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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Cohen’

Two Israelis Charged with Blackmailing a New York Rabbi

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s offices today submitted to the magistrate court an indictment and an arrest order against Shay Cohen and Simon Soriano, on charges of attempting to blackmail a Rabbi in a New York Jewish congregation. The name of the Rabbi has not been released for publication.

The two are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, and attempting to blackmail using threats. Cohen has also been charged with making threats and trying to intimidate a witness.

According to the indictment, Shai Cohen conspired with Soriano to blackmail the rabbi of a Jewish congregation in New York whom he had known previously. The two hired a woman to initiate an incident to be later used in the blackmail. The woman later told the accused that she had regrets, and then told told the rabbi of the plan to blackmail him. The accused threatened her life in response.

According to the indictment, Cohen later turned to another woman to join his criminal conspiracy to blackmail the rabbi. She, too, decided at a certain point to back out.

On July 17, after she received threats, the second woman filed a complaint with the police. Even after she had complained, Cohen kept trying to persuade her to retract the complaint.

The names of the rabbi and the two women have not yet been released.

What I Did On My ‘Mancation’

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Last year I told you about my “mancation” (men only) to a city to check out its Jewish community and major league team and ballpark. Last year it was Pittsburgh and Cincinnati; this year’s first “mancation” destination was Cleveland.

Actually, it was a two-parter. We left Detroit and headed south on I-75 and one hour after we’d departed from my dugout we arrived at Toledo’s beautiful downtown Fifth Third Field, the home of the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens of the International League. After watching the late afternoon game, we headed east on the Ohio Turnpike and arrived in Cleveland about two hours later.

The Cleveland Indians were part of my childhood in the early 1950s. Cleveland was the closest big league city to Detroit and I could pick up their ballgames on the radio and listen to their play-by-play man, Jimmy Dudley, one of the best ever to sit behind a microphone.

The Indians were the team of Al Rosen, the slugging Jewish third baseman, and general manager and part owner Hank Greenberg. My yeshiva classmates also followed the box scores daily to see how Rosen was doing, especially in 1953 when Rosen was trying for the triple crown (leading the league in three categories, batting average, home runs and runs batted in). Rosen finished the season with 43 homers and 145 RBI, good enough to top all others, but his last at-bat of the season was an infield out, leaving him with a .336 average for the year, a fraction of a point behind the American League batting champ Mickey Vernon of Washington. Vernon’s teammate was conveniently picked off base before he could bat. Who said life was fair?

The upper deck first-base side at Cleveland’s Progressive Field offers great views of the city’s downtown area.

The Rosen era ended when he retired after the 1956 season, but the soft spot for Cleveland remained. My first two trips to Cleveland were not to see ballgames, but to see Telshe yeshiva. Our yeshiva took us for visits on Thanksgiving weekends in the ’50s. Forty years later my daughter would marry someone in the Telshe Kollel and Cleveland became a regular destination and I got to see several games in Cleveland’s huge lakefront Municipal Stadium before the Indians moved to a new home on the other side of downtown.

Municipal Stadium saw the Indians’ last game in 1993. The big stadium also hosted the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. The stadium was eventually razed for a new football-only stadium after the Indians moved to a baseball-only park called Jacobs Field, after the owner of the baseball team. Under new ownership, “The Jake,” as it was fondly called, became Progressive Field.

Our first stop on this “mancation” was to a suburban kosher eatery before checking into a Beachwood area motel. The following morning we davened at the imposing Young Israel of Beachwood on Green Road. After a full breakfast in one of the area’s bakeries, it was one to Wickcliffe for a quick visit to the Telshe yeshiva campus.

Then we motored back to Cedar Road, which connects the suburbs that house Cleveland’s Orthodox communities (Beachwood, University Heights and Cleveland Heights), and headed to Progressive Field, only a few blocks from the heart of downtown. The three of us agreed that not only is Cleveland a nice place to visit but a good place to live as well. Good shuls full of nice people, good places to eat and affordable housing. Plus, the city boasts good museums and medical facilities.

About three hours after the last out was recorded we were back in our Oak Park, Michigan homes.

Cleveland is a much longer drive for most of you, but you’ll find it’s worth it.

Author, columnist, public speaker Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years before working in a major league front office where he earned a World Series ring. The president of one of Detroit’s leading shuls, Cohen may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

Conference on Annexing Judea and Samaria Draws Big Names, Big Turnout

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Hundreds of Israelis from across Israel gathered in Hebron last Thursday to participate in the Conference for the Application of Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and to hear a growing cadre of politicians, experts, and opinion-makers discuss their perspective on how to realize this goal.

