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November 29, 2015 / 17 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Chabad’

Argentina’s President Adopts Jewish Godson

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son.

She described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family.

He was adopted as a godson under a law passed in the 1920s in order to counteract a legend that the seventh son, born after six boys without any girls in between, becomes a werewolf whose bite can turn others into a werewolf.

The belief in the legend was so widespread that families were abandoning, giving up for adoption and even killing their own sons.

The law only applied to the biological children of Catholic families until the enacting of a presidential decree in 2009, which allows children from other religions to qualify.

The boys receive presidential protection, a gold medal and a scholarship for all studies until his 21st birthday.

Shlomo and Nehama Tawil, parents of seven boys, wrote a letter to the president in 1993 asking for the honor and were denied. But this year Yair wrote a letter to the president citing the 2009 decree and asking for the designation of godson.

Shlomo Tawil is the director of the Chabad House in Rosario, located in central Argentina

Yair Tawil on Tuesday became the first Jewish godson of a president in Argentina’s history. Fernandez received Yair, his parents and three of his brothers in her office, where they lit Hanukkah candles together on a menorah from Israel presented to the president by the Tawil family.

The president in her tweets and photos described to her 3.4 million Twitter followers the “magical moment” with a “marvelous family.” She described Yair as “a total sweetie,” and his mother a “Queen Esther.”

She tweeted that the Tawils “are a very special family. They have a sort of peace, happiness and a lot of love that is not common.” The tweet included a link to the presidential blog, which includes more photos from the meeting.


Giant Chabad Menorah Lit Without Ceremony in Martin Place, Sydney

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

In Sydney, Australia, a public Hanukkah menorah still stands tall in the very same place it has stood in Martin Place for the last 30 years.

The 10 meter high menorah was not the center of festivities this year, however: instead, a message was prominently displayed for the public to read.

“The Jewish community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the Lights of the Festival of Chanukah bring comfort and warmth to our nation.”

The decision to cancel the annual Lighting Ceremony of the Hanukkah Menorah in Martin Place, scheduled for Thursday Dec. 18, the third night of the holiday, was made “after lengthy discussions and consultation with the authorities and communal leaders,” explained Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Elimelech Levy, Director of Chabad NSW and coordinator of the annual “Chanukah in the City” celebration.

“While the event was canceled, the presence of the Giant Menorah sends a powerful message that light will always overcome darkness,” Levy said.

“As we mourn the loss of life and the atrocity that has taken place, people of goodwill will continue to shine the light of freedom and communal harmony, which is what the Chanukah Menorah is all about,” he added.

According to Chabad officials at the movement’s World Lubavitch Headquarters at “770” Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY, the Martin Place Giant Menorah was indeed lit and cast its Light upon the area as it does each year. However, in deference to the memory of the victims, no public ceremony was held to mark the occasion.

The manager of the Lindt cafe and a local barrister were killed last Tuesday after being held hostage together with at least 15 others by a lone gunman, Man Haron Monis. The victims were shot as special agents stormed the cafe in an attempt to free the hostages. The self-styled Iranian cleric had forced his captives to hold up a flag bearing the Shahada — the Islamic creed, written in Arabic — in the window, for hours.

An earlier article about the Menorah contained an error about the lighting ceremony due to a misunderstanding which has since been clarified.

Hanukkah Miracle Brings ‘770’ Stabbing Victim Home

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The 22-year-old rabbinic student stabbed last week inside “770” Eastern Parkway, the synagogue at Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters, is home from the hospital in a Hanukkah miracle.

Israeli yeshiva student Levi Rosenblatt underwent emergency neurosurgery at New York’s Bellevue Medical Center after he was stabbed by Calvin Peters. The attacker was subsequently shot and killed by police who raced to the scene upon seeing the stabbing unfold on their monitors at a special mobile base across the street from the synagogue.

Rosenblatt was rushed in very serious condition to nearby Kings County Hospital but quickly moved to Bellevue when it became obvious he required specialized surgery. His condition stabilized soon after the operation was completed.

