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December 23, 2014 / 1 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn’

Update 9:52 AM: Chabad 770 Stabbing Attack Victim in Serious Condition [video]

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

A man armed with a knife seriously wounded a yeshiva student at the Chabad “770” headquarters in Brooklyn around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning (EDT).

The attack occurred in the study hall, where security cameras transmitted the attack on line to police, who immediately arrived.

They ordered the attacker to drop his knife and then shot him in the stomach when he refused.
The knife-wielding man described as a black man, lost consciousness.

The victim was stabbed in the head, neck and abdomen. Prayers for his recovery should be made for Levi Yitzchak ben Raizel, reportedly an Israeli from Beitar Illit in western Gush Etzion.

Details to follow.

Artist Robin Antar ‘Envisions’ America in Stone

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

What does the child of Brooklyn Syrian Jews have in common with Manhattan glitterati on a freezing cold night in an Upper East Side mansion?

Diamonds and other stones. Art and design.

This past week New York’s top interior designers gathered in a house on East 63rd Street and Fifth Avenue to celebrate the season and raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Among the artists whose creations were requested by designers who contributed their skills to the cause was sculptor Robin Antar. Her work had been noticed by designer Michael Tavano during a show at the Waterfall Mansion, where some of her other pieces are still on display.

Tavano removed her “detached retina” from that show for the room he created at Holiday House NYC. The event shows off the best in interior design and holiday entertaining, and is open to the public from now until December 21. Tavano’s eye-catching room was packed on opening night.

Few of those in their suits and evening gowns at the gala, however, realized the petite Antar wielded a jackhammer and a seven-inch diamond blade saw to carve the stone for her larger-than-life-size sculpture.

“I did it just before I went into surgery for a detached retina,” Antar told JewishPress.com in an exclusive interview. “It was my interpretation of vision.”

But Antar takes the long view in her art. She began her love affair with stone carving as a Brooklyn teenager and created as her first piece a graceful alabaster swan which she has kept in the family collection.

She is also known for the sleek silver Sephardic Torah cases she creates. Not one is left sitting on a shelf unused. The first was cast from a mold formed from a limestone sculpture of a prayer shawl draped on two “shoulders” of the Western Wall.

Little did she know that some day she would use that same mold as the basis for a one-of-a-kind tribute to her youngest son that only an artist mother could produce – sadly, for a tombstone. Antar’s son passed away last year at age 26 of a drug overdose after years of struggling to overcome emotions from early childhood abuse suffered at the hands of a daycare operator. Two more sons — a married businessman and an artist with a special flare for color and design — carry on the family traditions.

Salt from the tears that were shed for the life cut short eventually was poured (in a virtual sense) into unique semi-precious salt cellars she now creates for the light and joy of the Sabbath table. Antar had a huge pile of stone chips left over from other sculptures carved from stone such as blue onyx, rose alabaster and honeycomb calcite, and “didn’t want to waste them,” she says. What began as an experiment is now functional art for the interiors market, with those and larger table bowls both much in demand.

But her pride and joy is the Realism in Stone series, she says; a line of art she calls the “virtual record of contemporary culture” in America.

“I ask myself, ‘Will a bottle of Heinz ketchup really exist in another hundred years?’ and then I begin to see the product emerge from the stone,” Antar explains. Different sculptures are carved from different types of stone, depending on what she is creating – but all require heavy power tools that demand precision in their use.

“You cannot do this work without the right equipment,” Antar warns. “Don’t even THINK of starting to carve stone without a face mask for breathing, and especially not without goggles to protect your eyes.”

Man Charged in Manhattan Assault of Orthodox Couple

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

New York police have arrested a 23-year-old Brooklyn man was arrested for assaulting an Orthodox Jewish couple in Manhattan this summer.

A police department spokesman confirmed to JTA that Mustafa Mashni was charged with assault, as first reported on the Jpupdates website.

The victims, in their 20s, were walking on the Upper East Side at approximately 8 p.m. Aug. 25 when several vehicles, including a motorcycle adorned with Palestinian flags, pulled up to them. The occupants yelled several anti-Semitic slurs, threw a bottle of water at the woman and punched the man in the head. Police believe he was targeted because he was wearing a kippa.

According to Jpupdates, Mashni told detectives with the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force that he had wanted to stop the confrontation when he approached the Jewish male but accidentally hit him in in the face.

