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September 24, 2016 / 21 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Migdal Ohr’

The Parchment of Rebuke That Came Home

Monday, April 28th, 2014

On a day in which the cruelties of the Nazis and the devastation of the Holocaust is uppermost of the minds of the People of Israel, there are yet numerous examples of how we are shown there are sparks of hope among the ashes.

Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, Dean of the Migdal Ohr Institutions, was presented with one such example. The rabbi sat in his home in Migdal Ha’emek in bewilderment, re-examining the piece of Torah parchment he was given. Cut by a Nazi almost 70 years ago from a Torah scroll in an Eastern European synagogue, the sacred parchment was used by the Luftwaffe officer as a wrapping for his ID card during World War II.

How did Rabbi Grossman come into the possession of such a unique and shocking piece of history?

 Moti Dotan, the Head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, had recently returned from a ceremony honoring of the 25th anniversary of the twin cities pact between the Regional Council and the Hanover district in Germany.

Dotan was approached at the conclusion of the event by a member of the Hanover District Council. “My father, Werner Herzig, died a few weeks ago,” said the man. “Before his death he said he wanted to share with me a secret. He told me he had fought in World War II and told me about his involvement in those awful crimes, such as his participation in the burning of a synagogue on the Russian front. ‘It’s important for me to tell you this, because today there are those who don’t believe that it happened’ he told me.”

 Dotan relates that Herzig junior gave him the ID document and parchment and asked him to locate a holy man in the Galilee and present it to him. “I thought of the holy work that Rabbi Grossman does, and that he was the most suitable person to receive the document and parchment,” says Dotan. “When I came to him to give him the document, I shared with him the story. As he held the parchment tears started to flow from his eyes,” recalls Dotan. He said that Rabbi Grossman symbolizes to him all that is good in Judaism, and will make proper use of the item.

 Rabbi Grossman held the piece of parchment and read from the text. The parchment is from the Book of Deuteronomy, in the weekly portion of “Ki Tavo.”

He read: “…and distress which your enemies will inflict upon you, in your cities… Then the Lord will bring upon you and your offspring uniquely horrible plagues, terrible and unyielding plagues, and evil and unyielding sicknesses… Also, the Lord will bring upon you every disease and plague which is not written in this Torah scroll, to destroy you. And you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of the heaven for multitude” (Deuteronomy 28, 57-62). These verses are known as the verses of admonishment.

Rabbi Grossman is convinced that this is a “Supreme message of Divine providence. After 60 years, this document arrives in Israel, wrapped in these words of scolding, and is calling on us ‘to awaken.’ After all, the German could have cut the parchment from any of the Five Books of Moses, and he specifically cut out the section that speaks suffering, servitude and then of redemption,” he said.

Rabbi Grossman has shown the ID book and parchment to young people, and tells of the great excitement it causes. “It’s a tangible object, which you can see with your own eyes. You can see here the embodiment of evil; how after the destruction of a synagogue, this man had the audacity to enter and cut from the Torah scroll, only because he thought that the parchment was a suitable way to preserve his document.”

Rabbi Grossman has vowed to continue to visit schools and young people with the document and to share this awe-striking story with them.

Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency

Charity, Support And Some Hoops

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

   Many organizations and charities hold various events to help raise needed funds to continue their operations. Typical fundraisers include benefit dinners, Chinese auctions, and raffles – all worthy and enjoyable affairs. But few organizations have sponsored an inventive activity such as the one by Migdal Ohr Educational Center, Israel’s largest orphanage, founded by Rabbi Yitzchak Grossman. In October 2007, the organization held a basketball game between the New York Knicks and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.

 

   It was the first time that the Knicks had hosted an international team at Madison Square Garden, and over 18,000 people made it their business to witness it. And while it was merely an exhibition game, it counted where it aimed to: tickets were sold out and it raised $1.2 million, with all net proceeds going towards Migdal Ohr activities and programs.

 

   Now, the organization hopes to surpass that amount when it presents another game between the Knicks and Maccabi Tel Aviv on October 18. Another game between Maccabi and the Los Angeles Clippers is also planned for October 20 at Staples Center in LA.

 

   Robert Katz, executive vice president of the American Friends of Migdal Ohr, explained, “The first game between the Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Knicks set the bar so high we knew we’d have to offer something extra this time, now with two games only days apart. Based on feedback and enthusiasm for the game, I have full confidence that both games will be sold out as well.”

 

   Migdal Ohr was founded in 1972 by Rabbi Grossman with the goal of providing educational opportunities and social guidance for children from impoverished or underprivileged backgrounds. In Migdal Ha’Emek, the development town where Rabbi Grossman moved to in 1968 at age 22, children were living with problems most people only see on television: family drug problems, abuse in the home, parents in jail, and poverty, all due to the rapid growth in population size before the socio-economic infrastructure could be firmly established.

 

   Feeling compelled to take action and help these kids have a fighting chance at a normal and productive life, Rabbi Grossman began visiting local discos and hangouts to engage these kids in dialogue. Intrigued by “the Disco rabbi,” as Rabbi Grossman came to be called, youngsters and adolescents eventually made their way over towards a Torah way of life.

 

   Rabbi Grossman, who had been elected chief rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek (at age 23, the youngest person to become a municipal chief rabbi in Israel), saw results right away: criminal activity was reduced which, in turn, encouraged businesses to set up factories and supply the area’s many unemployed residents with jobs.

 

   Despite societal improvements within Migdal Ha’Emek, poverty, unemployment, and criminal activity are still rampant, and there are families throughout Israel in similar impoverished circumstances. It is these families, especially the children, who Rabbi Grossman hopes to reach through one of Migdal Ohr’s many initiatives.

 

   Migdal Ohr sponsors a number of services, including a day care center for infants to toddlers up to age three; kindergarten school; elementary school equipped with dorms, youth centers, and computer and library facilities; community activities; and a teacher’s seminary to train future rabbis and teachers. Other programs include one for prisoner rehabilitation and one for orphans from the former Soviet Union, who are placed with families specially trained to accommodate them and give them a new lease on life.

 

   The remarkable range of services currently provides for over 6,000 children; the lives Migdal Ohr has touched and positively impacted are countless.

 

   Perhaps Mr. Katz summed up the charity basketball game best when he said, “Sure, you can pay hundreds of dollars to go to a dinner and eat rubbery chicken to raise money for a worthy cause. But thanks to the more original idea of an action-packed exhibition basketball game, you can have an exhilarating experience for a fairly low price.”

 

   Tickets for the event went on sale in May, and are available through Ticketmaster, nyknicks.com, and the Madison Square Garden box office. Those who wish to purchase courtside or lower-level seats should contact 212-397-3700 or email robert@migdalohrusa.org.

  

Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv took on the New York Knicks at MSG in 2007. The two will face off again October 18.

Tova Ross

Charity, Support And Some Hoops

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

   Many organizations and charities hold various events to help raise needed funds to continue their operations. Typical fundraisers include benefit dinners, Chinese auctions, and raffles – all worthy and enjoyable affairs. But few organizations have sponsored an inventive activity such as the one by Migdal Ohr Educational Center, Israel’s largest orphanage, founded by Rabbi Yitzchak Grossman. In October 2007, the organization held a basketball game between the New York Knicks and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.

 

   It was the first time that the Knicks had hosted an international team at Madison Square Garden, and over 18,000 people made it their business to witness it. And while it was merely an exhibition game, it counted where it aimed to: tickets were sold out and it raised $1.2 million, with all net proceeds going towards Migdal Ohr activities and programs.

 

   Now, the organization hopes to surpass that amount when it presents another game between the Knicks and Maccabi Tel Aviv on October 18. Another game between Maccabi and the Los Angeles Clippers is also planned for October 20 at Staples Center in LA.

 

   Robert Katz, executive vice president of the American Friends of Migdal Ohr, explained, “The first game between the Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Knicks set the bar so high we knew we’d have to offer something extra this time, now with two games only days apart. Based on feedback and enthusiasm for the game, I have full confidence that both games will be sold out as well.”

 

   Migdal Ohr was founded in 1972 by Rabbi Grossman with the goal of providing educational opportunities and social guidance for children from impoverished or underprivileged backgrounds. In Migdal Ha’Emek, the development town where Rabbi Grossman moved to in 1968 at age 22, children were living with problems most people only see on television: family drug problems, abuse in the home, parents in jail, and poverty, all due to the rapid growth in population size before the socio-economic infrastructure could be firmly established.

 

   Feeling compelled to take action and help these kids have a fighting chance at a normal and productive life, Rabbi Grossman began visiting local discos and hangouts to engage these kids in dialogue. Intrigued by “the Disco rabbi,” as Rabbi Grossman came to be called, youngsters and adolescents eventually made their way over towards a Torah way of life.

 

   Rabbi Grossman, who had been elected chief rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek (at age 23, the youngest person to become a municipal chief rabbi in Israel), saw results right away: criminal activity was reduced which, in turn, encouraged businesses to set up factories and supply the area’s many unemployed residents with jobs.

 

   Despite societal improvements within Migdal Ha’Emek, poverty, unemployment, and criminal activity are still rampant, and there are families throughout Israel in similar impoverished circumstances. It is these families, especially the children, who Rabbi Grossman hopes to reach through one of Migdal Ohr’s many initiatives.

 

   Migdal Ohr sponsors a number of services, including a day care center for infants to toddlers up to age three; kindergarten school; elementary school equipped with dorms, youth centers, and computer and library facilities; community activities; and a teacher’s seminary to train future rabbis and teachers. Other programs include one for prisoner rehabilitation and one for orphans from the former Soviet Union, who are placed with families specially trained to accommodate them and give them a new lease on life.

 

   The remarkable range of services currently provides for over 6,000 children; the lives Migdal Ohr has touched and positively impacted are countless.

 

   Perhaps Mr. Katz summed up the charity basketball game best when he said, “Sure, you can pay hundreds of dollars to go to a dinner and eat rubbery chicken to raise money for a worthy cause. But thanks to the more original idea of an action-packed exhibition basketball game, you can have an exhilarating experience for a fairly low price.”

 

   Tickets for the event went on sale in May, and are available through Ticketmaster, nyknicks.com, and the Madison Square Garden box office. Those who wish to purchase courtside or lower-level seats should contact 212-397-3700 or email robert@migdalohrusa.org.


  


Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv took on the New York Knicks at MSG in 2007. The two will face off again October 18.

Tova Ross

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/charity-support-and-some-hoops/2009/06/17/

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