web analytics
December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘BAR’

Shalva Challenge: Josh Strahl Raises The Tzedakah Bar To The Extreme

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

How far would one person be willing to go to raise vital funds for a worthy charitable cause? For Joshua Strahl, surviving a ferocious storm in Iceland or climbing the foreboding Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, in order to assist special needs children at Shalva in Jerusalem is actually an “adrenaline rush.”

Strahl, a Brooklyn native, who made aliyah to Beit Shemesh in 1996, could actually be construed as a real-life contestant on “Survivor.” He is an avid lover of extreme sports who has used his passion to push his body and soul to the max for personal and charitable goals, even after surviving open-heart surgery.

“I’ve always been drawn to extreme sports and have always wanted to go to Iceland, ever since I had to write a paper for my Master’s Degree at NYU on international trade, where I chose Iceland,” Strahl fondly recalled. “Even before I made aliyah, I had done about 50 skydives and planned on going to Iceland one day. That country always fascinated me. But after I made aliyah, I had no more time to indulge in skydiving or other extreme sports because I had to earn a living for my family.”

Strahl dabbled in both the hi-tech and plumbing industries. Along the way, he began suffering from various health problems, culminating in open-heart surgery six years ago. Rather than getting depressed and feeling sorry for himself, Strahl decided to whip himself back into shape by running. “I started to do half-marathons in Beit Shemesh and graduated to other marathons in Jerusalem and Tiberias,” he said.

Strahl ascends Mt. Hermon

Strahl ascends Mt. Hermon

During a particularly enjoyable marathon run through Jerusalem, Strahl noticed a sign about raising funds for Shalva by engaging in challenging treks, including adventures in Iceland.

“Wow, that was like the perfect storm for me because I am extremely motivated to do stuff for tzedakah,” Strahl admitted. Raising money for Shalva had extra meaning for him because one of his young cousins, a special needs child, was enrolled in one of its educational programs.

Strahl said, “Shalva is a wonderful organization that has opened its doors to thousands of special needs children and puts them within a warm and loving environment. It is an incredible place where the staff is so kind, where both the children and their parents benefit from their services every single day. So, when I heard that they were going to raise funds by doing various treks, like cycling in Iceland and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, I had had no problem training for and participating in these events. I’d deal with the achy feet and getting to the finish line, as long as people would donate to the cause.”

Shalva’s “Fire & Ice Challenge” in Iceland, which took place between July 4-15, consisted of trekking 37 miles across one of the world’s most active volcanic regions and then bicycling 155 miles through Iceland’s remote terrain.

The calendar said July, but this was Iceland.

“There were times when my legs were telling me ‘What the heck are you doing?’ because the terrain is so hard,” Strahl recalled. “The last few days were really challenging because you were biking into head winds of 30mph and the weather started to get really cold and snowy. It was brutal. But even when my legs were burning and my face was freezing up, I kept going because I was thinking about my cousin and the other kids at Shalva. This was also my once-in-a-lifetime Iceland thrill, where I got out and did my physical challenges on a glacier. All of these things, especially raising money for needy kids, add value to the challenge and even goes beyond my health issues.”

That’s not to say Strahl also didn’t experience a spiritual epiphany or two during a Shabbat pit-stop with other “Fire & Ice” participants. “We spent an incredible Shabbat together, where we were able to daven, eat delicious vegetarian food and even enjoy some good whiskey. It was something that I’ll never forget because it was fun and a way to unwind after enduring the physical challenges,” he kvelled.

Surviving Iceland whetted Strahl’s appetite to conquer Kilimanjaro in February 2017. During August and September, Strahl began a new and intensive training regimen by climbing up and down Mt. Hermon, Israel’s northernmost point, several times a day! The Israeli side of the impressive mountain rises to about 7,300 feet, far below Mt. Kilimanjaro’s dormant volcano peak of over 16,000 feet from its base.

“Mt. Hermon isn’t the toughest mountain to climb, and Mt. Kilimanjaro is no walk in the park. Which is why I wanted to see what my body would feel like after going up and down Mt. Hermon five times in one day. My motivation is to climb that mountain and raise $20,000 for Shalva’s kids.”

Yes, Strahl and his doctors closely monitor his health. And while there are always concerns lurking in the background, the word “quit” isn’t in Strahl’s dictionary, especially when Mt. Kilimanjaro beckons to be conquered.

