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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘parents’

Helping Jewish Children Of Incarcerated Parents Have A Summer Camp Experience

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Having a loved one in prison is a transformative and painful journey for an entire family. Spouses, children, parents, and siblings are affected by the experience. Often there is sorrow and shame, anger and depression. Children are especially impacted. They want their dad (or mom) to come home. They feel deserted and afraid. Wives (or husbands) also suffer. They are alone with all responsibilities and often have less money coming in to cover expenses.

It was already June and Anna Katz, the mother of three from northern California, didn’t know how she would keep her kids busy all summer. After her husband made a bad business decision that landed him in prison in February 2014, life as she knew it came to an abrupt end. With her meager income, and no longer able to rely on a steady paycheck from her husband, Katz could barely afford the basics. Paying for summer camp for her children seemed out of the question.

“I was worried about my daughter,” she said. “It’s so easy for kids to make the wrong choices and take a darker path. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to afford camp.”

The Aleph Institute stepped in. A nonprofit based in Florida, with additional offices in New York and Los Angeles, Aleph works to serve the needs of Jewish prisoners and their families throughout the U.S. prison system.

In 2011, Aleph launched the Summer Camp Placement and Scholarship Initiative, since renamed “The Aleph Institute Jonathan Stampler Camp Fund.” The endowment enables hundreds of children with parents in correctional facilities to attend Jewish summer camp by arranging all the logistics from beginning to end, while offering generous subsidies and scholarships to make camp a reality.

Aleph’s family services director Rabbi Shua Brook had been in touch with the family since shortly after the husband’s incarceration. The worried mother said, “The rabbis at Aleph were and still are my human angels here on earth. They became my extended family, helping in every detail of our life.”

Realizing the children had no summer plans and had never attended a Jewish camp, Rabbi Brook offered a full camp scholarship for all three kids, and found donors willing to cover the cost. The 13- and 11-year-old boys flew to overnight camps in the northeast while the youngest stayed in a local Jewish day camp. This summer, all three children have returned to those overnight camps and are having a blast.

Although Aleph helps hundreds of families with their urgent necessities – covering costs of housing, food, utility bills, etc. – and advocates for a long term solution of the family’s financial and emotional needs, Brook feels that certain “luxury” items, like camp can have an incredible impact on a child’s life.

“The benefits of camp are many,” he says. “First, it provides the parent at home going through the torture of having a spouse in prison a much needed respite. Also, it creates a fun and meaningful experience for the kids, in which they can make new friends and explore essential Jewish values. It helps the entire family have a positive Jewish experience and become more involved with their local Jewish community.”

This summer alone, Aleph sent 96 children to Jewish camps across the country. Forty-One children are attending overnight camps such as CTeen Heritage Quest, CTeen Xtreme, Camp L’man Achai, and CGI Poconos among others.

To reach out to Aleph for someone in need or to donate, e-mail family@aleph-institute.org.

The Aleph Institute, founded in 1981 at the direction of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and headed by Rabbis Sholom and Aaron Lipskar, provides crucial financial, emotional, and spiritual assistance to thousands of shattered families – helping them persevere through extraordinary crises – while providing support for their loved ones in prison and mental institutions. Aleph’s benevolent mandate also encompasses spiritual assistance to thousands of soldiers in the United States Armed Forces across the globe.

Shelley Benveniste

2014 Gaza War Parents Demand Investigation of Operation’s Conduct, High Losses

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Two years after Operation Protective Edge, in which 66 IDF soldiers and five civilians were killed, the bereaved families of the fallen are demanding an independent committee to examine the preparations for the war, the way it was conducted, and the lessons to be learned.

The 32 families on Sunday demanded in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman that a state commission headed by a judge investigate the government’s decision-making process throughout the war.

In their letter, the families mentioned the fact that the Knesset Foreign and Security Committee had been asked to examine the events of the 2014 war and has yet to issue a report. One report that had been produced by the committee was shelved because of the 2015 elections. Referring to the same committee’s publicized intent to renew its investigation, the families argued it made no sense to “reconvene a committee that has already investigated the events and opted not to publish its conclusions.”

“Even if the decision to shelve the conclusions was made by a different person than the current committee head, it would be inappropriate to renew the discussion after such a long period of time, and it could appear as a lack of transparency or exterior pressures which do not belong in an investigation of this scope,” the families wrote.

