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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Boro Park’

New Jewish Ambulance in Brooklyn ‘For Women Only’

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Sometimes, a woman just feels more comfortable if she is surrounded by women at certain vulnerable times. Even if her husband is with her.

Now for the first time ever, a new emergency medical service for women only, by women only, has begun ambulance service in the Boro Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

The neighborhood is home to a high concentration of Chassidic Jewish families, where most women do not feel comfortable being treated by men in the ambulances, even Jewish ones.

And up to now, the Jewish Hatzoloh emergency medical service has refused to allow women to serve on its crews, even under really awkward circumstances when pregnant women are in labor or actually about to give birth. Many women have complained about that situation for years. Qualified Jewish religious female emergency medical technicians (EMTs) have offered to work on Hatzoloh ambulances as well, but all have been turned away.

Finally, someone has done something about it.

“It was a real challenge to establish this organization, said founder Rachel Freier. “But all the volunteers underwent extensive training and we are on our way. The women are being treated by women, so they feel more comfortable.”

So far, the organization is operating with 40 volunteers who are fully trained. Due to lack of financial resources, however, the group does not yet have its own ambulance, so they have reached an agreement with a private ambulance company.

Hana Levi Julian

NYPD Cop Arrested for Anti-Semitic Grafitti in Boro Park

Monday, May 5th, 2014

A former New York City police officer allegedly suffering from “mental illness” was arrested over the weekend for spray painting anti-Semitic graffiti in numerous locations throughout Brooklyn’s Chassidic neighborhood of Boro Park.

Michael Setiawan left the force in 2007 after two years of service, allegedly due to depression, according to a police source quoted by the New York Daily News. His younger brother, also a police officer, later committed suicide (in 2011), police added. Neighbors living near the family home told the newspaper that Setiawan “has got problems” but said “he’s a good guy.”

Currently age 36, the suspect is accused of having spray-painted 15 cars, three buildings, and a girls’ school with hate-filled words and epithets aimed at Jews.

The words “F — you Jew” and “Jew cheap s—-“ were sprayed on to the walls of the Bnos Zion Bobov School on 14th Avenue. Those phrases along with other words and swastikas were also sprayed elsewhere in the neighborhood.

The vandalism created havoc in Boro Park. Residents were terrorized; many are elderly Holocaust survivors with memories of how their nightmares in eastern Europe started — those nightmares began with similar epithets and words scrawled by the Nazis on the buildings around their homes decades ago.

Surveillance cameras caught sight of a bald man wielding a spray paint can on Saturday night in the graffiti attack who appeared to be Setiawan, according to a report published by the newspaper. He was arrested Sunday after detectives reviewed the footage and checked the registration of the car seen in the tape, a source said.

The former police officer was charged with 19 counts each of criminal mischief as a hate crime, and aggravated harassment as a hate crime in connection with the vandalism.

Local Jewish community leaders expressed shock that the perpetrator was a former police officer, but praised detectives for the quick arrest.

Hana Levi Julian

Dov Hikind’s Mother Dies at 85; Burial Today

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Frieda Hikind, mother of New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, died on Noonday at the age of 95. Her funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. (EDT) at Shomrei Hadas Chapels in Boro Park.

Mrs. Hikind suffered a massive stroke last week after having been hospitalized for several weeks in Maimonides Hospital.

She was born in Czechoslovakia in 1918 and was the sole family survivor of Auschwitz.  She moved to the United State in 1947 and married Mayer Hikind, also a Holocaust survivor.

Jewish Press News Briefs

A Hasidic Role Model

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

First let me congratulate Mrs. Rachel (Ruchie) Freier for her many great personal achievements and contributions to both Judaism and the world at large. I honor and respect both her life choices and her values, many of which I am sure we share – including the primacy in her life of motherhood. But I have to say that I think her article in the Forward is a bit misleading.

Here’s the beginning of the article:

On Monday on the Forward, Judy Brown shared her perspective on motherhood, based on her experience in the Hasidic community that she left. Now, I’d like to share my perspective on motherhood from within the Hasidic community of Boro Park. Having children was always important to me and I chose to remain steadfast to Haredi ideology while pursuing a law degree and then maintaining a law practice without compromising my role as a yidishe momme to my children.

Would that her lifestyle was that of the typical Hasidic woman in enclaves such as Williamsburg. My guess is that this is far from the case.

I am not God forbid saying that the lives of these Hasidic women have no value. Quite the contrary. I believe they have great value in being mothers to their children and wives to their husbands. And I am equally sure that many of them have jobs. Some may even be professionals – like Mrs. Freier – but that would by far be the exception.