For more information about how you can become a part of Joshua Strahl’s Shalva tzedakah challenge, you can surf his special landing page at:  climb4shalva.org/profile.php?id=11.

Shlomo Ben-Yissachar

‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ Rallies Against Jewish Club Owner’s Right to Bar Anti-Israel Event

Monday, September 19th, 2016

A group of about fifty actors, playwrights and other theatrical types, led by the Jewish Voice for Peace, whose stated mission includes seeking “an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem,” signed a letter protesting the cancellation of a Black Lives Matter benefit concert that had been scheduled for 9/11 at Feinstein’s/54 Below near Times Square in Manhattan.

Signatories include playwright Sarah Ruhl, singer Justin Vivian Bond, playwright Annie Baker, novelist Alice Walker, and actors Wallace Shawn, Tonya Pinkins and Kathleen Chalfant.

Back in 2013, Alice Walker’s speech at the University of Michigan was cancelled because of her views on Israel. Walker has likened Israel to the Jim Crow racist system she grew up with in the South. Kathleen Chalfant has been a long time supporter of BDS.

An email the club owners sent out to ticket buyers read, “The owners and managers … strongly believe in and support the general thrust of the goals and objectives of BLM. However, since announcing the benefit they’ve become aware of a recent addition to the BLM platform that accuses Israel of genocide and endorses a range of boycott and sanction actions.

“Feinstein’s/54 Below would have preferred to hold the concert in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, without endorsing or appearing to endorse the entirety of the Black Lives Matter organization and its platform, but we’ve found that a distinction is impossible for us to effect.

“As we can’t support these positions, we’ve accordingly decided to cancel the concert.

“We’re sorry about this unfortunate situation which has not dimmed our commitment to supporting social justice.”

The JVP letter willfully ignores the fact that the club owners have declared their support for the BLM agenda, but would not accept the movement’s recent turn against the Jewish State. Instead of acknowledging any American’s right to pick and choose his or her causes, the JVP letter states that the cancellation “both undermines the visionary leadership of the Movement for Black Lives and contributes to the institutionalized silencing of advocates for Palestinian human rights. … We call on theater venues, artists, and supporters in New York City and beyond to proudly support the Movement for Black Lives and its inspiring solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Chalfant told the NY Times she was “very distressed to discover that, in order to support one movement I thought was important, there was some kind of peculiar political test.” But, in fact, that’s precisely what the benefit organizers were demanding of the club owners, that in order to host the pro BLM event, they had to reject their own pro-Israel views.

JNi.Media

Yisrael Kristal to Celebrate Bar Mitzvah at 113

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

The world’s oldest Jewish man is about to celebrate his bar mitzvah, albeit a century late.

Yisrael Kristal has just turned 113 years old on the secular calendar on Thursday; but in two weeks he will also have his birthday on the Hebrew calendar. On THAT date, he will finally celebrate his bar mitzvah as well.

The supercentenarian was born to religious Jewish parents on September 15, 1903, in Maleniec, Końskie County near Żarnów, Poland, then part of the Russian Empire on September 15, 1903. His father was a Torah scholar who ensured he had a religious education, and as a result, he has remained religiously observant all his life. He attended a cheder at age three, where he studied Judaism and Hebrew. He learned Chumash (Five Books of Moses) at four and the Mishnah at six. In a 2012 interview, he recalled his father waking him at five in the morning to begin his religious instruction.

Documents from Polish archives showing him to have been a resident of Lodz in 1918 at age 15 proved his age to the Guinness World Records organization.

But tragedy struck early: His mother died when he was 10 years old, shortly after his father had been captured for the draft by the Imperial Russian Army, dying within months. By the time he turn 13, Mr. Kristal was living in a world gone mad, under the care of an uncle dealing with World War I.

He moved to Lodz after the war to work in the family confectionary business, according to his daughter, Shulamit Kuperstoch. But the Nazis invaded the city during World War II, turning the Jewish quarter into a ghetto. Mr. Kristal’s two children died in the Lodz Ghetto, and he and his wife Chaja Feige were sent to the Auschwitz death camp, where she died too.

But Mr. Kristal survived, weighing only 37 kilos (81 lb) when the camp was liberated. After regaining his strength, he made aliyah to Israel with his second wife Batsheva — also a Holocaust survivor — and their infant son, moving to Haifa, where he opened a candy store.

