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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Rachel’

A Remarkable Primary Win for Rachel Freier

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Last week attorney and activist Rachel Freier won, by an overwhelming vote, the Democratic nomination for civil court judge in Brooklyn’s fifth judicial district, which includes Boro Park, Kensington, Midwood, Ocean Parkway, and 21 other Brooklyn neighborhoods.

She is the first Orthodox woman from a chassidic background to win a primary for a judicial position and come January she will fill the civil court seat vacated by Noach Dear, who recently was elected to the New York State Supreme Court.

The Jewish Press is proud to have endorsed her early on, and to have supported her throughout the primary campaign. Her victory is all the more remarkable given that she had scant organizational or political support.

We wish her much hatzlacha.

Editorial Board

Rachel Freier For Civil Court Judge In Brooklyn

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The Jewish Press enthusiastically endorses Rachel (Ruchie) Freier for civil court judge in Brooklyn’s fifth judicial district, which includes Boro Park, Kensington, Midwood, Ocean Parkway, and 21 other Brooklyn neighborhoods. If elected, Ms. Freier would be the first chassidic woman judge in New York and in the United States. She seeks to fill the civil court seat vacated by Noach Dear, who recently was elected to the New York State Supreme Court.

Ms. Freier practices law from her Brooklyn and Monroe offices. She’s licensed in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia and has practiced in both the private and pro bono sectors. She has a broad range of experience in contracts and closings, transactional law, litigation, corporate law, trust and estates law, family law, and personal injury law.

Ms. Freier founded B’Derech – a GED program for chassidic young men to help them get back on the “derech.” She is also the director of Ezras Nashim, the first all-female volunteer EMT corps, which responds to emergency calls from women.

Ms. Freier holds an advanced EMT license and completed a full year of training in Northshore LIJ (now Northwell). Her medical training as a paramedic gave her a better understanding of statutes and case law related to personal injury, trauma, and vehicular accident matters. In the course of her career Ms. Freier has gained a broad perspective on public advocacy, emergency medicine, and public health law.

Ms. Freier’s activism stems from her admiration for Sarah Schenirer, the pioneer of the Bais Yaakov movement. Her election to the civil court would be an inspiration to all frum girls, from chassidic as well as non-chassidic backgrounds.

The election will be held on Tuesday, September 13. We urge all our readers in the fifth judicial district to go out and vote and put an extremely talented young mother – who will make us proud – on the civil court bench in Brooklyn.

Editorial Board

“Go For Your Dreams And Don’t Compromise Your Religious Standards”: Rachel Freier Is Not Your Typical Civil Court Candidate

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

It was the week of erev Shavuos and Rachel “Ruchie” Freier was getting ready for the holiday just as any typical chassidic homemaker would. Over our conversation on the phone, she told me how she was busy preparing to bake challah, kugel, and other sumptuous delicacies for Yom Tov. Her children and grandchildren living nearby her home in Brooklyn were expected to be there for the seudos.

All this seems typical, but Ruchie Freier is not your typical Borough Park balabusta. The married mother of six is a real estate attorney, a community activist, and a current candidate for civil court judge in Brooklyn’s fifth judicial district, which includes Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Ocean Parkway and 21 other Brooklyn neighborhoods. If elected, Freier will likely be the first chassidic female judge in New York, perhaps in the United States.

“My mother always said that as long as it’s legal, moral and not against the Torah, just do it and do it the best way you can,” Freier said. “I grew up believing that I would do whatever I am allowed to do and succeed with Hashem’s help.”

The other contenders for the post include Mordy Avigdor, a former counsel to Agudath Israel of America who also has worked with former Congressman Anthony Weiner and current Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and Jill Epstein, who currently serves as principal law clerk to Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Johnny Lee Baynes. The election will take place in the September 13 primary.

At her law offices in Brooklyn and Monroe, Freier specializes in transactions, financing properties, and residential and commercial properties. She is licensed in New York, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, and has experience in both the private and pro bono sectors.

“My knowledge and experience is broad-ranging,” she said. “I have years of experience in contracts and closings, transactional law, litigation, corporate law, trust and estates, family law and personal injury.”

Freier’s experience in the legal field started with modest beginnings. Born and bred in Brooklyn, Freier began her career as a legal secretary after graduating from the Bais Yaakov of Borough Park. She then started working as a legal secretary, advanced to become a paralegal, and eventually continued on to college and law school, all while raising her growing family.

Freier explained, “Attending college after high school was not the norm and at the time there were no separate women’s college programs in Brooklyn. Because graduates didn’t go to college, our high school trained us in legal stenography. I worked in the legal field for a number of years and loved it! After my husband finished his studies at kollel and received his BA from Touro, I realized it was now my turn. I began Touro College at age 30 and graduated six years later, majoring in political science and directing the Women’s Pre-Law Society. Afterward I attended Brooklyn Law School.”

It was at law school when Freier became intrigued with the idea of becoming a judge. “Since I was a kid, I wanted to become a lawyer,” she explained. “Then as I was studying law, the idea of becoming a judge began to percolate…. My interest in becoming a judge was a natural progression.”

The seeds began when she studied Constitutional Law. She remarked, “In law school I really appreciated the opportunity to learn Constitutional Law under William Hellerstein; he made the law come alive through his enthusiastic teaching style. And as a Jew, I believe that we have a mission to carry out justice in the world.”

Among her role models are her uncle Judge David Schmidt (now retired), as well as Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Noach Dear. “Without my uncle’s encouragement and the encouragement I received from my husband and family, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have already,” she said.

