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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘High Holy Days’

I Wasted My Years (Part One)

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I just finished reading your book, The Committed Marriage. How I wish I had discovered this wonderful book years ago. How different my life could have been.

I write this letter with a heavy heart. From the outset, I want to make it quite clear that I am not writing with the anticipation of a solution to my problem. I am writing with the request that you publish my letter (anonymously, of course), so that others might learn from my mistakes. It is for this reason that I decided to write although this is probably the most painful letter I have ever written.

I grew up in a typically secular Jewish home. Once a year we went to the local temple in our neighborhood for the High Holy Days. On Chanukah, we lit a menorah, and on Passover we had a Seder (only the first night). All these rituals were carried out perfunctorily, without meaning or content. They were superficial acknowledgments of being Jewish. Our home was not kosher, our Sabbaths were just Saturdays, taken up with shopping, sports, or other activities.

When I was 14 my parents divorced. It was a bitter separation. Without going into too many details, there were many ugly accusations and recriminations. In any event, my father left, remarried and started a new family. My mother, on the other hand, dated and had many relationships, but never quite made it to marriage. We had always enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle, but once the divorce took place, everything changed. The final settlement did not allow us luxuries, and suddenly, we found ourselves on a very tight budget.

My mom, who was never too calm, became temperamental, and would lose her cool at the drop of a hat. The divorce settlement forced us to visit with our father, and those meetings were very painful. I resented his new wife and her taking my mom’s place. I resented her for disrupting our family and I am certain that she also resented me.

I was under tremendous pressure from my mom to do well in school so that I might be eligible for a college scholarship. She kept insisting that before I even consider marriage, I must have a career. “It’s important that you be independent and capable of supporting yourself,” she always said.

Throughout my high school years I worked very hard, although it wasn’t easy. I was in therapy for quite some time, but I never worked out my problems. I never adjusted to the new dynamic of our family. I had no choice but to accept the new reality and try to make the best of it. I had to be tolerant of my mom’s boyfriends and relationships, be privy to all the ups-and-downs, which punctuated her private life, and then, accept my father’s “new family.”

It was more than any teenager should have to deal with. My two brothers were equally impacted by the trauma, and they chose the destructive path of alcohol and drugs. They hung out with girls until the early hours of the morning. My mother would scream and yell, but they paid no heed and continued their self-destructive path. I couldn’t wait to graduate and escape the madness in my home. I was anxious to go to a university as far away from my parents as possible. I worked very hard with one goal in mind – escape! When I was graduated, I received a scholarship to a good university.

I had many relationships in college, but marriage was never even considered an option. My goal was to finish my education, find a good position, travel, enjoy life, and in time, marry and settle down.

When I finished college, I went on to graduate school, all the time bearing in mind my mother’s admonition, “Make a career for yourself! Become independent!”

I decided to go into medicine because I felt that would be the most secure and lucrative profession I could undertake. It was a long haul and a lot of hard work, but it was a worthwhile investment. I specialized in Ob/Gyn, thinking that it is one field for which there is always a demand. I worked very hard and did my residency in New York, and was elated to be accepted as a fellow in a prestigious Manhattan hospital. I was so overwhelmed with work during that period that I didn’t have time to even consider a serious relationship.

After completing my fellowship, I joined a highly successful practice. Once again, I was consumed by work with very little time left for socializing and a personal life. This, more or less, sums up my background. I share it with you so that you may better understand the conflicts and regrets that haunt me now.

Today, I am 45-years-old. I don’t know where the years went, but I can’t deny them, although people tell me that I can easily pass for 35. But I am 45 years old and the best years of my life have passed me by. I bring babies into the world, and it breaks my heart that I don’t have a baby of my own.

My biological clock has ticked away without my realizing it. So here I am – 45 and all alone. Yes, I have savings… a good profession – but so what? I don’t have a family. I don’t even have nieces and nephews. My brothers never married…. they’re all messed up. My mother, in her old age, has become more temperamental and demanding. I find it very difficult to communicate with her because every visit ends up in conflict with tension and shouting. My father has his own life, his own family.

Yes, I have no lack of dates, but the men I meet all seek relationships rather than the stability of marriage. So why am I writing this letter to you? Because I know that you have a wide readership and people respect your opinion. So, I would like to tell all the women out there who have bought into our culture’s value system: “Don’t sacrifice marriage and children for a career. No profession, no amount of money is worth it!”

Yes, I continue to date, but there is nothing much out there. I have discovered that the men in my age bracket who are successful want young women, and they get them. And if they are not successful, it is difficult to respect them. I do need someone to look up to – I just can’t marry a loser. I wish that I had found your book, The Committed Marriage earlier in life. How different everything would have been for me -but I do hope that you will print my letter. If I know that people will learn from my mistakes, it will give me a measure of comfort. No answer is required.

A Brokenhearted Successful Woman

Why Can’t I Get Married? (Part Two)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Last week’s column evoked tremendous response. Many men contacted me expressing interest in meeting the young lady. I will be more than happy to follow-up. However, it’s my policy to make shidduch recommendations only after I meet the candidates. So to all those who wrote, may I suggest you call our office for an appointment?

The e-mails from women far exceeded those of the men. This letter touched a sensitive nerve in many hearts. They all echoed the same refrain, “Me too! I find myself in the same boat…I too would like to get married, but the years seem to have passed me by.”

Most of the women were in their late 30s, early 40s. They had all invested many good years in relationships that they hoped would lead them to the marriage canopy, but it proved to be futile. Having sacrificed their best childbearing years, they felt cheated.

Why has that short walk down the aisle become such a long arduous trek for so many? The woman who wrote had everything going for her – attractive, successful, and fun-loving. Why was she having such a difficult time? Why did marriage elude her?

Firstly, I feel compelled to comment on the general tone of her letter. In describing her family’s Jewish ties, the woman wrote that they attended High Holy Day services; she and her siblings were confirmed and had visited Israel. She went on to write that her older brother was intermarried and had no intention of asking his wife to convert. Her younger brother was dating mostly gentile girls. Her parents would have preferred they marry Jewish, but would never think of interfering with the “happiness” of their children. My response:

My Dear Friend:

I could almost dub the portrayal of your family’s Jewish life, “The American Jewish Tragedy,” compounded by the sad fact that the protagonists aren’t aware that they are choreographing a tragedy. Please do not take this as condemnation, but as I said, I feel compelled to comment on the sad reality you described.

You, as well as many others, are what our tradition refers to as “tinokot she’naflu b’shevi” – innocent Jewish souls who were never given a true Jewish education compared to infants who were kidnapped and weren’t privileged to know their real parents. Such individuals have no way of gauging what they are missing or have lost.

Similarly, Jews who grew up devoid of Torah, never tapped the vast treasures buried in its every word and letter, who were never nurtured by the Torah’s life- sustaining milk, have no way of comprehending their deprivation.

So it is that you, your family, and so many others are under the impression that making token gestures to Judaism is all there is to our faith. Judaism is not comprised of a superficial confirmation class, a token visit to a temple on the High Holy Days, or touring Israel.

We are the nation that stood at Sinai and sealed an eternal covenant with Almighty G-d. Not only is Torah our legacy, but our very life. Without Torah we cease to exist and are quickly swallowed up in the melting pot of the nations. Intermarriage is the death-knell of our people, leaving no memory in its wake, not even a Kaddish.

I realize that your parents would have preferred that your brother marry Jewish; nevertheless, they accepted a gentile wife for him and are prepared to do the same for your younger sibling, because “they don’t want to stand in the way of their children’s happiness.”

Never mind that your brothers will be the last Jewish males to carry your family name, thousands of years of Jewish life will come to an end in them, and that which Hitler, yemach shemo, could not do through gas chambers, they are willingly, if unknowingly, doing to themselves – and it’s all justified under the guise of “happiness.”

If someone claims that he feels “happy” taking drugs, would anyone sane accept that rationale? Wouldn’t we warn the person that he is on the path to self-destruction? Similarly, if someone obliterates his Jewish past, shouldn’t we warn him that he is committing spiritual suicide?

During the High Holy Days, we wish one another a Happy New Year but, such a greeting doesn’t exist in Hebrew. The expression is “Shanah Tovah” – “Have a good year,” or “Kesivah V’Chasimah Tovah” – “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year” – the emphasis on goodness rather than happiness – and there is a world of difference between these two words. Good is based upon responsibility, giving and sacrifice – taking the harder, more difficult path over the easy, attractive one.

Happiness, on the other hand, is a shallow pursuit that blurs all absolutes. It is rooted in self-gratification and satisfying passion, irrespective of the harm it inflicts on others. This pursuit of happiness is at the root of many of the ills that plague us. Shattered families, broken homes and drugs, can all be traced to it and people wake up too late and discover that chasing happiness is like chasing a butterfly, which flies away as soon as it rests on your shoulder. Genuine happiness can only be realized through goodness, through doing that which is right, moral, and decent.

Jewish opposition to intermarriage is not a matter of racism or prejudice. In order for the Jewish people to continue, and for children to be born Jewish, they must have Jewish mothers – it’s that simple. We are a minuscule minority in the world. In America the intermarriage rate ranges from 50-70 percent. In some European countries, it is as high as 90 percent. During the past 60 years, there has been no Jewish population growth in the U.S. If anything, our number has diminished, and not because there was a Hitler here who, G-d forbid, took us to the gas chambers.

Tragically, we built our own spiritual gas chambers that snuffed Jewish life out of our people. That is why I dubbed your story, “The American Jewish Tragedy.” There can be no bigger tragedy than to live in a free society in which you can live as a Jew, and yet choose not to, thereby underwriting your own demise.

Again, I apologize if you find these words hurtful. G-d forbid – that is not my intention. I would never want to cause anyone pain, but in all good conscience, I couldn’t allow your statements to pass without comment. Perhaps someone who reads these words will re-think his vacuous Jewish life, search out his heritage and discover G-d’s holy words that were engraved upon his soul at Sinai.

As for the personal dilemma that prompted you to write and ask why you can’t get married; after years of serious relationships, the guys just don’t propose? I will discuss that, Please G-d, in next week’s column.

Why Can’t I Get Married? (Part One)

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I’m not the type of person who writes letters for advice. As a matter of fact, I’m surprised at my own self for seeking out your guidance, but I feel so desperate and frustrated that I decided to give it a try in the hope that you could shed some light on my problem.

It is my mother and your book, The Committed Marriage, which has prompted me to send you this e-mail. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, who attends your classes, gave me the book and it spoke to me. I am certain that you receive countless e-mails from all over the world, but I hope that you will read my letter and respond. Should you feel that my problem is relevant to others, as well, I have no objection to your publishing it. I do however ask that you delete my name.

I am 37 years old. I have been told by everyone that I am very attractive and do not look older than 27. I am athletic, play tennis and go to the gym regularly. I love music and travel. I have a good solid job as an attorney and my friends tell me that I have a great personality and am fun to be with. So what, you might wonder, is my problem? To be honest, I don’t know, and that is precisely why I have chosen to write to you in the anticipation that you can give me some clarity. I will try to portray as objective a view of my life as possible so that you may have a complete picture of who I am and where I may have gone wrong.

My parents are solidly Jewish, but secular. When I say “solidly Jewish,” I mean that they support Israel, make a Seder on Passover, and go to synagogue on the High Holy Days. My mother lights Shabbos candles, although I must admit, not regularly, and my father is a supporter of many philanthropic organizations.

Our formal religious affiliation has always been Reform – I was confirmed in our temple, as were my two brothers. My older brother married out of the faith and that upset my parents. They would have preferred that he marry a Jewish girl, but they are very understanding and didn’t want to stand in the way of his happiness. My brother is a successful physician and the girl that he married was a nurse in the hospital in which he did his residency. Unfortunately, she did not choose to convert and my brother does not want to pressure her, but my parents are hoping that one day she will come around. She does go to temple on the High Holy Days and of course, she participates in our Seder.

My younger brother is still single. He too is an attorney and quite successful. He dates mostly gentile girls, but my parents hope that when it comes to marriage he will choose someone of our own faith.

And now to my problem. I always thought that I would be married by the age of 23. My plan was to graduate from college, travel a bit, start my career, and then focus on marriage. I never dreamed that I would have a problem achieving this dream. I was always popular with no lack of boyfriends, but for some strange reason, nothing has worked out as I had hoped.

To be sure, the career part has been realized beyond my expectations. I command a good salary, and even in this economic downward spiral, when many of my associates have been given pink slips, I have been lucky enough to keep my job. Strangely however, all this has not brought me happiness. More than anything, I want to get married; I want to start a family, but its just not happening, and it’s not for lack of boyfriends or dates. Over the years, I have been in many serious relationships, some lasting as long as three years, but when push came to shove, all my boyfriends turned out to be gun-shy.

In your book, you explain that the word for “but” in biblical Hebrew is “efes,” which literally means “zero,” so when a man says, “I love you, but…” it means zero! He is telling you in a nice way, “I am not marrying you!” How well I know this bitter truth. I have heard it too many times. So why, Rebbetzin, do you think that all this is happening to me?

I realize that you don’t really know me, and it may be unfair of me to ask you to make such an evaluation, but still, after having read your book, I am convinced that you have a profound understanding of human nature, and I feel that if anyone can give me some clarity, it is you. Mind you, I have been in therapy, and while my therapist is a very sensitive person, I have not been able to resolve my problem. I go to singles socials, on tours with various young leadership organizations, met people through J Date and paid astronomical sums to matchmakers – but all to no avail.

My parents have retired to Florida, and my brothers are busy with their own lives. As you can imagine, my single brother is wrapped up in his social life…. I don’t particularly get along with my sister-in-law and we see each other only on formal occasions. So despite the fact that I have a family, to all intents and purposes, I am all alone.

A friend told me that nowadays, all of the men in my age category are commitment phobic. That which is going on in my life has nothing to do with me but is symptomatic of our times…. It’s not what I do or say. It’s the guys…. they just can’t commit. If that is the truth, then that leaves me even more depressed. What possible future does that foretell for me? I’m so sick and tired of the entire dating scene… going to dinners and bars, getting all made up, trying to be charming and accommodating, only to be rejected after investing years of effort.

While I wrote that my parents are not religious, I also said that they are very Jewish-minded, and when I speak to my mom on the phone, she never fails to lament my single state. “Why are you wasting your time? Why don’t you meet someone and get married already?”

“I’m trying, Mom,” I answer, and then she comes back at me with, “Trying is not good enough – you have to do it!”

I get irritated with her remarks – they rub a raw nerve. I snap back an answer, and before I know it, we get into a fight and end up hanging up on one another. After these conversations, my emotions run the gamut from anger to guilt. I feel guilty for having lost my temper with my mom, but I’m also angry because her questions cause me so much pain. Doesn’t she understand that I want to get married?

In our last conversation, she told me that one of her bridge partners told her that you are the person to consult and that not only would you be able to give me guidance, but you would also be able to introduce me to someone as well – and that was the clincher that gave me the final push to write to you! Please help a single Jewish girl who wants to get married.

Sincerely,

Single Jewish Girl

Hashem Provided A Minyan

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Over the years, it has been a family tradition to visit the graves of my forebears at least once a year, usually just before the High Holy Days. My son and daughter usually accompany me, and we visit the graves of their mother and grandparents.

This year, the chosen date for our visit fell on the yahrzeit of my father, who is the only grandfather the children knew. We made plans for the trip, which entails visiting two cemeteries, one on Long Island and one in New Jersey. My son and I took the pre-dawn flight from Florida to Kennedy Airport, and planned to meet my daughter, who was flying in from California. After tightly scheduled visits to the cemeteries, we planned to be on our way home that night.

Since our trip coincided with my father’s yahrzeit, I needed to find a minyan so that I could daven and say Kaddish. I needed some sort of miracle to find a minyan for Shacharis, so that I could recite the Kaddish.

The miracle occurred as we approached the departure gate at the airport. Lo and behold, a few yeshiva students were waiting to board our flight. Just before dawn, I started walking through the cabin to find a place to daven. I found three empty seats, and started to put on my Tallis and Tefillin. All of a sudden, a minyan formed around me, consisting of six yeshiva boys, three other passengers, and myself. The yeshiva boys helped the passengers don their Tefillin.

When the captain announced that we were about to land, we decided to finish our prayers after disembarking.

We left as a group and found a place on the concourse. We must have been quite a sight: a group of men with funny boxes on their heads, parading to a quiet corner to finish their prayers.

When things like this occur, I say a silent prayer thanking Hashem for His mercy and goodness.

Perhaps I was being rewarded for the charity I had given, for being shomer mitzvos, or for any other good things I may have done.

My awareness of the Presence of Hashem everywhere was strengthened, as my eyes filled with tears of gratitude to Hashem for sending me a minyan when I so desperately needed one.

Kiruv – Outreach – A Family Affair

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I come from a solid, yeshivish family. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are all “Torahdik” people. Most of my friends have similar backgrounds, and when the time came for me to go to seminary in Yerushalayim, I was most fortunate to be accepted with my friends at a great school. I had an amazing year in learning and in inspirational experiences. An entire new world opened up and I loved every minute of being in Yerushalayim. Now that I am back in New York, I truly miss Eretz Yisrael and feel sad not to be there. It was probably one of the happiest years of my life.

