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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘community’

Rabbi Ira Hill Uses His Skills to Help Community Businesses

Monday, December 19th, 2016

South Florida had for many years been viewed mainly as a vacation hot spot. The past two decades, however, have seen a dramatic boom in the area’s Jewish growth. Jewish day schools and yeshivas, mikvehs, kosher restaurants, and Jewish institutions have been expanding at a rapid pace.

Rabbi Ira (Yisroel) Hill realized that many of these organizations were not reaching their full potential. He decided to do something about it. Hill, who’d been working in community services for over twenty-five years in South Florida, decided to leave his position as vice president of operations at the Talmudic University of Florida in order to fill the void in the community.

Rabbi Ira Hill

Rabbi Ira Hill

Rabbi Hill was honored for his long-time service at last year’s Talmudic University annual dinner. “The South Florida community is in the process of maturation and there are many Jewish organizations that need to facilitate this growing community,” he said at the time. He set a goal to help the schools, shuls, and Jewish organizations take their business to the next level.

Hill decided to start a company using the skills he gained working for Talmudic University. In March he established INH Consulting LLC., a firm that specializes in assisting not-for-profit organizations realize their potential and generate success. INH also aids private events, fundraisers, and one-on-one-consultations. The firm has already had much success, and is in the process of expanding.

For more information regarding this initiative or INH Consulting’s services, contact info@inhconsultingllc.com or call 305-912-4642 (INHC).

Shelley Benveniste

Harold Jacobs: A Life Of Service – An Interview with Paul Jacobs, Son of a Legendary Community Leader

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

When Orthodox Jews think of leaders, they generally call to mind various rabbinic figures. Without devoted laymen, though, these rabbis could arguably accomplish little. One of the leading laymen of the previous generation, Harold Jacobs (1912-1995), is the subject of a recently published biography, “Building Orthodox Judaism in America: The Life and Legacy of Harold M. Jacobs” by Dr. Rafael Medoff.

Jacobs, at various points in his life, served as president of the Orthodox Union, president of the National Council of Young Israel, president of the Crown Heights Yeshiva, president of the Young Israel of Eastern Parkway, and chairman of New York City’s Board of Higher Education.

The Jewish Press spoke with Paul Jacobs, one of Harold Jacobs’s sons, to learn more about this active personality and the times in which he lived. Jacobs is president of Jacobs Capital Limited and Precision Equities, Inc.


The Jewish Press: Your father grew up in Williamsburg and was among the first students of Torah Vodaath. Why did his parents send him to yeshiva at a time when 99 percent of Orthodox Jews were sending their children to public school?  

Jacobs: My grandmother, a”h, had the good fortune to be the daughter and granddaughter of shochtim who had butcher shops on the Lower East Side that catered to those who wanted to be absolutely sure their butcher was reliable. My grandmother’s grandfather, Pinchus Aharon Bruder, was the only shochet from whom Rabbi Jacob Joseph – New York short-lived “chief rabbi” – bought his meat.

Throughout her life, my grandmother was totally unyielding when it came to halacha – so much so that she cut off almost all communication with family members who were no longer frum so that her children wouldn’t be influenced. Today, of course, when we baruch Hashem have yeshivas, mikvehs, shuls, etc., we are much more understanding and comfortable with our non-frum relatives.

Your father also attended Camps Argyle and Delawaxen, America’s first kosher overnight camps. Many readers may be surprised to learn that Orthodox overnight camps existed so long ago. What were they like?

I have limited information about them other than some pictures taken in the late 1920s. My father mentioned, though, that the camps were very primitive by today’s standards. For example, they didn’t have bunks; they slept in tents.

In Building Orthodox Judaism in America, Dr. Medoff mentions an interesting berachah your great-great-grandfather received from the Sanzer Rebbe, the Divrei Chayim. What was this berachah and what were the circumstances under which it was given?

The berachah was that his children would remain frum in America.

My great-great-grandparents were very upset that the Rebbe told them to go to “treifa” America. My great-great-grandmother, Brucha Bruder, cried profusely and was even ashamed to show her face in town. It was a big busha.

Needless to say, over the seven American generations in the 140 years since my great-great-grandparents landed in New York, there have, no doubt, been many dropouts, but baruch Hashem there are thousands of cousins who have remained frum.

Today, Crown Heights is known as a Lubavitch stronghold. But the Crown Heights in which your father lived and raised you was quite different. What was this now bygone Crown Heights like?

First of all, it was still somewhat undeveloped. My father told me he remembered farms on Empire Boulevard. Also, it was considered somewhat “out” from the main Jewish communities in Williamsburg, the Lower East Side, Harlem, etc. As difficult as it is to believe, my grandparents moved to Crown Heights to get away from anti-Semitism in Williamsburg. In any event, the community was solidly what today would be called Modern Orthodox. So were Boro Park and Flatbush.

As a child you attended the Crown Heights Yeshiva, where your father was president from 1953-1968. What was this yeshiva like?

