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November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘community’

Arch-Terrorist Khaled Mashaal Returning Victorious to Gaza

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

One of the world’s most prominent terrorists, Khaled Mashaal, since 2004 the “main leader” of the Hamas terror organization and the head of its political bureau since 1996, is going to make his first-ever visit [source: Washington Post] to the Gaza Strip this week.

WaPo is calling this “a sign of increasing boldness” after Hamas “held its own against an Israeli military offensive” and will be his chance to “congratulate its leaders and fighters for battling Israel” according to a senior – but “careful” – Hamas official in Gaza who “spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concern.”

It’s a propitious time to take a look at some of the open silliness that routinely affects media “experts” when they deal with the practitioners of child-murder.

Mashaal recently enjoyed a well-publicized on-air interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in which she reflected the spirit of honest journalistic enquiry as she asked him: “Is it useful to kill civilians?“:

“Let me give you the truth… We don’t target the civilians… The resistance does not target the civilians… We are ready to accept a purely peaceful way, as long as we obtain our demands… Our people is the victim… The offer must come from the attacker [Israel]…”

Noting that Ms Amanpour – like most on-camera reporters – evidently lacks the background information to demolish his absurd response, he presses on:

“I accept a Palestinian state according to 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital, with the right to return [meaning the entry of millions of Palestinian Arabs into Israel]…”

Somehow, the terrorist has been understood as implying that Hamas – whose declared, uncompromising, principal goal is to destroy Israel – has abandoned its ideology and is ready to accept something more moderate.

Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh understands Mashaal better than most Westerners, and has no qualms about stating clearly what is happening. Even while Mashaal was on CNN, his Gaza-based Hamas colleagues were talking – in the Arabic language – about continuing the fight against Israel until the “liberation of all our lands, from the sea to the river.”

Writing for the Gatestone Institute think-tank on Friday [“How Hamas Is Trying to Fool Everyone“], Abu Toameh re-states the one essential principle that outsiders keep avoiding and/or denying:

“Is Hamas really on its way to moderation and pragmatism, as some Western political analysts and diplomats have come to believe? And what do some Hamas leaders mean when they say that they are ready to accept a Palestinian state “only” in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem? …Mashaal’s remark is nothing but an attempt to mislead the international community into believing that Hamas has endorsed the two-state solution and is willing to live in peacealongside Israel… Hamas has not changed or relinquished its dream of replacing Israel with an Islamist state that is funded and armed by Iran. Unless Hamas changes its charter, the talk about changes in its strategy only serves to spread the movement’s campaign of deception.”

He goes on to point out that the one true construction of Mashaal’s statement is the opposite of what is being spun out of his words: Hamas knows it cannot achieve its goal of destroying Israel for now and will therefore take whatever land it can get from the Israelis… and then continue the fight to “liberate” “Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea”.

In fact Mashaal said just that to Christiane Amanpour:

“Palestine, from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, it is my land. And the land of my fathers and grandfathers, inhabited by the Palestinians from a long time ago… but because of the circumstances of the region, because of the keenness to stop the bloodshed, the Palestinians today, and Hamas, have agreed on a program that accepts the 1967 borders.”

Mashaal is not alone in putting things this way: first they take the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem. Then they use these as a launching pad in the process of eliminating Israel. Mission accomplished.

Abu Toameh again:

Hamas is engaged in a subtle campaign to win the sympathy of the international community by appearing as if it is ready to abandon its dream of destroying Israel. Mashaal’s remarks should be seen in the context of a new Hamas tactic aimed at turning the radical Islamist movement into a legitimate and recognized player in the international and regional arenas. Those who have been misled into believing Hamas’s lies should be referred to the movement’s charter, where it is clearly stated that “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it…”

They know this. But they continue to ignore it. Why spoil a neat and compelling narrative by introducing facts?

Visit This Ongoing War.

Road To Recovery

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Dear Brocha,

Thank you so much for your column and for shining light on this matter.

Addiction has been gnawing at the souls of our community for a long time. Yet, it still remains a disease that is swept under the table.

At first, when I found out that my wife of 21 years was addicted to pain killers I was relieved!

