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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘cousin’

Terrorist Who Murdered Five Members of Fogel Family Gets Five Life Sentences

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Amjad Awad, one of the two individuals convicted in the Fogel family massacre in Itamar, was sentenced to five consecutive life terms and an additional seven years in prison.

The Samaria Military Court on Monday sentenced Awad, after convicting him and his cousin last November in the shocking murders of Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their children: Yoav, 11, Elad, 4 and four-month-old Hadas.

“I don’t regret what I did, and would do it again,” Amjad Awad said in May. “I’m proud of what I did and I’ll accept any punishment I get, even death, because I did it all for Palestine,”

Awad entered the courtroom smiling, and remained silent throughout the course of the hearing.

 

 

Oh, What A Small Jewish World It Is…

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Kesher Israel Congregation’s daily minyan in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is often enhanced by travelers passing through who are happy to join us. These visitors cover the spectrum of Jewish practice, yet somehow joining in prayer lets us unite our all-too-often fractured people.

The other week I received a phone call from someone named Larry (all names in this story have been changed), a traveler who was in the area for a business meeting. He was eager to join us for our Tuesday afternoon Mincha/Maariv minyan. I gave him directions and was glad to welcome him when he arrived.

After services, I talked with Larry and learned that he was saying Kaddish for his recently deceased father. He was grateful that our minyan allowed him to keep up his perfect Kaddish reciting streak.

When Larry told me his last name was Klopstein (again, the names here have been changed) I felt the urge to play a little Jewish Geography and asked him if he was related to a wonderful couple in my parents’ Cleveland synagogue named Mr. and Mrs. Abe and Sarah Klopstein.

Larry immediately told me that Abe was a distant cousin, but they had fallen out of touch years ago. Before leaving, Larry handed me his business card and asked me to give his cousin Abe his regards the next time I was in touch with him.

I figured I would call my parents for a short “what a small world it is” conversation, and dialed my father’s cell phone. My father answered in a very subdued voice and told me he was still at shul in Cleveland; their minyan was just finishing.

When I asked my father if Abe Klopstein happened to be there at the minyan with him, I was thrilled when he replied, “Sure. Let me hand him the phone.”

I went on to tell Mr. Klopstein all about the man I had just met in Harrisburg, and there was a moment of silence.

“Larry’s father – the one he was reciting Kaddish for – was my first cousin,” he told me. “I hadn’t known that he passed away. Thanks for telling me, though.”

When I began to apologize for being the bearer of bad news, Mr. Klopstein stopped me and said, “Akiva, there’s no reason to apologize. Your phone call made my night.”

Mr. Klopstein sensed my confusion and continued, “You see, it’s been many years since the last time I saw my cousin’s son Larry. I can assure you that a shul for a Mincha/Maariv minyan is the last place in the world I would have imagined anyone bumping into Larry. You have no idea how happy you made me.

“Not only has Larry found his way back to shul, but even when he’s away on business, Larry goes out of his way to be at a minyan to recite Kaddish! I can assure you his father – my late cousin – is also very pleased. Akiva, thank you so much for calling.”

I gave Mr. Klopstein the contact information from Larry’s business card, and my father told me he left the shul in Cleveland smiling from ear to ear.

I’ve always felt Kesher Israel’s daily minyan is a special place. That night, however, it also had the merit of reconnecting two long-lost relatives and giving a wonderful man in Cleveland a true sense of comfort.

Rabbi Akiva Males is spiritual leader of Kesher Israel Congregation in Harrisburg, PA. He can be contacted at rabbimales@yahoo.com.

Lost And Found – A True Story

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Gone. The money was gone. I bit my lips and felt my eyes fill with tears. This was hard earned money that I received from a client whom I had worked for all month. It wasn’t physical work, but I had worked hard mentally and emotionally for many hours- but the money was gone and I needed it for so many things.

“Yossi, the exterminator was here this afternoon,” I told my husband. “He told me I should take the children outside so we wouldn’t breathe in the chemicals. He must have taken the money.”

“He’s a religious man,” my husband countered immediately. “It is forbidden to suspect him.””Ok, I take it back. He should be blessed,” I muttered. “But I wish I knew where that money was.”

“Maybe you put it in your pocket?” my helpful husband suggested.

I checked again. No money.

“Maybe you changed clothes?”

“You don’t remember that I’ve been wearing this outfit all day?” No, of course he didn’t remember since he never noticed in the first place. Again I searched the house, again, my pockets, again, my pocketbook. I went through every place I thought the money could be. Hashem, I NEED that money. Tears started spilling down my cheeks.

Wait, let’s change gears, I told myself. This happened at a time when the news often reported suicide bombings on buses. Think what could have happened. If it was decreed that we suffer, at least it’s through money and not through -  I don’t want to even think of it. I’m healthy, my husband and children are healthy!

Gratitude actually started seeping into my heart. Thank you, Hashem, for all the good you constantly shower on us! A family, a home, the privilege of living here in Eretz Yisrael! Hashem, you know our financial situation. If You could somehow get that money back to us? And now that I mention it, two years ago, my gold bracelet disappeared, too. If I had it, I could sell it and maybe get some money that way but thank you for not decreeing something worse on us. I trust You, Hashem, You can do anything, and I accept Your decree with love!I felt full of joy, and suddenly my mind cleared and I remembered that although I had been wearing this outfit when the client paid me I had been wearing my coat over it!

I hurried over to the hook in our front closet, stuck my hand into the pocket and felt my fingers close over crisp bills. Baruch Hashem!

