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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘kind’

Not in Accordance with the Torah?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

One of the most informative books I have ever read on the subject of early 20th century American Jewry was Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet’s biography of Bernard Revel, the 1st President of Yeshiva University.

The picture painted of American Jewry in the Revel bio matches that of Rabbi Rakeffet’s own autobiographical account of growing up in pre-war era New York. To put it simply – Orthodox Judaism as we know it today did not exist.

The fact is that Rabbi Rakeffet reported that some of the Rebbeim in his elementary religious day school were barely religious. Indeed, the general studies principal there, Harry Sherer (brother of Rabbi Moshe Sherer) ended up becoming a Reform Rabbi.

Virtually the same story was told by Rabbi Hirsch Diskind, son in law of one of my heroes, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky. In an article published in Hamodia he said that in the early days of his own right wing Yeshiva, Chaim Berlin, the Rebbeim were barely Shomer Shabbos.

Another point Rabbi Diskind made was the following:

[T]heir hashkafos were not always in accordance with the Torah… For example, I remember how once [when I was in] in sixth grade, my rebbi entered the room crying bitterly. He had just heard the news that Chaim Nachman Bialik (pictured above), the father of modern Israeli poetry, had passed away, and this affected him deeply.

Life was indeed different then. But I must take strong issue with the way Rabbi Diskind framed the issue here. In the most subtle of ways he has condemned secular poetry as not in accordance with the Torah.

I received an e-mail from Rabbi Dr. Noam Weinberg. Rabbi Weinberg has Semicha from Yeshiva University and spent many years learning Torah. He has multiple degrees from top universities and is currently the Principal of Judaic Studies in North Shore Hebrew Academy High School in Great Neck New York.

His e-mail included a letter he wrote to Hamodia in response to that article. Bearing in mind Rabbi Weinberg’s prestigious educational background in both Limudei Kodesh and Limudei Chol – here in part is what he wrote:

Let’s discuss now the Hashkafos which were not in accordance with the Torah.

Bialik was a Talmid of Volozhin and was always very fond of Jewish life and culture. Maybe the reason why the Rebbe was crying was because of the fact that he felt connected to another Jew who had a strong passion for his love for the Jewish people, maybe he was a relative of his, maybe he learned with him in Volozhin. Maybe he just liked Hebrew Poetry. Why does that mean that his Hashkafos were not in line with Torah? Did he stop being Shomer Torah U’Mitzvos? Did he do something Assur? Is it just that it is Assur to read Hebrew Poetry…

The hypocrisy is painful!!! Rav Hutner was a student of philosophy in the University of Berlin, who no doubt came across true Kefira in the things he read there, Rebbitzin Bruriah David, Rav Hutner’s daughter was allowed by her father to go to Columbia University where she got her PhD, and Rav Hunter who together with Rav Shraga Feivel Mendelovitz wanted to start a fully accredited college and only because Rav Aharon Kotler said not to did he cancel those plans.

What kind of absurd double standard is it to to say that a Rebbe who cried because of Bialik’s death not knowing why he was crying is considered a person whose Hashkafos were not in line with Torah, whereas Rav Hutner who had a degree in Philosophy from the University of Berlin and read real Kefria is referred to as an individual who “understood each person intimately, better than he understood himself. His brilliance was overpowering, he was able to make everybody feel very close, and we all felt that he was interested in us and our growth.”

Rabbi Weinberg had other criticisms including being Dan L’Kaf Zechus to those ‘barely’ Shomer Shabbos Mechanchim instead of cavalierly dismissing them as barely religious. But the one reflected in the above excerpt is what resonated with me. I believe it is a profoundly important point.

Here is the problem. That a Rebbe in Rabbi Diskind’s era was strongly moved by the death of a Hebrew poet is characterized by him as reflecting a Hashkafa not in accordance with the Torah (emphasis mine) – is very troubling.

Harry Maryles

Will Your Grandma Be a Victim of Financial Abuse

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Have you ever met the kind of guy that would sell his own grandmother down the river?

Since more and more elderly people are being swindled and financially abused every day, it’s crucial to learn how to protect your grandmother and other seniors you care about.

