So much has happened in the past few months and now the month of Shevat is suddenly upon us. And in a few days (Shevat 10) it will be your 13th yahrzeit.
Having said several kapitlach of Tehillim, I decided it was time to check out my surroundings. Here I was sitting in a posh heimishe dental office in Williamsburg, serenaded by soft music, and surrounded by proper reading material. Thanking Hashem one more time that it was my friend in the dental chair and not myself (such a loyal friend that I am), I decided to indulge in some reading. The first periodical that I picked up had an article that caught my eye and heart. It was entitled Orphans No More. I could not put it down!
Chosen People Ministries, a Hebrew Christian missionary group, has spent $2.1 million to acquire a building and nearly $1 million more on renovations to construct an 11,000 square-foot missionary center in the heart of Flatbush. It will house a “synagogue,” sefer Torah, classrooms, and a dining hall – all with the intention of attracting the general Orthodox community and particularly unaffiliated local Jews and adults at risk from frum homes who have abandoned Yiddishkeit or are on the fringe.
"Aaron Klein Investigative Radio," hosted by Jewish Press columnist Aaron Klein and broadcast on New York's WABC, achieved a milestone in the latest rankings, becoming number 1 on the AM dial in New York City.
The family: Yossi (38), Yamit (33) and daughters Tohar (4.5), Romi (2) and a new baby girl. Background: Yamit is the daughter of Ezra and Malka Mordechai, the first couple in Gush Katif. Ezra arrived in Gush Katif as a bachelor in 1974 and was one of three community founders. Yamit was raised in Netzer Hazani, the first established Gush Katif community.
Last Thursday night, December 12, the blogger Allison Josephs, who goes by the nom de Internet Jew in the City, hosted a Chanukah bash at Kehillath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side. Since the purpose of Josephs’s blogs and videos – and entire online presence – is to highlight and present the very best of Orthodoxy, this evening too was not merely a Chanukah bash, but a celebration of the launch of Joseph’s latest video “Orthodox Jewish All Stars.”
I met Mr. E at a poetry reading. Hong Kong’s literary scene is small and two Americans reading in one evening was an unusual event. We became Facebook friends, generally “liking” the same local literary events and book launches.
A Jewish educator anywhere in the world can now seek the accumulated knowledge available at the The Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. With the introduction this spring of a degree that can be completed online, geography is no longer a bar to attendance in an Azrieli Master’s program.
The family: Carol & Shmuel Hezi and their six children, Asnat, Eitan, Amichai, Vardit, Harel and Maital
Recently I went to a shiur on Yitzchak Avinu and found that it applied in many ways to my own father whose name was Yitzchak.
A Hong Kong symphony of sounds fills the air as local laborers shout across the shul courtyard in Cantonese while tossing bamboo in a pile for the sukkah: Filipino maids chatter in Tagalog hovering over the children in their charge, the radio of the Nepalese gurkhas, the Synagogue security, crackles and jackhammers provide the background music. The thick air and humidity within the walls of the partially constructed bamboo sukkah sharply contrasts with the crisp fall air of Sukkot in the northeastern corridor of the United States, where the sukkahs of my childhood were laden with dried fruit and autumn color. Dozens of colorful miniature Chinese paper lanterns dangle from the sukkah and here replace the burnt orange and golden gourds of autumn.
The family: Uri & Hadassa DeYoung and 5 children: Avigayil (16), Noa (14), Beruria (10), Tsuriel (8) and Devora (2). Background: My husband and I are both from New Jersey. We met and married in Israel. My husband always lived along the New Jersey shore and when he discovered that he didn't have to give up the beach in order to live in an ideologically motivated community he was very excited.
While fear used to motivate, even inspire, mine is a generation that views threats as challenges and raises a skeptical brow at austere ultimatums. Reverence often seems a throwback to old times, and absolute authority, whether in classroom or in the synagogue, is a concept increasingly more difficult to swallow. As a counselor at an Orthodox Jewish sleep-away camp this past summer, I witnessed this phenomenon first hand. I worked with forty teenage girls, ages 15 and 16, and quickly discovered the most dependable way to get nothing done: threats.
