web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

Record Number of US Dentists Planning Aliyah

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

An unprecedented number of 20 dentists from around the United States who are planning to make Aliyah to Israel took the Israeli Dentistry Licensing Exam, at the Nefesh B’Nefesh offices in Paramus, New Jersey, this week.

This is the largest group ever to take the test outside Israel.

Dentists who immigrate to Israel must pass the Dentistry Licensing Examination given by the Ministry of Health’s Dentistry Department in order to practice in Israel. The test has two parts – theoretical and practical – and takes place twice a year in various languages.

Israel’s Ministry of Health agreed to give the dentists  the opportunity to take the first theoretical exam in the United States to help expedite the process of obtaining an Israeli license and make the process easier for them. The dentists still have to complete the practical part of the exam when they arrive in Israel, and that part of the exam must be taken within three years of taking the theoretical exam.

“I think it’s an amazing thing to be able to have the opportunity to take the Israeli Government’s Dentistry Licensing Exam while I am still in the U.S.,” said Debbie Goldschmiedt of New York City, one of the dentists who took the exam today. “This new option is saving a lot of waiting time and energy, and more importantly, it will enable me to start working as a dentist and earn a living in Israel shortly after my Aliyah.”

Meet the Torah Scholars-Soldiers Who Defend Israel (Video)

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Soldiers in a new IDF company called “Defenders of the Negev” maintain an observant Jewish lifestyle and learn Torah while they work to protect the State of Israel.

Their service reflects an important goal of the IDF –  to help Haredi Orthodox Jews integrate into the army.

The combat soldiers, all “ultra-Orthodox Jews,” undergo six months of special training that focuses on infantry patrol, pinpoint operations and even basic lessons in Arabic that enable them to communicate with the population that lives in the area.

Throughout this process, these soldiers are able to preserve their religious lifestyle. During their basic training and course, they study religion and Jewish tradition with rabbis, just as they would in a traditional yeshiva. The soldiers regularly pray, study Torah and even have a special kitchen that prepares kosher food to an extra-high standard.

“They have everything they were accustomed to here,” explains Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz, Chief Military Rabbi to the IDF. “Everything has remained the same, except for maybe spending the night in a sleeping bag.”

The difference between the “ultra-Orthodox” youth in the program and typical Haredi draft dodgers is that they don’t wear black hats and black suits. They are what in Israel is called “Hardal,” an acronym for Haredi national religious.

However, the IDF also has a program for Haredi black hatters to join the army and learn Torah, as some Haredi Zionists do as opposed to the masses who follow their anti-Zionist rabbis.

One of the “Hardal” soldiers is New Jersey native Eliyahu Frankel, whose father told the IDF, “He woke up one morning and decided this is what he wants to do, and we think he has been enormously successful here.”

Solder Eliyahu says, “I have been able to pray three times a day and study Torah. I decided to enlist in the IDF because I wanted to contribute to the country and protect its citizens.” He said his training has helped him “understand the other side and to stick together.”

Haredi black hats are welcome.

Hamas Calls Teaneck Jews on Temple Mount ‘Settlers’ (Video)

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Israeli soldiers  “escorted” more than 150 Jewish settlers to “defile the holy Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem” on Wednesday, according to the official Hamas terrorist organization’s website.

The “settlers” included “male and female conscripts and policemen in plain clothes [who] broke into the Aqsa Mosque.

Hamas added, ”The notorious rabbi Yehuda Glick, who champions demolishing the Aqsa Mosque to build the third temple in its place, was among the settlers who roamed the Aqsa courtyards and the Dome of the Rock.”

What is most interesting about their little blurb is that most of it is essentially true, except for a few code words, and reflects a drastic change in police policies towards IDF soldiers visiting the Temple Mount.

First the facts. The Jews, of course, did not “break in” the mosque. Any Jew who visits the Temple Mount always is accused of defiling it, breaking in, storming, invading or occupying the site, according to the Fatah propaganda machine in Ramallah as well as Hamas in Gaza. On that, Mahmoud Abbas and his brethren in Hamas are in full agreement, so it should never be said that the two rival “resistance” movements have nothing in common.

As for the “settlers,” any Jew living in under a Zionist entity, as radical Muslims like to call Israel so they won’t have to mention the cursed name, is a “settler” in the terminology of the “resistance.”

Rabbi Yehuda Glick explained to The Jewish Press Thursday that in fact there were approximately 100 female soldiers from the Education Corps visiting the Temple Mount earlier this week, the largest group he can remember.