She has been suffering mood swings the likes of which I had never seen before, since our three-year-old son passed away about six years ago.

Soon after he was niftar, my wife fell into a deep depression. She went to doctors who prescribed painkillers to help her cope with his death. Apparently, once she was hooked my wife began taking cocktails of medications without my knowledge. As a result, our lives turned from tragic to chaotic.

We went from grief counselors to marital therapy. However, my wife’s behavior kept getting more erratic. She went from being a warm, caring & loving mother to a paranoid, angry & depressed person whom none of us recognized.

One day, our twelve-year-old daughter came home and found my wife passed out on the floor.

She called Hatzolah, and it was at the hospital that I was made aware of my wife’s addiction.

My wife was frightened that she had a seizure and agreed to go to a rehab to get proper treatment. I was told that her having been found passed out on the floor by our daughter was her rock bottom.

My wife is presently at an out-of-state rehab where the goals are to wean her off the drugs, and then teach her proper coping skills.

The last couple of weeks have been tough on all of us.

My children are ashamed that their mother is a drug addict – and miss her and how she used to be.

I am having a tough time coping with the guilt of not having realized how much she was hurting, and what was truly happening to my family.

Evidently, my drug of choice was to throw myself deeper into my work.

I am beginning to see that I was numbing myself in that way, and wasn’t there for my wife and children when they needed me most.

I have been attending Al-Anon meetings and placed our children into therapy. We are all trying to heal. Yet, I see it’s a slow painful process. The facility my wife is in will be hosting a “family program” next weekend. Thus far, I have already attended two family Sundays by myself and have found them to be highly informative and helpful. My wife looks better each time I see her. Her spunk for life seems to be coming back and I am really hopeful that we have just received a new lease on life! For this upcoming family weekend, my wife’s counselor wants me to bring our children.

Truth be told, ever since my daughter found my wife on the floor, she does not want to have anything to do with her. When my wife was in the hospital she didn’t want to visit, and is refusing to come along for the weekend visitation. When I try talking with her about it, she tells me that her brother’s death affected everyone in the family, but only her mother chose to be a “druggie.” I don’t know what to do? Do I force my daughter to visit her mother? I feel that if she would see for herself how hard her mother is working on her recovery, and how much better she looks, she will be able to let go of some of her anger and resentment. Do I force her or try to trick her into coming?

Trying to keep my family together

Dear Trying,

I feel so sorry for your predicament. My heart goes out to you and your family.

I am also very grateful and impressed that you are so forgiving and understanding of your wife’s addiction.

Addiction is a disease and is treated in the medical community as one. However, socially has yet to accept it as such.

Although your daughter is still young in age, she was obviously forced to grow up very fast.

The Trial of a Rasha

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The trial of of accused sexual abuser Rabbi Nechemya Weberman is underway. I thought I would post a few of my thoughts about it. First let me excerpt the following quote by Anna C. Salter PhD from Rabbi Yakov Horowitz’s website:

1. It is perhaps not surprising that predators who have never been arrested are so successful in fooling people. They simply take on the lifestyle and manner of genuinely nice people, and it is understandable, if tragic, that we can’t tell the difference.

2. It is a misconception that child molesters are somehow different from the rest of us, outside their proclivities to molest. They can be loyal friends, good employees, and responsible members of the community in other ways.

3. Offender self-reports have dubious validity, especially when the offender’s self-interest is at stake. The only rule for deception in sex offenders I have ever found is this: If it is in the offender’s best interest to lie, and if he can do it and not get caught, he will lie.

I have little doubt about Rabbi Weberman’s guilt. And I am encouraged by the over 40 people who have so far shown up at the trial to show support for the victim. I am also encouraged by the number of people who have responded to the request by Rabbi Horowitz to post a comment on his website in support of the victim. I encourage everyone to do so. She can use all the support she can get. Her character is being attacked. It is a typical ploy of defense attorneys to attack the character of an accuser at trial so as to undermine their credibility.

I posted a comment of my own there. It isn’t much but it’s the least I can do in support of a victim of sex abuse. I am also glad to see the name of Rabbi Chaim Twersky, one of the Roshei Yeshiva of HTC in that list of commenters. He posted a comment of support for the victim. That takes courage. He is one of my local heroes for many reasons. He just added another one by doing that.

