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August 27, 2016 / 23 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘chance’

Writing A Torah In Memory Of Rabbi Dovid Bryn

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Usher Bryn, brother of Rabbi Dovid Bryn, z”l, fills in a letter together with his son Jonathan.

Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday, April 29, at Chabad Chayil Synagogue in Highland Lakes to pay tribute to South Florida’s Rabbi Dovid Bryn, z”l, and launch a project of writing a new Sefer Torah in honor of the rabbi’s 10th yahrzeit. Community members and local rabbis shared their memories of the legendary leader and his amazingly personality and accomplishments.

All in attendance had a chance to write a letter, filling in the first few pesukim of a Torah that will take a year and a half to complete. Every two weeks or so there will be a siyum completion ceremony of a parshah in another home, enabling the host/parshah sponsor to invite their friends and give them all a chance to write a letter.

The completion of the Sefer Torah will be celebrated together with the completion of the new Chabad House building, scheduled to break ground soon. A documentary of the rabbi is also in the works.

If you have a story you would like to share or if you would like to get a letter or parshah in the Dovid Bryn Sefer Torah, go to www.RabbiDovidBryn.org or call 305-770-1919.

Shelley Benveniste

Jackie Robinson: A Real Mensch

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I was lucky enough to have met and interviewed many Hall of Famers including Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, Ted Williams and Stan Musial.

I also had the chance to meet and gab with many of the stars from the old Negro Leagues who went on to play in the major leagues after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier – Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin and Satchel Paige. But I never had the chance to meet Jackie Robinson.

I did, though, meet Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s elegant, graceful widow.

From everything I’ve heard on the baseball beat, Jackie Robinson was a credit to his race – the human race. More important than being a great athlete and ballplayer, he was intelligent, articulate, and above all a great husband and father. He was, in short, a genuine mensch.

Robinson was only 53 when he died in 1972, old before his time, racked with diabetes and nearly blind.

This year baseball is celebrating the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color barrier. It was April 15, 1947, when Robinson became the first openly black man to play in the major leagues.

Ebbets Field was a ballpark of small dimensions and limited seating capacity of some 32,000. Only 25,623 paid their way in to see Robinson’s debut on Opening Day in 1947, 4,000 less than the ’46 opener. But the Dodgers went on to set their all-time Brooklyn attendance record of 1.8 million in 1947.

The only black man in the majors excited fans that year by batting .297 with 12 home runs and 29 stolen bases, more than double anyone else.

Calling the games on radio that year for Brooklyn was Red Barber, a man steeped in the prejudices of his era and place of birth. Barber was born in Mississippi and moved with his family when he was 10 to central Florida.

“I saw black men tarred and feathered by the Ku Klux Klan…. I had grown up in a completely segregated world,” Barber recalled in his book 1947 – When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball.

Barber thought about quitting. After all, a Southern gentleman in 1947 couldn’t be expected to work for an organization that would treat a black man as an equal. But Robinson wasn’t an equal – he was superior to most ballplayers at the time, superior as a player and as a man.

Robinson went to college and starred at UCLA in basketball and football before serving in the army. He earned the rank of second lieutenant and was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, and Fort Hood, Texas, where white officers wouldn’t give him a chance to try out for the baseball team.

After being turned in by a bus driver to military police for refusing to sit in the rear seating area, Robinson faced a court martial for disobedience but eloquently won his case. After receiving an honorable discharge, and with the doors closed to blacks in many fields including professional baseball, Robinson joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues in 1945.

Fair-minded men at the time tried to promote the integration of blacks in baseball without success. Boston Jewish councilman Isidore Muchnick threatened to pass legislation to ban Sunday baseball in Boston unless the Red Sox granted a tryout to three Negro Leaguers.

A tryout was arranged for three players from different Negro League teams – Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams.

The tryout was originally scheduled for April 12, 1945, but that turned out to be the day President Roosevelt died. Vice President Truman was inaugurated as president and Roosevelt was buried in Hyde Park, New York, on Sunday, April 15. The day of FDR’s burial, British forces liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where 16-year-old Anne Frank died the previous month.