The oldest Jewish settlements arose in Cape Town, Kimberley, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Burgersdorp. The settlements in Grahamstown and Graaf Reinet have dissolved. There was a (Jewish) community established in Cape Town, which is the oldest is South Africa, while in Johannesburg, which today houses the largest Jewish settlement in the country, the settlement was first built there in 1887, when about 88 settlers came in from England and Australia to develop the mineral wealth of the land.
The family: My name is Avin Gangte. I am a member of the Benei Menashe community hailing from the north-eastern states of Manipur and Mizoram in India. I am married to Hagit who is also from the same community and we have five children.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the American South, Savannah, Georgia is a world of exciting history and activity. Rich with landmarks from over 275 years, the city boasts unique architecture, Civil War commemorative tours, and a long list of beautiful squares and parks. In addition, Savannah’s Tybee Island provides a beach atmosphere for those who want to relax on and off-shore. Interestingly, Savannah also hosts a small but thriving Jewish community. The Savannah Jewish Federation offers family services and community resources, and there are a number of places to find kosher food. The city has three shuls: one for Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform congregations, respectively. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with Rabbi Avigdor and Rebbetzin Rochel Slatus of the Bnai Brith Jacob Synagogue.
Neither the threat of rain nor heavy traffic prevented the huge throng of enthusiastic participants from attending the 12th Siyum HaShas last Wednesday, August 1 at MetLife Stadium. The event, which attracted more than 90,000 people, was in celebration of the conclusion of the seven-and-a-half year learning cycle of the Babylonian Talmud.
The family: My name is Liora and I made aliya from Toronto when I was 16. That was 29 years ago and I came without my family. I lived in Neve Dekalim for 18 years. I met my husband Elimelech during my first year of college. He was studying in Yeshivat Hesder Yamit which was located in Neve Dekalim. When we go t married we decided to stay in Gush Katif until we completed our studies.
In 1903, the English colonial minister offered a district for a Jewish settlement in Uganda to the Zionist leadership, whereby the English government brought to realization its efforts “to bring to pass the improvement of the Jewish race.” The 6th Zionist Congress (August 23-8, 1903) concerned itself with the English offer and decided to send an investigative commission to Uganda, but because of strong resistance inside the Zionist organization, the project was not followed up.
With the countdown to the twelfth Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi now down to the single digits, organizers of the event are working furiously to ensure that the massive event, for which all 93,000 available tickets have been sold, goes off without a hitch.
From my 6th row aisle seat, I observed the motley assemblage ascending the Egged bus I was riding in Jerusalem. Nearly all shared one common characteristic; they were tuned in and tuned out – tuned into themselves and tuned out to their fellow passengers. Some qualified for chiropractic “before” pictures with necks inelegantly cocked supporting cell phones, while others visually displayed virtual euphoria plugged into MP3s. What a pity. Victims of technology, they will never taste the adventure and reality of the Jerusalem that greeted me some 30 years before.
On Sunday, July 22, Ulster County Chabad, in association with the Ellenville Jewish community and Camp Emunah, will hold the 10th Annual Empowerment Breakfast at Congregation Ezrath Israel on Rabbi Herman Eisner Square in Ellenville, N.Y. The program will start at 9 a.m.
There are 613 mitzvoth – we all know that. We also all know it is impossible for one person to perform all 613. Twenty-five mitzvot can only be performed in the Land of Israel, which leaves many Jews out in the cold, shall we say. After all, the people of Israel and the Land of Israel are inextricably intertwined; they are in fact dependent on one another for survival. But Judaism has a solution or as a modern Israeli would say, a “patent.” Mitzvot can be performed by proxy; by taking a part in a mitzvah one merits a share in the whole.
Throughout the years, she'd hidden her in the windowless room at the back of the house. I always wondered why we were never welcomed over the threshold. I knew her daughter had been born with a problem, but it was never discussed and I'd only caught a glimpse of her from afar before she was hurried away. Oh sure, people gossiped, as people always do, but Chedva was my friend, and I defended and respected her right to privacy.