Bearing in mind the American tradition of innocent until proven guilty, I will wait until the end of the trial to pass final judgment. But the facts of the case are so revealing that one would have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to think this man is innocent. And yet his community and its rabbinic leadership is either all of those… or they simply don’t care. That’s why they had a fund-raiser for a supposed defense fund and raised a half million dollars. Which they promptly used to try and bribe the victim to drop the charges and leave the country.

Not only was the victim not tempted to take that money, but the four Chasidim who tried to bribe her were arrested for trying to do that. Thank God! These “good people” will probably serve some time for their “altruism.” And their families will suffer. I’m sure that there will be fundraisers for them too with all kind of appeals to sympathy for the plight of these “Frum” Jews and their families. And of course there will be attendant accusations of Antisemitism that are always attached to the courts if they are convicted and sent to prison. But that’s another conversation.

One of the things almost always heard – especially in places like Williamsburg (where Rabbi Weberman lives) is that one should never believe an accuser that is no longer observant. Especially when she is rebelling from the very community that she accuses of sex abuse and protecting the abuser. That is in fact the exact argument being made by the defense. From theNew York Times:

Lawyers for Mr. Weberman, however, argue that the young woman fabricated the allegations because she was furious at Mr. Weberman for what she thought was a betrayal of her trust. At age 15, they said, she had revealed to Mr. Weberman that she had a boyfriend — a serious breach of the community’s stringent rules — and then, a defense lawyer said, she concluded that he told her parents about it.

“There was only one answer,” said George Farkas, the defense lawyer, “vengeance and revenge against Nechemya Weberman, and through this, to bring down the entire community that either supported him, or of which he was a part.”

ADL Commemorates its Centennial by Honoring Bain Capital Executive

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

On its 100th year, the Anti-Defamation League  is recognizing Lavine’s immense civic leadership and influence to affect positive change in our community. Their press release states: Lavine believes strongly in giving back to his community. Together with his wife Jeannie, Lavine has helped create, grow and sustain numerous organizations focused on improving the lives of children and families around the world.

“It is fitting that we commemorate ADL’s centennial in New England by honoring Jonathan Lavine, who embodies the very principles that have defined ADL since 1913,” said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “He is a champion for those who need support, and for those who may be bullied or discriminated against. We are delighted to have this opportunity to honor and thank him, to acknowledge his exemplary leadership, and inspire others to follow his extraordinary example of service to the community.”

Lavine is Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Sankaty Advisors, the fixed income and credit affiliate of Bain Capital, one of the leading global credit and distressed debt managers, with approximately $19 billion of assets under management.

From Baltimore to Bayswater With Kindness!

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

The Baltimore Jewish Community and The Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater Present a ‘Welcome Home!’ Carnival Extravaganza on Sunday, November 25th.

From The Chesed Fund — Nov. 19, 2012

Baltimore’s The Chesed Fund/Project Ezra and Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater will be presenting an exciting free children’s carnival on Sunday, November 25th. The Young Israel is led by Rabbi Eliezer Feuer, who has continually provided comfort to his congregants throughout the Superstorm ordeal. Accomplished community organizer Mrs. Marla Lewis of The Chesed Fund will direct the event.

Frank Storch, founder of The Chesed Fund, reflected, “We worked closely with the Bayswater community after Hurricane Sandy devastated them. We transported emergency generators, gas cans, and lanterns. But now, this fantastic community, especially the children, need a break. We intend to bring them some good, cheerful fun!” Toys, games, prizes, entertainment, and delicious food will be brought in to delight the children.

The ‘Welcome Home!’ Carnival promises to be a wonderful opportunity for parents to spend quality, relaxed time with their kids – an experience that has been in short supply since Hurricane Sandy hit their town in Far Rockaway, New York. There will be jugglers, magicians, clowns, face painting, a moon bounce, and live music. Kids will nosh on popcorn, hot dogs, hot pretzels, and cotton candy. It will truly be a day to treasure.