College is in most cases forbidden to Satmar and like minded Hasidim. I don’t know what kind of Hasidus Mrs. Freier belongs to, but I am all but certain it is not hard-core Satmar or similar – which I believe comprise the vast majority of Hasidim in the world.

Mrs. Freier’s article was written in response to Judy Brown’s article expressing a different view of motherhood than that which is typical of the Hasidic world. As most people know, Mrs. Brown is the author of Hush – a devastating indictment of Hasidic community in which she was raised with respect to the way they treat sex in general, sex abuse, and its victims. Although she is still observant – she has long since left that community to find herself. And she has written a series of critical articles about the world of her upbringing. That was the case with her latest article in the Forward.

Mrs. Brown wrote about the pain and anguish of having an unwanted pregnancy in a world where such thoughts are verboten! Mrs. Brown actually had such an experience. As did a friend of hers that had some devastating results. But she also shares the regret she felt at the relief of that burden when she miscarried late into her own pregnancy. A regret she had after being shown a picture of the dead fetus she gave birth to.

She now says she now lives with that pain. The point made in that article is that her former community does not understand the damage they do with such extreme attitudes about pregnancies and birth control. At the same time she expressed her own maternal instincts as over-riding any such pain in her own life.

Mrs. Freir does not actually contradict what Mrs. Brown said. She just wanted to emphasize that the Hasidic upbringing she experienced and the values it taught her are the values she lives with and honors – even while being a professional. Despite her success, her profession does not define her. Motherhood does. That is the value she learned from her parents, grandparents, and teachers. It is her children that makes her life complete, not her profession.

I have absolutely no problem with that. In fact I agree that the institution of motherhood that Judaism places primary focus upon for a woman is the most important thing a woman can do. But as is obvious from Mrs. Freier herself, it is not the only thing a woman can do. Just like men, they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Having a career and being a full time mother is not a contradiction in terms. One can do both quite successfully.

My problem with this article is that it presents a false image of the majority of Hasidic women. One might conclude from this article that many woman in Williamsburg have professional degrees… or at least have attended college. And that Mrs. Freier is but one example of that.

Harry Maryles

My Machberes

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Hurricane Sandy And Frum Communities

The fury Hurricane Sandy unleashed on the Northeast severely impacted many communities throughout the greater New York City metropolitan area, leaving in its wake fatalities, injuries and destruction. Homes were destroyed or flooded and the loss of electrical power crippled whole neighborhoods.

The Rockaways, Bayswater, and Belle Harbor

The Rockaways, Bayswater and Belle Harbor were flooded by the tidal water overruns that came simultaneously from the beach and the bay. Every home, many of them were by large observant families, was damaged. Every basement was flooded. Extensive libraries of Jewish holy books were waterlogged and destroyed. The buildings of the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor were devastated.

Rabbi Mordechai Jungreis, Nikolsburger Rebbe, salvaging a sefer Torah from a flooded Belle Harbor shul basement.

Entire shuls were flooded. At least 17 sifrei Torah were ruined. Tears flowed copiously when volunteer salvage organizations, such as the Matzileh Aish volunteer firefighters of Kiryas Yoel, approached the shuls and saw more than one upended aron kodesh with sifrei Torah floating in water.

The loss of electrical power, combined with the extreme gasoline shortage, interfered with salvage efforts. Without power, pumping water out of basements becomes a Herculean task. Gasoline generators, with limited fuel, have to be used. Dredging efforts were deployed to remove mountains of sand from buried homes and clogged streets.

Hatzolah, Shomrim, Chaverim, and many other organizations from all areas joined to help. Bikur cholim and hachnassas orchim organizations heroically provided warm meals, new clothing, laundry services, and dredging applications. Inflatable boats were used to rescue people trapped in flooded areas. Sometimes the inflated boats themselves had to be rescued. Volunteers worked through the storm twenty-four hours a day.

On Friday, erev Shabbos Vayeira, buses came from as far as Baltimore to transport people to warm homes for Shabbos. On Sunday, November 4, a cold snap descended on the region. Tremendous efforts were expended to move children, including newborns, and their mothers to welcoming homes in areas that had heat. All this was in addition to truckloads of warm clothing, blankets and food collected and brought from other frum neighborhoods. Shabbos meal packages and weekday communal meals were available.

Seagate, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach

Residents of Seagate were equally impacted. Beachfront houses and homes close to the beachfront were washed away. Except for those close to the water, most homes did not have flood insurance since coverage is expensive and the need was not apparent. Every basement was flooded. Mordecai Ben David, the renowned Jewish singer, had a recording studio in his basement with equipment costing tens of thousands of dollars. Water smashed into his basement, destroying everything below shoulder height. A well-known collector of antique sefarim had his entire collection, worth millions of dollars, ruined. Every basement has to be stripped, relined, and rebuilt. The shuls, too, lost sifrei Torah and sefarim.