The following day, April 16, the three Negro Leaguers came to their Red Sox tryout at Fenway Park. Jackie Robinson was the most impressive of the tryout trio, prompting Red Sox manager Joe Cronin to tell Muchnick he hoped the team would sign Robinson. But the Red Sox never followed up and would become the last major league team to field a black player – some 14 years later.

Robinson went on to star for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945 and attracted the attention of Brooklyn Dodgers boss Branch Rickey, who followed Robinson’s activities off the field as well. Rickey was convinced he had found the right man to break baseball’s unwritten color barrier and signed Robinson to a contract in early 1946 and assigned the infielder to the Dodgers’ top minor league club in Montreal.

Red Barber was also following Robinson’s progress. It was just a matter of time before Robinson would be up with the Dodgers and Barber was mulling over quitting.

“I didn’t quit,” Barber related in his book. “I made myself realize that I had no choice in the parents I was born to, no choice in the place of my birth or the time of it. I was born white just as a Negro was born black. I had been given a fortunate set of circumstances, none of which I had done anything to merit, and therefore I had best be careful about being puffed up over my color.”

Irwin Cohen

Chevra Kadisha Forum Says Ministry’s Plans for Mass Burials ‘Problematic’

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Israel’s Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) has rejected the government’s plan for mass burials in the event of a mass casualty incident, and submitted an alternative plan to Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai on Sunday.

The Chevra Kadisha Forum, in a letter to Vilnai, challenged the Interior Ministry’s 2011 plan, which mandates temporary burial in coffins at temporary cemeteries as well as the option of transferring bodies to cooling facilities until they can be identified and final resting places can be arranged. According to the Interior Ministry’s plan, such transfers would not take place during the national emergency itself.

According to the Forum, which is headed by Wolf Rosenberg and brings together the 12 major chevrot kadisha in Israel, the Interior Ministry’s plans are “problematic from a halachic and humane perspective.”

The Forum wrote that it would be able to provide a proper and permanent burial even during a national emergency, through advanced and standardized planning. Crucial to its plan is the provision of a permanent reserve of 10,000 vacant burial plots designated specifically for national emergencies.  “All work would be performed by chevrot kadisha. Allotment of these reserves would occur on the national level, from the north to the south, and the land used will be from areas adjacent to or nearby existing cemeteries, so that the necessary infrastructure and facilities will be well-prepared for emergencies.” Such a plan would require “the state to unfreeze lands adjacent to cemeteries and designated for expansion, and expedite approvals for designated lands or cemeteries.”

The Forum lamented that “as it stands now, there is no chance that chevrot kadisha would be able to to perform the necessary tasks. The system would collapse within minutes. This is a nightmare scenario of which the chevrot kadisha are not ready to participate.”

The Forum added that “this solution will spare the grieving families the added pain of exhuming the dead from makeshift cemeteries to permanent ones, will spare another burial and all the accompanying trauma. Our solution preserves the dignity of the dead as well as result in significant financial savings.

Solomon Burke

Prominent Turkish Muslim Leader Sends Passover Blessings to the Jewish Nation

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Adnan Oktar (also known by his pen name Harun Yahya), a prominent Turkish intellectual and religious leader with a mass following, has communicated and met personally over the past decade with many Orthodox rabbis from Israel and abroad, expressing his friendship to the Jewish nation and his reverence to the Torah.

Oktar has sent via the Jewish Press his blessing to the Jewish nation on the occasion of Passover:

While we remember the Prophet Moses’, peace be upon him, exodus from the oppression of the Pharaoh, and God’s help during this amazing journey, we pray for the blessings of God upon all His servants. May God send His Mashiach soon, and bring the days that we can altogether make Korban (sacrifice) in peace and joy in the Holy Land.

[God said:] And remember, We delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: They set you hard tasks and punishments, slaughtered your sons and let your women-folk live; therein was a tremendous trial from your Lord.