Rabbi Feuer added, “On behalf of my community of Bayswater and Far Rockaway, I want to thank Frank Storch and his family and the Baltimore Jewish community for caring about us and reaching out to us in New York. This is a great opportunity for our community to have a fresh start.”

A bus full of Bais Yaakov and Bnos Yisroel school girls will travel from Baltimore to help run the carnival. Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim Talmudical Academy of Baltimore Middle School is collecting Chanukah gifts for the children. Talmudical Academy staff will also be traveling to Far Rockaway to assist with the Carnival.

Dougie’s BBQ & Grill of Pikesville will be sending kosher meals on the bus for the volunteers and Goldberg’s New York Kosher Bagels of Pikesville will be providing them breakfast on their way. Jonathan Ely of Traveling Tykes of Lakewood, NJ and Jonathan Glass of NYFF Events are generously supplying the Carnival booths, food, and other enchanting Carnival attractions.

The Free ‘Welcome Home’ Carnival is a celebration open to the community, many of whom have been affected in one way or another. Rabbi Feuer stated, “For the most part, our power is back on; we have food and gas again.” He continued,” Now, we’re in rebuilding mode and we’re full speed ahead with crews on the ground. At least 75 families in our community are still displaced. We want to see them fully restored and we want to replace the belongings they’ve lost. It’s a monumental task but the care and kindness shown to us makes us even stronger.”

The Chesed Fund has yet more plans for Bayswater; they will soon be bringing engineers to the Bayswater community to assess the rebuilding needs. Also on the agenda this week is a donation of a 4-wheel drive, 15 passenger van by Baltimore Shomrim, and Frank and Danielle Storch. Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater will be able to use it for their community transportation and safety and security needs. Shomrim leaders Ronnie Rosenbluth and Danny Harris headed up this noteworthy project.

Storch added with a touch of humor, “We will continue to pull together to make some magic happen. The free Carnival is a day for the Bayswater kids to shine. I’m also proud of our Baltimore students, who have been so eager to be involved in this chesed.”

The ‘Welcome Home’ Free Carnival will take place from 11am-4pm, this Sunday, Nov. 25th, at Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater, 2716 Healy Ave., Bayswater, NY 11691.

To make a donation toward their relief efforts, please make check payable and mail to Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater, with notation of Relief Efforts.

Media Contact: Davida Braunstein davida770@yahoo.com

Carnival Contact: Marla Lewis 443-604-1462 or marla.lewis@comcast.net

Broward Chabad’s Chanukah Celebration/33rd Birthday

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The 33rd annual South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival is getting bigger and better. Over 10,000 people have attended the event since it was moved to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach in 2007, and the upcoming festival set for Thursday, December 13, will include a star-studded show that is guaranteed to attract the largest attendance yet.

The festival (at Gulfstream Park, US1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd.) is produced and directed by Chabad of South Broward, leaders in Jewish education, social services and community outreach.

The festival will be preceded by a 100-car menorah parade, starting out from the Yeshivah Gedolah of Greater Miami, under the auspices of Florida Friends of Lubavitch.

Other festival highlights will include music by 8th Day brothers Shmuel and Bentzion Marcus; the lighting of Florida’s largest menorah led by Cantor Rabbi Yossy Lebovics, a large lineup of community leaders and dignitaries, free Chanukah gelt and goodies for the thousands of children in attendance, as well as a delicious dinner (for a nominal fee) and scores of valuable prizes.

Rabbi Levi Tennenhaus, the event’s coordinator and Chabad’s program director, encourages those who can afford it to get reserved seating, “The event, as always, is free. However, in addition to our major sponsors, individuals are entitled to reserve VIP seats for $100 per seat. This will help both the festival, which runs at an enormous cost as a service to the community, and individuals who want the luxury and convenience to sit up front with their seats reserved exclusively for them and their families.” Corporate sponsors include Gulfstream Park and Casino, and Kosher Central. The event will be broadcast live around the world courtesy of Chabad.org.

Chanukah marks the birthday of Chabad of South Broward. The first Chabad Center in Broward County. It sponsors over forty programs and institutions throughout Broward County, including Project PRIDE, a non-sectarian drug prevention and education program; The Friendship Circle, an incredible interactive program for children with special needs; Florida’s only teachers seminary for women; the fast-growing CHAI TOTS preschool and Hebrew Club; bar and bat mitzvah clubs, CTEEN Club; three mikvehs accessible to the physically challenged; Camp Gan Israel; kollel for businessmen and professionals, and twelve synagogues.

