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November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Lubavitch’

Lubavitch Rabbi Escapes Unscathed from Totaled Car in Icy Birobidzhan

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Fellow Chabad emissaries in the Commonwealth of Independent States called it a clear Holiday of redemption miracle – as Lubavitch emissary and rabbi of the Jewish community of Birobidzhan Rabbi Elihau Riss, 22, escaped unharmed after the car he was driving was crushed under the wheels of a heavy truck that slid on the icy road, at -8 degrees Fahrenheit.

The accident took place today, Tuesday, in Birobidzhan, which was established by Soviet Tyrant Joseph Stalin as a Jewish Republic. Rabbi Riss, who had worn his seat belt, stayed in his grotesquely crushed car after it had been hit directly by the swerving truck. Rescue teams released him completely free from injury.

Rebbetzin Devorah, Wife of Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Aide Rabbi Yehuda, Laid to Rest

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Rebbetzin Devorah Krinsky, wife of chief aide to the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, passed away on Friday night at the age of 74.

Rebbetzin Devorah returned her soul to its maker after the Friday night Kiddush was recited at her bedside, surrounded by her husband, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky – who still serves as Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch and Machne Israel educational and social services – and their children.

Rebbetzin Devorah’s parents, Rabbi Zev and Etta Kasinetz, provided space for early Lubavitch work from their home in Brooklyn’s Brownsville in the late 1930’s and 40’s, according to an article in Chabad’s COLlive.

She was described by COLlive as the pillar of her home, and a constant partner in the work of her husband.  “Her warmth and humor, her quick wit, practical common sense, and her concern for others complemented her dignified comportment,” the article written on the  occasion of her death said.

Rebbetzin Devorah is survived by Rabbi Yehuda, her children Rabbi Hillel Dovid of Crown Heights, Mrs. Sheine Friedman of Crown Heights, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Crown Heights, Rabbi Levi of Lubavitch of New Hampshire, Mrs. Chana Futerfas of Crown Heights, Rabbi Shmaya of Crown Heights, and her grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as her brother Rabbi Moshe Kasinetz, founder of Suburban Torah Center in Livingston, New Jersey.

Rebbetzin Devorah’s funeral took place on Sunday at noon, leaving from Shomrei Hadas Chapels and passing by Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway.  She was laid to rest at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.

The shiva house is located at 729 Montgomery Street in Brooklyn, and will be open from 11am on Monday through Friday.

COLlive listed prayer times at the home as follows:

Shachris: 8:00, 8:45, 9:30, 10:00

Mincha: 15 Minutes before sunset

Maariv: After nightfall

Those wishing to send condolences to the family are also encouraged to write to krinskyfam@gmail.com.

Flood of Chabad Outreach After Sandy

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Despite damage and loss of power, Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy are redoubling their efforts to reach out in their communities and provide a helping hand to Jews in need.

According to a report on Chabad.org, Chabad rabbis are keeping their Chabad houses open and functional, even without electricity.

Rabbi Avrohom Rapoport, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Atlantic County, is keeping tabs on his community through social media, and has been sighted riding around  the streets of Atlantic City, NJ on a construction truck stocked with provisions such as food and water.  His Chabad House has erected a makeshift soup kitchen without electricity, and is sending volunteers to provide whatever assistance they can throughout the community.  Rabbi Rapoport has even established a relief fund to provide financial assistance to victims of the storm.

He’s even planning a communal Shabbat dinner this week.

Rabbi Yisroel Stone, co-director of Chabad of the Lower East Side in Manhattan, reported a total lack of power and water in his chabad house, but has been providing rides and food to Jews in the area.

In Long Beach, N.Y., Rabbi Eli Goodman said his family is safe, but their apartment is destroyed. The water in the synagogue’s social hall is “head high” said Goodman, director of Chabad of the Beaches and educational director of the local Bach Jewish Center.

The Chabad House of South Brunswick, NJ will be postponing its 10th anniversary celebration to focus on providing relief assistance, dropping off the kosher food meant for the party around town instead, for those in need.

Volunteers for the Rabbinical College of America-Chabad Headquarters of New Jersey and its Rutgers Jewish Outreach program also handed out kosher food, in their case to students of Rutgers who had been evacuated from their dorms.

Senior citizens also saw a ray of light courtesy of Chabad, with Chanie Zaklikovsky of the Chabad Jewish Center of Monroe, NJ distributing self-heating kosher meals at the local senior center on Wednesday.

Rabbi Zalman Duchman and his family, of Chabad of Roosevelt Island, NY, spent their post-hurricane time offering support to the elderly, even inviting patients from the long-term medical facility on the island over for a lunch.

Chabad Women Rocking in ‘Bulletproof Stockings’ (Video)

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Rocking custom sheitels and opaque tights, and walking the sidewalks of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Dalia Shusterman and Perl Wolfe have the Hasidic world talking – and singing along to the tunes of their Hasidic alternative rock girl band, Bulletproof Stockings.

Featured in the New York Post and the Times of Israel in the last month, Shusterman, the recently widowed mother of four boys under the age of 8 and Wolfe, a young divorcee, appear the picture of Chabad normalcy.

But while their influences are rather “unorthodox” – Radio Head, Jane’s Addiction, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, they are not.  While they do not appear to fill the conventional roles typically adhered to by the women of Chabad Lubavitch, and have raised concerns that they may be poor role models to young Jewish women, Shusterman and Wolfe maintain their commitment to doing things Torah-style.

Their soulful crooning is women-only, in accordance with the rabbinic prohibition of “kol isha”, making live singing performances by women off-limits to men.  They said they don’t view the restriction as a limitation, however, viewing it rather as an opportunity for women to commune in an environment of free expression.

In their interviews, the duo said they hope other Jewish women will get musical, and shed the misconception that Jewish women do not sing or perform.

Shusterman is a veteran percussionist on the indie rock scene who found Chabad Lubavitch in September 2001, when a chassid handed her a flyer for a Sukkot event in Crown Heights.  She fell in love with Jewish spirituality, and a man she met that night, and ended up the wife of a rabbi and mother of four boys.  Her husband passed away in the spring.

Wolfe was a rebellious teen who left the Chabad path her music-loving ba’al teshuva parents had forged for her. She came back to observance after a year in Israel, and ultimately returned to Crown Heights in 2008 after her marriage fell apart.

Wolfe, the singer and song writer, says her songs are inspired by the Torah and by her Lubavitch faith.  She says she prays before she writes lyrics, asking God to inspire her with messages which will be meaningful to her audience.

Listen to Bulletproof Stockings on Myspace.

The Evolution Of American Orthodoxy: An Interview with Yeshiva University Librarian Zalman Alpert

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Books. Some people love them; others claim they can do without them. For Zalman Alpert, they are essentially his life.

For the past 35 years, Alpert has served as a reference librarian at Yeshiva University (YU). Educated at Columbia University’s School of Library Services and New York University’s School of Education, where he attained a master’s degree in Modern Jewish History, Alpert is one of those individuals who knows a little (sometimes a lot) about everything. Over the years, he has contributed articles to such works as Encyclopedia of Hasidim; Jewish American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia; Encyclopedia of Jewish American Popular Culture; Midstream; and The Jewish Press.

The Jewish Press: In your three decades as a YU librarian, what would you say was your most interesting experience or encounter?

Alpert: Well, one recent one took place last summer when I noticed a Catholic priest in the library. I started talking to him, and through conversation it became clear that his mother was a little girl during the Holocaust, was hidden by non-Jews, and never came back to Judaism. She adopted the Catholic religion and eventually married a Catholic in Poland.

For some reason, however – I guess because of the pintele yid inside her – she and her husband moved to Israel in the 1960s or so. This young man was born there and attended Israeli schools, but the family later left Israel and moved to a Polish enclave in New Jersey. Subsequently this young man returned to Poland, studied for the Catholic priesthood, got a doctorate in Old Testament studies using the Hebrew he had acquired in Israel, and is now a professor at a Catholic theological seminary in Poland.

I couldn’t really get this priest to admit he felt Jewish although he knew the halacha and didn’t deny he was Jewish. He said he came to the library to familiarize himself with midrashic literature because he wanted to see how the Jewish rabbis interpreted the Bible.

Have you ever met people in the library who would otherwise never dare step in YU due to ideological reasons?

Absolutely. In fact, many of the more interesting people I have met over the years are chassidic rabbis from Williamsburg. The Pupa dayan, for example, was here, as was the spiritual head of the Organization of Young Satmar Chassidim.

They come because everything is in one place, and many of them don’t want to go to the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) for theological and halachic reasons. In recent years, though, there’s been a marked decrease in the number of chassidim who come here because of the availability of such databases as HebrewBooks.org, Otzar HaHochma, etc.

Many people claim JTS’s library is far better than YU’s. True?

If you’re doing research that requires use of old manuscripts, JTS is better. But if you’re doing research that involves books published in the last few hundred years, I would say YU compares favorably to JTS and in some areas is even better.

Why does JTS have a better manuscript collection?

They started building their collection a lot earlier than YU. When Solomon Schechter took over the seminary in 1902, he brought part of his library with him, which included a lot of Cairo Geniza fragments. Also, Schechter brought faculty members with him who were very interested in creating an academic library, and they went to Europe actively seeking manuscripts and rare books.

In contrast, YU’s college was first created in the 1920s and the Jewish studies graduate school only started in the late 1930s. YU’s library only really became very professionalized after World War II.

How many Jewish books does YU own?

I would say 300,000-400,000. We also have something like 50 incunabula, which are books printed before 1500.

You possess something of an interesting family background. Can you share?

My parents were Holocaust survivors from Lithuania/White Russia. In Europe, my father was part of the Lubavitch community, but my mother came from a misnagdic background. I attended Lubavitcher school in New Haven for many years growing up, and then went to YU later on.

Do you consider yourself Lubavitch?

The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, said there were three sorts of Lubavitcher chassidim: chassidei ha’geza, i.e., people descended from Lubavitcher chassidim; chassidei ha’nusach, i.e., people who live their lives according to Lubavitcher minhagim; and chassidei Lubavitch, which I imagine means people who study Chabad chassidus and have a personal connection to the Rebbe. I would put myself in the first two categories.

The Love For The Torah

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Many inspiring stories emanate from the Lubavitch chassidic movement. One of the stories published in Di Yiddishe Heim bulle­tin describes the early years of Rav Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, known as the Tzemach Tzedek. This year marks the 146th anni­versary of his passing.

The Tzemach Tzedek was orphaned at an early age, and spent most of his childhood years in the household of his most eminent grandfather, the founder of the Lubavitch dynasty — Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (known as the “Alter Rebbe”). Some of the discourses and talks that the Alter Rebbe fre­quently gave were open to all chassidim who cared to come and listen. However, there were times that the Alter Rebbe would call into his private room a few of his greatest followers, all of them of giant intellectual and emotive capac­ity, and teach them a “Maamar,” a Chassidic discourse of the greatest depth. On those occa­sions the Tzemach Tzedek (then 8-9 years old) was not admitted to the room, which caused him much frustration. He desperately wanted to hear every word of Torah that fell from his holy grandfather’s lips. Even though he knew that much of his grandfather’s words would be far beyond his comprehension, he hoped that he would be able to grasp at least a few words that might have meaning to him.

In Oven

One day he thought of a plan. He would conceal himself in the large empty heating oven whose wall fronted with the wall of the Alter Rebbe’s room and whose opening was in the adjoining room. By pressing his ear to the thin oven wall, he might be able to hear a few words of his grandfather’s maamar. The next time one was scheduled the Tzemach Tzedek crawled through the aperture of the oven in the adjoining room and, pushing himself far into it, pressed his ear to the wall and listened with bated breath.

Meanwhile, the gentile janitor, whose task it was to heat up the ovens on those days that the weather warranted, came to stack up the oven with pieces of wood. The young boy and future Rebbe was so intent on listening to the maamar in the next room that he was completely unaware of the wood being pushed in the oven. The oven being duly stacked with firewood, the janitor set fire to the wood, however, since the Tzemach Tzedek’s body was blocking the chimney, the proper ventilation was not attained and instead of bursting into flames, the pile of firewood emit­ted a cloud of dense smoke. The janitor tried to push the mass of smoldering firewood deeper into the oven only to find that there was something blocking its path. He withdrew the wood piece by piece and spied the small body of the Tzemach Tze­dek lying in the oven — overcome by the fumes and smoke. He hastily pulled him out of the oven and with some difficulty managed to revive him.

Later, the young lad’s grandmother, the Rebbetzin of the great Alter Rebbe, admonished her husband for not letting his own grandson satisfy his thirst for Torah. The Alter Rebbe replied that such was the true path of Jewish education — one must have mesiras nefesh — self sacrifice — for learning Torah.

Tibbi’s Roundup: ‘Asifa’ Organizers Snub Women, Lubavitch

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Happy New Week. I’m trying a topical approach to my roundup, so I went trolling for new, interesting things about Lag Ba’Omer (only a couple of days ahead), the ‘Asifa’ in Citi Field, and stam interesting Jewish tidbits. Let me know if this format works for you, I’m trying new things.

There’s a classifieds ad circulating the Israeli blogosphere which just has to be translated and shared as the most insightful sales pitch ever:

For sale, first owner! Encyclopedia Britannica, the complete set – 45 volumes! Bargain price, or to the highest bidder. I no longer need it. I got married last week – and my wife knows everything.

Is that deep, or what? And just in case you might actually be interested, since this year has seen the shutting down of the printed Britannica, the number for this wise seller is, in Israel, 03-576-9283.

Let’s blog.

LAG B’OMER, ANYONE?

Going to Meron. From Jerusalem people like myself including hundreds of thousands of Jews, are making their way to the Galilean city of Meron Wednesday night and Thursday 10th May, 2012, participating in the annual celebration of Lag Ba’Omer. Police in the quiet town situated just one mountain away from the mystical city of Tzfat are expecting half a million Jews to arrive, traveling in busses, private cars, and some even on foot.  As of 7:30pm Wednesday night, its expected for 20,000 people to have already arrived. Midnight Rabbi Inspires

First haircut & pe’ot shaping ceremonies for 3 year old boys are the highlight of Lag b’Omer for many families, as everyone gathers to help snip. Actually, everywhere in the world, Jewish boys born between Pesach and Lag b’Omer receive their first haircut and pe’ot on Lag b’Omer. Upon reaching the age of 3 (i.e., completing three years and beginning the “holy fourth” – see Lev. 19:23-25), a Jewish child begins to receive his or her official training in mitzvot. Rabbi Babs, Lech Lecha

Lag B’ Omer Picnic. The Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer is next Thursday, May 10. Since this holiday is celebrated with picnics, parades and bonfires there’s still time to grab these great picnic essentials: Fun napkins from Target, Crate and Barrel’s collapsible basket… Rita from Connecticut, Design Megillah

 

MORE ASIFA NOTES

The Internet Asifa @ CitiField. Some people expressed their frustration with the fact that women cannot attend, others blasted the rabbis for ruining the Jewish future. As I am female, I will not be able to attend the asifah (bummer, no inspiration for me), a male friend kindly offered to take his time and attend on my behalf, so hopefully, there will be more to discuss after May 20th. Tania, Thinking Jew Girl

Lubavitch not invited to “Internet” asifa. I’m sorry for doing this, for airing our “dirty laundry” here in public, and in English yet! but this charade has to stop. This week’s meeting with the Satmar Rebbe is only one example of the exclusionary tactics being used by the organizers of the Internet event. You can choose not to believe what I write here, if it makes you feel good, but I know it to be 1000% true. Many efforts were made to get the organizers to include Lubavitch in this asifa. They were all rejected. For all kinds of supposed reasons. All people involved got the run-around, and the end result was that we got the message. Even the Skulener Rebbe said it has nothing to do with him. Hirschel Zig’s Blog Mistaken Report Says Asifa at CitiField to Be Held on May 28. Matzav.com has confirmed that despite a report in the chareidi media this week indicating a change of date, the upcoming Ichud Hakehillos L’Tohar Hamachane gathering, otherwise known as the “Internet Asifa,” will be talking place on Sunday, May 20, at CitiField in Queens, as originally scheduled.

A report on the front page of the Brooklyn-based Hamodia newspaper on Monday stated that the event would be taking place on May 28. Organizers, though, tell Matzav.com that this is mistaken and that the original date, May 20, was never changed. Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter

Life Beyond Internet. On Monday, Paul Miller, a Senior Editor at a “technology-focused news publication” called The Verge, announced that he was quitting the Internet for a year. He’s switched to a “dumb” phone, and has pledged to neither use the Internet nor ask others to use it for him, if he can.

His reasons for this drastic move are informative. He hopes that “leaving the internet will make me better with my time, vastly more creative, a better friend, a better son and brother… a better Paul.” He said that he was spending an average of over twelve hours each day using some sort of device with an Internet connection, not even including his smartphone. Yaakov Menken, Cross Currents

Internet Asifa. While I often think that a stance may be valid even if I don’t agree with it, when it comes to the internet, I don’t even think the chareidi view is valid. I mean, let’s look at what happened. The internet comes out, and chareidi Rabbis decide it’s like TV. They assur it completely. Then, they see that some people need it in order to make money. Then they decide it’s still forbidden, but there are loopholes. You can show proof that you need it for work, and then you can have it – but only if the woman of the house has the password, and her husband is dependent on her to open it up. You also need a filter that meets chareidi standards. Proud MO, OrthoWatch

 

JEWS AT LARGE

Jewish leadership fails us again. The Netanyahu government keeps praising Obama and publicly smiling even though Obama keeps sticking the knife in. As a result American Jews maintain their support of Obama. Because Netanyahu doesn’t defend our right to build, they and even Israeli Jews, lose confidence in our rights. Many become ashamed of the “occupation” because our government gives the impression that criticism of us in this regard is well founded. Under these conditions we cannot win the PR battle. Ted Belman, Doc’s Talk

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