Long Beach

Words cannot describe the destruction in Long Beach. Ocean Place, the center of the frum neighborhood, was severely impacted, with homes totally destroyed or rendered inaccessible because of flooding. For the first time in its 47-year existence, the sounds of Torah at the Yeshiva of Long Beach were stilled. The yeshiva found temporary quarters elsewhere.

Staten Island

Hurricane Sandy caused untold damage to several areas of Staten Island. The electricity went out Monday at 10:15 p.m., after the last minyan for Maariv at Congregation Agudas Shomre Hadas, 98 Rupert Avenue. Early Tuesday morning, right before the shul’s first early morning shiur, the lights came back on, as they did in most of the frum community.

Boro Park

Boro Park emerged relatively unscathed from the brutal force of Hurricane Sandy. Several trees were uprooted, damaging cars and blocking thoroughfares.

Kiryas Yoel

Because of the loss of electricity, many of Kiryas Yoel’s residents left, including those who seldom wander out of the enclave. Satmar families in Boro Park and Williamsburg welcomed them in. Chaverim sought to service those who remained at home. Chaverim members were observed carrying laundry bags all day from homes without power to those with, and then returning with freshly washed laundry. This was in addition to the thousands of packaged meals delivered. Power was restored to most residents on the afternoon of Shabbos Chayei Sarah. Matzileh Aish oversaw the use of generators wherever possible. On Shabbos, non-Jews conducted patrols carrying extra gasoline to fill emptying generator tanks.

Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum

My Machberes

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Bus Transportation For Yeshivas

In 2007 the Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) of the New York City Department of Education took a giant step forward in serving our yeshivas. Rabbi Moshe Ausfresser, assistant principal of Yeshiva Toras Emes Kaminetz, was appointed transportation coordinator for the yeshivas and Bais Yaakovs served by OPT.

In October 2007, representatives of more than 125 yeshivas in New York City attended a meeting at Yeshiva Toras Emes Kaminetz, called by the OPT to improve its communication processes and to develop a smooth problem solving relationship. Rabbi Ausfresser chaired the meeting, with senior OPT executives giving valuable presentations.

At the bus meeting

That was the start of a beneficial relationship for our yeshivas. Presently, more than 84,000 children are transported to and from school on more than 2,000 buses every day. OPT aims to ensure that all eligible students receive safe, clean and timely daily transportation to and from school and field trips for both public and non-public schools. This is ensured through the provision of either student MetroCards or yellow school bus rides.

Services are customized and individualized with a high dependence on accurate data and coordinated logistics planning. Schools have the opportunity, at the beginning of every new route, to personally meet with “their” drivers in order to forge a better understanding of the needs of each child.

More than 200 people gathered recently at the annual General Education Transportation meeting to engage in a forum hosted by OPT. Senior OPT staff joined yeshiva principals, school transport coordinators and school bus vendors to discuss new developments within OPT designed to facilitate continuous smooth service for the yeshiva community as well as various potential provisions to enhance future service.

Rabbi Moshe Ausfresser

Eric Goldstein, CEO of support services for the Department of Education, opened the event by welcoming everyone and inviting them to take advantage of the opportunity to ‘‘meet the team” and reminding them that effective dialogue coupled with strong teamwork is the best way to ensure a continuously improving service. Mr. Goldstein is a stalwart friend of yeshivas, whose transportation officers know he will give them his full attention.

After a brief welcome by Fred Kreizman, assistant commissioner in the Office of the Mayor, Rabbi Yehuda Oelbaum of Machon Beis Yaakov gave a short speech stressing the importance of hakaras hatov and comparing OPT to a malchus hachesed that must be recognized for its instrumental in the well being of Klal Yisrael.

Rabbi Naftulie Weiss, director of Livnas Ha’Sapir, gave credit and expressed appreciation to every person in the system and remarked that “We must treat our job as if we are transporting expensive wine and if we drive too fast, our bottles will break.”

Alexandra Robinson, the new executive director of OPT, thanked everyone for attending, introduced OPT staff members, and reassured participants that safety and inspections team are working on delivering a high standard of service with a quick response time. She also highlighted key issues involving the Customer Service unit (and encouraged schools to call in with information, complaints and concerns) and praised the Inspection Unit for its dedication in ensuring the condition of buses and the competence and professionalism of bus drivers and attendants.

She was followed by Deputy Executive Director of Special Education John Mulligan, who advised that in order to ensure superior routes and circumvent delays, parents should bring all relevant information to the initial meeting with CSE.

Rabbi Ausfresser, who coordinated the event on behalf of OPT, focused on key points for transport coordinators, including ensuring that two-weeks advance notice is given for field trips. MTA passes are available through OPT for field trips that require subway transport. Weekend certificates are available through the Youth Board.

Rabbi Ausfresser announced there was still a final opportunity, on Brooklyn-Queens Day, Thursday, June 7, for a late field trip. He also noted that in case of weather emergencies there is a new system in place that allows a school, using a designated e-mail address, to notify OPT from 7:30 p.m. the prior day of a school cancellation.

As a follow up to the meeting, OPT confirmed that the calendar for next year has already been approved and that the half day for Kindergarten will now be on Thursdays rather than Fridays. In addition, OPT Director of Training Ed Jacobsen reminded everyone about upcoming training sessions in NPSIS, the Non-Public Calendar Application use as well as the correct use of the OPT 199 application.

Postscript To The Asifa

In calling members of the observant community to attend last week’s asifa at Citi Field and Arthur Ashe Stadium, a two-page broadside, titled “Kinus Klal Yisroel for our Future Generations,” was prepared.

Pictures of contemporary leading chassidishe rebbes, rosh yeshivas and rabbis were added along the borders of the placard as an indication of their endorsement and encouraging attendance. The poster carried a banner in Hebrew proclaiming “And They All Came Together In Unison…” Among those pictured were both Klausenburger Rebbes, both Bnei Brak Vishnitzer Rebbes, and Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe.

The broadside was published in chassidishe Yiddish newspapers, including Der Blatt, the official publication of Satmar chassidim who follow Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe. Possibly, the broadside’s intention was not limited to proper handling of the Internet but also at working toward and achieving achdus, ahavas Yisrael and ahavas chinam, especially in these times of great challenges.

Nikolsburger/Hornsteipel Shidduch

On Wednesday evening May 16, 40th of the Omer, Yitzchok Yosef Twersky became engaged to marry Esther Jungreis, daughter of Rabbi Mordechai Zev Jungreis, Nikolsburger Rebbe in Boro Park and Woodbourne. The chassan is the son of Rabbi Benzion Yehuda Leib Twersky, Hornsteipler Rebbe and noted psychologist. The engagement was celebrated at the Nikolsburger Beis Medrash on 16th Avenue in Boro Park.

Nikolsburger Rebbe on Lag B’Omer

This simcha followed that of the wedding of Yitzchok Dov Jungreis to Tziporah (nee Friedman), daughter of Rabbi Alexander Zusha Friedman, at Ateres Chaya Sarah Hall in Monsey. The chassan is a son of the Nikolsburger Rebbe. Sheva berachos were held at Beth El Hall on 15th Avenue in Boro Park in order to accommodate the larger participation of chassidim, family, and friends at the tefilos, tisch, and kiddush led by the Nikolsburger Rebbe. (The Nikolsburger Rebbe’s lineage was detailed in the February 2 My Machberes column.)

The Nikolsburger celebration of Lag B’Omer has evolved into the largest in Boro Park. The Nikolsburger celebration takes place on 16th Avenue at 50th Street and the Stolin Karlin celebration takes place on 16th Avenue at 46th Street. The two celebrations seemingly merged and drew thousands of participants.

Skolya Chassunah

On Thursday evening, May 31, Yechiel Mechel Goldstein will marry Basya Channah Hendel Katz, daughter of Rabbi Eluzer Mendelowitz, member rabbi of the Tartikover Kollel; son-in-law of Rabbi Chaim Yehuda (Chaim Leib) Katz, Serdehaler Rav in Boro Park. The wedding will take place in the Tiferes Mordechai Hall in Boro Park.

Skolya Rebbe

The chassan is the son of Rabbi Rafael Goldstein, Skolya Rebbe; son-in-law of Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz; son of Rabbi Dovid Yitzchok Isaac Rabinowitz, zt”l (1898-1979), Skolya Rebbe and author of Tzemach Dovid; son of Rabbi Boruch Pinchas Rabinowitz, zt”l (1874-1920), Skolya Rebbe and author of Imrei Boruch; son of Rabbi Eliezer Chaim Rabinowitz, zt”l (1845-1916), Yampola Rebbe who first visited the United States in 1890 and is considered the first chassidishe rebbe to set foot in America.

The kallah is the granddaughter of Rabbi Yehoshua Katz, zt”l (d. 1985), Sombotheily Rav; son of Rabbi Asher Anshel Katz, zt”l Hy”d (1881-1944), Serdehaly Rav and author of Ule’ashar Omar; son-in-law of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Ehrenreich, zt”l Hy”d (d. 1944), Shomloyer Rav and author of Lechem Shlomo. Rabbi Chaim Leib is also a grandson of Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Pollack zt”l, Woodkerter Rav.

The aufruf was celebrated on Shabbos Bamidbar, erev Shavous, at the Skolya Beis Medrash on 18th Avenue. The forshpiel took place on the second day of Shavous and included, after Maariv, music and flaming torchlights.

Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum

My Machberes

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

(L-R) Mark Meyer Appel, Rabbi Yosef Blau, and Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum at model Seder.

Voice Of Justice Model Seder: Event With A Message

On Thursday evening, March 29 a model Seder was held at B’nai Israel of Linden Heights in Boro Park. The special event was conducted by the Voice of Justice, directed by Mark Meyer Appel. The organization gives moral, psychological, financial and safety support to victims of child abuse. Attendees at the event included victims, advocates, and supporters.

Chaim Kiss Singing at the Seder.

Chaim Kiss, renowned chazzan and singer, filled the air with a mood of celebration. Delicious foods were served, and the atmosphere reflected the Pesach mood of liberation and freedom. Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani of Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchanan, and this writer, as rav of the host shul and Igud director, sat at the dais. Dr. Asher Lipner, a psychologist and leader in the fight against child abuse, read aloud a proclamation from the Assembly of the State of New York extolling the event and its sponsors, which included Met Council (Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty), The Jewish Press, Maimonides Medical Center, the Vos Iz Neias website, Zev Brenner and TalkLine Communications, the Rabbinical Alliance of America-Igud Horabbonim, and the Coalition of Jewish Advocates for Children.

Spirited dancing and camaraderie.

The camaraderie and singing reached emotional heights and the participants, swaying with the music, rose from their seats and joined in communal dancing. Young men, some in modern garb and others in chassidishe attire, rhythmically ran back and forth. A feeling of freedom and security permeated, as though massive burdens were lifted off the shoulders of a newly freed people.

Just a few years ago, reports of child abuse were routinely covered up. No one wanted to even think about it, much less discuss or report it. If the authorities investigated or arrested someone from our community for child abuse, the authorities were condemned for, in effect, embarrassing the entire community.

Today, we are light years beyond that Neanderthal way of thinking. Today, there are shouts condemning the authorities for not doing enough to keep molesters off the streets and our children safe. Books are published for children, on their level of understanding, concerning what to watch out for and how to act in threatening circumstances at home or outside. Today, our leading organizations have child safety on their agendas. Meetings on how our institutions must protect children are held behind both closed and open doors and fully reported. Of course, more has to be done. One case of abuse is one case too much.

The Voice of Justice Model Seder was another step in the effort to combat child abuse. It followed last year’s Seder, as well as numerous conferences held throughout the five boroughs of New York City and in cities with observant communities across the United States.

The list of names of those who have given of themselves in this successful battle is too long for this space. The names will be published and honored in future columns. As the battle continues, we must focus on winning the war, something that is within our grasp. That day, we all pray, will be very soon.

Kol Koreh Against Handmade Matzahs

One would assume that a kol koreh proclamation that storms against, of all things, handmade matzahs, must have some explosive reasoning. What could be more genuinely representative of our Jewish heritage? Handmade matzahs, everyone readily agrees, were eaten by our ancestors as they fled Egypt and slavery. Handmade matzahs are what our forefathers ate at family Seders throughout the millennia.

One might think the posters against handmade matzahs focused on the method of grinding the wheat kernels. The members of our observant communities that are ultra-meticulous in preserving traditions and in having their matzahs handmade actually require that the wheat be ground manually. This takes much effort and envelops those in the process in clouds of wheat dust. Matzahs made by hand from wheat that is manually ground, needless to say, are labor intensive and quite expensive.

However, this declaration focuses on the method of manufacturing the handmade matzahs. Actually, those matzahs targeted by the broadsides are not handmade at all. They are manufactured by machine. The matzahs in discussion are machine made “hand-made,” which of course is an oxymoron. Actually, machine made “hand-made” matzahs amount to a consumer fraud if the mode of manufacture is not fully disclosed.

Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, revered author of Shevet Levi and universally accepted posek, traveled to the establishment of production and confirmed that the machines being used are the very same type used in regular square machine matzahs. However, the machines were reconfigured to produce imperfect roundish matzahs that have the appearance of being made by hand. Rabbi Wosner confirms that the machines are, in principle, exactly the same.

Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/my-machberes/my-machberes-33/2012/04/12/

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