And remember We divided the sea for you and saved you and drowned Pharaoh’s people within your very sight. And remember We appointed forty nights for Moses, and in his absence you took the calf (for worship), and you did grievous wrong. Even then We did forgive you; there was a chance for you to be grateful. And remember We gave Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (Between right and wrong): There was a chance for you to be guided aright. (Quran, 2:49-53)

Back in 2009, I conducted a short interview with Adnan Oktar over the email, which I will bring here. It is important to note that while our relations with official Turkey are at an unprecedented low, there are prominent, religious Muslim voices inside Turkey, which offer friendship and empathy to the Jews and to the Jewish state.

Yanover: First, may I congratulate you on your vision for peace in the Middle East and, indeed, the world, and on your staunch campaign to promote the values of Monotheism. A religious Jew, I am touched when I encounter reason and compassion among the nations, and your life’s work gives me hope for the future of humanity.

How pragmatic is your vision for a united Turkish-Islamic Near-East? Do you see it as coming to pass under the rule of a Divine redeemer, or is it a plan to be accomplished by people in this pre-Messianic reality? If it is the latter, you must be aware of the obstacles in many Muslim states to the development of democratic institutions and efficient, corruption-free state bureaucracies. How would you overcome these difficulties?

Adnan Oktar: Every day, important and positive developments regarding the formation of the Turkish-Islamic Union are taking place, although the real establishment of this union will take place under the leadership of Hazrat Mahdi, peace be upon him (the Muslim version of the Redeemer – YY). According to the information handed down from the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, Hazrat Mahdi, peace be upon him, will unite the fragmented Turkic and Islamic states and establish a great and powerful union.

Under his leadership, the Turkish-Islamic Union will be a union of love and friendship. Every state will preserve its own constitutional structure, but there will be full cooperation in defense, trade, science, art, love and brotherhood, as well as the beauty and abundance brought about by that cooperation. Hazrat Mahdi, pbuh, will be instrumental in the Turkish-Islamic world delighting in love, depth, compassion, peacefulness, art and beauty, and in scaling the peaks of modernity and nobility. And the devotion and love felt for Hazrat Mahdi, pbuh, will be instrumental in all disputes being resolved in a matter of minutes. As a requirement of the moral values of the Qur’an, the Turkish-Islamic Union will be one that attaches great importance to democracy, laicism and freedom of ideas, and these values will acquire increasing importance in all the states affiliated to the union.

Things that seem to be obstacles on the path to the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union are unimportant. The coming of Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh), the unification of the Turkish-Islamic world, the spread of moral virtues and the glory of Allah being praised everywhere is Allah’s promise. It will certainly be made good. Allah’s promise is true and Allah does not break His promise.

Yanover: Your love for all monotheistic people is clear and admirable. But while Jews are devoid of a directive to convert others to our faith, the very foundation of most Christian denominations is the command to bring others into theirs. Is it possible for God-loving men to live in peace with a large Christian element fomenting such aggressive intentions? Would it not spell constant tension and unrest within the community of God?

Adnan Oktar: It is natural for members of all faiths to think their beliefs are true and to defend them. Jews, Muslims and Christians have a perfect right to defend and tell others of their beliefs. However, it is of course unacceptable to try to force anyone to be a Christian or compel anyone to be a Muslim. Such a thing has no place in Islam. In verse 256 of Surat al-Baqara, Allah reveals, “There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned.”

Yori Yanover

Finish Line (Conclusion)

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

At certain points in each of our lives, we are given challenges – some big, some small. Some people embrace it, welcoming every chance they get to grow and mature, while others are deathly afraid of any sort of change in their blissful, comfortable routine.

I was given many challenges over the past year and a half, none of which I would have ever chosen to face had I been given the choice. But as we face the challenges head-on that come our way and overcome them, we grow and become better, wiser and more understanding people. Our struggles are what make us who we are and determine how we relate to others. And hopefully, we can look back at our challenges and appreciate the level of trust God has in us to overcome them.

Regardless of the painful experiences I was dealing with, there was one challenge that I took on with anticipation and determination. Running a half-marathon – 13.1 miles – is not something I ever thought I would do, yet that’s exactly what I did this past January in Miami Beach. Along with 134 other members of Team Yachad, I ran in support of Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities.

