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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Crown Heights’

Update: Attacker Shot Dead after Stabbing Torah Student at 770 Chabad World Headquarters

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

A young rabbinic student in “kvutza” studies, (a special rabbinic program) and an Israeli from Beitar Illit in Gush Etzion, was stabbed early Tuesday morning in Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway and is currently listed in stable condition with wounds to the chest, abdomen, head and neck, according to sources in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

The 51-year-old attacker died in a hospital from a single bullet fired by a police officer. He was identified as Calvin Peters.

The incident, which took place at 1:40 am, was not terrorist event, but Peters was quoted by the Daily News as saying, “I will kill the Jew! I want to kill the Jew!”

He was a member of Brooklyn’s African-American community and entered the sanctuary in the downstairs section of the synagogue. Peters confronted a group of young men, waving around a switchblade knife in an agitated manner, according to a report posted on the CrownHeights.info website.

An eyewitness said the suspect immediately attacked one of the young Jews, stabbing him in the neck. The victim fled the synagogue, bleeding profusely, witnesses said, together with fellow congregants who called out for police and Hatzoloh emergency service medics. The attack was also caught on security cameras being monitored by nearby police and security personnel, who arrived immediately.

Both are stationed next door to the synagogue; police ordered the stabber to drop his weapon – which he did – but seconds later he retrieved the knife and began threatening police officers as well when they approached to take him into custody.

When the suspect attempted to attack the officers, police reportedly fired one shot and hit the suspect in the torso.

Meanwhile, the stabbed victim was being treated outside the synagogue. As soon as the suspect was disarmed, New York City emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and medics from Hatzoloh entered the building to provide him with first aid before police took him into custody and brought him to the hospital, where he later died.

The police officer with whom the suspect was struggling was transported to Methodist Hospital for medical care as well.

The public is asked to please pray for the complete recovery of Levi Yitzchok ben Raizel, the young rabbinic student now in stable condition but still in need of prayers at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

Crown Heights Father, 5 Yr Old Son Attacked in ‘Knock-Out’ Game

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

A Jewish father and his five year old son were attacked Tuesday in another round of the ‘knockout game’ as they walked to the little boy’s first day at school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that an alert bystander saw the attack and chased the assailant. He raced after him down President Street, according to the Crown Heights.info website, flagging down a police patrol cruiser along the way. Police officers joined the chase.

The perpetrator was cornered in an apartment building – but that didn’t mean he was ready to give up when police tried to place him under arrest. Instead he resisted violently and police were forced to add a spritz of mace to their efforts to subdue the suspect.

First responders treated the perpetrator on the scene, and the father and son also arrived to identify their attacker and formally press charges.

The neighborhood, home to “770″ – World Headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement, is a racially mixed area which also hosts the city’s West Indian Day Parade each year.

NYC Lawmaker Laurie Cumbo Presses Miami to Find Rabbi Raksin’s Murderer

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

On the 23rd anniversary of a race riot that saw mobs calling for ‘Death to the Jews!’ a gentile Crown Heights NYC Council Member stepped up pressuring Florida authorities to hunt down the murderer of a Chassidic Jewish resident attacked Aug. 9 while visiting the state.

City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo sent a letter to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez on Aug. 19, urging him step up his efforts to find the murderer of Rabbi Joseph Raksin.

“This tragedy has left New Yorkers devastated and in disbelief that such a senseless crime could be committed on the Sabbath,” Cumbo wrote.

“While the circumstances surrounding his final hours remain unclear, elected officials and interfaith leaders throughout New York City have joined together to send a message that we will not stand nor tolerate the targeting of individuals because of their religious beliefs or faith. Individuals who engage in such acts must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law…

“On behalf of the Crown Heights community, the Jewish Caucus, and the Raksin family, we urge you and the Miami-Dade Police Department to continue to prioritize this investigation and to utilize all available resources to resolve this case. We hope that you will look upon our offices and New York City as a partner in this effort.”

The rabbi was a well-known member of the Crown Heights Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish community, was murdered while walking to synagogue in North Miami Beach.

No arrests have been made in the case. Police have yet to label the determine the murder a ‘hate crime,’ though the area is heavily Jewish and locals know that Jews carry no money or valuables during the Sabbath.

