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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘gift’

Offering A Gift

Friday, September 30th, 2016

{Originally posted to Rabbi Weinberg’s website, The Foundation Stone}

I experience a tinge of sadness when I read the opening verse in this week’s portion, “You are standing today, all of you, before God, your Lord (Deuteronomy 29:9).” Rashi, bothered by Moses finding it necessary to inform the people they were standing, quotes a Midrash, “When the people heard the frightening litany of curses in the previous portion, they were frightened, and doubted their future. Moses comforted them, saying that despite all their sins, they were still standing before God.”

It is sad that in the moment when Moses begins his farewell, gently guiding the people in the transition of from his leadership to Joshua’s, Moses, once again, has to reassure the people. That tinge of sadness is less for Moses than for the people walking away from this final gathering wondering why they had used their final moments with their great leader to ask more of him rather than offering their gratitude and acknowledgement of all they had received from him. I did not want my final moments with my father zt”l to be an imposition on him, my asking him for reassurance. I wanted to use those last few minutes to offer a gift. I wanted him to see that he would live on through me.

I know, first hand, of such gifts. This past Wednesday evening I was studying the Book of Joshua with a group of extraordinary women. I barely had a chance to complete a thought before they took over, expanding and applying each idea, asking challenging questions, and taking us deeper than I believed possible into each thought. I was receiving a profound message that my ideas were simply seeds that would bear fruit far beyond me. I received a priceless gift, the same gift I wanted to be my farewell to my father, the gift, I imagine, the people wanted to give Moses. A gift they eventually had an opportunity to present to Moses.

“Moses went and spoke these words to all of Israel (31:1).” After the people returned home from the final gathering, Moses went to each tent in the camp to say goodbye.

I imagine returning home from the final gathering, disappointed that I needed Moses to reassure me, asking him for yet more, wishing I had, at least, acknowledged his effect on my life. The doorbell rings, and there is Moses. I welcome him into my home, and rather than offer tea and cake, I present him with a gift. I tell him how I will use all he taught me, celebrating the eternal impact of his work. My final private moment with Moses is not sad, but a joyous sharing of our connection.

We stand in the final moments of 5776, prepared to transition to 5777. These are perfect moments to offer our gift to God, honoring all we have gained over the past year, and how we intend to apply that growth in the future, using the coming year to grow in ways yet unimaginable to us.

Rosh Hashanah is the “Birthday of the World,” the Anniversary of Creation. We can enter this Day of Creation with our hands full. Is there a more precious gift to bring to the King’s inauguration?

The Foundation Stone is pleased to offer an online link or a better quality flash drive with the videos of our Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur Seminar. Please email michal@thefoundationstone.org to order, or for more information.

Shabbat Shalom, and Shanah Tovah,

Rabbi Simcha Weinberg

Gift Of Life Marrow Registry Marks 25th Anniversary Saving Lives

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Gift of Life Marrow Registry helps children and adults suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, other cancers and genetic disorders find matching donors for lifesaving blood and marrow transplants.

In 2016, Gift of Life marked its 25th anniversary, and to celebrate, the organization adopted a bold new call to action. Gift of Life was launched in 1991 to save the life of Jay Feinberg, a 23-year-old from New Jersey diagnosed with a cancer called Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Jay did not have a compatible donor match in his family, so a campaign was launched to find the one person who could save his life.

When Jay was diagnosed with leukemia, the Jewish population was vastly underrepresented in the international marrow donor registries. Due to the tragedy of the Holocaust, many family lines were lost or scattered. Jay was initially told that due to this severe shortage of Jewish donors, his chance of finding a matching Ashkenazi Jewish donor was nearly impossible.

Jay’s family and friends would not accept this and they mounted an immense effort to find the donor they were sure existed somewhere. One volunteer even traveled to Russia to run drives and search for possible matches there. Hundreds of recruitment drives were organized and over 60,000 potential donors joined the registry. Matches were identified for many other patients in need, but none for Jay. In a final, hopeful effort, one last drive was organized by a young man whose close friend was saved by a donor who was tested for Jay. In May 1995, the very last donor tested at that drive turned out to be Jay’s match and he received a successful transplant two months later.

Jay’s search for a donor took four years. Determined to help others in similar circumstances, Jay continued the work begun on his behalf. Today, Gift of Life is an international medical resource, highly regarded for its unique and vital work. A member of the international collaborative, Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide, and an associate registry of the National Marrow Donor Program, Gift of Life ranks fifteenth in size out of seventy-two stem cell registries in fifty-three countries, and is the only registry founded and managed by a transplant recipient.