The Conference, the second of its kind organized by Women in Green, saw a speaker list that appears to reflect a sense that annexation of Judea and Samaria is an increasingly viable option. Beyond the attendance of the expected nationalist politicians – like government minister and Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, National Union MK Uri Ariel, and Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely – also appearing were Caroline Glick, a senior editor at the Jerusalem Post; Yoram Ettinger, former Israeli ambassador to Washington; and Eran Bar-Tal, the economic editor of the Makor Rishon newspaper, among many others.

Long dismissed as a revisionist fantasy of the extreme nationalist camp, the idea of annexation is gaining traction in mainstream society, as more and more Israelis question the wisdom and validity of the ‘two state solution’ paradigm. The commission and release of the Levy Report appears to be one such manifestation of this shift.

At the Conference, which was held in the hall adjoining the Machpelah Cave, each speaker offered their own perspectives on annexation. Minister Hershkovitz insisted on the application of Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria and not only over the communities of Area C. In what appeared to be a jab at the annexation plan put forward by Naftali Bennett – who is running against Hershkowitz for chairmanship of Habayit Hayehudi – Hershkowitz said that the application of sovereignty over anything less than all of Judea and Samaria will be interpreted by the other side as an admission of surrender over certain parts of the area. Glick agreed with Hershkowitz, saying that “the cost will be the same cost, so it would be a shame to pay it for half the job….”

Bar-Tal, speaking from an economic perspective, dismissed the scare tactics of the left regarding the economic repercussions of annexation, and stated that in fact annexation would strengthen Israel’s economy.

Yitzhak Bam of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel analyzed the legal reality in Judea and Samaria, and – in concurrence with the Levy Report – stated that the issue of the application of sovereignty is not a legal question, but purely political, since there is no other sovereign authority that demands the return of the territory to it, and, in practice, there is a sort of “sovereignty vacuum” in Judea and Samaria.

But perhaps most stirring was the video message by Israel Prize laureate and former MK Geulah Cohen, who told of her parliamentary struggle to annex east Jerusalem, which began as a private initiative, and -after her tireless efforts- was finally passed by the Knesset on July 30, 1980.

Nadia Matar, who along with Yehudit Katsover organized the Conference, said: “We were greatly inspired by Geula. She talked about the denunciations she endured during that process. At the time people mocked her, just like they’re mocking us now.

“‘The sky didn’t fall’ when the law was passed,’ ” Matar recounted Cohen saying, “despite the propaganda employed by those opposed to the annexation.”

Cohen related how Teddy Kollek, then-mayor of Jerusalem, warned her that there would be an avalanche of international condemnation and isolation. Yes, foreign governments moved their embassies out of Jerusalem, she said, but if that’s the cost of asserting sovereignty over the Land of Israel, its a worthwhile cost.

Katsover and Matar said that that they plan on capitalizing on the momentum by enlisting more public figures and citizens to bear on the Knesset to advance the law for sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

“Just like we now express surprise that Israel did not have sovereignty over east jerusalem and the Golan Heights, so our children will express surprise that once we did not have sovereignty over Judea and Samaria,” Matar said.

 

Baby Beauty Contest, 1949

Friday, July 13th, 2012

The Golden Age Club met at the Emanuel Cohen Center, 909 Elwood Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 16, 1949.

The judges here included, left to right, Rabbi Schulman, William Liebo, Sam Finkelestein, and Lena Berdman. The baby beauty is Roberta Wilensky, aged 2.

I suppose we’ve been doing this to babies since the bronze age, but this looks tame compared to some of the baby competitions nowadays.

Good looking baby, though…

The Delmon Young Saga

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Every time Delmon Young come to bat, gets on base or makes a play in the field, we are reminded of his anti-Semitic rant in New York back in April.

As you recall, an inebriated Young encountered four tourists from Chicago giving money to a panhandler wearing a yarmulke and sporting a star of David around his neck. According to police reports, it was about 2:30 in the morning outside of the New York Hilton where the Tigers team was quartered when Young yelled anti-Jewish epithets and tackled one of the tourists, who suffered a minor elbow injury.

Young ran into the hotel and made his way up to his room. A security guard called police who arrested the 6-foot-3, 240-pound ballplayer in his room.

Tigers president and general manager David Dombrowski was traveling with the team at the time and was informed of the situation. He rushed to Young’s room, talked to the police and summed up the situation later to the media.

“He [Young] was apologetic at that time, although not in a very good state.” Dombrowski said. “Later on, he reached out to me and the organization so I know that he’s very apologetic and knows there is no excuse for what he did.”

The police took Young to Roosevelt Hospital where he sobered up and was charged later with second-degree aggravated harassment, which includes assaulting or threatening to assault someone “on the basis of the victim’s race or religion.”

Major League Baseball suspended the Tigers left fielder/designated hitter who is earning a whopping $6.75 million this season despite being a mediocre player who did get hot right before this week’s all-star break. The seven-day suspension cost Young approximately $258,000 in lost wages. Young does have an anger management problem. While playing in the minor leagues six years ago, he was suspended 50 games for throwing a bat at an umpire who had called him out on strikes.

The Tigers are Young’s third major league team in six years and he’ll be on his way again after the season as his contract is up and he’s a free agent. The incident will cost him dearly as many teams will shy away from him. Besides, he’s a below average fielder and runner and is a liability when stationed in the outfield. And he’s proving to be just an average designated hitter.

After his arrest in New York, Young issued an apology. More likely the Tigers public relations department wrote an apology attributed to Young:

“I sincerely regret what happened last night. I apologize to everyone I affected, the Ilitch family [Tigers owners], the Detroit Tigers organization, my teammates, my family and the great Tigers fans that have supported me since day one. I take this matter very seriously and assure everyone that I will do everything I can to improve myself as a person and player.”

Young is undergoing treatment in an alcohol program. The Tigers allowed Young to talk to the media after the suspension and here’s some of the things he said regarding the incident:

“I made a lapse in judgment, but I can tell you that I am not anti-Semitic.” He added that “being perceived as an anti-Semite is hard to deal with. That’s the toughest part, being branded as a racist or bigot, especially when that’s just not true. I have a lot of diverse friends and live in a diverse area.”

Diverse friends? Diverse area? What does that mean? It could mean that some are single and some are married; some are Republicans and some are Democrats. Anyway, I’m not convinced. Something about Jews or something Jewish caused Young to go ballistic.

We should know a bit more on August 2 as the case was adjourned until then to give Young’s lawyers more time to prepare his defense. In the meantime, a Detroit area Reform rabbi not known for wearing a yarmulke but known to be a Tigers season ticket holder, is buddying up with Young and advising him about Jews and Judaism.

Young’s agent, who is Jewish, should be busy this off-season trying to find a new team for him to sign with. One thing’s for sure: he won’t be earning what he’s earning this season.

Southern Comfort for Orthodox and Reform Campers on the Fourth

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

When a Reform summer camp in Mississippi invited an Orthodox summer camp for a Fourth of July celebration, the get-together became national Jewish news. The onslaught of publicity caught both camps off-guard.

“To me it seems like a normal event,” said Rabbi Avichai Pepper, camp director for the Orthodox Camp Darom. “There’s no reason to think this is anything different… Most of the people who work at the camp are used to not seeing a difference: a Jewish child is a Jewish child.”

“I think all of the cultural or practical differences may exist [when] we’re talking about 60 kids coming together,” explained Jonathan “JC” Cohen, camp director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Henry S. Jacobs Camp. “It’s kids being with kids at camp”

The two camps are roughly three hours apart from each other; Camp Darom, an arm of the Orthodox Baron Hirsch Congregation of Memphis Tennessee, is in Grenada, MI, while the much larger Jacobs camp is in Utica. Cohen said that both camps in the deep South have similar goals.

“You live in the Bible Belt and you get comments by your Christian classmates who don’t know what it’s like to be Jewish,” Cohen explained. Jewish camps offers a place where Jewish campers “get to be in the majority instead of the minority.”

Camp Darom is the only Orthodox camp in the Southeast United States and, with the exception of a small camp in Arizona, the only Orthodox camp in the entire south. The camp, which rents a piece of land owned by the United States Army Corp of Engineers, serves roughly 50 children. The Jacobs camp, which is run by the Union for Reform Judaism, serves close to 230. Both camps were founded in the mid-1970’s.

The day for the get-together was chosen for a specific reason.

“Unlike any other part of our 3,000 year history, the U.S. has really been very good to us,” said Rabbi Pepper. “I can’t think of celebrating a better day. Here we are in the same area as [the film] “Mississippi Burning” and we’ve got a nine-foot Israeli flag hanging under an American flag.”

Cohen said he was cautious about the programming and ensured that no lines would be crossed. Camp Darom would be bringing its own food, since Jacobs does not have a kosher kitchen, but the two camps would be eating in the same dining hall.

“It’s a good Jewish thing for people to eat together,” said Cohen, adding, “We’re not going to pray together.”

There will be a carnival and a parade and a concert by the Jewish musician Dan Nichols. Given the Orthodox prohibition on mixed-swimming, URJ is having separate swimming hours for its water slide. The URJ also ordered a snow cone truck to come in the evening and asked the operator to provide a kosher syrup. Cohen said that an event last year fell through, but this year funding help was provided by the Foundation for Jewish Camps.

“It was a small investment on our part to create this program and we hope this will inspire them to find other ways they can work collaboratively,” Jeremy Fingerman, CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp explained. “More of the Jewish world should follow the camps… They’re modeling the way we should act as a community down the road.”

The organization holds a series of conferences for camp directors across the United States from all spectrums of Judaism — from Reconstructionist to Agudah-like camps.

Both camp directors agree that growing up in the South breeds a specific type of Jew.

“There’s not a lot of Jews, and because the Christians in the south are very verbal in their Christianity you have to fight to be Jewish,” said Cohen. “If you’re really fighting for your identity, you generate a more passionate Jew.”

Macy Hart, the CEO of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, said that Jewish life “isn’t lived in the shadows.”

” Jewish life in the South has been one of true commitment to Jewish identity,” he said.

Hart was also the first director of the Jacobs camp, a camp he said that initially the Reform leadership was not so keen on.

“Never underestimate the determination of Jewish parents in the South to expose their children to a Jewish experience,” he said.

Being Enmeshed: Insights Into Concurrently Holding On And Letting Go

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I once heard a story about a single man struggling to find a spouse. His main challenge was his insistence that a potential mate permanently welcome his widowed mother into their marital home. A friend suggested that he speak with the great authority, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt’l. The man shared with the Rav his delicate predicament. The Rav validated the man’s approach as acceptable. Sometime later, the man met his bashert, the special woman willing to live with his mom. They returned to Rav Shlomo Zalman for his blessing. Surprisingly, the Rav called the man aside and told him that they cannot live with his mother anymore. The young man was shocked. After all, on the previous visit, the Rav had supported his desire to find a woman who would accept their living with his mother. Rav Shlomo Zalman explained that he supported the young man’s exceptional requirement as a test of sorts, to ensure that the young lady he would marry would be a woman of valor, a woman of kindness. But once he had in fact found such a woman, it was imperative, for the sake of the marriage, to exclude the mother from a permanent place in the home.

Most newly married couples don’t permanently invite parents into their private dwelling in a literal sense, but figuratively, they may bring their parents along for the ride. In the national bestseller The Good Marriage, Judith Wallerstein & Sandra Blakeslee report that many marriage counselors tell their clients “there are at least six people in every marriage – the couple and both sets of parents.” A delicate balance must be struck between maintaining positive and meaningful connection with family of origin, while at the same time, not alienating the new spouse and the fledgling marital union. In his renowned work, The Art of Loving, Eric Fromm discusses object relations theory and the process of individuation from parents. He explains that ideally we physically separate from our parents while concurrently bringing them with us in our minds and hearts. In this way, our parents are a support and a significant and influential backdrop throughout our lives. This concept is highlighted in the episode in Parshas Vayeshev when Yosef is saved from eishet Potifar’s advances with the help of the image of his father Yaakov, “dmus dyukno shel aviv.” He is far away from his home, but yet able to marshal Yaakov’s values and spiritual strength when it was most needed.

I recall many years ago counseling a young couple immediately after their marriage. It seemed that the husband was looking forward to a honeymoon with his new bride. His wife wasn’t adverse to the honeymoon, but her family had planned their yearly family vacation and the young lady didn’t want to give up on this special time. I empathized with both the young man’s disappointment in potentially having his new in-laws intrude on his honeymoon time, and the young women’s deep desire to remain attached to her parents and siblings. These tensions and conflicts are rampant in many marriages and don’t always have easy solutions. Sometimes a young couple is placed in the unenviable position of having to erect boundaries, as the more “mature” parents are oblivious to these considerations and are grasping to hold onto a child. It’s a complex dance with competing interests and my purpose in this brief article is to try to articulate some foundational principles to protect the marriage and the formation and development of the couple.

Jewish couples stand under a chuppah or canopy during the marriage ceremony. This canopy has no walls just a roof. The chuppah symbolizes the home and the husband bringing the wife into his material and spiritual domain. The task of erecting walls for this edifice is left to the couple. They must, over the course of their lives together, fill-in those walls and thereby fortify their relationship. Wallerstein and Blakesley alluded to above, bring an anecdote about a mother sitting down with her future daughter-in-law and attempting to intimidate her. She tells the poor girl that her upcoming marriage is doomed to failure. The young girl is mortified and immediately calls her future husband. The husband says, “don’t worry about it. I’m going to call my mother right now and tell her she’s not invited to our wedding.” This is a beautiful illustration of communicating to a spouse that they are the absolute priority. They report that this uncomfortable episode ultimately helped launch the marriage.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/being-enmeshed-insights-into-concurrently-holding-on-and-letting-go/2012/06/07/

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