Local members of the American Jewish Committee told the Miami Herald that just two weeks before the murder, on July 28, a swastika and ‘Hamas’ were scrawled on the synagogue towards which Raksin was walking.

A member of the North Miami Beach ‘Shmira Patrol’ – a local neighborhood watch group – said a woman returned home after Raksin’s funeral in Miami to find a swastika scratched into her car. Miami-Dade police confirmed the report.

Funeral Held in Miami for Murdered Rabbi

Monday, August 11th, 2014

A funeral for murdered Brooklyn Rabbi Yosef Raksin was held in Miami Sunday, the day he was shot and killed on his way to synagogue in what police said was an attempted robbery. Approximately 300 people attended the ceremony and eulogies.

Following the funeral Sunday at the Bais Menachem Chabad synagogue, where Rabbi Joseph Raksin was headed when he was shot by two assailants on Saturday morning, the body was taken to the airport. A funeral and burial will take place Monday afternoon in Brooklyn.

Hundreds of men, women and children attended Sunday’s funeral, the Miami Herald reported. Raksin had arrived on Thursday in Miami for a week-long visit with his daughter and her family. Rabbi Raksin, 60, is the father of six and a leader in the Crown Heights community.

Police said he was shot several times following an altercation, though witnesses told NBC reporters that there was no altercation and the assailants were African-American males. Raksin was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center, where he died.

Miami-Dade police have said they do not believe the murder was a hate crime, rather a robbery gone bad. Members of Miami’s Jewish community are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Raksin’s assailants.

Raskin’s daughter Shuly Labkowski told local media outlets she believes her father was targeted because of his religious affiliation. “I believe it was a hate crime,” said Labkowski. “[He was killed] simply because he’s a Jew.”

A nearby synagogue, Torah V’Emunah, was the target of vandalism on July 28, with swastikas and the word “Hamas” spray-painted on the front pillars.

My Journey: The Fusion Of Secular Education And Torah Judaism

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Years ago, my wife and I made the conscious decision to settle in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn for the sake of our growing family and our newfound commitment to religious observance. Looking at us now, as we blend effortlessly into the area’s vibrant Chabad Lubavitch community, one would never guess where or how we were raised.

Growing up, home was an upper-middle class neighborhood in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The son of a plant biophysicist and a child psychologist, I was reminded regularly that a strong educational background was paramount. Still, my early years were imbued with a healthy dose of Jewish identity, centered mainly on “basics” like major Jewish holidays, Zionism, and Shabbat customs.

Attending a public school, a wholly secular environment, forced me to connect with my Jewish background in other ways. Teachers and students constantly singled me out as the “Jewish kid,” and I was forced to explain and defend Judaism. Rather, than viewing it as a burden, I embraced my Jewish identity and promised myself I would learn more when the opportunity presented itself.

After a life-altering post-college Israel experience, I decided to pursue a career in Jewish communal service. During extended stints with Israel Bonds and AIPAC, I began to explore the deep and powerful waters of Torah. Though I was not initially interested in becoming more observant, I was intrigued by the practical applications of Jewish law and Jewish ethics.

I resisted a truly religious life until an outreach program retreat in 2004 changed everything.

At the age of 35, I began carrying the yoke of the Torah for the very first time, and my commitment to mitzvah observance and religious Jewish life continues to grow with every passing day.

At present, I am still actively involved in a slow, and at times difficult, self-innovation process, fusing my secular smarts with my new commitment to religious life to, hopefully, arrive at the best possible version of myself.

As the executive director of Friends of the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT), one of Israel’s most unique and prestigious academic institutions of higher learning and a bastion of scientific innovation, I am doing what I can to help others self-innovate as well.

With separate colleges for men and women and a built-in yeshiva program, JCT caters to a largely religious student body. JCT students, many of whom are haredi, are provided a robust secular education with a concentration in fields ranging from high-tech to engineering, business to nursing, in an environment that allows them to gain the skills they need to earn a living without compromising their faith, ethics, or values.

Though our journeys of self-innovation began at opposite ends of the spectrum, I consider all JCT graduates my kindred spirits. Just as my background and education serves as a strong foundation that allows me to remain in the secular world professionally while offering my family the kind of spiritual existence that I have defined as the “new ideal,” the JCT graduates can maintain their established Torah observant lifestyles while using their new skills to provide their families with the requisite safety, security and sustenance.