“Mr. Rosenblatt suffered a knife injury to the blood vessels in an extremely sensitive area of his brain,” neurosurgery chief Dr. Paul Huang explained in a news release. “Because of the resources available to us, as well as the experience and expertise of the nurses and physicians at Bellevue Hospital, we were able to deliver a very sophisticated level of care to this patient. He underwent a procedure to repair two blood vessels, which was successful. He has had an amazing recovery.”

Groups of Chassidim maintained a vigil at the hospital, praying for Rosenblatt’s speedy recovery, as his name was circulated by others to prayer chains around the world.

“I have a lot of people from way back in the beginning to thank, above all, God and the [Lubavitcher] Rebbe who provided his blessings,” Rosenblatt said in the release.

“Thanks to the Hatzalah (emergency rescue service) of Crown Heights volunteer ambulance service, the NYPD, the doctors and nurses here at Bellevue and at Kings County Hospital (where he was first taken), my friends who stayed with me in my room around the clock, my family who came from Israel to be with me, and all the people all over the world who have prayed for me,” he said.

Sydney Chabad Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Canceled ‘Out of Respect’

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The public Hanukkah candle lighting at Sydney’s Martin Place was canceled for the first time in 30 years following the terror attack that killed two Australians.

Chabad, which has erected a giant 33-foot Hanukkah menorah in downtown Sydney for the past three decades, issued a statement Thursday, saying: “Due to the very recent terror attack in Martin Place and with sensitivity towards the families of the victims of terror, the Hanukkah commemoration scheduled for this evening has regrettably been canceled.”

“The Jewish community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the lights of the festival of Hanukkah bring comfort and warmth to our nation,” the statement concluded.

The giant menorah was scheduled to be erected Monday night, but the 16-hour siege inside Lindt chocolate café, just yards away from where the menorah is normally erected, was still underway.

Two hostages, café manager Tori Johnson, 34, and barrister Katrina Dawson, 38, were killed around 2 a.m. Tuesday when special agents stormed the café and killed the lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Iranian cleric who had forced hostages to hold up a flag bearing the Shahada – the testament of the Islamic creed – in the window.

Instead of the public candle lighting, Johnson’s father Ken was greeted Thursday afternoon at the memorial site – a sea of tens of thousands of bouquets of flowers – by multi-faith leaders, including Levi Wolff and Zalman Kastel, both Chabad rabbis.

“We have people from all faiths coming together to show that we are a very strong united people and a strong country,” Rabbi Wolff said. “A small, little bit of light distills a tremendous amount of darkness.”

Rabbi Elimelech Levy, from Chabad Youth of New South Wales, told Haaretz earlier this week, “We haven’t cancelled it [and] we are waiting to hear back from authorities. We’d like it to go ahead, and to pay tribute to the victims of terror.”

And what about Christmas?

Sydney is toning down the public festivities for the holiday but not banning the lighting of trees. The usual colorful decorations and pictures of Santa will not be displayed, the London Telegraph reported, but two Christmas trees will be put up at the central train station.

Rabbi Levy said concerning the ban on the public lighting of the Hanukkah menorah, “If we cancel the event we are giving terrorist exactly what they want. We want to do it compassionately for the victims.”

The Chabad.org website wrote that after the siege of the Lindt coffee shop, the local Chabad rabbi placed a plaque affixed to the menorah that stated, “The Jewish Community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the light of the festival of Hanukkah bring comfort and warmth to our nation.”

A little bit of darkness dims the light.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sydney authorities ordered that the menorah not be lit.

Joe Biden to Light ‘National Menorah’

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden will assist in the lighting this year of the Hanukkah menorah on the ellipse in front of the White House.

Biden’s participation on Dec. 16, the first night of the holiday, marks the 35th anniversary of the first lighting of the “National Menorah,” an event sponsored by American Friends of Lubavitch, the Washington office of the Chabad movement.

It has become a tradition for Cabinet-level officials to assist in the lighting.

