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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Officials Try to Dismiss Arson in Fire of NJ Synagogue Leader’s Car

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Police discovered before dawn Saturday morning, the day after Rosh HaShanah, that the car of a synagogue leader was engulfed in flames, but fire official immediately discounted suspicion of arson.

The car belonged to David Kushner, who serves as spiritual leader of the southern New Jersey synagogue though he is not an ordained rabbi. Kushner, who runs a wedding hall in Lakewood, N.J., learned about the fire when he showed up for Sabbath services the next morning.

The fire caused severe damage to the parking lot and the outer walls of the Orthodox Rodef Shalom synagogue, according to the Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia.

“The car had been towed overnight immediately after the incident by the Fire Department for further investigation, so I saw charred remains,” Kushner told the Jewish Exponent, which quoted Kushner as saying that firemen were examining whether the blaze was a hate crime.

The Atlantic City Press reported that fire chief Dennis Brook said, “There’s nothing that’s standing out. Car fires are car fires.”

Medical equipment inside was destroyed, and there were some explosions from oxygen tanks inside the vehicle.

At the risk of looking for anti-Semitism behind every theft or fire of Jewish property, isn’t it kind of strange that a fire chief would say that a parked car suddenly would burst into flames?

Or did the sound of the shofar set off sparks in the car battery?

“Given the fact that it happened on the synagogue property, on … the high holidays, leaves a lot of room for suspicion,” said Kushner.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) regional director Nancy Baron-Baer, the told the Jewish Exponent, “The fact that in America in 2014, a rabbi’s car parked at his synagogue during Rosh Hashanah services could be engulfed in flames and the subject of arson is beyond comprehension.”

The Atlantic City Press noted that there is no history of anti-Semitic incidents at Rodef Shalom.

JTA contributed to this report.

 

 

 

Guinness Record for Shofar Blowing Broken in NJ

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

More than 1,000 people blew shofars for five minutes Sunday at a New Jersey Jewish center to break the Guinness World Record for the largest shofar ensemble.

The participants blew together on the shofars for five minutes at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus in the “Great Shofar Blowout” sponsored by the Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, NJ.com reported.

The previous shofar ensemble record was held by Swampscott, Massachusetts, which blew 796 shofars on the beach in 2006.

The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life has been planning to break that record since 2006, according to NJ.com.

As part of the event, there were special classes to learn how to blow the shofar.

“Our mission is to bring Jewish learning to life so we do a lot of things experientially,” Robert Lichtman, executive director of the partnership told NJ.com.

Funeral Begins from Lakewood Yeshiva Student Aaron Sofer

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Thousands of mourners turned out Friday morning for the funeral of Lakewood, New Jersey yeshiva student Aaron Sofer whose body was found Thursday after seven days of searching since he was reported missing last Friday evening.

His parents said they were “overwhelmed” by the sad news, which also brought a certain relief from the week-long anxiety that was deepened by fears that Sofer, 23, had been kidnapped by terrorists.

The funeral began with eulogies in the Ezrat Torah neighborhood of Jerusalem, and Sofer is to be buried later in the day in Beit Shemesh.

His disappearance, after he and a hiking friend had separated in the hills of Jerusalem, brought out passionate pleas from New Jersey community and political leaders for the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) to conduct massive search for Sofer.

Search and rescue workers found his partially decomposed body Thursday afternoon. Sofer did not have a cell phone, and if he was alive after he fell, the inability to communicate by phone may have left him doomed to death by dehydration.

“Ever since Aaron went missing, communities throughout the United States, Israel, and beyond gathered in worship on behalf of Aaron,” said New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez.

“During this period of mourning, I hope the Sofer family can be comforted with the knowledge that countless people, friends and strangers alike, prayed for Aaron’s well-being, and those acts of devotion will only continue,” he added. “It has become clear to me that everyone who knew Aaron saw tremendous promise in this young man who was committed to his family, his Jewish faith and his community of Lakewood.”

Comedian Joan Rivers in Critical Condition

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Iconic pro-Israel comedian Joan Rivers was rushed to Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York after she stopped breathing during a surgical procedure on her vocal cords that was reportedly carried out at a clinic on Thursday morning.

The New York Police Department informed the TMZ entertainment website the 81-year-old comedian was listed in critical condition.