That evening, my husband’s cousin was making a bar mitzva for her son. It was before Chanukah and, believe me, I had what to do at home. Well, I guessed I could drop in for a few minutes, say mazel tov, and disappear. I arrived at the hall, and saw that it was almost empty. As I said, this was at the time of the Pigu’im and many people preferred not to go out. There were a grand total of four women sitting at the ladies’ tables. So much for a cameo in-and-out appearance. I sat down, and because I was still under the influence of what had happened earlier, I told the women about the Hashgacha Pratis I had experienced with the lost-and-found money.

My husband’s cousin listened, wide-eyed. When I finished, she said, “That reminds me. I have a gold bracelet that someone left at my Binyomin’s bar mitzva five years ago. I asked everyone I thought could have lost it, if it was theirs. I feel so bad every time I look at it and think of the poor soul who lost it.”

I started laughing. “I also lost a bracelet, but it was only two years ago.”

“Well, Binyomin is now 18, so I know his bar mitzva was five years ago. Also,” she examined my wrist, “the bracelet was much bigger than your size.”

“It was big on me,” I agreed. “That’s why it fell off.”

The next day, my husband’s cousin called me up, and held the bracelet in her hand as I described it. On Chanukah she came by with my bracelet (the five years that had gone by had telescoped in my mind to two years – everyone makes mistakes), but the real gift was the new knowledge of the power of prayer, of Hashem’s love and how He concerns Himself with each individual, and of the importance of joy.

Happy Chanukah To All!

Kosher Tidbits from around the Web – May 21, 2007

Monday, May 21st, 2007

The babirusa is a cousin to the pig and lives in the islands around Indonesia. It seems there was some discussion as to whether or not it could be kosher – it has split hooves. However, it doesn’t meet the other kosher siman of chewing its cud, so it doesn’t make the list of meats you will find in your kosher butcher. Hat tip here to Ugly Overload

Also in the news is the Turning Stone and Casino, which has recently opened a kosher kitchen under the supervision of Rabbi Yaakov Rapoport, Chabad of Syracuse. With one of the largest convention centers in the Northeast, its kosher kitchen will now make it a perfect venue for weddings, dinners and more.

The folks at JTN Productions have announced that one of the programming channels to be available at JewishTVNetwork will be a cooking channel. Users will be able to follow great American chefs, including Jeff Nathan and Bradley Ogden, as they produce great kosher recipes.

Title: Up, Up, And Oy Vey! – How Jewish History, Culture And Values Shaped The Comic-Book Superhero

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Title: Up, Up, And Oy Vey! - How Jewish History, Culture And Values Shaped The Comic-Book Superhero
Author: Rabbi Simcha Weinstein
Publisher: Leviathan Press, Baltimore, MD

 

 

I grew up with a cousin who was always escaping from shul in order to read his comic books. It turns out he was still learning Torah – according to Simcha Weinstein.


Rabbi Weinstein, who in his “previous life” was a film location manager in Great Britain (credits include “Tomorrow Never Dies,” a James Bond film), is now a rabbi and chaplain serving a collegiate population in downtown Brooklyn. He is also the organizer of the International Jewish Film Festival presented annually in Brooklyn Heights, where he currently resides with his wife and two children.


Apparently he spent his youth also reading – and collecting – comic books and graphic novels (notably including Will Eisner, whose work is now gaining worldwide attention).


The comic book was the “port of entrée” to employment for hundreds of young Jewish artists and illustrators during America’s depression years. They were unable to gain access to better paying jobs at advertising agencies and major firms, due to anti-Semitism.



New York City, central to immigrant Jewish life in the early and mid-20th century, was home to most of the comic book industry, although significantly, “Superman” was born in Cleveland, Ohio (to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster). Many of the artists (and the writers who originated the stories) drew their fantasies to escape “the ghetto,” but the plots, storylines and characters still resembled the Jews they left behind on Delancey Street. It wasn’t so much Nietzsche who “invented” the superman character as much as our Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel in Prague who created a golem. Many of the comic book characters, including “The Hulk,” are almost entirely based on the Jewish concepts of teshuva, tzedaka and tikkun olam.


Weinstein points out that most of the comic book characters have dual identities (Clark Kent is Superman and Bruce Wayne is Batman) just like many Jews had for many centuries. Evidence the anglicized names of many of the comic book artists, who changed their names to suit American society – which during the pre-war era was almost as anti-Semitic as Europe. Just as we take off our shirts to reveal our tzitzis underneath, Clark Kent stripped off his suit to reveal his skin-tight uniform (where would he ever find a telephone booth today?), enabling him to spring into action.


The book reveals that although many of the authors and artists were trying to escape a Jewish milieu, you could take them out of the Jewish neighborhoods they grew up in, but you couldn’t take the Judaism out of their souls. “Captain America” was born in 1938, with a front cover depicting him smacking Adolph Hitler square on the jaw. This was a comic book reply to America’s isolationists and all through the Second World War, nearly one of five pieces of literature mailed to our fighting men in both “theatres” were comic books and graphic novels. In fact, Will Eisner spent the war years writing and illustrating graphic, how-to manuals for the armed forces to assist the Army in instructing barely literate recruits on how to operate and maintain military equipment.


So if you still have your old comic book collections up in the attic somewhere, take them down and look at them in a new light, as Rabbi Weinstein has done. They’re not only often rare and collectible (some valued at as much as a half million dollars each), but they contain Jewish concepts and storylines adapted directly from the Bible.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-up-up-and-oy-vey-how-jewish-history-culture-and-values-shaped-the-comic-book-superhero/2006/05/31/

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