‘770’ Stabber Kept Saying ‘Kill the Jews’

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

The stabbing of 22-year-old Israeli rabbinical student Levi Yitzchok Rosenblat at 1:37 am Tuesday morning in the synagogue at Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters was a hate crime, and not a random attack, according to Chabad officials, but nevertheless, leaders urged the community to remain “calm” and “keep the peace.”

The stabber, 50-year-old Calvin Peters attacked Rosenblat, a resident of Beitar Illit, in the downstairs sanctuary of the Chassidic movement’s world-famous building “770” Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Officers in a mobile police base directly across the street from “770” saw the attack unfold on the security screens in front of their eyes before racing to stop the bloodshed.

A spokesperson for Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters told JewishPress.com Tuesday night the young Israeli rabbinical student was studying in the synagogue when the attacker approached him and stabbed him.

“According to witnesses he was heard saying repeatedly “Kill the Jews,” said Rabbi Motti Seligson, a spokesperson for Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters. “Several other individuals immediately intervened.”

By then, Rosenblat was in critical condition from multiple stab wounds. His condition has since stabilized and he is currently hospitalized at Bellevue Medical Center in Manhattan, where he is listed in serious but stable condition. During the day he underwent emergency surgery at the hospital.

A team of police converged on the perpetrator and ordered him to drop the weapon. Initially the attacker did, in fact, drop the knife, but within seconds he retrieved it and continued moving towards the officers with the weapon in his hand. When  after 12 requests to drop the weapon Peters tried to charge the officers, escalating the danger, an officer drew and fired one shot from his own weapon to neutralize that threat. Peters later died of his wounds at Kings County Hospital.

“While we are very pained by everything that has unfolded, we are very grateful to the police for their quick response and are working closely with the authorities in their ongoing investigation,” Seligson said. “We commend the heroic efforts of the individuals who were present and took immediate action, if not for their intervention the outcome could have been, G-d forbid far worse. We continue to pray for the young man who is in stable condition,” he added.

New York City activists and politicians called for unity and calm at a joint news conference Tuesday afternoon, where they joined in commending the responding police officers for their restraint in handling the attack. Jewish Community Relations Council leader Michael Miller noted that a synagogue “should remain a safe place.” Another Jewish leader commented that the attack on a worshiper in a Jewish house of prayer echoed the recent terrorist massacre that took place at a well-known synagogue during morning prayers in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. Other leaders expressed concerns the incident would trigger racial tensions and urged residents to “keep the peace.”

The news conference, organized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, was held just a few steps from where the attack took place. Politicians and activists of all races, including city public advocate Letitia James, Assemblywoman Laurie Cumbo and city council member Mark Levine underscored their approval of the police officers who had only opened fire when no other choice was left. Running footage from a 24-hour security camera monitored constantly clearly substantiated police accounts of the encounter.

A reader on the Crown Heights.info website commented on the officer who shot the stabber: “In this political climate, a lot was on this policeman’s shoulders – more than just the incident in front of him, but the very real worry about sparking a race riot, justified or not!… I phoned the non-emergency number of the 71st precinct and I thanked them for handling things the way they did. And I told them to keep up the good work. And I’m proud that I did! I think everyone should phone the police department and thank them when they do a good job.”

Dramatic Video of Police Killing Knife-Wielding Man at 770 [video]

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The Crown Heights Info website has released a dramatic video showing the entire attempted murder of Jews at the Chabad 770 Torah study hall in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday and a policeman’s neutralizing the man with a single bullet.

Footage shows the man standing in the Beit Midrash study hall with a knife. A policeman pulled out a gun and said, “Hands up.”

The man raised his hands but as soon as the police officer returned the gun to his holster, the man moved menacingly towards the police officer and then started running through the Torah study hall, yelling, “I want to kill a Jew” while policemen tried to trap him until a gunshot ended the chase.

The victim suffered serious wounds but his condition is not life-threatening. The attacker died in the hospital from his bullet wound.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/dramatic-video-of-police-shooting-knife-wielding-man-at-770/2014/12/09/

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