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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Miami’

The Jewish World Series: Home Run for Unison

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Baseball was on Rabbi Zvi Kahn’s mind as he headed from his home in Columbus, Ohio, to the nearby Jewish Community Center after Havdalah one Saturday night in May, three years ago. More accurately, a baseball tournament.

Rabbi Kahn is headmaster of Columbus Torah Academy, a Modern Orthodox day school (K-12) that was sponsoring a first-of-its-kind baseball tournament among four Jewish high schools over one long weekend in 2010. Earlier games on Thursday evening and Friday afternoon had drawn nice crowds of visiting parents and local fans, but the Motzaei Shabbat competition, starting at 10:30 pm, was the centerpiece of the tournament. Rabbi Kahn was worried that people wouldn’t show up.

He needn’t have worried.

As he drove up to the JCC, the site of the Columbus Baseball Invitational, he saw cars vying for parking spaces. “The parking lot was full,” he says.

“I had to park farther away, on a side street.”

The Saturday night crowd, the rabbi says, confirmed that the school’s decision to establish such a sports venture was a success, giving young frum athletes a chance to compete in a kosher atmosphere without Shabbat scheduling conflicts and with bleachers full of enthusiastic supporters.

KOSHER BASEBALL

The need for such a Shabbat-considerate—if not strictly shomer Shabbat—sports tournament was revealed last winter when the boys’ basketball team of Houston’s Beren Academy, a day school whose team had reached the semifinals in its league for small private and parochial schools, became the center of a national controversy. Beren nearly had to forfeit a game, and a shot at the championship, because the semifinal and final games were scheduled to be played on Shabbat. Following a firestorm of publicity, including support for the school from largely non-Christian celebrities and politicians, and sympathetic coverage by the Houston media, a Friday evening game was changed to Friday afternoon.

Beren won that semifinal; the final game was played Saturday night. The issue created a major kiddush Hashem, educating the wider public about the specifics of Sabbath observance and the sacrifices it sometimes entails.

“[The tournament] is very important to these kids and their families,” Rabbi Kahn says.

“If adults ignore what [teens] are interested in, we’re going to lose them,” says Dr. Tricia Rosenstein, a pediatrician and Torah Academy parent.

For most teens, especially in a Modern Orthodox milieu where athletics often plays a prominent role, competitive sports are a normal—and valued—part of adolescence. This is especially so in Columbus, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, one of college football’s most successful teams, and of fans who continue their rabid interest as alumni. On Friday night, Torah Academy students can hear the sound of fans cheering at high school football games in their neighborhoods.

The students, frum but worldly, want the excitement and recognition that surround other—non-Jewish—schools’ sports programs, family members of the day school students say.

“Kids need something a little bigger than themselves to feel part of,” says Dr. Rosenstein. “Now,” she says, “they get to hear their own cheering.”

“Athletics, like academics, provides the challenges that help shape both the mind and body,” according to the day school’s sports blog (ctaathletics.blogspot.com). “Many studies show that qualities such as commitment and desire drive our students to compete and excel in the classroom, on the field and later, in their chosen professions.” Which is why the school said yes when Steve Guinan, a baseball coach and English teacher at Torah Academy, asked whether a baseball tournament among similar Modern Orthodox institutions is feasible.

A TOURNAMENT IS BORN

Word went out over the Internet and several schools expressed interest.

First at bat were Chicago’s Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Manhattan’s Ramaz School and the Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston, New Jersey. The initial Columbus Baseball Invitational—renamed the Jewish World Series—was born within a few months. The 2012 tournament included Ramaz, Ida Crown, Yeshiva Atlanta, Kushner and Rabbi Alexander S. Gross High School in Miami. A tournament is scheduled for this coming spring as well.

“We thought it would be more local, limited to schools closer to Columbus,” says Coach Guinan. To his surprise, more distant schools signed up for the tournament, which takes place after end-of-year exams are over.

ACHDUT (UNISON) ON AND OFF THE FIELD

Calendar Of Events

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

What: Israel Bonds Aventura Turnberry Brunch (honoring Ursla Kersh and Myrna and Robert Kopf; guest speaker – foreign policy analyst Dr. Ralph Nurnberger)
Where: Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, 20400 NE 30th Ave, Aventura
When: Sunday, Dec. 9 at 10:30 a.m.
Cost: $36 per person Contact: 305-937-1880

* * * * *

What: Chabad of Kendall/Pinecrest’s fun-filled Chanukah celebration (face painting, bounce house, arts and crafts, bbq, hot latkes and doughnuts)
When: Sunday, Dec. 9 starting at 12:30 p.m.
Where: 8700 SW 112 Street, Miami
Contact: 305-234-5654 ext 10, or e-mail woolfson@chabadofkendall.org

* * * * *

What: Chanukah party at the MAR-JCC (musical performance, delicious latkes, arts and crafts projects)
When: Sunday, Dec. 9 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Where: 18900 NE 25th Ave, North Miami Beach
Cost: Free admission – open to MAR-JCC members and their guests
Contact: 305-932-4200 (ext 128) or e-mail marjccdavid@aol.com

Tomchei Shabbos Of Miami Serves Needy Families

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Tomchei Shabbos of Miami was founded in 2009 by students of Rabbi Friedberg of North Miami Beach. Every Friday the organization distributes kosher food to more than seventy families throughout South Florida. Tomchei Shabbos means “supporters of the Sabbath” and that is just what the organization does.