The other “settlers” besides Rabbi Glick, who lives in Otniel, located in the southern Hebron Hills between Be’er Sheva and Kiryat Arab-Hevron, were 35 orthodox Jews from the Rinat Israel synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey.

So it appears that most of the readers of The Jewish Press, out there in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, East Podunk and all points in between, also are settlers.

Welcome to the club.

The sight of Israeli soldiers visiting the Temple Mount is relatively new. Rabbi Glick said that until two years ago, police would not allow any uniformed soldiers to visit the holy site.

All that changed with the help of Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely of the Likud and then-MK Aryeh Eldad of the National Union party that later merged into the Jewish Home, causing Eldad to form his own party.

Rabbi Glick said that one of the officers on the Temple Mount invited him to say a few words to the soldiers to explain the history of the Temple Mount.

The Arabs were relatively quiet, except for the usual screaming,  \hollering and cursing of Jews.

He explained that he was told the reason might be that the Arabs are on some kind of vacation this month.

Below is a YouTube video of the Teaneck delegation with their Rabbi, Yosef Adler.

Boteach Tweets of Terror During NJ Mall Shooting with Family Inside

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Rabbi Shmuely Boteach tweeted “Please pray” as law enforcement scoured a New Jersey mall looking for the gunman who fired shots there while his daughter and wife took cover inside.

Boteach and three of his children were entering the Garden State Plaza in Paramus on Monday night to meet his wife and daughter near closing time when shoppers streamed through the doors shouting that there was a shooter in the mall.

Boteach ran with his children to safety, then called his wife to learn that they were holed up in a storage closest in one of the stores.

“Terror here at garden state mall in NJ and I know people inside. I left with my kids and now outside. Please pray,” Boteach tweeted. He did not indicate that his wife and daughter were among those inside until they were rescued.

Boteach’s wife and daughter were evacuated by a SWAT team about 90 minutes after the shooting began.

The gunman, identified as Richard Shoop, 20, of Teaneck, N.J., entered the mall just before 9:30 p.m. and fired his rifle at random targets, according to officials.

Shoop’s body was found early Tuesday morning in a storage area in the vast mall, which is located about 15 miles from New York City. State officials said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

He reportedly had shot in the air and told mall patrons that he did not want to hurt anyone.

In a personal essay written after the incident and published first by JewishPress.com, Boteach said that newly elected U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a close friend, called as his wife was being rescued to inquire about her well-being. Boteach had texted the New Jersey senator to inform him of the standoff.

“Still can’t sleep. have given up trying,” Boteach tweeted several hours after the incident.

Israeli Company Converts Natural Gas to Car and Jet Fuel

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Primus Green Energy, a subsidiary of Israel Corporation inaugurated a new plant in Hillsborough, New Jersey that converts natural gas into gasoline.

The experimental plant can generate 100,000 gallons of gas a year. Primus says their price for gas is competitive.

Primus says the plant is able to produce various grades of gas, including home, car and jet fuel.

NJ Sen. Menendez: Iran, Hezbollah ‘Could Possibly’ Attack Israel

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez told CBS Tuesday morning that Iran and Hezbollah “could possibly” strike Israel if the United States attacks the Assad regime although  Syria is full of “ bluster.

The Senator, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said on the “This Morning” program, “The Iranians and Hezbollah … ultimately could possibly strike against neighbors in the region, including our ally, the state of Israel” but that the price of inaction could be a lot higher.

“It sends a message to those very same countries — the Ayatollah in Iran. … It sends a message to North Korea about our determination to stop them from continuing to make the Korean peninsula a nuclear peninsula,” he said. “It sends a message to terrorist groups: Seek access to chemical weapons because the world will largely stand by when you use them. I think those are ultimately national security questions we cannot have come to fruition as a result of inaction.”

Tossing a Jewish Lasso over Wyoming’s Wild West

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Originally published at Chabad.org.

By Carin M. Smilk

Summer is winding down in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s a short season, weather-wise, but it’s also a season that brings in tourists, lots of them, who come for the mountains and national parks, the outdoor sports and the wide open spaces. They come to make good on the state slogan: “Like No Place on Earth.”

Not long after they leave, winter beckons a slew of other travelers, those lured to the skiing and snow activities. It’s another bustling time; the two seasons bring in about 4 million visitors a year.

And about 1 percent of them—an estimated 40,000 people—are Jewish.