In two more weeks, his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and cousins and friends will all bless him as he celebrates Jewish manhood in the Jewish ritual that circumstances denied him a century ago. Mazel tov!

Hana Levi Julian

Court to Hear Police Request to Bar 6 Youths from Jerusalem

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Seven young men and women who were detained by police on Monday on charges that their prayer outside the Temple Mount constituted a disturbance of the public peace, were released after police demanded that they sign a restraining order barring them from the Old City for 15 days, legal aid society Honenu reported.

Six of the detainees refused to sign the order and were released on the condition that they appear in Magistrate Court Tuesday, when police will be asking the court to bar them from the Old City.

Honenu attorneys have been complaining repeatedly that Jerusalem Police are so fearful of Arab rioting that they have begun to target Jews who are not attempting to disrupt the unholy status quo of the Temple Mount, but are merely engaging in action that might potentially anger the Arabs — regardless of the fact that the action is absolutely legal.

David Israel

It’s My Opinion: Flying High At Bar Mitzvah Time

Monday, August 29th, 2016

My amazing grandson Jacob Abraham Benveniste has turned 13. His bar mitzvah was held recently and I am filled with gratitude to Hashem to be the grandmother of this incredible young man. Jacob’s affect is sweet, charming, and without drama. However, Jacob is so much more than the lighthearted veneer he can project. He is very smart. He is very determined. He is willing to work hard to accomplish his goals.

Jacob is a talented baseball player. Despite his grueling schedule of a dual-curriculum Jewish day school, he has remained on the local youth baseball team where he is the catcher. Every ball that comes his way is treated with the same effort and focus. Jacob gives each play his best.

Jacob is interested in aviation. His knowledge of aerodynamics is vast. He wants to be a pilot and I have no doubt he will succeed at his goal. He joined the Civil Air Patrol when he was 12 and has worked tirelessly through its daunting ranks. He earned the co-pilot seat on two flights and has actually steered and helped fly the plane.

The C.A.P. is a secular group and yet on several occasions its planned events have been changed because Jacob is shomer Shabbat and cannot attend on Saturdays. He has won the respect of his peers and officers. His presence is a Kiddush Hashem.

I offer my blessings to this wonderful bar mitzvah boy. Jacob, I wish you health and happiness and success in life. I hope and pray that no matter where life takes you, you will always go in the ways of Hashem and follow the path of Torah. I am proud to be your “baba.” Congratulations and fly high!

Mazel tov to the entire Rosenbluth and Benveniste families. May we be privileged to share many celebrations together.

Shelley Benveniste

Analysis: Rabbinical Court Lookstein Ruling Could Spell Our Next Kamtza and Bar Kamtza Tragedy

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

It should be noted that despite our fantastical idea, Ivanka Trump was actually converted under the Rabbinical Council of America and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate Geirus Policies and Standards Network (GPS) agreement, and so her conversion is not, in fact, in jeopardy.

Now to the fantasy:

A friend of ours suggested a rereading of the Talmud narrative of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza (Gittin 55–56) in light of Wednesday’s ruling of the High Rabbinical Court. Same Rabbis, same Roman Emperor, except he could be living in DC come next January:

They went and said to the presidential candidate, “The Jews hate you, they think you’re nothing but a nasty Goy, and they’re all praying Hillary humiliates you.”

Said he, “That would be YUGE. How do I know you’re not lying?”

“Send an offering to the Jewish Nation,” they said, “and see whether they will accept it on their altar.”

So he sent them the most gorgeous blonde offering he could find, his own flesh and blood. But while on the journey, they put a blemish on her Haskel (or as some say, on the Look of her Stein) – in a manner where the Chief Rabbinate counted it a blemish but we do not.

Most of us urged the Rabbinical Court to accept her in order not to offend a presidential candidate. Even the two chief rabbis, the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi, begged the Rabbinical Court to accept her as Jewish.

Said the Rabbinical High Court to us: “People will say that blemished blonde offerings are acceptable on the altar.”

Most of us tried to kill the story so that no one write or talk about it on CNN, but the Chief Rabbinical Court objected, saying “Are we who are just doing our jobs, pointing out obvious blemishes on consecrated offerings, to have our story be killed, our sage honor impugned and our authority undermined?”

We thereupon remarked: “Because of the scrupulousness of the High Rabbinical Court our House was destroyed, our Temple burnt, and we ourselves were exiled from our land.”

To remind you (since it’s been almost a full year since Tisha B’Av), this is the original story from Gittin 55–56 (courtesy of the Soncino Talmud):

Kamtza went and said to the Emperor, The Jews are rebelling against you. He said, How can I tell? Kamtza said to him: Send them an offering and see whether they will offer it [on the altar]. So he sent with him a fine calf. While on the way Kamtza made a blemish on its upper lip, or as some say on the white of its eye, in a place where we [Jews] count it a blemish but they do not. The Rabbis were inclined to offer it in order not to offend the Government. Said R. Zechariah b. Abkulas to them: People will say that blemished animals are offered on the altar. They then proposed to kill Bar Kamza so that he should not go and inform against them, but R. Zechariah b. Abkulas said to them, Is one who makes a blemish on consecrated animals to be put to death? R. Johanan thereupon remarked: Through the scrupulousness of R. Zechariah b. Abkulas our House has been destroyed, our Temple burnt and we ourselves exiled from our land.

David Israel

How Western Intellectual Values Have Gone Haywire

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“First make sure you’re right, then go ahead.” — Davy Crockett, 1836

For almost two months I  have been talking and traveling through America trying to understand the country. Soon I will begin a dozen-part series called “Lost” about the  reminder of the Obama term in the term in the Middle East and how friendly countries and national interests can survive.

Meanwhile , though, it is adding insult to injury for defenders of the U.S. policy to claim that I or someone else would have more credibility if I didn’t write for a “right-wing site.” This is an extraordinarily important way that the debate is being narrowed and dummied up.

First, of course, I would never make a parallel argument. What matters is whether the claims have credibility. Does it make sense? Is it internally consistent? Does it correspond with otherwise known information? This is the path of logic, of the Enlightenment. Reputation of the author might be a useful factor, too.

An argument from al-Qaida can be quite correct regardless of where it comes from. Thus, this approach is part of the de-rationality of Western thought today. It is a weapon: disregard everything that comes from a source that disagrees with you on other issues.

Incidentally, while some have told me that my language is too intemperate at times in criticizing Obama, I note that they have not been any more successful in changing views or even–whenever they speak out clearly–getting their ideas (as opposed to technical expertise) to the public.

Second, if I wanted to write about the so-called demographic threat (which I can prove in five minutes is nonsense) or write that Israel must make peace right away I can publish it in the NY Times.

So first they bar certain arguments from the mass media and then they say that if you persist in making certain arguments this proves bias because of the few remaining and smaller places you are allowed to appear. In other words, first you bar people and arguments; then you say that the fact that they are barred proves that they—not you—is the biased one.

Let me tell you a story. In 1991 Senator Charles Percy, a man who was then highly regarded and considered himself something of an expert on the Middle East, said he didn’t understand why the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein didn’t withdraw from Kuwait. After all, said Percy, wouldn’t some intelligence chief or general tell him that he was going to be defeated?

This was abject ignorance. If someone had done so—told Saddam he was wrong—the man would be lucky if he were only fired, and still pretty lucky if he wasn’t thrown into prison, tortured, and had his family punished or executed.

The supposed advantage of democracy is that the media, academia, and others speak—where did I hear this before?—truth to power. If you know you are not just going to be ignored, not just that you are going to be punished, but that nobody is going to hear you that is a disincentive to doing so.

But this goes far beyond liberal or conservative, it sabotages the whole advantage of democracy. You can’t be an anti-fascist or anti-Communist in the 1930s until the elite officially accepts that? Maybe it would have been better to voice these concerns and have them heeded before December 7, 1941 or before September 11, 2001. Maybe it would have been better to have done something about it before tens of thousands of lives had been snuffed out internationally, blighted domestically, resources wasted, and society set back by decades.

Is this really the best we can do in 2013?

Personally I am a social democrat/liberal/centrist/conservative, reading from left to right. What works works; what is true is true; what is wrong is wrong. Forgetting that rather basic fact has been very bad for the West. It’s called honest pragmatism.

Barry Rubin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/how-western-intellectual-values-have-gone-haywire/2013/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: