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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

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.”

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/meet-the-torah-scholars-soldiers-who-defend-israel-video/2014/02/17/

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