At present, the organization is searching for a donor for a young Jewish father of three named Adam Krief, who recently was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. He needs a marrow transplant to survive but does not have a match among the current donors in the registry. Adam is originally from Morocco, so it is possible that his match will be found among people of Sephardic Jewish background, or possibly even Hispanic descent. He is very ill and the situation is dire. He needs a donor match as soon as possible.

Please call Gift of Life Marrow Registry at 561-982-2900 or e-mail knewcombe@giftoflife.org. Saving the life of this young father would certainly be a wonderful way to bring in the Jewish New Year.

Shelley Benveniste

The Perfect Holiday Gift: New Missile Alert System from Home Front Command

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

The IDF Home Front Command on Thursday revealed a private home siren that provides real-time warnings in case of a missile attack, Globes reported. A collaboration of the Home Front Command and Beeper Communications Israel, the home warning kit will be offered for sale to the general public this fall, but the cost is not yet finalized.

Home Front Command Planning Department Commander Col. Itzik Gai explained the value of the new product saying that the windows in most homes are closed with the air conditioning working in summer and in winter, making it difficult to hear the sirens. The new device will improve the chance that members of the household hear the alerts in time to evacuate to their safe rooms.

The Home Front Command has already pushed for the development of apps that provide real-time warning about incoming missiles via mobile phones and home computers. The new, personal warning system offers an enhancement of those apps. “The national siren system will continue to be the bulldozer for delivering warnings to the public, but the personal systems will be supplementary components,” Gai told Globes.

The Home Front Command divides Israel into 264 siren areas in which an alarm is activated as soon as a missile’s flight path and landing have been analyzed. In the area where the missile is expected to hit, the alarm system will be activated. Like the apps that were already in use during Operation Protective Edge two summers ago, the new home warning system will kick in only if a missile threatens the user’s particular area, leaving everyone else to continue with their daily routines.

“We’re already thinking about delivering an earlier warning focused on a single square kilometer,” Gai said, adding the signal could be sent to a smart watch.


Graduation Gift: York Jewish Student Awarded £1,000 for Suffering from Anti-Semitism

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Zachary Confino, 21, a Jewish third year Law student and president of the Union of Jewish Students at York University in the UK, received an apology and payment of £1,000 from the University of York Students’ Union after two years of battling anti-Semitism from students while studying at the university, The Telegraph reported.

Although the nature of the anti-Semitic abuse is not specified in the apology, the report says that “It is understood that Mr Confino, who narrowly missed out on a first class degree and had suffered with stress, had been racially abused and bullied.”

A spokesperson for the University of York said in a statement, “The University of York acted as mediator to resolve a long-running complaint brought by a student against the University of York Students’ Union. This involved an apology by the Students’ Union to the student and a token payment of £1,000.”

Joint statements had been signed with both the Jewish Society and the Islamic Society on campus.

Confino’s experience caught the attention of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who called on government to intervene to stop the rise of “poisonous hate” on campuses. In a letter to Confino, Lord Williams said he had written to Jo Johnson, the universities minister, because of the “muted” official response so far to rising anti-Semitic behavior. Williams described anti-Semitic incidents in a growing number of universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics and York.

Williams added: “Anyone concerned (as I am) about Islamophobia here and elsewhere needs to be scrupulously alert to the risk of scapegoating and demonizing other religious communities, especially Jews; and anyone with even the least bit of historical sense ought to hear the echoes of past bigotry and violence towards Jewish people in Europe.”

The former Archbishop of Canterbury also said he was “dispirited” by the failure of Christian chaplains at York to support Mr Confino. “You’d expect a more simply empathetic engagement,” he wrote.

Zachary reported that one York student posting on Facebook compared Israelis to Nazis, but when he raised this with the Students Union, he was told that there was nothing the Union could do. Zachary says he has received hateful anonymous messages online, as have other Jewish students. One message said, “Hitler was onto something.” He has been called a “Stupid Israeli [expletive]” and a “Jewish [expletive].”

Zachary told The Tab that the attacks on him escalated about five months ago, after he had launched a campaign against a play put on by the Palestinian Solidarity Society. According to Zachary, his communications with the Students Union bordered on the absurd: “We entered into a debate on what is and what isn’t anti-Semitism with people who clearly don’t understand what Jewish hate is,” he said. “It’s adding insult to injury. I’m experiencing anti-Semitism and then getting told it isn’t anti-Semitism.”


Bogie Ya’alon’s Overnight Good Bye Gift: Administrative Removal of 4 Settlers

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

On his way out of office, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon still found the time to send a special gift to the people of Yitzhar, a Jewish community just south of Shechem: Wednesday night Shabak and Police forces raided their homes and handed four administrative removal orders, signed by OC Central Command Roni Numa and Home Front Command Deputy Chief Gen. Dadi Samchi, to four Od Yosef Hai yeshiva students, two adults and two minors, Srugim reported.

The two minors were removed for six months from Judea and Samaria, but one of them, whose parents live in Gush Etzion, was allowed to stay in the Gush. The two adults received four- and nine-month removal orders.

Like all administrative decrees in the occupied Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, which have been under temporary martial law for almost 40 years now, the removal orders do not mention any evidence or chargers or even suspicions against the recipients, who could just as easily have been stashed away in prison on the same whim. All the orders said was that they had been issued after the commanding officers have become convinced that “it is necessary for the sake of guaranteeing state security, public peace, and maintaining the public order.” One order said it had been issued after “examination of intelligence,” which pointed to “involvement in an illegal and violent activity endangering Palestinian residents and their property.”

One of the four students completed a six-month removal order only a month ago and arrived to continue his yeshiva studies, but as is becoming the norm in these cases, the Shabak issued him a second removal order shortly thereafter. And since by law the government need not explain its reasons, provide evidence or file formal charges, they could ostensibly keep issuing those decrees — unless a new Defense Minister comes on board who is more democratically minded.

Yitzhar’s Yeshiva was occupied for one year, starting April 11, 2014, by a Border Guard company, after confrontations between local residents and the IDF, when the latter had demolished unauthorized structures in the community.

The Honenu legal aid society issued a statement following the four removal decrees, saying, “It appears that the Defense Minister has been disconnected, is losing touch with his own values, and does not comprehend how an orderly government system should operate. Yesterday he told IDF soldiers to say what’s on their minds, even if it contradicts the position of the elected government—in effect preaching a military coups d’état—and today he adds even more administrative decrees as if in Israel there’s no need for evidence, proof and trials. Who will stop this slippery slope?”

Hopefully a man named Avigdor Liebrman. Next week.

David Israel

Beis Ya’kov Girls Get Passover Gift: Multiplication Table Printed on Cleaning Rags

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

The 3rd grade students at the Beis Ya’akov school for girls in Netanya, Israel, which is part of the Independent (Haredi) school system, on Wednesday received an unusual gift from their teacher on the last day before the Passover break: cleaning rags printed with the school’s name, the multiplication table (1 through 100) and the following ditty (translated from the Hebrew, where it also rhymes):

To the bright schoolgirl,
Who scrubs and brightens with the rag in her hand,
Learn and memorize the multiplication table,
And honor your parents multiple times.

The parents of said schoolgirls told Yedioth Aharonoth the gift is offensive to the girls as well as to their families. They said the message that emanates from it is that “a woman is not too bright and her role is to clean the house.” One of the mothers who’s kids attend the girls’ school, said that if it turns out the rag was actually handed out by the school principal and not as a prank by one of the teachers, she would consider looking for a different school for her girls after Passover. Another mother called the incident “serious” and said “it is inconceivable that a teacher in Israel would express herself in such a way that represses the student’s self-esteem.”

The Netanya municipality issued a statement saying that since the school is part of the Independent system, it is not part of the general public school system programs. However, the city spokesperson added, “the content is entirely contrary to the values being taught by the municipal education administration, which fosters openness, achievement and innovation.”

The spokesperson announced there would be an inquiry with the Beis Ya’akov school management.

The school principal was not available to comment. However, several Haredi sources told the ultra-Orthodox Kikar Hashabbat website that the entire thing is a tempest in a teapot, and there’s no problem with schoolgirls memorizing the multiplication table while scrubbing the house for Passover. In fact, those mothers, instead of being offended, should be proud of their industrious daughters.


In Hebrew: ‘Wrapping paper’

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

A good Hebrew term to know as the end of fall approaches is that for wrapping paper: נְיַר עֲטִיפָה.

נייר paper – first appears in the Hebrew language in Mishnaic literature, while עטיפה wrapping – comes from the Biblical-Hebrew verb to wrap -לַעֲטוֹף .

For example: אֲבַקֵּשׁ לַעֲטוֹף אֶת הַמַּתָּנָה בְּנְיַר עֲטִיפָה. May I have the gift wrapped in wrapping paper? (literally, I shall ask to wrap the gift in wrapping paper.)

Truth is, in Biblical Hebrew, לעטוף also means to faint or to grow weak. More on that in tomorrow’s dose.

Visit Ktzat Ivrit.

Ami Steinberger

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/ktzat-ivrit/in-hebrew-wrapping-paper/2012/12/05/

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