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July 5, 2015 / 18 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Baltimore’

Baltimore City Curfew Helps Taper Off Riots

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

A 10 pm curfew and strong show of force by thousands of security personnel Tuesday night helped restore order to most of the city, and put an end to riots in Baltimore.

At least one Jewish business owner faced near-total ruin Tuesday night; Harvey Levy of the Baltimore suburb of Reisterstown responded to an alarm and saw his sports store had been damaged and emptied by rioters.

The Agudath Israel synagogue also posted a notice on its door warning congregants its final evening service of the night would be held at 9:30 pm due to the 10 pm curfew.

Two of the three city’s home games between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox were postponed; a third, scheduled for Wednesday, is to be played at Camden Yards in a historic “first” televised game with an entirely empty stadium. No fans are allowed into the stadium due to security considerations.

The Baltimore police department managed to finally contain thousands of rioters throughout the city by the wee hours of Wednesday morning, with the help of some 2,000 National Guard troops, 1,000 supplemental police officers from neighboring counties and 2,000 civilian volunteers.

Users on Twitter and other social networking sites have been comparing the situation in Baltimore to that in Israel, whose security forces must contend with similar issues in her cities, albeit with Arabs instead of rioting city residents hoping for anarchy.

The situation in the United States, in fact, appears to be developing a parallel process in many ways similar to the Arab intifada that is faced by Israel every few years.

More than 235 arrests were made in Baltimore in the past 24 hours At least 20 police officers were injured, including one who remains in critical condition. The force has been forced to decide how and when to use increased riot control measures such as tear gas, smoke canisters and other security options; issues also confronted by Israel.

An alleged alliance between three national gangs — the Black Guerrillas, the Crips and the Bloods — was formally denied on Tuesday in a statement by the gang members who said the supposed agreement to “take out” Baltimore police was untrue. Gang members were later seen towards sunset organizing into a secondary buffer line spreading out between protesters and police.

Baltimore mother Toya Graham became the most well-known personality in the city on Tuesday: the single mother of six was seen in a video flashed around the Internet chastising her 16-year-old son after spotting him on television among rioters wearing a black face mask. Graham was seen ripping the mask from her son and smacking him around the face and shoulders while chasing and scolding him, forcing him to leave the riots and come home with her. Many news groups and Internet users informally dubbed her “Mother of the Year.”

BB Gunman Fires at Jews in Baltimore on Rosh HaShanah

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

An unidentified man, possibly of Middle Eastern descent, shot at Orthodox Jews on Rosh HaShanah with a BB gun and blasted a hole in a synagogue window in the Baltimore area late Thursday afternoon.

No one was injured. But residents in the heavily Jewish-populated area are worried.

And it’s about time.

“It says something about what is going on in the world in terms of the anti-Semitism that is growing,” Bernice Seiden told Baltimore’s WJZ television.

The attacker drove by the Bais Hamedrash and Mesivta of Baltimore while several Orthodox Jews were walking and yelled, “Jews, Jews, Jews” as he fired with what apparently was a BB gun.

The pellets missed the targets, some of whom were children, and hit a synagogue window.

The suspect was described as a white male but with a dark complexion, possibly of Middle Eastern descent. He could be charged with a hate crime if caught.

“It’s awful. It’s a very sad state that that’s what we have to deal with. Nothing is safe and nothing is sacred anymore,” Marcy and Steve Sher said.

The attack gives American Jews a lot more to think about during the Rosh HaShanah-Yom Kippur holiday period.

Happy New Year.

IDF Soldier from New Jersey Wounded in Gaza Fighting

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

A graduate from a New Jersey yeshiva and who now is a paratrooper in the IDF suffered moderate injuries to his head when a retaining wall fell on him in the war on terror in Gaza, the New Jersey Jewish News website reported.

He was identified as Sgt. Moshe Hirt, 21, from Edison, New Jersey and a graduate of the Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva

Hirt underwent surgery and was released to his aunt’s house in Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem.

His parents flew to Israel to be with him, and his mother told New Jersey Jewish News, “He has been in Gaza from the beginning. We are very proud of him, but this is how we raised him. We were not surprised when he told us he was going to Israel to study and join the IDF. We support him 100 percent.

“We are concerned about him and all of Israel… He said he had seen a lot of bad things, but he is strong, like all our soldiers.”

Earlier last week, Baltimore-born Jordan Low suffered smoke inhalation when he was helping his unit escape from a burning building that had been hit by a Hamas rocket.

His father said, “He’s my hero. My two boys have learned to think about others before themselves.”

Killer of Baltimore Jewish Girl Rejected in Bid for New Trial

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

The convicted murderer of an 11-year-old Jewish girl in 1969 will not receive a new trial, a Baltimore judge ruled.

Circuit Judge Edward Hargadon, in his ruling on the appeal by Wayne Stephen Young, said jurors who found Young guilty of killing Esther Lebowitz in 1972 were adequately advised of how to try the case, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Attorneys for Young, 68, had requested the new trial based on a 2012 ruling by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the state’s highest court, which found that many convictions before 1980 are invalid because jurors were given unconstitutional instructions. An attorney for Young said she would appeal the ruling.

Young was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and has been denied parole 12 times. He claimed during his trial that he was temporarily insane.

Esther, a fifth-grader at the Bais Yaakov School for Girls, was missing for two days before her body was found about a half-mile from her Baltimore home. She died from 17 blows to the head.

Her family has since moved to Israel and did not attend a hearing on the case last month. About 200 Baltimore Jews protested the hearing.

Native Baltimore Rabbi Runs for Beit Shemesh City Council

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Baltimore native Rabbi Avraham Leventhal, who moved to Beit Shemesh eight years ago after making aliyah, has tossed his hat in the political ring and is running for a seat on the city council. Elections will take place October 22.

Another former American, Rabbi Dov Lipman, also was active in politics after making aliyah. He joined Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and won a seat in the Knesset in the elections earlier this year.

Rabbi Leventhal joined the Tov political party, explaining that is comprised of “Orthodox Jews with a strong social action agenda.” He added, “They assist residents regardless of their party or religious affiliation. This is exactly the style of good government that Anglo olim seek. “

Beit  Shemesh is home to a large Anglo population but also has been the scene of violent clashes between Haredi extremists and modern orthodox and secular residents,

Rabbi Leventhal said, “An ‘us vs. them’ mentality has taken hold. There are many levels to the various conflicts including Haredi vs. Haredi, veteran residents vs. newcomers and olim vs. those native to the city. Unfortunately this is reflected in the functioning of the current municipal government. City Hall doesn’t serve all residents equally.”

Maryland Jews Battle $1 Million ‘Jewish Christian’ Crusade

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The war to assimilate has gone for the “soft sell,” with a Christian missionary blitz trying to convince Jews in Maryland and other states that it is okay to have a double identity as a Jew and a Christian.

Ten young women from a Baptist college in California have fanned out in Greater Baltimore’s highly concentrated Jewish community to try to convince them to accept Jesus while remaining Jews.

Unlike the Jews for Jesus movement, the new missionary program carries an even more dangerously tempting message for wavering Jews.

Arthur C. Abramson, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, told the Baltimore Sun that even the most liberal rabbi would reject the notion of a “Jewish Christian.”

The proselytizing program is particularly offensive to the area’s Jewish community because it replaces the clearer and less acceptable notion of outright conversion to Christianity.

The missionary effort is being financed by Tom Cantor, who was born into a Jewish family and who is the president of a medical products company in southern California. He said he spends more than $4 million a year to push his concept in the United States and elsewhere. The $1 million summer blitz focuses on Jewish areas in Baltimore as well as in other major East Coast cities.

The Jewish community in Baltimore is highly cohesive and includes one of the highest percentages of orthodox Jews in the country. It also suffers from the same crisis of assimilation that threatens every other Jewish community in the Diaspora.

The Baptist girls approach them in modest clothing, giving the impression that they may be Orthodox Jews, although Lou Rossi, a pastor of  church helping the campaign  told the Sun he does not think the women are trying to deceive anyone.

Abramson last week decided to meet with Rossi, pastor of the Granite Baptist Church, which furnishes a van for the missionaries.

“Our goal has never been to disrupt or violate the Jewish community, or any community,” said Rossi, but he admitted that touring Jewish neighborhoods with a van marked “Granite Baptist Church”  is a cause of complaints from Jewish residents.

“This is not talking to Jews,” Ruth Guggenheim, executive director of Jews for Judaism in Baltimore, told the Baltimore newspaper. “This is no different than the Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to your door.”

The women often try to open a conversation by telling people in their homes that they want to talk about Israel, and they go into their sales talk on Jewish Christianity.

Cantor insists he is a Jew. “I love my people. … I don’t want any of them going to hell” for not having accepted Jesus.

Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg of the Beth Tfiloh  Congregation, the largest modern Orthodox synagogue in Greater Baltimore, told the Sun that if Cantor really cares about Jews, he can contribute his money to Jewish causes.

Here is one suggestion:  Organizations that fight missionaries.

Two Religious Girls Box-Kick Their Way to World Champions (video)

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Two religious teenagers, one a convert from India and the other born in Baltimore, have won the world championship in Thailand-style kick-boxing for their weight class.

Officially known as Muay Thai, the combat sport is known as “the art of eight weapons” because of the use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet.

One might expect that world champs in the kick-boxing sport would be huge gorillas from the Amazon, but two winners in the girls’ championships held in Thailand recently are none other than two religious girls from Israel.

One is Nili Block, who was born in Baltimore and moved with her family to Israel around 15 years ago. The other is Sarah Avraham, whose family was close friends with Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, two of the six victims of the Muslim terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008.

Having already been acquainted with the Jewish religion through their association with the Holtzbergs, they decided to convert and move to Israel after the terrorist attack.

Nili and Sarah train five times a week at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, attacking a punching bag to sharpen their skills under the supervision of a coach. Their rigorous regime paid off in Thailand, where they were crowned champions after Nile defeated her Bulgarian opponent in the flyweight class of 112-118 pounds, while Nili beat her British opponent in the 125-138-pound class.

Nili is an all-round athlete. Before flying to Thailand for the championships, she ran in the 6-mile Jerusalem Marathon in March and win first place in the women’s 16-19 age group, finishing ahead of 500 runners in her category. Later the same month, she won the 10th Amateur-Pro Muay Thai Championships in Bangkok.

“Nili is amazing − slim and tall, she’s built for this sport, and she possesses quite an array of weapons. She can devastate an opponent with her hands, knees and feet, and she has perfect technique,” said Shuki Rozensweing, an Israeli boxer who won the World Muay Thai Association and World Muay Thai Federation unified title in April 2011.

He told the Thai BigChili website, “She is a complete fighter with a high IQ for the sport…. A fight is not only won on strength. Nili won all three rounds against the Bulgarian girl, who was physically stronger, by virtue of her superior technique.”

She is in the 12th grade and has to decide this year whether to enlist in the IDF or serve in “Sherut Leumi,” national service.

The IDF would love to have her in its ranks. She says she is not sure if she wants to miss out serving as a regular soldier and suspend her boxing talents, but Shuki thinks she has a good chance to receive the IDF’s special athletic status, which would allow her to continue to train.

Besides that, let’s see what happens if an Arab terrorist starts up with her.

Nile discovered Muay Thai through her other after the family moved to Israel.

‘‘My mother was at that time a volunteer police woman attached to the Jerusalem police department and she was looking for some kind of martial arts which would be beneficial for her work,” said Nili. “I went with her as she looked for a Muay Thai training camp and I started to train with her. I stopped training for two years while going to school and resumed when I was 13.” Her father, a dentist, supports and encourages her to box.

So much for stereotyped-orthodox families.

The most thrilling moment in the Thai championships was hearing the Israel national anthem Hatikvah two times, once after Nili won her gold medal and the second time when Sarah won.

Sarah’s story is no less spectacular than Nili’s.

Her father is a doctor and was the family physician to the Holtzbergs, who ran the Chabad House in Mumbai.

Sarah was 14 years old when the family converted and then moved to Kiryat Arba, where she learns at a religious “ulpana” high school.

Hevron resident Michael Pollack spotted her talent and put her in touch with Thai boxing coach Eddie Yusopov.

Keeping in mind that Abraham and Sarah were buried in the Patriarchs’ Cave in Hevron, Pollack told the Times of Israel last year, “She draws her strength from where we live in Kiryat Arba. That gives her an inner strength that explodes in the ring.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/two-religious-girls-box-kick-their-way-to-world-champions-video/2013/05/13/

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