Preparing Tomchei Shabbos packages.

Tomchei Shabbos believes in helping the Jewish needy without making them feel needy. There is 100 percent confidentiality for recipients. The nonprofit organization is unique. All donations go directly toward the cause. There are no salaries. All work is done by volunteers.

Donations are needed of food, money, toys, etc. Volunteers are needed who can give time for packing and delivering. All packages are put together on Thursdays in a warehouse and delivered to families in need on Friday.

For more information visit tomcheishabbosofmiami.org, call 305-773-2033, or e-mail tomcheishabbosofmiami@hotmail.com to refer a family in need or to offer a donation.

Time Out

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

South Florida has received quite a boost from the newly crowned National Basketball Association champion Miami Heat. It’s difficult to describe the frenzy of Heat fans in their quest for victory. It is truly compelling that in this time of economic downturn, the Heat sold out every home game. Apparently, the thrill of experiencing this type of event is quite powerful.

Sports is the quintessential bonding experience for diverse members of a community. CEOs and janitors, professors and school dropouts, men and women, youngsters and grandparents all get caught up in the euphoria.

Hotels were filled with tourists. Many visitors came from out of town. Some were fans of the opposing team. Some took advantage of the party-like atmosphere to take vacations. There were sportscasters and “wannabes,” family, friends and entourages of the players, and individuals who just wanted to be part of the exciting mix.

One visitor, however, was so unlikely that his presence was almost surreal. Former prisoner of Hamas Gilad Shalit was in town to launch his new career as a sportswriter. He watched the NBA finals and visited the Miami Dolphins training camp and the University of Miami football team.

Shalit was a 19-year-old Israeli soldier when he was kidnapped in a raid by Hamas terrorists in 2006. He was held hostage for over five years. His photo showed a bespectacled sweet-faced kid. He could have been anyone’s brother, son, neighbor or grandchild. In all that time his whereabouts where unknown. His captors denied him visits from the International Red Cross. Jews everywhere were haunted by his wrenching story.

Prime Minister Netanyahu ultimately did the unthinkable to save this one Israeli soldier. On October 17, 2011, Shalit was released in exchange for more than 1,000 Arab prisoners.

Gilad has kept out the spotlight since his return. He came to Florida with his newfound mentor, Arik Henig, a popular Israeli media figure who writes for newspapers and television. Henig, a seasoned reporter, was showing the ropes to his young protegé.

The question, of course, is how was it possible? Shalit is painfully shy and soft-spoken. How did this young man survive his ordeal? He was a kid alone. How did he muster the strength?

Shalit is a very private person. He does not like to be interviewed. He usually shuns discussion about his time in captivity. However, he shared some insights while in Miami. His revelations were poignant.

He told of his saving grace: he was given a radio by his jailers and was allowed to listen to sport broadcasts. Sometimes he even watched a televised soccer game with his guards. He had a distraction; a way to avoid dealing with his terrible predicament. He had a way to survive.

There are many who have great disdain for sports. They dismiss it as nahrishkeit (nonsense). They look down on those who play and those who watch.

The Rambam advised pleasurable distraction as a way of refreshing oneself and going on in one’s life. He suggested walks in a beautiful garden. Obviously he never heard of the NBA.

Life is often difficult. It is always terminal. One does not have to be a prisoner of terrorists to become overwhelmed by it all. Torah study, prayer, work and obligations are important. Sometimes there is a great need for a time out to refresh and revive.

It’s My Opinion: Tantrums

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

The recent loss by the Knicks in game two of their playoff series with the Miami Heat resulted in more than the loss of a basketball game. In an explosive postgame meltdown, Knicks star Amare Stoudemire lost control and punched the glass case of a fire extinguisher. His outburst led to 15 stitches in his hand. Stoudemire left Miami bandaged up and wearing an arm sling.

Tantrums, unfortunately, are not just the behavior of frustrated toddlers. Many adults give themselves permission to act out their anger. An explosive tantrum is always a terrible way to deal with a vexing situation.

During a tantrum the thinking part of the brain simply shuts down and the primitive reactionary component kicks in. Psychologists agree that neither promises of incredible gifts nor threats of dire punishments are effective once a child is in the throes of a frenzy. This shutdown occurs in tantrum throwers of all ages. The trick to averting this occurrence is, of course, not to allow one’s anger to rage out of control. Anger management skills are essential.

Jewish tradition treats the results of acting on anger in a very serious way. Rambam warns of the consequences of this phenomenon in a letter of counsel to his son. He writes of the importance of controlling rage. Our sages admonish, “If one becomes angry, if he is a prophet, his spirit of prophecy will be removed from him.” It is common sense to understand that if an individual’s mind is not letting him see the present clearly, it would be impossible for him to have the clarity to see the future.

Amare Stoudemire wound up with a bloody hand and as a derided target for tabloid headline writers. He said, “I am so mad at myself right now. I want to apologize to the fans and my team….”

It’s normal for human beings of all ages to experience a full range of emotions. Anger is one of them. People are “wired” differently and can respond differently to the same provocation. Our job is to harness our reactions and attain mastery of our own behavior.

400 Floridians Flock to Israel on Journey to Jerusalem

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Four hundred South Floridians have joined together on a “Mega Mission” to Israel, organized by the Miami Jewish Federation.

The 10-day trip embarked on Sunday.  Highlights will include a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and visits to historic and religious sites, concerts, and other events.

The Miami Jewish Federation contributed $600,000 to the travelers, in order to help those who could not afford to make the journey.

The massive Floridian trip, called Journey to Jerusalem, will be covered with live reports from regional 7News reporter Rosh Lowe, who has joined the group on their trip.

Tzadik Plastic Surgeon to Shadchanim: Free Nose Job for Your Clients Who Need But Can’t Afford It

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Board-certified Miami plastic surgeon and Nose Job Specialist Michael Salzhauer surprised me, I had cynically expected something else entirely.

I’ve written about the Groggers, the band he hired to shoot a very funny commercial promoting his business, urging the “Jewcans” among us to alter their schnozes to get the shikse-looking girl. It was so beyond the pale, you had to laugh.

So I thought, Smart businessman, good finger on the pulse of his potential clients, how cool is that.

Then I wrote the article about his trouble with his colleagues at the ASPS on account of that video commercial, and I figured, I suppose you get hurt when you dare push the envelope, so maybe he’s a smart businessman, but maybe too smart for his own good. But it turned out the entire rebuke came from just one other plastic surgeon who took a ride on Salzhauer’s fame using a chronic absence of a sense of humor as a vehicle to get his own 15 minutes of fame. So far, there’s been no ASPS action against Salzhauer.

Then I was reading – because I’m Jewish and I’m addicted to the Jewish Press – the articles and counter articles and many hundreds of comments on the issue of giving your daughter an extra oomph in her search for a good husband, and, if needed, paying for her nose job.

So I started calling Dr. Michael Salzhauer’s office, asking for an interview, and whenever I called he’d be hard at work, turning Jewish noses into Nordic masterpieces (I could have written “Aryan masterpieces,” but then the hate mail would start pouring). We finally managed to talk, and he blew my mind. He forced me—an instinctive objector to vain mutilation for the sake of some notion of exterior beauty—to reconsider my views on this issue.

And he’s not cynical, that was another huge surprise. I walked away convinced he means every word he says.

 

MEET NOSE JOB SPECIALIST DR. MICHAEL SALZHAUER

Nose Job Specialist Michael Salzhauer on NBC's Today Show

Nose Job Specialist Michael Salzhauer on NBC's Today Show

Salzhauer: First of all, I love the Jewish Press, I remember reading it all the time when I was growing up in New York. I’m very pleased with the articles that you guys have written on the Groggers, and before we go into the controversy about the video, I want to tell you an interesting story.

I read Yitta Halberstam’s article (in which she recommended that young women looking for a husband should consider doing a nose job). Gil Student—he and I went to high school together—jokingly posted it on my Facebook page, saying he wonders if  Dr. Salzhauer would pay to have this article published.

I read the article, and I saw that there were like 500 comments. I didn’t read  through all the comments, of course. I read the article, and thought to myself, She’s right on! This is what I see in my daily practice. I see girls that come in with low self esteem, they have surgery, they blossom, and they go on and I see them months, years later, when they’re married and they thank me and it’s gratifying. It’s one of the most gratifying things about my job as a cosmetic surgeon.

So I put in a comment that she’s 100 percent correct.

I’ve been speaking to shadchanim (matchmakers) literally for years, offering my services for free. I say, look, if you have clients that you think would benefit from cosmetic surgery, I won’t charge them. If you refer them to me and you tell me that they’re dating and they’re trying and they don’t have the money for the surgery, please send them to me, I’ll be happy to do it and let’s see if we can’t change people’s lives.

(The average nose job costs between five and ten thousand dollars in Miami. In New York and Los Angeles these operations would cost between eight and twenty thousand – YY)

So I’ve been speaking to shadchanim and they all email me back and say, I think it’s a good idea, we’ll work on it, but no one ever took me up on the offer. I guess because it’s a very difficult conversation for a shadchan to broach with a young woman.

Imagine going to your shadchan and they tell you, I think you need a nose job, or liposuction. A lot of times it’s even congenital things, when one breast is bigger than the other, for instance. It’s a very common issue, but I know that in the frum community it’s more than just stigmatized, as it is in the general population, where, even though it’s very common, people still speak about plastic surgery in hushed whispers. For frum people it’s a taboo.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/tzadik-plastic-surgeon-to-shadchanim-free-nose-job-for-your-clients-who-need-but-cant-afford-it/2012/03/31/

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