Mashni had been arrested three times previously by New York Police, Jpupdates reported.

Brooklyn Coffee Shop Owner Sorry He Called Jews ‘Greedy Infiltrators’

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

A Brooklyn coffee shop owner has apologized for calling Jews “greedy infiltrators” on social media,” as reported here earlier this week.

Michael Avila, owner of The Coffee Shop in the Bushwick neighborhood, offered “deep and sincere apologies” on Monday to anybody he may have hurt with his rant published last week on his sites. The rant reportedly went viral.

He told DNAinfo New York that his mother’s best friend, who is Jewish, and other friends showed him how he could better choose words to make his point and not offend.

In the rant, Avila said that he wanted his neighbor to sell his building, “BUT NOT be bought out by Jews.” He said Jews “function via greed and dominance.”

He said in his statement to DNAinfo New York, “If I could go back in time, out of my love for Bushwick (as it always was) my post would have looked more like the following — ‘I believe it is wrong for any persons to buy real estate and then dislocate people from their homes for the purpose of self-service.’ ”

Avila also removed his social media sites on Monday.

New York, High-End Dealers Cater To Jews Seeking The Perfect Etrog

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Naftali Berger’s quest for perfection ends in victory when the 24-year-old kollel student enters Tsvi Dahan’s trailer on Wallabout Street in the Haredi Orthodox Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

“Find something wrong with it — find it!” a glowing Berger exclaims Monday as he holds his treasure: a bumpy, lemon-like fruit.

In open-air markets and on tables unfolded on sidewalks in Jewish communities throughout the world, many Jews preparing for Sukkot look for lovely etrogim, the fruit that constitutes the centerpiece of the biblically mandated four species to be blessed during the weeklong holiday.

Many celebrants will take the basic etrogim commonly sold by synagogues, Jewish schools and shops for about $50 for a set that also includes a lulav, myrtle and willow.

Then there are men like Berger, who think nothing of dropping hundreds of dollars on an especially beautiful etrog, which they believe enhances their fulfillment of the mitzvah.

No sooner does Yom Kippur end than such customers seek out Dahan, 38, a resident of Jaffa who owns three hotels in Tel Aviv but has trekked to New York City the past 15 autumns to hawk his high-end etrogim. They are rippled and slightly smooth, hefty and slim, shiny in hue and subdued — in etrog selection, as in life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Above all, though, Dahan’s etrogim are symmetrical and close to blemish-free — and are pure, ungrafted.

All come from the 200 trees on a half-acre plot of land Dahan leases in Dumdir, a village in southern Morocco, his parents’ homeland. Dahan visits four times a year to monitor their growth and consult with his one full-time employee.

His last visit there preceded Rosh Hashanah, when Dahan selected the crop’s 2,000 best. In a Moroccan hotel room, he categorized the 200 most pristine specimens promising top dollar, examining each for texture, shape and, above all, the slightest of flaws.

He’s not alone catering to the market in Williamsburg, where the primarily Hasidic community is dominated by the Satmar sect, with smaller pockets of Bobov and Vizhnitz. In the weeks before Sukkot, several other storefronts and trailers pop up in the neighborhood, with dealers and growers offering premium etrogim from Israel and Italy, along with Morocco.

Some of the merchants, like Dahan, also market to the haredi Orthodox community in Monsey, a town northwest of New York City.

In the trailer, Berger slides his eyeglasses down near the tip of his nose, the better to inspect the etrog he’s grasping. He takes a cotton swab from a box and dabs at the surface surrounding the pitom, as the stem is known, trying to discern if the pinhead-sized speck he spots is merely a wayward dirt particle or a blemish.

Ten minutes into the inspection, Berger phones his rabbi, detailing his observations in Yiddish. He hangs up, calls again, then returns the etrog to a foam-lined box that he sets aside on a table.

“I’m going to have a cup of coffee and think about it,” Berger says.

Ten minutes later, he returns, seizing another etrog and examining it.

This one is smaller than many others displayed, and the pitom is angled slightly, but Berger is smitten.

“It’s clean — perfectly clean. For me, that’s the most important,” Berger pronounces of the $200 etrog that he calls “a bargain.”

He’ll also take the one he’d reserved earlier — and two more besides for his brothers. He leaves a $200 deposit for the four etrogim, which he takes away for his brothers to examine.