Rivers is known for her deeply sarcastic humor and wit. During Operation Protective Edge this summer, she was unequivocally supportive of Israel.

A video clip went viral on the internet, showing Rivers at her best, telling a TMZ reporter in July, “Let me just tell you, if New Jersey was firing rockets into New York we would wipe them out. If we heard they were digging tunnels from New Jersey to New York, we would get rid of New Jersey.”

No News Is Bad News in Search for Yeshiva Student Aaron Sofer

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Fears for the life of U.S. yeshiva student Aaron Sofer, have grown along with the number of theories of what happened to the 23-year-old man, last seen hiking with a friend before they became separated near Jerusalem.

Police have not ruled out any motive, but there are at least two signs that he was not kidnapped by Arab terrorists.

ZAKA rescue official Chaim Weingarten told the Kikar Shabbat website, “If he was abducted we would expect to find eyeglasses or an article of clothing but this is not the case.” Earlier reports that searchers found some personal items of Sofer have not been confirmed.

In addition, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for kidnapping or, God forbid, murdering Sofer, although that does not eliminate the possibility.

His hiking partner, whose identity has not been revealed, reported on Friday that Sofer was missing after they were walking in a heavily wooded area of the Jerusalem Hills, not far from Jerusalem’s western neighborhoods of Givat Shaul and Ein Kerem.

The two yeshiva students were hiking during the traditional three-week break from Torah studies, between Tisha B’Av and Rosh Chodesh Elul, which began Tuesday and Wednesday. The most likely possibilities behind Sofer’s disappearance are that he fell into a ravine, and another theory is that he might have been the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

The annual three-week vacation is often marked with tragic news of those yeshiva students who are not experienced swimmers of hikers. Many of them have become drowning victims, and others frequently get lost, resulting in widespread searches that often require the police or the IDF to call in helicopters to find and rescue them.

The search for Sofer is complicated by the dozens of paths and trails in the forest and by the thick vegetation. Sofer’s family clings to hope that the yeshiva student will be found alive.

“Please bring him back,” said Sofer’s brother-in-law, Yaakov Wicentowsky.

Fears Grow for Fate of Missing Yeshiva Student Aaron Sofer (Video)

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Israeli searchers for missing Lakewood, New Jersey yeshiva student Aaron Sofer have found some of his personal belongs near a trail, his last known location, but fears are growing that the 23-year-old youth has been kidnapped and/or murdered.

Police and a dog unit have tracked the Jerusalem Forest area where he was last seen on Friday afternoon by his hiking partner, who reported Sofer’s disappearance when his friend did not return shortly before the beginning of the Sabbath Friday evening. The friend’s identity has not been revealed.

Sofer’s parents flew to Israel after the Sabbath to be on hand for developments.

New Jersey politicians have called on the U.S. government to lend its hand in the search, and Lakewood residents have been in constant prayer for the young man’s safe return.

Hamas terrorists’ kidnap-murder two months ago of three yeshiva high school students, one of them an American, is all too fresh in the minds of Israelis and American Jews.

Police are asking the public to help search for Aaron Sofer, 23, a yeshiva student who went missing around midday last

Sofer is 5’9″ (1.75 meters) tall, with a short red beard. He wears glasses, a white shirt, black slacks and a black kippa.

IDF Soldier from New Jersey Wounded in Gaza Fighting

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

A graduate from a New Jersey yeshiva and who now is a paratrooper in the IDF suffered moderate injuries to his head when a retaining wall fell on him in the war on terror in Gaza, the New Jersey Jewish News website reported.

He was identified as Sgt. Moshe Hirt, 21, from Edison, New Jersey and a graduate of the Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva

Hirt underwent surgery and was released to his aunt’s house in Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem.

His parents flew to Israel to be with him, and his mother told New Jersey Jewish News, “He has been in Gaza from the beginning. We are very proud of him, but this is how we raised him. We were not surprised when he told us he was going to Israel to study and join the IDF. We support him 100 percent.

“We are concerned about him and all of Israel… He said he had seen a lot of bad things, but he is strong, like all our soldiers.”

Earlier last week, Baltimore-born Jordan Low suffered smoke inhalation when he was helping his unit escape from a burning building that had been hit by a Hamas rocket.

His father said, “He’s my hero. My two boys have learned to think about others before themselves.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-soldier-from-new-jersey-wounded-in-gaza-fighting/2014/07/26/

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