Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
My first-born son’s recent marriage was a huge simcha for the family, but the wedding was actually the culmination of a simcha that began years ago – at his bris. At the time, I remember the guests at the shul asking me how I felt. I knew that they were asking me ? a first time kimpeturin (a woman who had just gone through and was in the process of recovering from the strength-sapping ordeal of childbirth) how I felt physically. But I couldn’t help internalize the question from an emotional viewpoint. I myself wondered how I actually felt about what was happening around me.
For months, I had gone about feeling “out of sorts” – unable to tolerate everyday, normally pleasant smells like roasting chicken or perfume without feeling nauseous. For weeks, I waddled like a penguin instead of walking. I was unable to find a comfortable position in which to sleep, though I desperately needed the rest, and was even unable to tie my shoes.
I eventually went through an excruciating 25 hour labor being “uncomfortable,” as the nurse so diplomatically informed the doctor. And finally, after swearing this would be an only child – a vow that was not binding because women in childbirth are not held accountable for any of the babble that comes out of their mouths – I was presented with a brick-red, wrinkled creature that resembled a water-soaked chicken more than a human being – and it was love at first sight! At that moment, I made an unsolicited promise that as long as I drew breath, nobody would hurt him … And then eight days later, here I was surrendering this dependent, totally helpless being who was beginning to trust me – to a man with a knife!
So when I was asked, “How do you feel?” I had to do some serious self-examination. I was sleep-deprived and exhausted, rather sore, nervous, petrified (what if the mohel makes a mistake) and basically ready to pass out. But when I heard a cry from across the room, and then the name “Menachem Mendel ben Shmuel” being called out, an incredible joy and pride flooded me, totally washing away my terror and anxiety. Every fiber of my being was filled with an intense happiness and an overriding sense of accomplishment.
Mendel was named after his paternal grandfather’s father who had perished in the Holocaust, and as his name was proclaimed for the first time, I had a vision of a celestial hand cutting through Gehennom – and slapping Hitler’s face.
Mendel is the grandchild of four Holocaust survivors from across Europe – Poland, Romania, and Hungary. For thousands of years, the Jew haters of Europe, Asia and the Middle East have tried – in vain – to eradicate the Jewish people. Hitler, a descendant of Amalek, had tragically been extremely successful. Millions were brutally butchered on his orders. But despite his best efforts, he, like his evil peers throughout the millennia, had been unsuccessful. Their determined efforts were for naught. This eight day old baby boy, who had just been entered into the holy covenant between G-d and the children of Israel – was indicative of this failure. This child, who bore his ancestor’s name and was his continuation, was spiritual and physical evidence of the Jewish nation’s existence.
A new link in the timeless chain that stretched out from Har Sinai, this infant would embrace the holy heritage that his grandparents and millions of his kin had been murdered for. His very existence was triumphant proof that Jewicide was an unmitigated failure.
Thirteen years later, the simcha entered its second stage, as Mendel, upon reaching maturity as defined by Jewish law, became a full-fledged member of the congregation of Israel.
And now, the simcha has reached a new height as he and his wife Shira, whose multi-generational American family survived another insidious enemy of Israel - assimilation – proceed to build a bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael. With Hashem’s blessing, the young couples of today are producing offspring who, in turn, will carry the spiritual torch that has been handed down through thousands of years of Jewish continuity.
No doubt, every birth, every bar/bas mitzvah attained by a Jewish child, every chuppah and the subsequent birth of a new generation make Hitler and his ilk feel the flames of Hell more intensely. Every neshama, every soul, that was prematurely separated from its earthly body by the enemies of Israel rejoices and celebrates in its heavenly abode.
How fitting then, that during the Sheva Brachot celebration of this grandchild of the Shoah, the descendant of four sons and daughters of Yaacov who survived extermination by a vile son of Esau – that another blood-soaked enemy of Israel was summoned to the Heavenly Court for his Day of Reckoning. No doubt as this hate-filled son of Ishmael was escorted to the One Judge, his ears rang with the deafening shout of the souls of his victims – who, looking down at the simcha – roared in unison, “Am Yisrael Chai!!”
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Everyone is always looking for cute yet simple and inexpensive ideas to enhance their table at special occasions. Here are some attractive ways to create that festive look. Whether you use china or plastic, your guests will surely be delighted with your charming setup.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a chavrusa working with you, guiding and helping you in your work environment?
What made an M.I.T. scholarship student, taking time off from his doctorate in medicine, to backpack, and then decide to backtrack, chuck it all… and get a haircut? Perhaps it is easier to understand a Harvard law student becoming enamored with the logic of Gemara and settling down to struggle with the intellectual challenges of Aramaic acrobatics.
JetBlue flew an empty aircraft from Boston to JFK to assist us. The care and concern of the flight attendants was amazing. They were astounded by our group, so much so that at the end of the flight, the captain related for all to hear that he was truly impressed by the care that the HASC counselors provided for the special-needs campers – all of whom have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. We did our best to demonstrate a true kiddush Hashem.
Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?
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Last month’s column outlined some efforts during the first half of the nineteenth century to establish Jewish agricultural colonies in America. In only one case was a colony actually established.
According to Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish scholar, “Gifts for the poor [matanot l’evyonim] deserve more attention than the seudah and mishloach manot because there is no greater, richer happiness than bringing joy to the hearts of needy people, orphans, widows and proselytes.”
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Never sacrifice the people who matter for anything of lesser importance…
Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated.
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Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
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How confusing it was growing up with conflicting messages. On the one hand, we were told, even admonished, to eat everything on our generously piled up plates (it was a sin to waste food), yet we were made to feel like we were a lower form of human being if we were overweight.
While in New York recently, I was invited to see a performance of “Waiting for Godot” – a multi-layered play on the human condition that I was introduced to in high school. What was fascinating and unique about this particular production was that this renowned play was being performed in Yiddish – with English and Russian subtitles beamed onto a screen for non-Yiddish speakers. (Staged by the New Yiddish Rep, at the Castillo Theatre, and directed by Moshe Yassur, it stars Shane Baker, David Mandelbaum, Rafael Goldwaser, Avi Hoffman and Nicholas Jenkins.)
Now and then my Bubby would open up about what she went through in the camps, of what she witnessed… From time to time she would talk about her baby sisters – twins – and how she would sew them identical dresses and braid their hair the same way challenging everyone to guess who was who.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/a-sons-wedding-a-slap-in-the-face-of-our-enemies/2004/11/10/
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