My adventure started about six months ago in a New Jersey high school with my first meeting with some of the dedicated staff members and runners. I also met with Coach Jasmine (“Jaz”) Graham, who patiently answered every question I threw at her, and who provided me with my very own training regimen to fit my schedule.

Training for the half-marathon was a challenge I both dreaded and looked forward to. Unfortunately I have never before been able to incorporate regular fitness into my daily routine, as there never seemed to be enough time in the day to get to the gym or enough energy to hit the treadmill. Training with Yachad was the motivation I needed to start moving, and thus began my personal journey to fitness, awareness, and self-discovery.

Team Yachad 2012

I was extremely self-conscious the first time I went running. I kept looking around to see if there was anybody that I knew, and comparing my speed with the numerous other people who were running through the park. At the end of my run, I was both exhausted and exhilarated. The fact that I was able to run the few miles, despite never accomplishing this before, gave me an enormous feeling of pride. I felt like I wanted to do this every single day.

That feeling lasted about 10 or 12 hours – until every bone in my body began to ache and bring me pain. Yet the incredible rush that running gave me motivated me to continue, and I was determined to support and run along with Team Yachad in the half-marathon. Running gave me an opportunity to be alone with my thoughts, to clear my head, and to escape (at least for that hour or so) the chaos that was going on in my personal life. Something about the fresh air, the rhythmic sound of my feet hitting the pavement, and the peace and quiet through the park was soothing. It was exactly what I needed at that point in my life.

After a few weeks of training, I began to notice a change in myself, both during my workout and in general. I was feeling more confident, more sure of my abilities and myself. I ran with better posture, I wasn’t comparing myself to the other runners in the park, and I felt like I could do anything. I never realized the impact that the training alone would have on my life.

After several months and a few bumps along the road, including a bad fall and a torn ligament, I finally arrived in Miami Beach for the Yachad marathon weekend. The Shabbaton was incredible, and I met many special people during my trip. The marathon itself was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will stay with me forever. The incredibly gratifying feeling of satisfaction and pride after finishing the race with Team Yachad is indescribable. It was also quite inspirational to see the display of unity, the inclusion of every single person – including 15 runners with disabilities – and the dedication each runner displayed toward Yachad and each other.

Looking back, I am honored to have been part of such a moving experience. It was humbling to meet Yachad’s special people, along with its staff, members, volunteers, and everyone who participated in the event. I still continue to run when I can, feeling much more secure and comfortable when I do. Yachad has influenced my life in many ways, and inspired me to take on something I never thought I could do. For those feelings alone, I am truly grateful.

Shaindy Urman

‘No’ To A Jewish Super District

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The current New York State Senate redistricting map championed by the Republican majority calls for the establishment of what has been characterized as a super Jewish district. Under the plan, Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, spanning four separate districts but which have recently exhibited Republican tendencies, would be redistricted into one district with an overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jews. We believe this plan to be ill advised.

Currently, though they do not constitute a majority, Orthodox voters have become so pivotal in the various districts that elected official must take notice of their concerns. The new plan would replace that reality with just one district in which just one elected official would have to take notice.

Proponents of the new plan say that since Republicans have scant chance of being elected in Brooklyn, the new super district would guarantee the election of a Republican and ensure a State Senate Republican majority that has pledged to do the Orthodox community’s bidding.

It’s an argument that on its face may sound compelling, but it seems to us that when it comes to providing for constituents’ needs, four points of access are better than one.

Editorial Board

Texas Orthodox Jewish School Loses Bball Final

Monday, March 5th, 2012

The NY Times reports that Robert M. Beren Academy, an Orthodox Jewish high school which succeeded in its appeal to reschedule a semi-final game of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools from Shabbat to Friday afternoon last week, on Saturday night lost to Abilene Christian, 46-42, in the state championship game.

The final, moved from Shabbat afternoon, was played at 8 p.m. at a Catholic school in Fort Worth. Beren Academy trailed for much of the first two quarters before tying the score at halftime, 19-19. But the Jewish team failed to keep pace with Abilene in the second half.

“We’re just happy they had a chance to play,” Beren Academy Coach Chris Cole said.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/texas-orthodox-jewish-school-loses-bball-final/2012/03/05/

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