That helps make life busy for Rabbi Zalman Mendelsohn, co-director of Chabad Jewish Center of Wyoming with his wife, Raizy. Not that it’s so quiet the rest of the year. The couple, based in the town of Jackson—in western Wyoming near the border of Idaho, almost completely surrounded by mountains and in the well-known valley of Jackson Hole—serves the roughly 500 permanent Jewish residents there, out of a general population of nearly 10,000. It’s an interesting mix, says the rabbi, of singles, couples, families, retirees, tourists and those with second homes in the area.

“We have a very small community,” acknowledges Mendelsohn, “but we offer quality services—substantive services. We’re reaching out to individual Jews in a very personal, warm, inviting way.”

Since their official 2008 move to Jackson, they have started all kinds of programs. There’s the annual Jackson Hole Jewish Music Festival, which brings in bands and performers from all over, coupled with Camp Gan Israel, a Jewish women’s circle, a “Mommy & Me” class, Torah study, lectures, “Coffee & Kabbalah,” and Shabbat and Jewish holiday dinners and services. Currently, they rent space for High Holiday services but are looking for a place to buy.

 

Also on tap are lecture series, including one to take place this weekend, Aug. 16-17. The Shabbaton will include services and a Friday-night dinner, then Saturday-morning services and a three-course lunch, with lectures both days by guest speaker David N. Weiss. A Hollywood film writer with several blockbusters to his credit, Weiss has traversed religiously from being a secular Jew to a Christian youth worker, and now follows a life of observant Judaism.

“His story is very compelling,” says Mendelsohn. “He never really had the opportunity to study Judaism in-depth. It shows that you can always start fresh and new, even if you’re very famous or a celebrity. You can always rediscover your roots.”

The series has attracted 50 to 60 people on average, and the rabbi expects a similar turnout for Weiss.

‘Very Much at Home’

 Ben from San Francisco put on tefillin for the first time in his life. Photo credit: Chabad.org

Ben from San Francisco put on tefillin for the first time in his life. Photo credit: Chabad.org

So how has life changed for a couple raised in completely different living environments? The rabbi, in his early 30s, hails from Miami, Fla., and Raizy, in her late 20s, grew up in Israel. What’s it like to live in the least populated state in the nation?

“We felt very much at home right away,” says the rabbi. “People are warm and welcoming; there’sthe renowned Western hospitality. It’s a cowboy town, it’s the Wild West, but people also have a more spiritual character here. And our goal is to introduce a Yiddishkeit element to it.”

That sense of spirituality could have something to do with the physical backdrop. Jackson is a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton Mountains. The rabbi talks of the everyday appearance of bison, moose, deer, wolves and bears. “There’s wildlife in the streets,” he says, pausing to add that he just saw a herd of elk run up the side of a nearby mountain.

He also notes the atmosphere—both scenically and spiritually—is good for the couple’s four young children. After all, for kids in such a place, aside from their home-schooling time, “life is surrounded by G-d’s great outdoors.”

Of course, it’s not all vales and wild flowers. There’s no kosher food, no Jewish schools, no other Orthodox presence and no mikvah. The closest mikvahs are in Bozeman, Mont., and Salt Lake City, Utah—both a five-hour drive or one-hour flight away.

“Still,” says Mendelsohn, “we have a wonderful community, and we are honored to also accommodate visitors who come through. I travel around the state quarterly visiting Jewish people. We’ve put up about 60 mezuzahs in the last three years all over the state. One by one, we’re connecting Jews with their heritage.”

“That’s the story of Wyoming. We may be one of the most remote Jewish communities in the country, but I want people to know that Yiddishkeit is alive and well and thriving in Jackson Hole.”

Laura Goldstein, 34, can attest to that. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in Victor, Idaho, which borders Wyoming and is about a 45-minute drive from Jackson. She and her husband Howard, a wildlife biologist, came to live out West in 2009, and she says the rabbi was one of the first people they met.

“We were looking for a way to connect with other Jewish people, and we knew Chabad would be a good way to do that,” says Goldstein, an administrative assistant. “They invited us over for Shabbat dinner, and it was lovely. They were so gracious. They make you want to be part of the community.

“And every opportunity they have of doing a mitzvah, they do. It’s incredible.”

She’s also seen Chabad grow as an organization. At Rosh Hashanah, there used to be three men, not even a minyan; now there may be 14. And Shabbat dinners in the summer can draw 40 to 50 people. She even mentions that just this year, she met a Jewish woman from New York who runs a clothing store/jewelry shop in Victor.

Learning by Example

Most of all, Goldstein says she and her husband have modeled their Shabbat observance at home on the Mendelsohns’ example. “Knowing them has been a huge part in that direction. We feel that we’re better Jewish people out here. It probably wouldn’t have been as big a part of our identity” back East.

