l (1903-1981), Rachmestrivka Rebbe in Jerusalem; son of Rabbi Dovid Twersky, zt”l (1872-1950), Rachmestrivka Rebbe; son of Rabbi Menachem Nochum, zt”l (1843-1937), Rachmestrivka Rebbe who emigrated to Jerusalem in 1924; son of Rabbi Yochanon, zt”l (1816-1895), Rachmestrivka Rebbe; son of Rabbi Mordechai, zt”l (1770-1837), Chernobler Rebbe; son of Rabbi Menachem Nochum Twersky, zt”l (1730-1797), founding Chernobler Rebbe. Today’s Rachmestrivka Rebbe is a son-in-law of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Twersky, zt”l (1899-1968), Skverer Rebbe.
This will be the fifth Shabbos conducted by the Rebbe in Lakewood. The last time was Shabbos Vayakheil, February 24-25, 2008. The first was in 1989 and that Shabbos was actually the first time a chassidishe rebbe came to conduct a Shabbos, with tefillahs and tisch, in the yeshivish community of Lakewood.
The Rebbe’s ties with the yeshivish community actually began decades earlier, when he was being raised by his father in Jerusalem. Today’s Rebbe, born in 1931, was an outstanding student in Yeshiva Eitz Chaim of Jerusalem led by Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer, zt”l (1870-1953), with whom he achieved a warm relationship. That connection continued with Rabbi Meltzer’s son-in-law Rav Aaron Kotler, zt”l (1891-1962), founding Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood’s Beth Medrash Govoha (BMG), and with Rav Aaron’s son Rabbi Shneur Kotler, zt”l (1918-1982), Rosh Yeshiva BMG, and with today’s Lakewood leadership as well.
The Rebbe’s first chassidishe Shabbos in Lakewood created a bond with the Lakewood community, and many Lakewood residents began visiting the Rebbe in Boro Park, especially during the Yamim Noraim. A beis medrash, known as the Rachmestrivka Shtiebel, was established in Lakewood. Rabbi Sholom Lowy serves as the Lakewood Rachmestrivka Dayan.
Shortly thereafter, an elementary yeshiva was organized, carrying the name of Zecher Yochanon Rachmestrivka. Today, the yeshiva has more than 200 students. In 2008, property was purchased and the Rebbe set the foundation stone. The building, which will serve as yeshiva and beis medrash, is in the final phase of construction. Yonason Strasser, a major philanthropist, has acquired dedication privileges to the new building, as he has to the beis medrash and yeshiva building in Boro Park.
Klausenberger Chassunah in Israel
On Sunday, Asarah B’Teves, December 16, Rabbi Zvi Elimelech Halberstam, Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe in Netanya, escorted his eldest grandson, Chaim Moshe Halberstam, together with a large group of chassidim, to the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron where they prayed for blessings on Chaim Moshe’s upcoming wedding to the daughter of Rabbi Nachman Biderman, son of Rabbi Alter Elozor Menachem Biderman, zt”l (1935-2001), Bnei Brak Lelover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biderman, zt”l (1903-1987), Lelover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Shimon Noson Nuta Biderman, zt”l (1870-1929), Lelover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Shlomo Biderman, zt”l (1844-1918), Lelover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Eleazar Mendel Biderman, zt”l (1827-1882), Lelover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Moshe Biderman, zt”l (1776-1851), Lelover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Dovid Biderman, zt”l (1746-1814), founding Lelover Rebbe.
The chassan, son of Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam, Natanya Klausenberg Rav and firstborn son of the Rebbe, is a grandson of Rabbi Aryeh Leibish Halpern, Rav of Ramot Jerusalem, son of Rabbi Elchonon Halpern, Radomishla Rav.
Last week Hersh Leib Friedman was engaged to the daughter of Rabbi Pinchas Chaim Greenwald, Monsey Pupa Rosh Kollel and son of Rabbi Yaakov Yechezkel Greenwald, Pupa Rebbe. The chassan is a son of Rabbi Shaul Simcha Friedman, Rav of Khal Shemen Lamaor in Lakewood; son of Rabbi Chaim Elozor Friedman, Tenke Rav son of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Friedman, zt”l (1907-1999), revered Tenke Rav and author of Chemed Shlomo. Rabbi Shaul Simcha is a son-in-law of Rabbi Moshe Taub, Kaliver Rebbe of Williamsburg: son of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shlomo Taub, zt”l (1901-1977), Kaliver Rebbe of Williamsburg and author of Chakal Tapuchin. The shidduch was finalized at the home of the kallah and celebrated in the Pupa Beis Medrash.
The kallah is also the granddaughter of Rabbi Mayer Yosef Rosenbaum, Strozenitzer Rebbe in Williamsburg; son of Rabbi Yerachmiel Usher Mordechai Rosenbaum, zt”l (1926-1990), Clevelander Strozenitzer Rebbe in Williamsburg; son of Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Rosenbaum, zt”l (1905-1981), Strozenitzer Rebbe; son of Rabbi Isomor Rosenbaum, zt”l ((1886-1973), Nadvorner Rebbe; son of Rabbi Mayer Rosenbaum, zt”l (1852-1908), Kretchnifer Rebbe; son of Rabbi Mordechai Leifer, zt”l (1824-1897), Nadvorner Rebbe; son of Rabbi Yesochor Bertche Leifer, zt”l (d. 1848), founding Nadvorner Rebbe. The Strozenitzer Rebbe is son-in-law of Rabbi Sholom Krausz, zt”l (1915-2010), Udvarer Rav and author of Divrei Sholom.
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