On the evening of June 12, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and later murdered in Judea and Samaria by Hamas operatives. Their bodies were discovered on June 30. Israel retaliated with air strikes on Gaza in which 3 Arabs were killed and a dozen injured. Hamas retaliated with rockets that were fired at Israeli civilian centers wounding three people. On July 7, 80 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, and the Netanyahu security cabinet decided to launch a counter-terrorist operation. The IDF bombarded targets in the Gaza Strip with artillery and airstrikes, and Hamas continued to fire rockets and mortar shells into Israel. A cease-fire proposal was announced by the Egyptian government and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on July 14, and the Israeli government accepted it and stopped the attacks on the morning of July 15. But Hamas rejected the ceasefire and the war was renewed. By July 16 the death toll in Gaza had reached 200.

On July 16, Hamas and Islamic Jihad offered a 10-year truce with ten conditions, including lifting of the Gaza blockade and the release of prisoners who were re-arrested after being released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. Israel refused those terms. On July 17, a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, proposed by the UN, took place. But a few hours before the ceasefire was to start, 13 armed Hamas terrorists emerging from a tunnel on the Israeli side of the Gaza border. The IDF destroyed the tunnel’s exit, ending the incursion.

After the ceasefire, the IDF launched a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, aimed at destroying the terror tunnels crossing under the Israeli border. On July 20, the IDF entered Shuja’iyya in Gaza City and encountered heavy resistance. Thirteen IDF soldiers were killed, including two Americans serving in Israel. Seven of the IDF soldiers were killed as their armored vehicle was hit by an anti-tank rocket or an improvised explosive device, and three were killed in clashes with terrorists. Three IDF soldiers were trapped in a burning house. In the next 24 hours, three more IDF soldiers were killed in Shuja’iyya.

Shortly after the battle, twenty civilians from Shuja’iyya were shot for protesting against Hamas. Hamas said it had executed Israeli spies.

On August 3, the IDF pulled most of its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip after completing the destruction of 32 terror tunnels. On August 5 Israel announced that it had arrested Hossam Kawasmeh, suspected of having organized the killing of the three teenagers. According to court documents, Kawasmeh stated that Hamas members in Gaza financed the recruitment and arming of the killers.

JNi.Media

15-Year-Old Must Leave Parents’ Settlement Home on Military Administrative Order

Monday, June 20th, 2016

GOC Home Front Command Chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg on Sunday rejected a plea by the parents of a 15-year-old boy who had been ordered to leave his home three weeks ago by an administrative decree, one of the last such decrees issued under former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Eisenberg ordered the minor to be out of his parents’ home and the community of Yitzhar in Samaria by 9 AM Monday.

The administrative order forbids the minor to set foot in Judea and Samaria, and he must observe a nightly curfew at the home of his grandparents, in Petach Tikvah. When it turned out that the Petach Tikvah address was not available, the minor received a temporary stay, pending the hearing on Sunday this week.

It should be noted that the administrative decree does not specify what past actions of the boy in question merited the expulsion from his home environment, other than a general statement about his being a threat to national security.

At the hearing, attorney Chai Haber from the legal aid society Honenu, told representatives of the Major General that his client had nowhere to go. He noted that it is next to impossible to get anyone to agree to board the minor because police are known to keep a close watch on curfew detainees and pay late-night visits to their addresses, knocking on doors and waking up entire neighborhoods.

The Major General’s response has been that the minor must nevertheless vacate his parents premises by 9 AM as ordered.

The minor’s father said on Monday morning, “My son has nowhere to go, he lives here, his family lives here, it’s inconceivable that one day they’d present him with an order of evacuation. The impact of such an expulsion on a minor are unacceptable. Who will take responsibility? Who will care for my child? The Major General sleeps well with his children in his home while my son is being thrown out to the street. We cannot accept this.”

David Israel

Honoring Abusive Parents (Kiddushin 31a)

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Damah the son of Netinah, the same man who turned down a fortune rather than wake his father for the key of the treasure box, was once sitting in state among the noblemen of Rome, dressed in a gold embroidered silk cloak. All of a sudden the door flew open and in walked his mother. She strode over to him, ripped the gold cloak from his shoulders, banged her fists on his head, and spit in his face. And Damah remained silent.