It was one of the first day schools in America. It was co-ed, and had a truly exceptional curriculum and faculty in both kodesh and chol. It produced hundreds of balanced young people who have thrived in all walks of life. I didn’t realize it at the time, but many of my classmates did not come from shomer Shabbos homes and became frum because of the Crown Heights Yeshiva.

The school was very strict, and we feared both Rabbi Baumol, z”l, the principal, and Mrs. Singer, a”h, the English principal. But this permitted us to learn and grow up in a disciplined way.

Your father was also president of the Young Israel of Eastern Parkway, where you often davened on Shabbos. What was this shul like?

It was exceptional and, as per the aim of the Young Israel movement, it managed to blend our Americanism with our Yiddishkeit. I should mention that, in those days, the lines between Orthodox Jews and Conservative Jews were not as drawn as they are today. The Conservative movement was not a reaction to Orthodoxy; it was meant as a foil to counteract Reform and was much more halachic than it is today. Socially, therefore, many of the congregants of Conservative synagogues, such as the Brooklyn Jewish Center, which was also on Eastern Parkway, and Orthodox shuls, such as the Young Israel of Eastern Parkway, were almost indistinguishable. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for a Young Israel member to go to work after shul in the 1930s and 1940s.

You lived on President Street, two doors down from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Did your father, or you, have any interactions with him?

Like so many others, my father felt the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l, was an extraordinary person and one of the preeminent leaders of our time. He and the Lubavitcher Rebbe were well acquainted. First of all, my father chaired at least two of the annual Lubavitch dinners. They would also occasionally correspond on community matters. For example, my father explored the possibility of merging the OU and NCYI and, in one letter, the Rebbe argued against it for several reasons, among them that “kinas sofrim marbeh chochma” – competition breeds excellence.

During elections, my father would bring various candidates to meet the Rebbe, particularly to farbrengens. For example, when his good friend Abe Beame ran for mayor and my father was his campaign finance chair, they were taken to meet the Rebbe in the middle of a farbrengen. This, of course, was great politicking for Abe Beame.

Finally, every year thousands of Lubavitcher chassidim would escort the Rebbe from his house on President Street to Prospect Park for tashlich. I remember one occasion when my father and I were standing on the sidewalk watching the Rebbe walking in the middle of President Street with thousands of chassidim singing behind him. At one point, the Rebbe noticed us standing on the sidewalk and, to the amazement of the chassidim, walked over to wish a Good Yom Tov to my father. It was a bit surrealistic, to say the least.

When did the Jewish character of Crown Heights change?

The first change occurred in the late 1920s and early 1930s, when Crown Heights was predominately Reform and Conservative, and Modern Orthodox Jews started to relocate there and founded Orthodox shuls and schools. The second change occurred during the war years and after when escapees from the fires of Europe arrived and introduced what we call today haredi influences and institutions.

Elliot Resnick

Community Currents – December 16, 2016

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Jewish Press Staff

Community Currents – December 9, 2016

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Jewish Press Staff

Community Currents – December 2, 2016

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Jewish Press Staff

Leading Candidate For Defense Secretary Draws Concern In Pro-Israel Community

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Donald Trump confirmed on Sunday that retired Marine General James Mattis is a leading candidate to be his secretary of defense, a day after the two met at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Word of Trump’s comments immediately raised concerns in Israel and among supporters of Israel in the U.S., with Zionist Organization of America president Morton Klein issuing a lengthy press release calling on Trump not to appoint Mattis and describing Mattis’s past statements as “hostile to Israel” and reveal[ing] a lack of appreciation for and understanding of the extraordinary value to American security resulting from a strong American-Israeli alliance and a secure Israel.”

Speaking at a gathering of the Aspen Institute in 2013, Mattis gave his emphatic backing for what he called then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s “valiant” efforts to reach a two-state solution, saying that the foundation of a Palestinian state was of paramount importance for not only Israel but the United States.

“So we’ve got to work on this with a sense of urgency,” Mattis said. “And I paid a military-security price every day as a commander of CENTCOM, because the Americans are seen as biased in support of Israel, and that moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians.”

In addition, Mattis characterized Israeli control of Judea and Samaria as “unsustainable,” warning that Jewish “settlements” were liable to turn Israel into an “Apartheid” state.

“The current situation is unsustainable. It’s got to be directly addressed…. We have got to find a way to make the two-state solution that Democrat and Republican administrations have supported – we have go to get there. And the chances for it, as the king of Jordan has pointed out, are starting to ebb because the settlements and where they’re at are going to make it impossible to maintain the two-state option.

“For example, if I’m Jerusalem, and I put 500 Jewish settlers out here somewhere to the east and there’s 10,000 Arab settlers in here, if we draw the border to include them either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say that the Arabs don’t get to vote – Apartheid. And that didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country.”

While the Trump transition team has yet to issue a formal statement on the choice of defense secretary, Trump tweeted on Sunday regarding his meeting with Mattis Saturday afternoon, praising him as “very impressive,” “a true General’s General,” and “the real deal.”

(Jewish Press, INN)

Combined News Services

Community Currents – November 25, 2016

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/community-currents/community-currents-november-25-2016/2016/11/23/

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