Why are the elderly so susceptible to financial abuse? After all, chances are that they worked for many long years and have achieved the wisdom of experience. While they were young and fit, they surely had the opportunities to protect themselves, so what makes them vulnerable now?

Three reasons the elderly get scammed

1. Generally, as individuals grow older they tend to become more isolated from others. Perhaps their spouse has passed away and their children don’t live close by. The loneliness and isolation that this creates can make a person more vulnerable and open to parting with money… if it leads to companionship. For example, if Grandma is suddenly bombarded with invitations to free lunches and seminars, she may at first go simply for the company rather than any real interest in the subject of the event. She may find herself “befriended” by the organizers and convinced to invest in a dubious scheme because her defenses are down now that these people have been so “nice” to her.

2. Modern technology. An elderly person who has little experience with computers and knows only how to send or reply to an email may easily fall prey to scams such as fake charitable appeals asking for a credit card number in order to make a donation, a bank password for depositing some unexpected funds that don’t really exist into his account, and so forth.

3. The worst threat of all: seemingly concerned relatives and caregivers who have their own hidden agenda. One of my clients recently told me that she had to fire her elderly father’s home healthcare worker because he had almost managed to get the old man, an Alzheimer’s sufferer, to write him into his will. The caregiver was caught just in time. And then there are the unscrupulous relatives who have been given power of attorney for a relative and they gradually whittle away all their resources until there is nothing left at all.

Sadly many of these offenses go unreported because the victims may be too embarrassed to admit that they made such a big mistake, or no one is monitoring the situation.

If you’re caring for an elderly parent or grandparent, keep an eye on what’s going on, both with their physical health and fiscal health. If you have power of attorney over their bank account, review it periodically and investigate suspicious activity. Find out what’s happening if unexpectedly large sums are disappearing. Observe all caregivers, and do strict background checks on any much younger new “loves” or prospective new spouses who suddenly appear.

Protect Grandma and other seniors in your life from becoming victims of fraud by educating yourself about how to be vigilant against scams and implementing  tips against elder fraud. After all, a broken hip may be easier to fix than a broken bank account.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Dealing With Leftovers

Friday, September 28th, 2012

The holidays are upon us which means lots of food. So, what to do with all those leftovers? Here are some creative ideas.

Potato Kugel

* Cut into individual size portions, remove the crust and fry on all sides. Serve piping hot.

* Freeze some and use in the cholent next week. They will love it.

* If you only have a small amount left over, crumble it up and add to a vegetable soup.

 

Broccoli or Spinach Kugels

* Mash up, add an egg or two and a tablespoon of flour. Place a nice amount on a piece of pizza dough and fold over like a calzone. Brush with egg wash and bake for an hour on 300° or until light brown.

* To make individual portions, use the small square frozen dough. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle on sesame seeds. Then bake until light brown.

* Cut into small cubes and mix with cooked rice or potato. Serve hot.

* As with the potato kugel, crumble a small amount into vegetable soup.

 

Any Cooked Vegetable

* If you have left over green beans, carrots, eggplant, or even potatos, mix together with one egg, a tablespoon of flour for every cupful (about), salt, pepper and garlic powder. Fill a baking dish up to 2/3 full. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and bake at 350° for one hour.

 

Cakes

* Cut sponge or chocolate cake into thin slices arrange the slices flat one layer at a time on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for fifteen minutes on 300°. Serve as cookies.

* Crumble cake, add a little liquor to the crumbs, add a stick of margarine, and any leftover cream or frosting. Mix well. Form balls and roll them in sprinkles or coconut.

* If you have cake made out of dough like a cocosh, run it in the food processor and then sprinkle over ice cream or fruits. Or use in place of crumbs at the bottom of pies.

 

Liquids

* Never throw away liquids! When you cook green beans or corn use the liquids strained in another dish you cook. Yesterday I cooked chicken soup in one pot and corn in another. When the corn was cooked I strained the liquid and added to the chicken soup. You can do it with any liquid. That delicious full of flavor of liquid from baking chicken or meat should never be discarded. I put it in a jar overnight in the refrigerator, then remove the fat that forms on top and add it to cooked vegetables, to the cholent or to enhance any cooked soup.

* At the end of the summer we are left over with many sauces in the refrigerator from barbeques. Don’t throw them away. Use them up slowly; a tablespoon in the cholent, in vegetable dishes or the next roast you bake. The idea is not to throw away good food that you paid for it dearly.

 

Fruits

* If you have fruits starting to turn, use them quickly.

* Make a smoothie with the fruit, some milk or water and some kind of sweetener. Cook them in a small amount of water with a little sugar and serve as compote. This freezes very well.

* Arrange them in a piecrust and bake for an hour on 350°.

* Apples cab be cooked in a small amount of water and then strained for applesauce; use the liquid as juice. In my house my grandchildren know that Savta even makes apple juice for them.

Moadim L’simcha – and let me know how you best used your leftovers.

Yaffa Fruchter

Gulliver’s Sukkah

Friday, September 28th, 2012

A Toldos Aharon child is playing with the frum equivalent of a doll house in Jerusalem. And, as you can see from the dangling power cord, his little marvel of a sukkah even has light in it at night. Perfection.

Nancy and I received delivery on our first “eternal sukkah” yesterday, and since it was too much of a schlep to take it upstairs, we decided to start building it right there and then, in the parking lot behind our building.

Following the instructions on a crumbled piece of paper, we put the thing together the wrong way so many times, until a kind neighbor—who also attends my shul—and his son, a crafty boy—couldn’t stand seeing our suffering and offered a helping hand.

It was a little like the Amish barn raising, I suppose, where all the neighbors get together and help a newlywed couple build their first barn.

We continued to do everything twice and three times – tied down the wooden slats for the roof schach, then took them down to wrap the frame first with the tarp that came with the sukkah. Then, seeing as we connected the door upside-down, we had to make adjustments there.

The sun was beating on me, I drank one of those useful little supermarket water bottles in a single gulp and move on to the next one, my entire body ached, I stood tall on a ladder where I had no business doing a balancing act – but in the end we did it, with the door right side up and the window finally not facing the wall, and the schach nicely spread on top.

For 30 years we’ve been celebrating Sukkot in the communal sukkah at 577 Grand Street, where you share the sukkah meal experience with a hundred neighbors. And while we have are some lovely memories from those meals, it will be a thrill to have our sukkot in Netanya, in our own sukkah.

The neighborhood cats have been showing a keen interest in the new structure and are trying to figure out a way to get in. We hope the tarp zippers will hold… Also, there’s a guy parked right next to our sukkah. He has the whole, near-empty parking lot, but, no – he has to park next to our little candy box picture of a sukkah.

Friday I’m going to park our own Chevy there, to block him. All I need is for some semi-conscious driver to back into my precious… No…

A gut yontif!

Yori Yanover

Shhhh…

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Rest period in the pre-kindergarten class at the Jewish Educational Center, the precursor to the current St. Paul Jewish Community Center, circa 1939.

It was built in 1930 at the corner of Holly and Grotto Streets. Programming combined recreation and education, and by the time this picture was taken, over 100 community groups used the building.

I was looking for something sweet to prepare us for the Holy Day of Yom Kippur. I was born on Yom Kippur, and so I always find it difficult to feel fear when it comes to what is, after all, my birthday.

I can understand intellectually why people are so afraid – judgment, sealed fates, it’s supposed to be scary. But I don’t feel those things. Instead, I fell the beauty of the tunes, the fragrance of the citrus fruit poked with cloves which I smell every half hour or so, the amazing stories of the Mussaf service.

Who else gets this kind of goodies on their birthday?

I didn’t find any image that would express my Yom Kippur joy. So I picked these toddlers, who are in their 70s and 80s today.

But if you look closely, you’ll see that the child up front is squeezing his face and fist – faking a peaceful nap for the benefit of the camera. No innocence there…

Ah, well, the search for spontaneous expressions of authentic joy continues…

Yori Yanover

The Atrocity of Ignorance and Fanaticism

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

First let me state the obvious. I am not a Christian. I do not believe in Christian theology. I am a Torah-observant Jew with a Torah-observant theology. So the idea of a Trinity is anathema to me and I certainly do not believe in the divinity of Jesus.

That said, I am absolutely appalled at what has happened to a church in Israel recently. The expression of hatred towards Christian beliefs and institutions rivals that of pre-Holocuast Germany of the mid 30s. Anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of a church and the recent public tearing up of the Christian bible by a Knesset member [MK Michal Ben-Ari -Ed.] are acts reminiscent of the anti-Semitic graffiti seen on the walls synagogues and Jewish owned businesses in Germany.

Unfortunately, I can all too well understand why this is happening. It is a culture of hatred of the goy (non-Jew) that permeates certain circles. And a history of anti-Semitism perpetrated against our parents, grandparents and great grandparents going back for centuries in Europe – pre-dating the Reformation.

The Church had always had it in for the Jews back then. Persecutions were often sourced in what the Church saw as heresy on our part for denying the divinity of Jesus. They either wanted to convert us or destroy us. That finally came to a head during the Holocaust where Christian Germany with centuries of hatred imbedded in their souls – ingrained in them by previous generations underpinned the Nazi determination to annihilate us. Even though the expressed hatred was entirely racial, not religious.

So it is not a surprise that certain Jews react reflexively to non-Jews by hating them. Nor is it surprising why that hatred produced this kind of activity. When hatred is ingrained in this historical way we cannot expect tolerance. I am reminded of a tape I once heard by a Chasidic Rav saying that even though we must have good relations with gentiles, we must hate them!

That is incorrect. There is no mitzvah to hate non-Jews. There is a mitzvah to treat all of humankind with the dignity they deserve as God’s creations, created in His image! There is instead a mitzvah to enlighten the nations with the morality, values, and ethics of the Torah. In fact according to one source I saw, the reason for our lengthy exile is precisely for that purpose – to get the rest of the world to believe in God and to appreciate the truth of the Torah.

Why doesn’t the segment that fosters the kind of hatred displayed in the above mentioned acts abide by any of this? In certain cases historical experiences combined with an insular lifestyle and lack of education prevents them from seeing reality.

In other cases, it is simple fanaticism as seems to be the case here. Some of the graffiti indicates that this was done by fanatic settlers of Ramat Migron and Maoz Esther as a ‘price tag’ operation for the police closing down two structures in Migron.

This is an outrage! No matter how justified these illegal settlers feel they are in building illegal settlements, and no matter how angry they are at the Israeli government for doing it, they have no right to retaliate. Certainly not against innocent Christians!

They probably think this is a Mitzvah. But they are wrong. This is a completely immoral act that is inexcusable!

The Christian world of today does not hate us. Many of them, such as the Evangelical community embrace us. And since Vatican Two, Catholics no longer believe in the doctrine that blames us for the crucifixion. We are now considered their ‘older brother’ religion. These new attitudes are clearly and constantly expressed in tangible ways. Relations have never been better. While there still may be pockets of Christian anti Semitism – they are relatively few in number and in any case non violent. (With the obvious exceptions of fringe groups like the neo-Nazis and the KKK.)

But the people who do this kind of thing either don’t know any of that, or don’t care. They will say that all this ‘love’ is false. Or that is it just a ruse to convert us. Most of them will not however be stupid enough to act on it – especially as an act of revenge against the government! But you only need a few who do. And that is what seems to have happened here.

Harry Maryles

State Dept. Official Killed in Libya Consulate Attack

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

A U.S. official was killed and at least one other American wounded as armed Libyan militiamen stormed the US consulate in Benghazi in eastern Libya.

“One American official was killed and another injured in the hand. The other staff members were evacuated and are safe and sound,” Libya’s deputy interior minister Wanis al-Sharif told AFP.

The identity of the consular worker who was shot is not known yet.

According to reports, the attack was over a You Tube video that insulted the Prophet Muhammad.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

Armed men stormed the consulate compound, shooting at buildings and throwing handmade bombs, later setting a building on fire. Security forces returned fire but were overwhelmed.

Protests were held in front of the U.S. in Cairo, but no damage was caused there.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/state-dept-official-killed-in-libya-consulate-attack/2012/09/12/

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