Six blocks down Lee Street, Dahan sits in a vacant storefront, his other temporary outpost in Williamsburg. Two tables host four reading lamps to help customers scrutinize the merchandise. A man who inspects for 45 minutes leaves without purchasing.

Brooklyn Coffee Shop Fed Up with Greedy Jewish ‘Infiltrators’

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

A Brooklyn coffee shop owner justified his anti-Semitic posting on Instagram, where he ranted against Jewish “infiltrators” who “function via greed and dominance” by buying and upgrading homes, resulting in an expensive real estate market.

Bushwick Coffee Shop owner Michael Avila brushed off criticism and raced to post two videos of Jews he’s “in love with,” including Roseanne Barr and a YouTube video that features Jews against Zionism.

See? Avila really is not anti-Semitic.

He said his post on Instagram was a result of complaints by some of his customers about rising house prices. He took aim at two Israelis who were exploring the possibility of buying a building next door to the coffee shop.

“Ok, what I REALLY want to talk about is how to consider the Jews (oh yes, let’s talk about it) who want a piece or all of Bushwick,” he wrote. He declared that Jews “function via greed and dominance.”

His post, part of which is re-published here complete with typos and grammatical mistakes continued, “Bushwick IS rising and progressing, and bettering, but us contributing or just appreciating this rise and over all positive change do not want to be lumped with greedy infiltrators.

Avila, an Hispanic, defended his post by explaining, “It tends to be a lot of Jewish people who are buying buildings here and then turning them into luxury condos, but it could apply to anyone of any race who is trying to be manipulate and self-serving [sic]“

Holy Crisis Intervention From Beyond the Grave

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

A dynamic young man who left this world much earlier than anyone ever expected, still managed to reach from beyond the grave this week to help a fellow Jew.

David Antar, 26, was the youngest son in a Brooklyn-based Syrian Jewish family and least likely to be sick; but he passed away nearly a year ago. Heartbroken family and friends told the story of his life in the few words they could place on the stone cover for his grave.

“Humanitarian. He helped hundreds of people in their time of need… He lived a very short life spent in the service of others.”

There is a tradition among Jews to visit the resting place of departed loved ones during the ten “days of repentance” between Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

In a Sephardic cemetery in Staten Island, New York, Eliot and Shlomit Belilos were visiting the graves of family members on Thursday when they suddenly remembered their friend David had also come to the cemetery this year.

Walking over to pay their respects, they spotted a group of nine men close to Antar’s grave who looked like they were searching for something, Shlomit Belilos related in an interview with JewishPress.com .

“Can we help you?” she asked the group.

“We need a tenth man,” one of the group replied, “and we’re running out of time. We need to say Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead) for a relative here but it is getting late.”

The requirements for reciting Kaddish are specific, and unique. A quorum of ten Jewish males age 13 and up is required. Kaddish cannot be recited without these specific conditions having been met. In the loss of a parent, for the first 11 months the prayer is recited by the bereaved child three times a day, every day, supported by the quorum of ten. In other circumstances the requirements change.

Eliot Belilos had appeared just in time, and more to the point, he was sadly eligible, having lost his father just a couple of years ago. Being familiar with the need for recitation of the Kaddish, he quickly joined the group and Kaddish was recited.

Those in the quorum merited a ‘credit’ for having helped out a fellow Jew and the bereaved merited a credit for having met his obligation to recite Kaddish as he was supposed to. Belilos scored an extra credit for being the tenth man to complete the minyan (quorum).

Coincidence? Yes, of course. But David Antar always had a knack for being in the right place at the right time when something needed to get done fast. Now.

Antar was a drug counselor, a case manager and a crisis intervention specialist. He founded and ran an agency, “C.R.I. Out” in Los Angeles, California, that helped place drug addicts in treatment programs.

He knew what worked and what didn’t, first-hand, because he had already been there — like most really good drug counselors — trying to bury old business he’d spent a lifetime trying to forget. He knew the struggle from “working the program one day at a time,” every day.

On October 28, 2013, Antar didn’t work the program. No one knows why. It cost him his life, but not his soul. That part of him still burns brightly.

On September 3, 2014, somehow David Antar reached out and made sure Kaddish was said for a fellow Jew.

May the memories of all departed loved ones be for a blessing this Yom Kippur Sabbath.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/holy-crisis-intervention-from-beyond-the-grave/2014/10/03/

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