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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Levi Shemtov’

Student’s Commencement Speech in D.C. Emphasizes Torah Values

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

A popular Jewish student at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.—known for proudly wearing his kippah  around campus—delivered the commencement speech on Sunday afternoon imparting to some 25,000 fellow graduates, faculty, family and friends the importance of utilizing each moment to its fullest.

Gabriel Felder, of Stamford, Conn., was selected for the prestigious honor of representing his graduating class at commencement, marking the second year in a row that a Jewish student leader has done so. Felder reflected on words his departed father, Louis Felder, told him before he went off to college, and cited timeless words of Torah as providing a life path.

Representing the graduating class of 2014 before the throng gathered outdoors at the National Mall, Felder—a political communication major in the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences’ School of Media and Public Affairs—emphasized that at every stage of life, especially during these formative years, a person must “live in the moment, and make the most of each and every opportunity.”

Felder served as president of GW’s Jewish Student Association, held multiple positions at GW Hillel and served on the board of GW’s Chabad Freshmen Jewish Club. He was also a regular at the campus Chabad run by Rabbi Yudi and Rivky Steiner, with whom he worked to improve Jewish life for students. Friends describe him as an inspiring person who created bridges between the Jewish community and the rest of the university, and represented the Jewish people well throughout his four years there.

Gabriel Felder
Gabriel Felder

Felder began his address recalling a conversation he and his father had over ice-cream after returning from freshman orientation. After asking his son whether he was excited to be going to GW—and getting a resoundingly positive reply back—Louis Felder replied: “Good! Just don’t waste it!”

“He passed away just a little over a month after that humid June night,” Felder told the audience, without sharing the fact that his father was killed, along with seven fellow workers, in a murderous rampage at his workplace, breaking the hearts of millions who sat riveted to their television screens.

Displaying some of the tenacity and optimism that carried him through his subsequent years in college, Felder stated that as a newly minted “Colonial,” as GW students are called, “it was in my blood” not to waste any G‑d-given time or opportunities.

Felder explained that he and his fellow students learned well the teaching of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, that “in each journey of our lives we must fully be where we are. We may only be passing through on our way to somewhere else seemingly more important. Nevertheless, there is purpose in where we are right now.”

“I can look today at this crowd and see proud parents beaming at the sight of their children in their caps and gowns,” Felder continued. “And I can look in my mother and my sisters’ faces and I can say wholeheartedly to my father that [I made] the most of my four years.”

The proud graduate went further to proclaim on behalf of all his fellow students “that none of us have wasted the amazing opportunity that it was to be given an education at The George Washington University.”

Grateful for Support

Felder also reminded his classmates that “commencement is a moment to take a step back and really think about all of the people who helped you get to this point,” urging them to “think back and be grateful for every professor who taught you to stand up and be heard; to every mentor that pushed you to lead and to not follow; and to every advisor you had, for his or her endless help in ensuring your education was the best it could be.”


‘Israel’s best friend in the Senate’ Dies at 88

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Daniel Inouye, the longtime Hawaii senator, a decorated World War II hero, died Monday of respiratory complications at Walter Reid National Military Medical Center at age 88.

“Senator Inouye deeply understood the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, worked tirelessly and effectively to ensure that America’s ally, Israel, had the necessary resources to defend her people,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said in a statement. “He will be missed by all who appreciated his many decades of leadership in strengthening the ties between America and Israel.”

Inouye enlisted in 1943 as soon as a ban on Japanese Americans serving in the army was lifted. He lost his arm in Italy in 1945, but persisted in leading on an assault a ridge heavily manned by German troops, an act that won him the Medal of Honor “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”

Recovering in a hospital, he heard from a fellow patient about his discovering bodies killed in ovens at a camp liberated by U.S. forces.

Recounting the memory as recently as October, to students in a high school in Jerusalem, Inouye said he asked his fellow patient what their crime could have been. He was told “they were Jews,” and the answer changed his life, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Inouye’s first job was selling Israel Bonds in Hawaii, and he considered converting to Judaism, but pulled back, worried that his devoutly Christian mother would be upset.

Inouye, first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, rose to become its lead Democratic appropriator. He enjoyed a convivial relationship with Ted Stevens of Alaska, for years his Republican counterpart.

“We mourn the discourse that belonged to these two but seems to be evaporating,” Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who directs American Friends of Lubavitch, told JTA.

Pro-Israel Republicans and Democrats mourned his passing on social media. The National Jewish Democratic Council called Inouye “a true mensch in every sense of the word.”

Inouye was a lead sponsor of the legislation in the mid 1990s that recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. His role as a lead appropriator helped guarantee U.S. defense assistance to Israel.

“Our people owe him an immense historic debt,” Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, said in a statement. “The Iron Dome system that recently intercepted hundreds of terrorist rockets aimed at our homes stands as enduring proof of his commitment to the defense of the Jewish State.”


Video: White House Kitchen Goes Kosher

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

In honor of the annual White House Hanukkah celebration, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Director of American Friends of Lubavitch,  kashered the White House kitchen.  Shemtov – with the help of the White House kitchen staff and Chef Tommy Kurpradit, prepared the White House to host 550 guests for the annual celebration.

The  first conducted by President George W. Bush in 2001.

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, members of the House of Representantives and Senate, Supreme Court Justices, rabbis,  artists, astronauts, members of the military, Democratic activists and donors gathered in anticipation of Hanukkah at the White House on December 8, enjoying traditional foods such as latkes, jelly doughnuts and smoked salmon as well as new Jewish favorites such as sushi.

Guests were treated to a jazz rendition of “Rock of Ages” and a musical tribute to Jewish-American Composers by the U.S. Marine Chamber Orchestra and lit a Chanukah menorah – a little early – which had been salvaged from a synagogue ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

President Jimmy Carter was the first to recognize Hanukkah, when he lit the National Menorah in Lafayette Park erected by Chabad-Lubavitch.  The first Hanukkah lighting ceremony at the White House was conducted by President William J. Clinton.

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/video-white-house-kitchen-goes-kosher/2011/12/21/

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