As you can guess, I am now entering a new phase of my life – the shidduch parshah. People are calling my mom with recommendations and asking what sort of young man I am looking for. Obviously, like all seminary girls, I hope to marry someone who is a real ben Torah, with good middos (character traits) and also, something more. I would like my husband and myself to make a difference in the world, and I would like to be a partner with him in this dream. I would truly love to do kiruv – outreach.

My family is trying to discourage me. They tell me that it’s one thing to have guests once in a while, but it’s something else again when you make a career of it and it is constantly happening. I have been told that children growing up in kiruv homes very often become casualties. They take second place to the many guests who need personal attention.

Additionally, I have been told that when children are exposed to a variety of people, some of them with difficult backgrounds, they could be negatively influenced. There are always so many guests who need attention that the children get lost, and along with that, family life. To be honest with you, I am confused. I have always thought that it would be wonderful to bring people to Torah and mitzvos, but after hearing all this I just don’t know.

Since you are a pioneer in kiruv and started Hineni decades ago, and since you are also, Baruch Hashem, a bubbie and have seen generations grow up, I thought I would ask for your opinion. I would really appreciate your sharing your thoughts on this subject, although I guess that at this time, the entire matter is a moot point, since I do not have a shidduch candidate in view who is a ben Torah and also interested in kiruv.

Please don’t misunderstand…. while my parents have tried to dissuade me, they would never stand in my way and will help as much as they can. But they would like me to go into this with my eyes wide open. They agree that it would be good for me to consult you since they have followed your articles for many years. If you decide to publish my letter, please omit my name. Thank you so much and hatzlachah. May you continue your avodas ha’kodesh for many years to come.

Dear Friend:

Kiruv – outreach, is probably one of the most rewarding experiences that you can have. It is much more than reaching out and helping someone – it is nothing short of re-building and resuscitating Am Yisroel. Kiruv impacts on untold generations and changes the world. When you are mekarev someone, you not only reconnect an individual with Hashem, but more significantly, through that individual, you impact upon an entire family, an entire nation.

This is a concept that even children can be inspired by, but like anything else, it is all in the presentation. If the children are made to feel part of this vision, they will indeed be excited and ennobled by the experience, but if they are left out resentment can result. In a future article, I will elaborate on how kiruv was realized in my own family and how we practiced it. In the interim, I invite you to read an essay written by one of my own granddaughters on this very subject. It was a school assignment and the subject was “Cultural Differences That Are Unique to Each Individual Family.”

This granddaughter is the embodiment of chesed, tznius and humility, and we would never have known about this essay had it not been that my daughter (her mother), found it by accident while cleaning the house. I suggest that you read her words carefully and see for yourself how children and grandchildren can be impacted by kiruv. The following is her essay:

Writing about a “cultural experience unique to my family” seemed at first like an almost impossible task. I always thought that culture implied religion and, therefore, any experience unique to my family would also be “unique” to every other girl sitting in my class as we all come from Orthodox Jewish homes. However, as I thought more and more, I realized how although all of us do celebrate the same holidays and traditions throughout the year, each family adds its own twist, which makes it exclusively theirs.

My family’s secret twist is my grandmother, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, a world-renowned speaker. Growing up with a celebrity grandmother has taught me so much. Judaism is a very family-oriented religion, and so usually, for each holiday, families congregate and hold festivities together. However, my grandmother, being the public figure that she is, has always celebrated each holiday differently.

From California to Canada (and everywhere in-between) my grandmother usually has speaking engagements booked over the holidays. And so, if my family wishes to spend time with my grandmother over a holiday, we accompany her to wherever she may be going. From these precious times that I share with my grandmother, I have learned an important lesson – to share her with the multitudes of people who wish to ask her advice or hear her speak. And I am able to learn how to interact with others the same way that she does, so that hopefully, one day, I can try to follow my grandmother’s ways.

The high holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are days of prayer and awe. While most families spend those holidays at home and in the synagogue, beseeching G-d, my family does something a little different. We pack our bags and head for the Plaza Hotel, located in midtown Manhattan, and there, we transform a ballroom that is meant for lavish weddings and dinners into a beautiful synagogue. All this is done under the direction of my grandmother who has a passion for Jewish outreach. The goal is to attract those who may not otherwise come to High Holy Days services and expose them to the beauty of an Orthodox service.

My family has been conducting these services for the past 13 years. When I say my family, I do not just mean my parents and siblings, but all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. It is a true family affair. When I was a little girl, I looked forward to spending time with my cousins and exploring Central Park as the adults prayed for seemingly endless hours.

However, now that I am older, I am able to truly appreciate the importance of the services. My two uncles serve as the rabbis; standing at the pulpit from the beginning of the services through the end calling out the page number we are up to in the machzor and giving insightful explanations for all the prayers and the Torah readings. As most of the 500 people who attend the services are not literate in Hebrew, this is very important so that they can follow along. My father, who is blessed with the sweetest, beautiful voice, leads the congregation in a melodious service that lasts for many hours.

My role, as well as the rest of my extended family, is to help the hundreds of congregants pray. We sit side-by-side with them, pointing and turning their pages in order to help them follow along. There are many people who are praying for the first time and are not sure what to do, and so we tell them when to sit, stand, bow, etc. My grandmother, who is our role model, had us take an active role in outreach from the young age of eight or nine years old. I have gained a lot from all the members of the congregation who pray with great concentration and sincerity, even though many were not raised with a religious background.

The way my family spends the High Holy Days is unique when compared to most Orthodox Jewish families. It has served as a great conversation piece for me, as most people find it interesting that I “do Tashlich” in Central Park. I view it as a tremendous privilege to be able to be involved in outreach and help many Jews become more involved in Judaism, especially when the future of every person is decided in the Heavens Above.

(To be continued)

A Planeload Of Joy

Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

We in Israel need Nefesh B’Nefesh. Every time this organization brings in another planeload of olim, the welcome is so uplifting, the arrival is so exciting, the emotional high is so stimulating, that several old-timers go to the airport ceremonies just to be reminded how important American and Canadian aliyah is. They also witness the fantastic job of cutting through the usual Israeli red tape that Nefesh B’Nefesh has accomplished.

Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Fass are examples of how one or two people can create amazing changes in society. Their efforts to bring American and Canadian Jews to Israel have been very successful and they have also created a small revolution in several Israeli government offices. Thanks in part to the demands of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Israeli government offices are planning to reduce bureaucracy and make their operations more efficient, thereby making life a little more comfortable for all Israelis.

The latest flight had over 250 new immigrants. As they left the plane, some parents gathered their children and quietly recited the “Shehecheyanu” prayer: “Thank You G-d for letting me live to see this day.” Others knelt down to kiss the oil-stained tarmac as they realized that they had succeeded in becoming new citizens of the Land of Israel. As on the previous flight, some 40 young singles had come to settle in Israel to bring their spirit, new ideas and strength to our homeland. Several greeters sounded a welcome blast on the Shofar reminding us that this arrival was a mitzvah that will be remembered by Hashem during the High Holy Days that will soon be here. The remainder just sang and cheered with joy to welcome the new Olim with “Shalom Aleichem.”

All along the tarmac, from the plane to the huge hanger used by Nefesh B’Nefesh for the welcoming ceremonies, Israeli soldiers stood with little Israeli flags to welcome the olim home and to help them and escort them to the hanger. It was a heart-warming sight that brought big smiles to the faces of the olim and especially to the children.

We had gathered by 7:00 in the morning for the arrival ceremonies. Some people did not even have a chance to daven, but decided to come anyway, and they davened while waiting for the plane to land. A young doctor, who remembered that I had been the one to greet him when his family made aliyah, came to liven up the event with his pump and balloons and kept the little children smiling. He has put on similar shows in Israeli hospitals because he believes that joy and laughter helps heal many ailments.

In the past, olim fresh off the plane after 11 sleepless hours would be asked to sit through two hours of welcoming speeches. Nefesh B’Nefesh has streamlined the welcome to a perfect blend of speeches and entertainment and the olim appreciated it.

Three of the families came to live in Hashmonaim: the Offenbach family, the Mark family and the Feldman family. One of the cutest families was the Felstein family with each member of the family wearing a family aliyah portrait tee shirt.

The olim will never forget this day in their lives when they finally came home. When are you coming home?

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com

Need For Vigilance

Friday, November 23rd, 2001

The Jewish Press continues to receive disturbing reports of non-Jewish Middle Eastern-looking people buying taleisim, taking pictures of Yeshivas and even of having tried to purchase seats during the High Holy Days.

The proper authorities have been notified and we are told that the FBI and the NYPD are investigating.

But we say once again, there is no substitute for vigilance and being constantly mindful of the current precarious situation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/need-for-vigilance/2001/11/23/

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