For more festival information, or to reserve VIP and box seats, call 954-458-1877; e-mail levi@chanukahfestival.com; or log on to www.chanukahfestival.com.

Chinese Lanterns In The Sukkah

Friday, November 16th, 2012

A Hong Kong symphony of sounds fills the air as local laborers shout across the shul courtyard in Cantonese while tossing bamboo in a pile for the sukkah: Filipino maids chatter in Tagalog hovering over the children in their charge, the radio of the Nepalese gurkhas, the Synagogue security, crackles and jackhammers provide the background music. The thick air and humidity within the walls of the partially constructed bamboo sukkah sharply contrasts with the crisp fall air of Sukkot in the northeastern corridor of the United States, where the sukkahs of my childhood were laden with dried fruit and autumn color. Dozens of colorful miniature Chinese paper lanterns dangle from the sukkah and here replace the burnt orange and golden gourds of autumn.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Lantern Festival or the Mooncake Festival, falls on the 15th day of the eighth Chinese month, which not coincidentally coincides with Sukkot every year. The Chinese calendar, also being lunar, has a familiar rhythm. Side by side, we celebrate our Jewish festivals with our local Chinese hosts. While they gaze up at the moon, we speak of seeing the night stars through the s’chach. Both of our festivals are reminiscent of the harvest, though we have both journeyed seemingly far from our agricultural roots living here beneath the shadows of Hong Kong’s glittering skyscrapers

Despite the exoticism that life in the Far East might evoke, our children and those of our friends certainly still sit on the floor and color, cut and paste to decorate the sukkah, just as they would had they still been living in New York, London or Melbourne. That being said though, our themes here do tend to combine more pop culture and modernity with the tradition that I remember. And while Sukkot brings about the sense of impermanence and wandering, for me it is somehow about everything but that. It is a time to reflect on the meaning of home. And to emphasize my point, this year’s Wizard of Oz themed sukkah at the Ohel Leah Synagogue features a giant banner bearing the words, “There’s no place like home.”

And for most of us, being high-rise city dwellers, the community sukkah is in fact our only sukkah. While empty it seems cavernous, but it will quickly fill with friends who are our family and congregants who are our community. As a result, we all have a sense of ownership over our synagogue’s sukkah.

And for all the talk of what my children miss by living in the Far East and in a large Asian city, I counter with all they have gained. While it is true that they will never have a sukkah in their backyard, nor will they ever have a backyard (which the British have influenced them into believing is called a garden), they live in a world where by age nine it is safe to wander around on your own and by 11 taking public transport and a taxi alone is the norm. They live in a place where they are immersed in a foreign culture, free from the dominance of Christian culture and holidays, void of anti-Semitism and where they are exposed to multiple languages on a daily basis.

They can also actually sleep in a sukkah, without freezing, so long as they remember the mosquito spray. They have an understanding of diversity and culture and don’t fear things they don’t understand. They are born travelers and adventurers and see possibilities as limitless. Living within five minutes from their Synagogue and school, and most of our closest friends, in many ways they live in a small town but with little risk of developing a small town mentality.

And Sukkot, for them, while it will certainly never conjure up a nostalgia for dried fruits and cranberries on strings, dried gourds and Indian corn, cool weather or fluttering crisp leaves painted with brilliant autumn colors, they won’t think of themselves as rootless as some think the expat experience suggests.

Sukkot, while maybe framed in memories of Chinese lanterns and bamboo, perhaps takes on a greater meaning for them. Aware that China is our adopted home, a “temporary” dwelling for them is in some ways played out here on a daily basis. Home for my children is not a solitary image. It is bigger than that. It will likely always remain somewhat fluid, not fixed to a singular place but a feeling they can carry with them. It will be connected to synagogue and Sukkot, Israel, China and the US; to the places where they can find common language and ground, where welcomed and where they are loved.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/chinese-lanterns-in-the-sukkah/2012/11/16/

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