The sages asked Rabbi Eliezer, “To what extremes does Kibbud Av V’eim oblige one to go? To the point that if your father throws your money into the sea, you should remain silent?” Rav Hunah used to tear up his son’s precious silks in front of him and then watch to see if his son became angry. The mother of Rav Assi demanded the impossible of him. Find me a husband,” she demanded, “who is as young and handsome as you are.” Being unable to fulfill her impossible requests, Rav Assi left his mother and traveled to another country.

All of these cases have one feature in common. The parents, by straining the tolerance of their children to the breaking point, pushed them to the brink of disrespect.

A parent may not beat his grown child because this may lead the child to react and beat his parent, an action that in Jewish law carries the death penalty. Similarly, a parent may not abuse the privilege of Kibbud Av V’eim because by so doing the parent is violating the biblical prohibition of lifnei iver lo titein michshol, which means one should not cause the unsuspecting to sin.

The Shulchan Aruch cautions: “A parent should not overburden their children and should not be fastidious in their insistence on respect but should rather be forgiving and turn a blind eye, for a parent may waive the duty of respect.” If the great Abraham could wait over his nomadic guests and if God himself could lead His people through the desert and waive His honor, surely, parents can find it in them to do the same.

If one finds oneself a victim of such abuse, one may, rather than run the risk of reactive disrespect, take action to prevent the abuse from occurring, or at least to remove oneself from the situation. Accordingly, the Rema rules that one may prevent one’s parent from throwing one’s money into the sea and one may even sue them for the return of the money if one was unable to prevent it.

The Aruch HaShulchan rules that if one finds oneself in a situation where, like Damah the son of Netinah, one is about to be publicly embarrassed by one’s parents, action may be discreetly taken to bar their entry. And the Lashon Riaz rules that if one’s parents are people of evil ways, who abusive and torment their children, one may avoid contact with them and even leave for another country as Rav Assi did.

Indeed the Torah does not command one to love one’s parents as it commands one to love God. Loving God is an emotion that wells up inside us in reaction to the love God has for us. Where there is love there is automatic respect. If parents show love for their children, respect will automatically be part of the love children return to their parents. Some people however, are not blessed with parents who love them like God loves his children. Such parents are still entitled to respect but they must not abuse the privilege.

All of this is perhaps inherent in the order in which the Talmud proscribes the duty of parents toward children and the duty of children toward parents. First the Talmud discusses the father’s duty to teach his child Torah, help the child marry, and teach the child a profession. Only then does the Talmud discuss the duty of the child to honor the parents. Perhaps the lesson is that the parent who puts his or her child’s welfare before his or her own earns the love of the child. And where there is love, there is respect.

Raphael Grunfeld

Honoring One’s Parents

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

There are three partners in the creation of man. According to the Talmud, the father contributes to the formation of the child’s bones, sinews, nails, brain, and the white of the eye. The mother provides the skin, the flesh, the hair, and the black of the eye. God provides the soul, the facial countenance, eyesight, hearing, the power of speech, the ability to walk, insight, and understanding. Accordingly, in this triangle of creation parents are to be respected and revered in the same way that one respects and fears God Himself.

One demonstrates reverence, morah, for one’s parents by not standing or sitting in their place, by standing up when they enter the room, by not contradicting them, and by not addressing them or referring to them by their first names.

One demonstrates respect, kavod, by providing for their physical needs, including feeding and clothing them and taking them places when they can no longer take care of themselves. The expenses involved in providing for the physical needs of one’s parents should be defrayed by the parents if the parents have the means or by their children if they have the means and the parents do not.

If one cannot afford it, one is not required by the halacha do go into debt to defray the expenses. One is required, however, to do whatever one physically can to make one’s parents comfortable, unless this would involve loss of work required for one’s daily existence. As part of the duty to honor one’s parents, when we talk about them after their death we should refer to them as “my parent for whom I should be an atonement,” and after twelve months, “my parent of saintly blessed memory – zecher tzaddik livrachah.”

From the use of the word tira’u, which is written in the plural form, the rabbis derive that the duty to revere and honor one’s parents applies to both sons and daughters. A married woman is, however exempt from the duties involved in honoring and revering her parents if her husband objects to their performance.

When performing the duties of kibbud av va’aim in front of one’s parents, one should do so with a smile, not begrudgingly. The attitude when providing is more important than the monetary value of the services provided.

The duty of kibbud av va’aim applies also to one’s stepparent during the lifetime of one’s biological parent and, if possible, thereafter. The duty also extends to one’s older siblings and to one’s grandparents, but to a lesser extent. One is not obliged to perform kibbud av va’aim duties for one’s parents-in-law. Parents-in-law should, however, be given the same deference given to all one’s elders.

If one witnesses a parent about to transgress a Torah law, one should be careful not to embarrass him or her. One should couch one’s language in a question form, like “Father, doesn’t the Torah say one should not…” If one receives competing requests from one’s mother and one’s father and it is impossible to fulfill both simultaneously, the order, according to the halacha, is father first and then mother. If, however, the parents are divorced, one may decide for oneself which request to fulfill first. If one is busy with another mitzvah, such as going to a funeral, and one’s parents require one’s attention, one should try to find somebody else to go to the funeral (unless no one is available, in which case one should go oneself).

There are extreme examples of kibbud av va’aim. Perhaps the most famous example is the incident with the jeweler Damah the son of Netinah of Ashkelon. One afternoon, the rabbis urgently needed two jewels for the shoulder straps of the high priest’s garment. So they came to his door with a fortune in hand. But the key to the chest that contained the precious stones was lying under his father’s pillow and Dama’s father was sleeping at the time. Rather than disturb his father, Damah sent the rabbis elsewhere.

Raphael Grunfeld

Aliyah and Keeping Young with Yisrael

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

As an education writer for the nonprofit organization, Kars4Kids, and as someone who made Aliyah from Pittsburgh 34 years ago, I decided to write about the challenges of Aliyah from western countries with school age children. See the previous piece in this series, Fully Absorbed, Coming Through to the Other Side.

As a teen, Randi Lipkin spent three consecutive summers working at HASC, a camp for Jewish children with special needs. Randi’s husband Michael spent his nineteenth summer as a counselor there, and the couple both worked at HASC one summer after they were married, never knowing that someday, they would have a special needs child of their own.

The Lipkin family made Aliyah in August of 2004, with four children from Edison, New Jersey. After they made Aliyah, Randi discovered she was pregnant with Yisrael, who has Down syndrome.

Michael serves as senior editor of financial articles at a local company, Seeking Alpha. Randi is an occupational therapist who works at a “Gan Safa,” a Beit Shemesh nursery school for children with developmental language delays. The Lipkins live in Beit Shemesh.

Proud father Michael Lipkin holds newborn Yisrael Simcha (photo credit: courtesy Michael Lipkin)

Proud father Michael Lipkin holds newborn Yisrael Simcha (photo credit: courtesy Michael Lipkin)

V: Tell me a bit about your children and their adjustment to your Aliyah.

Michael: We had 4 children when made Aliyah. They were 19, 17, 14, and 3 when we moved. Our oldest, one year post-seminary, was our big Zionist and would have moved here even if we hadn’t. Her adjustment was very smooth. She married a year and half later and is now living in our neighborhood with her husband and 3 children.

Our next oldest was borderline interested in moving. As she was entering her senior year in a Flatbush Beit Yaakov the year we made Aliyah, we decided it was best for her to finish high school there while boarding with Randi’s sister who lived nearby. She subsequently came here for seminary, married soon after, and is living in Bet Shemesh with her husband and 3 children.

Our older son had the toughest adjustment. Even though he wanted to move he had a difficult time adjusting to dorm life at Maarava high school. However, he is now our most integrated child having married an Israeli girl and is currently serving his country.

Our youngest at the time adapted very well because of her young age and smarts.

V: How old were you and Randi when Randi became pregnant with Yisrael?

Michael: I was 47 and Randi was 45. We had just had our first grandson and our second daughter was married during Randi’s pregnancy.

V: How did you and Randi feel about the pregnancy? How was the level of obstetric care here compared to the care Randi received in the States during previous pregnancies?

Michael: I was ecstatic, very excited, but nervous for her. Getting pregnant at that age was nervous-making, and of course, we worried about Down syndrome.

Randi: The overall care here was fine, but I found it very weird that you develop a relationship with a doctor and then he has absolutely nothing to do with your delivery. The experience was totally different than in the states. In certain ways the doctors seemed very laidback and in other ways hyper-nervous.

I had gestational diabetes as I’d had before in my previous pregnancies. The doctor transferred my entire case to an obstetrician that handles gestational diabetes and I at one point said to the doctor, “Can we listen to the heartbeat?”

They were too focused on the diabetes. There was far less connection to me as an expectant mother compared to what I had experienced in the States. Of course, I’d had tremendous relationships with my doctors in the States, because I’d known them for 25 years. It’s just not what you have here.

Since I was having an elective, planned C-section, we paid for a private doctor instead of showing up at the hospital and just getting whoever was on duty that day and we felt very comfortable with that decision.

V: I know you gave Yisrael the middle name “Simcha” because you wanted him to always know he brought simcha, joy, into your lives. Was that immediate? Or did it take some adjusting to the idea?

Varda Meyers Epstein

Hamas Admits: We Dug Up the Tunnel to Kidnap Israelis

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The Hamas organization accepted responsibility on Sunday for the digging of the “terror tunnel” exposed by the IDF a week and a half ago in the area between Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha and the Gaza Strip border.

It turns out the Hamas has a “military arm,” which is responsible for doing the bad things, while the “civilian arm” continues to receive donations from the nice folks in Europe. This way they make sure that the money donated to Hamas is only used to feed orphans and widows, all of them 100 percent victims of Israeli genocide.

On Sunday, a spokesman for the bad Hamas, a gentleman nicknamed Abu Ubaida, after a medieval Muslim language scholar (on account of the talking, you get it, right?), told the Hamas radio station in Gaza that the Hamas military force “dug the tunnel and were responsible for it.”

Abu Ubaida stated that the tunnel was dug in an attempt to kidnap an Israeli soldier or civilian, and use them to force Israel to release the remaining thousands of Palestinian prisoners in its jails.

Israel has established many times in the past that not only is it happy to negotiate with terrorist, but that it’s willing to give away the story. The going rate for 1,000 jailed Arabs is one captured Israeli.

In 2011, 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, who were collectively responsible for 569 Israeli deaths, were released in exchange for Gilad Shalit. The campaign to release him (see the girls below painting his portrait on the pavement) reassured Hamas that they don’t need to ever give up anything in negotiations, or recognize, not even on paper, the Jews’ right to live. All they need is to get them a succulent Israeli with good, middle class parents.

Free_Gilad_Shali

It should be noted that the IDF blamed Hamas for the tunnel as soon as it was discovered. It also blamed winter for rain, and summer for those long, hot days in August.

It should also be noted that the tunnel required some 500 tons of cement, which was produced in Israel and provided to the Arabs in Gaza for the explicit purpose of rebuilding their neighborhoods following the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense.

It appears that the Arabs went ahead and used that precious cement to aggressive ends, rather than to construct their homes. In fact, the IDF estimated that an astounding 20% of Hamas’s annual budget goes into building terror tunnels.

This is astonishing, in light of the fact that they’ve never done anything like that before, and no one in Israel could have imagined this kind of treachery. This is a moral failure on the part of the bad Hams, and we certainly hope the good Hamas will give them a sound rebuke!

The tunnel, incidentally, was 45 feet deep in places, and looks like a mini subway tunnel, complete with a track and a small car that could be used to whisk away the kidnapped soldier, even as his or her parents are being called and urged to start organizing a mass grassroots movement to release a thousand murderers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the IDF for the discovery, saying it’s all part of Israel’s new, aggressive security policy, which is the reason why we’ve had the “quietest year in a decade” in Gaza, despite the rise in terrorist activity in recent years.

Of course, it could be that the reason the Arabs have been so quiet is that they’re all underground, digging up tunnels.

It’s interesting to note that the Egyptian Army has found a very effective way of securing its own border with the Gaza Strip: they caved in all the tunnels with bulldozers, then used the same bulldozers to raze a swath of several kilometers worth of buildings, creating a no man’s area where Arabs who dare to enter will be shot.

Could we contract the same Egyptians to fix our Gaza problem?

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hamas-admits-we-dug-the-tunnel-to-kidnap-israelis/2013/10/21/

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