Venturing outside my comfort zone was uncomfortable and unnerving, but I am so happy that I challenged myself in this way. Because, ultimately, this fusion of spirituality and secular education didn’t just enhance my life, but it strengthened my family and advanced the Jewish nation as a whole.

When I stroll through the streets of Crown Heights with my family, I feel confident that my wife and I made a smart choice for our children. We live in a community where they can experience the grandeur of religious life yet still benefit from the comfort and security provided by a secular education. They seem to have it all.

NJ Chabad Rabbinical Student Killed in Garbage Truck Accident

Monday, February 24th, 2014

A New Jersey rabbinical student on his way to morning prayers was struck by a garbage truck and killed in Brooklyn.

Gedalia Gruntzweig, 25, a student at Tiferes Bachurim, a Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva in Morristown, was visiting friends in Crown Heights on Sunday for a pre-wedding party.

Gruntzweig, a Ukraine native, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cars driving near the scene indicated that Gruntzweig had the right of way, but witnesses said the truck driver, who was attempting to make a right turn, did not see him, according to the New York Daily News. The driver remained at the scene and no summonses were issued.

The Department of Sanitation released a statement sending its “deepest condolences to the family … and the entire Crown Heights community.”

Kill the Quest for ‘Chill’

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Single frum male seeks female who is chill. That’s the description that plagues a particular stack of resumes found in the homes of matchmakers throughout every Jewish community. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about Flatbush, Crown Heights, Williamsburg, the Upper West Side, Toronto, Miami, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Israel, etc. This desire to find a “chill” girl is everywhere.

When examined, this seemingly vague description can really be a code for many things. Unfortunately, these things are primarily irrelevant and some are just completely unrealistic. More importantly, if this is you, then you need to take a step back and put on your safety goggles because I am about to burst your bubble. Here goes. No female, young or old, is “chill” after marriage. Final answer.

Ouch – did that snippet of reality sting? Are you in disbelief? Now, I will say that many women are clever and can easily appear to be “chill.” Why? We can multitask – it’s our superhero power. We get things done and we handle our responsibilities. Hence, we begin to grow into our own unique manifestation of our husband’s Aishes Chayil.

What kills the chill? Some married men may believe that they married someone who began as very chill. So, what killed the chill? For new wives, the post-marriage non-chill mode may stem from the self-imposed pressure to perfect their ability to prepare their husbands shabbos favorites while learning how to coordinate an open home for regular visitors and random guests.

What originally seems like fun can quickly turn into a buzz kill. Hence, there is nothing glamorous about coping with the responsibility of balancing everything that one takes on in marriage: maintaining a home, dealing with in-laws and navigating your community as a couple. Scheduling conflicts for new couples can be tricky as well.

For the slightly post newlywed couple, this “non-chill” trigger can mean kids. You, BH, iy”H, have them but then you have to balance them. Then when you, iy”H, have more of them you must strive to somehow keep your world together while doing everything else (work, cooking, cleaning – oh, yea and actually talking to your spouse). Then as the years of your relationship goes on, more pressure is added.

So, again, let me say – basing your search for a partner on their ability to be “chill,” is definitely wrong. Warning: This may be you or it may be the hang-up of your otherwise perfect-catch that keeps their status set to single. Searching for a “no pressure” mate is something that may seem to make sense until you actually examine the thought process behind it and what you would really get if you accomplished such a task.

What’s behind the chill? “Chill,” that’s the word. That’s the term that acts as a crutch. It’s an easy was to say I want to be married but I need to find someone who will put no pressure on me.

What’s the big problem here? There are many big problems here. What is one big problem? The feeling of “pressure.” This feeling, like all feelings is a person’s own reaction to a situation. In life, Hashem gave us a big blessing. He gave us free will. In this case, it means that we get to choose our own reactions. This includes the feeling of pressure. You feel it, because you perceive a situation in a particular way. However, your perception is an opinion and not a fact. And, as we all know, opinions can be changed. If you can’t escape the feeling of pressure then embrace it as the blessing it is.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/kill-the-quest-for-chill/2013/12/22/

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