She adds that Raizy has shown her how to make challah, light Shabbat candles and recite the Havdalah prayers.

“It’s great to see how they bring in what they need,” says Goldstein. “These people are making it work; they’re doing it.” So she figures she can, too.

“Rabbi Zalman,” as Josh Beck and other local residents call him, “is involved in everything. He’s an amazing man.”

“And he’s one of my closest friends here.”

Beck, 41, an orthopedic surgeon from New Jersey, has been living in Wyoming for seven years. He says he considers himself a very big supporter and very active with Chabad there.

He attends Shabbat dinners (the true reason, he says, is because of “Raizy’s fantastic cooking”) and various programs, but admits to preferring “the off-season, when there’s a handful of locals.”

He says that he, his wife and 3-year-old daughter “love living out here.” Beck hunts and fishes and skis; in fact, he notes, he found his job there while on a ski vacation.

A Spiritual Change of Scenery

Cross-country skiing also appeals to Stephen and Linda Melcer from Boca Raton, Fla., who have rented a house in Jackson the last two winters and intend to come again this year.

“It’s a nice change of scenery, of climate,” says Stephen Melcer, a 61-year-old lawyer. “It’s also a nice change religiously and a change in diversity.”

The couple belongs to Boca Raton Synagogue, an Orthodox shul. “Whenever we travel, we look for a place to be for Shabbos, and a good place to start looking is Chabad. We’ve noticed here that a lot of people attending are travelers, and a larger percentage of people are not observant.”

Melcer says he appreciates “going into an environment where a rabbi is focused on the less observant.”

“They are very warm,” he says of the Mendelsohns. “I think they enjoy the challenge of it. And they certainly have a lot of challenges. The incredible thing is that challenges never cross their minds.”

Ken Begelman is glad that’s the case. He and his wife, Helen, helped the Mendelsohns come to town.

Twelve years ago, the Begelmans moved to Teton County, about 8 miles outside Jackson, from Palm Beach County, Fla. When they arrived, they wanted a shul—a congregation of some type. Begelman says he was familiar with Chabad rabbinical students coming to Wyoming temporarily (they have for decades, as part of the “Roving Rabbis” program), and got in touch with people in Brooklyn to work to make it happen permanently.

“He’s a very outgoing guy, very inclusive; he gets along with everybody,” says Begelman, a 66-year-old retired cardiac surgeon, of Mendelsohn.

He notes that there’s a large number of 20-year-olds who come to work during ski season or in the summer who have never had any religious affiliation or education, and “the rabbi has turned a lot of these kids around.”

As for Wyoming, the former Floridian insists that “it’s wonderful here. It’s what America should be. Everybody respects everybody else. You don’t have to lock your house or your car. There’s no crime.”

Sure, the winter temperatures can fall to 20 below and the snow can average 38 feet a year in the mountainous regions, but residents insist that it’s an invigorating experience.

In regards to future expansion, Begelman says that if “one new Jewish family a year comes permanently, that would be a lot.” Population growth is indeed slow; Begelman has seen signs in the state that note there are 10 horses for every one person residing there.

As far as the rabbi and his family go, “I’m very happy that they’ve fit in well in the community and that they like it here. It’s a wonderful place to live.”

Agudath Israel slams NJ Gay Therapy Law

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Agudath Israel of America condemned a New Jersey law prohibiting gay reparative therapy for minors as an infringement on religious freedom.

The statement from Agudah came just hours after Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill barring licensed therapists from providing treatment to help gay teenagers become straight.

“The new law tramples on the rights of mental health therapists to engage freely in their profession, and it unfairly denies teenagers seeking therapy for issues that are troubling them the ability to obtain professional help,” the group said.

“Under the new law, therapists, social workers or counselors who work with minors on these issues risk losing their licenses to practice their professions, and minors who sincerely want to obtain professional help will have nowhere to turn. This is an unconscionable infringement on personal liberty and a trampling of personal rights, including religious and free speech rights.”

New Jersey joins California as the only states with laws barring so-called reparative therapy. The New Jersey bill passed both houses of the state Legislature in June with bipartisan support.

In signing the bill into law, Christie, a moderate Republican who is widely believed to be eyeing a presidential run in 2016, appended a note indicating his reluctance to intrude on parents’ ability to determine the right treatment for their children.

“However, I also believe that on issues of medical treatment for children, we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards,” Christie wrote. “The American Psychological Association has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/agudath-israel-slams-nj-gay-therapy-law/2013/08/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: