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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Bais Yaakovs’

The Anguish And Heartache Caused By Bullying

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Dear Dr. Yael:

Respectfully, I was greatly disappointed with your 10/21/11 column regarding bullying. Although my experiences relating to this issue occurred more than 15 years ago, and the bullying did not, Baruch Hashem, affect my son as he journeyed into adulthood, I am still extremely bitter about what occurred. And despite the passage of time, I feel that what I went through may still be relevant, as I hear that bullying has become more frequent and is being addressed to a greater extent now than it was in the past.

My son attended a well-known day school. He was bullied even in the early grades, but more so beginning in the 5th grade when the boys and girls were placed in separate classes. I met with the menahel about this on various occasions but he appeared to be more interested in avoiding problems, always having a bored look on his face at the meetings. One or two teachers tried to help but couldn’t do too much due to the lack of importance accorded the problem by the school administration.

I had tried your various suggestions to no avail. What is the chance of finding a 5th-grade classmate to stand up for my son when his classmates are happy that they’re not the ones being picked on – while laughing with and cheering the bullies on? Even when he would find a classmate to be his friend, ultimately the classmate would join the others. How do you convince a 5th grader not to let the bullies see him upset? Similarly, how do you succeed in teaching a 5th grader self-esteem and to stand up for himself? It was no easier in the later grades.

Unless I was just an inadequate father, we must face reality. As I’ve indicated, bullying has become a much larger problem today and must be addressed accordingly. Doctors and therapists such as yourself, must convince the yeshivas and day schools to understand and accept the seriousness of the problem. This will not be easy, as there are still individuals who conveniently understate the extent and seriousness of the issues of at-risk teens and sexual abuse.

You were correct in saying that bullying doesn’t automatically cause problems in adulthood. Once my son attended a yeshiva high school, he made friends and overcame this situation. Today he and his wife live in a very religious community, and I have been blessed with three grandchildren (so far).

Why am I telling you all this? To show that, based on how my son is today, the problems he had with bullying were not due to any personality problems on his part.  I would love to take credit for his “turnaround” – but I can’t. In addition to Hashem, the main credit goes to the rabbi of the Chabad House at the university he attended. I can’t describe the relationship that developed between my son and the rabbi and his family. My son met his kallah during that time and the Chabad rabbi was the mesader kedushin at their wedding. They are still in contact today.

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

Yours is an inspiring and amazing story. I often deal with this problem, and that there are some yeshivas that do not want to accept that this is a problem and would rather just take the attitude of boys will be boys – or just sweep the problem under the rug.

The professionals at Torah U’mesorah have taken an active role in dealing with bullying in yeshivas and Bais Yaakovs. It is important that schools facing these issues bring in experts to help them create a system to address this issue with the goal of getting the bullies to seek professional help – which sometimes can improve the situation. Unfortunately these bullies are often troubled, difficult children with unloving, selfish parents who need to learn proper parenting skills. Sadly, bullies are usually neglected children at home. Thank you for writing.

Title: Power Bentching

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Title: Power Bentching


Author: Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss


 


 


   Expressing gratitude to Hashem for all the bounty He provides us is a Biblical mitzvah that is incumbent upon men and women when they finish a meal. We call this “bentching,” most commonly known as “Grace after Meals.” Unfortunately, for many of us it has turned into the “Race after Meals.”

 

   Why have we become so insensitive in our gratitude to Hashem? Perhaps, the reason is because this mitzvah is done so frequently. Perhaps it is because we know the bentching by heart or perhaps it is because bentchers aren’t always nearby. Still, to say the least, this precious mitzvah is being neglected.

 

   A new sefer has been released which has the ability to reawaken within everyone and lead us to the proper fulfillment of showing gratitude to Hashem though our bentching. Power Bentching, written by Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, rav of Agudas Yisroel of Staten Island, is a guide for how to do this mitzvah properly and enjoyably.

 

   Power Bentching reveals the blessings and benefits bestowed upon those who bentch slowly, and reading audibly these precious words found within the bentching. Rav Weiss also uncovers many meanings of the sacred words and opens for us the possibility to tap into the power of blessings that bentching releases. Indeed, each word is explained, many with myriads of explanations from sources in Tanach, Talmud, midrashim, as well as commentaries by sages of Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Chassidic traditions.

 

   Tales from our rich past, halachic disputes, down to earth examples and fascinating parables, surprising gematriyos and hidden roshei teivos (commentary based on numerical or letter representations) abound. Also, there are many nuances of meanings as well as subtle variations in the grammar that are explained in a clear and concise manner.

 

   There is something for everyone – scholars, yeshiva students and Bais Yaakov girls, rebbeim and mechanchos, fathers, mothers, and even young readers will all gain new insights. Whether by learning a few pages daily or making this sefer part of your Shabbos and yom tov table, Power Bentching is bound to be a family favorite.

 

   Power Bentching can be the source material of mini-lessons or part of subject matter taught in yeshivas, Bais Yaakovs, day schools and summer camps. It can be learned privately or in a group setting. It is no surprise that Power Bentching has won the approval and praise of Torah Umesorah.

 

   Rabbi Weiss’s writing style is very pleasant and inviting. Sources are given for all the commentaries. Translations of words and phrases in Hebrew have been rendered into English with great precision. Each page is designed in such a way that you can concentrate on the word being discussed and at the same time not lose track of its place within the bentching. This is accomplished in part through multi-color print and the graphic talent of Sonnshine Design.

 

   Rabbi Weiss also deals with deep and difficult topics in an exciting way. What is the history behind each blessing? How can a human “bless” (so to speak) Hashem? What are some deeper meanings of the four-letter Name of Hashem? How does that Name of Hashem differ from the Name Elokim? What are some of the reasons the martyrs of Beitar are mentioned each time we bentch? How does bentching impact important matters such as emunah, bitachon, or parnasah?

 

   Power Bentching has rabbinical haskomos (approbations) from leading gedolei Yisroel. They have blessed the author that his sefer find its way into the hearts of all Jews to bring them closer to our Father in Heaven. They have expressed the idea that bentching is a mitzvah that needs to be elevated and kept in an honored manner by all. Indeed, the author of one of these haskomos states that he read the entire sefer and that his own bentching has been elevated.

Obesity Is Another Concern

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Our Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs face the growing rate of childhood obesity. “Overweight children are more likely than their normal-weight counterparts to grow into obese adults. Obesity can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bone and joint problems, asthma, and several types of cancer,” says Chaya Stern, RPA and nutritionist.

Some might blame sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy school lunches; perhaps the Jewish community’s food-centric culture and elaborate Shabbos meals are to blame. Regardless of what has led us down this road, childhood obesity is becoming increasingly common, and our schools must step in and supplement the parents’ efforts to keep their children healthy.

Most schools give their students a 30-minute gym session once a week, but many contend that is simply not enough; Stern is one of them. “Schools need to ensure that students are participating in physical education on a daily basis,” she says. “The schools have been remiss in addressing this problem and they have the power to do a lot more than they are.”

Stern recommends banning sodas and other sugary soft drinks from school vending machines and replacing unhealthy snacks with more nutritious options. She also suggests that the schools “include at least two servings of fruits and vegetables in their meals, serve foods that are low in fat and high in essential nutrients such as fiber, calcium, and protein.”

Stern advises that the schools incorporate chummus and whole wheat pita into their menus, especially now that peanut butter is no longer an option. Tuna and salmon salads are also tasty options. “The low-fat tuna should also have a lot of vegetables cut into it such as celery, carrots and cucumbers.” It is important, too, that the school lunches include lots of vegetables, and have a balance of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats.

Rabbi Hillel Mandel of the Clifton Cheder in New Jersey agrees. “We suggest and monitor the food eaten in school,” says Rabbi Mandel. “We tell the parents to send in fruits, vegetables, and non-sugary cereals for snack,” he explains. But they do allow for special occasions. “A pizza at a siyum is not the end of the world,” he notes.

Terri Mizrachi at Magen David Yeshiva, in Brooklyn, also notes the significance of this issue. “We are very concerned,” she says. “There’s always a vegetable salad at lunch, and we ask the parents to send fruits and vegetables for snack.”

“Perhaps schools should bring in professionals such as dieticians or exercise instructors to teach children about healthy lifestyle choices,” suggests Stern. Let’s hope schools seriously consider instituting some of these changes to provide our children with a healthier future.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/obesity-is-another-concern/2008/05/28/

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