The family: I was born in Israel and I’ve never left. My husband Moshe was born in Detroit, MI. His family made aliyah when he was 12 years old.
It was Moishele, and Itche, and me. We did everything together. We even made our own language, which only we understood. In shul they jokingly called us “the troika,” after the three bishops whose authority extended across Poland.
Against all odds, the spark of Judaism continues to burn brightly in the Amazon as two members of the Brazilian city of Porto Velho underwent a bris milah performed by a renowned Argentian mohel just days after Rosh Chodesh Adar.
When you‘re here, over the rainbow, it is different. Being out-of-town is not about living in some neighborhood of Brooklyn (other than Boro Park, Williamsburg, or Flatbush). Living out-of-town also does not mean living in other parts of the Big Apple, like Manhattan or Queens. It doesn’t even mean living in the suburbs – like the Five Towns or Great Neck. Being here, over the rainbow, means living away.
A traditional Purim in Hong Kong requires an obligatory visit to Pottinger Street in the bustling Central District. Also known locally as Stone Step Street, Pottinger Street is more of a steep, irregularly paved pedestrian stone path (with steps too small for Western feet) than a street. My children run ahead up the stone slabs as I carefully balance my size nine feet on the thin, uneven stairs. My five year old stumbles but quickly recovers and catches up to the big kids.
Tanya Rosen is the owner of Shape Fitness. She recently released a kosher, home-workout DVD for women. Dr. Natalie Zelenko is employed as a radiologist at the Cancer Center at Maimonides Medical Centers. Igor Lempert works as an actuary for New York Life. What they and thousands of others share is a life of Torah Judaism, despite having been raised in secular environments and due to the education and warmth they received at Be’er Hagolah Institutes.
Our Jewish world is small but from his five-year-old perspective it is large, perhaps all-encompassing. The fact that in a population of over 7 million people in Hong Kong (95% of whom are ethnically Chinese) we as Jews collectively account for only about 4,000 or 0.05% of the population can be seemingly irrelevant. Large numbers and statistics don’t play into his worldview.
Some college students use their winter break between terms to relax, fly to warm climates and in general recover from the academic burdens of the fall semester. Others study how to slaughter chickens according to kosher law.
The excavation of archeological layers has shown that in Roman times there were Jewish communities in Syracuse, Catania, Noto, among other places. At the end of the 6th century there is mention of Jews in Messina, Palermo, and Girgenti.
Findings in catacombs confirm the existence of Jews on Malta from the time of the Roman Empire until late in the Middle Ages. They came from Alexandria to this important crossroads on their way to Italy.
To explain to my children what Chanukah was like for me as a young girl, I find I am just as inclined to recount what it wasn’t as I am to describe what it was.
In biblical times this island was known as Kaftor. It had close relations with the Philistines, who already swelled in the Land of Canaan when the Jews migrated in, and this Kaftorland is conceivably the Philistine homeland.
The family: Drs. Chai and Louna Roxane Chemla and their three sons made aliya from Paris about 17 years ago. Their eldest son is a rabbi in the prison system in Northern Israel and is married with five children. Their second son, who is a chef, is married with three children and lives in Jerusalem. Their youngest son who is studying to be a dentist is still single.
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Rabbi Binyomin Moskovits, rosh yeshiva of Midrash Shmuel in Jerusalem's Sha'arei Chesed neighborhood. Rabbi Moskovits was in New York to attend the marriage of a student. While here, he has also been meeting with alumni and current students.
“We did not want our children to be further traumatized or our pet dogs impounded so we went directly to the Nitzan caravilla site.”
Marci Rapp finessed the setbacks with class. She rearranged her business priorities as creator and CEO of MarSea Modest Swimwear and gym clothes with her husband/business partner, Harold, in order to remain on standby as a kidney donor. Her intended recipient had been rescheduled to receive that vitally necessary organ several times. Recurring illness delayed the surgery throughout May and June 2011. On June 14th the life-saving surgery took place.
In Hong Kong, there are certainly some inconveniences involved in finding every last product necessary to recreate the Pesach we had in New York. But, we have found it is merely a matter of mastering logistics and advance planning. Sometimes it involves finding shlepers coming in from the States willing to take a few bulky boxes of tasteless Crispy O’s and Streits Brownie Mix in an extra suitcase. This is all part of the Hong Kong festival ritual.
It’s true. My Zionism was made in China. I grew up in New Jersey in a town that was nearly one third Jewish. Everyone on my street was Jewish. Half my soccer team was Jewish. In Synagogue, my Cantor infused every message with Zionism, as did his wife and children. To my parents this was pure mishugas.
Chaim grew up attending a serious yeshiva in Bnei Brak. Although he was of average intelligence, he was never able to concentrate during his long hours of Gemara study. His parents constantly pushed him to do better, even hiring expensive tutors to help him catch up. But it never seemed to work. He longed to express his abundant energy and creativity rather than keeping it bottled up inside. He needed a drastically different approach - one that fostered more than just book learning.
It was at a UJA-Federation meeting twenty-five years ago when someone asked Rabbi Maurice Lamm, the first Orthodox rabbi to ever serve on the Federation's board, how to care for a terminally ill individual. Rabbi Lamm, then a member of the rabbinate for thirty years and at the time serving as rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob in Beverly Hills, California - one of the largest Orthodox synagogues in the U.S. - had no answer but vowed to find a way to address what was clearly a delicate and weighty issue.
The man woke from his sleep at the sounds of movement around him. I'll call him Louis. In a moment, he realized he was in a hospital bed and he remembered his wife's unexpected call for an ambulance the night before. A nurse's assistant introduced himself and then took Louis's blood pressure.
An unparalleled musical production featuring 39 Jewish music superstars made its worldwide debut Thursday at the Jewish Children's Museum in Crown Heights. "Unity for Justice" is a unique display of solidarity for the family of incarcerated Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, whose sentencing of 27 years in federal prison last year has led to a thunderous outcry by the Jewish community and a number of government officials. The project serves as an innovative campaign for financial support of the Rubashkin Defense Fund, drawing mounting online interest by the hour.
When Dr. David Shashar of Ramat Gan was called out to serve in the Paratrooper reserves during the Second Lebanon War of 2006, his goal was to help heal wounded soldiers. He never thought that he would become one himself. When two Hizbullah anti-tank missiles hit the house he was staying in, killing nine soldiers, he was among the 30 to be seriously injured. Dr. Shashar was hospitalized for the next three months in an attempt to save his arm from amputation. He underwent numerous reconstruction operations over the next three years, a number of which were in Boston's Beth Israel Hospital. The Ministry of Defense referred him to ROFEH International - a comprehensive medical referral and bikur cholim service founded by the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz, zt"l.
What sets the Jewish people apart from the rest of the world is our ability to infuse everyday life with kedushah, elevating the mundane to a higher plane.
When traditional Jewish sources, stories, and spirit are given a boost by technology and the creativity and enthusiasm of 120 young Jews, plenty of good things happen.