Atara Arbesfeld

Life at Rachel’s Tomb

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Yes, it’s true, the Arabs are repeatedly attacking Rachel’s Tomb to destroy it like they do Joseph’s tomb and keep the Jews away, but that’s not stopping Jews from visiting Mother Rachel at Fortress Rachel in Bethlehem.

The 11th of MarCheshvan (yesterday) was the yahrzeit of Rachel’s passing and masses of Jews are visiting.

Rachel was the wife of Yaakov, and mother of two of the tribes of Israel: Joseph (Ephraim & Menashe) and Benjamin.

Photo of the Day

Aliyah and the Gifted Child

Tuesday, December 10th, 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, Aliyah and the Special Needs Educator. Today I interview Rachel Moore of Neve Daniel.

Varda: Tell me about yourself, Rachel.

Rachel Moore

Rachel Moore

Rachel: I am 41 years old, expecting my 8th child. I have been working in PR and communications for the past 17 years in government and the non-profit world. I blog, sing, and study Torah whenever I can grab an opportunity.

Varda: When did you make Aliyah? How many children did you bring with you and what were their ages?

Rachel: I made Aliyah in 1995 at 22. However, I left again in 2000 and spent 12 years back in the U.S. for personal reasons, and only moved back in July of 2012.

My second time settling here was truly Aliyah for my children, who at the time were 12, 11, 11, 9, 7 and 4.

My eldest is my stepson, 19, who is a sophomore at Rutgers University in the U.S. He did not move here with us. My other 6 children are now 13, 12 year-old twins, 10, 8 and 5, and I am due with another one – today, actually[Rachel had her baby that evening, a little boy! V.E.].

Varda: Tell me about your children. What are their difficulties?

Rachel: We have at least two children who have been classified as “gifted” outside of Israel, and meeting their needs is a challenge, and also requires learning the system. In addition, I have one daughter who I suspect as having ADHD, but she hasn’t been classified – yet.

Varda: Where do they go to school?

The newest addition to the Moore family.

The newest addition to the Moore family.

Rachel: My 13 year-old daughter attends Orot Etzion girls’ school. My 12 year-old twin boys attend Horev High School (7th grade), my 10 year-old son attends Carmei Yehuda, Mamad Hativa Bogeret boys’ school in Alon Shvut, my 8 year-old daughter attends Shirat Chanan, Mamad Hativa Tzeira in Alon Shvut, and my 5 year-old attends the Mechina of Orot Etzion in Neve Daniel.

Varda: Do your children receive additional help outside of school?

Rachel: My daughter with [suspected] ADHD sees a therapist (in English) outside of school that specializes in children with this disability. My 10 year-old son is now enrolled in a gifted pull-out program in Efrat once a week called Afikim [Eligibility is determined by both written and oral tests and only 1.5% of students are accepted], and is in mitzuyanut [gifted class]within school. We had to get him special permission to take the test to qualify for Afikim at the beginning of 5th grade, because the test is usually given in 2nd grade.

We believe that our 2nd grader would have qualified [as gifted] the year we moved here, but we didn’t know she had the option to take the test in English or with translation help. No one had explained this to us, so she took it with the rest of the class. We may still pursue an appeal so that she can retake the test, but it will probably be an uphill battle.

Varda: What out-of-pocket expenses do you have in educating your children and what is covered by the state?

Varda Meyers Epstein

David Petraeus and the Biblical Lessons of Why Men Want Two Women

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

The David Petraeus scandal, where a national hero betrays a solid, devoted, soul mate of a wife to be with a young hot thing who gets his blood pumping seems as old as time itself. In earlier times a general or king would usually have two women to being with to  fulfill two very different needs. The pedigreed wife for children and to rule as a consort – and recall that Petraeus married the daughter of the Superintendent of West Point – and a mistress for passion and excitement. But Petraeus had to resign because our society does not tolerate unfaithfulness. It expects men who are accomplished in their public life to be equally accomplished in marriage by finding find both dimensions in one woman, namely their wives.

The Biblical story of Jacob and his two wives, Rachel and Leah (which we read in last week’s portion) provides insight into what men search for and the tragedy of not  orchestrating disparate needs into one indivisible woman.

When Jacob first meets Rachel, he seeks to impress her by moving a giant stone, then kisses her, and breaks into tears. He then offers Laban, her father, seven years of work in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage. The years pass by so quickly that ‘they appeared in his eyes as if they were just days.’

Jacob’s love for Rachel is one of deep passion and yearning. It is love as covetousness, lust, and desire. It is the fieriest kind of romantic love. It is also the most tragic. Romantic, passionate, lustful love that is balanced by partnership and intimacy nearly always ends badly. Either because the fires die down, or because the fire burns so brightly that it consumes both participants. Fiery, lustful love rarely ends up with a happily ever after. Jacob feels in his bones that his passion for Rachel must end disastrously. Thus, he is drawn to kiss her, but he immediately weeps. He recognizes that in this imperfect world, perfect love is impossible to attain. He wants Rachel to be his soul mate, but he intuits that he will never fully possess her is destined to lose her.

By contrast, he experiences none of the same passion for Leah. When he is fooled into marrying her, he accepts Leah as a partner and eventually the mother of his children. But his yearning is for Rachel. Leah feels hated and names the first of her three children after her experiences of rejection from Jacob. Reuben is for the God ‘who saw my affliction and granted me a son.’ Simeon is for the God ‘who saw that I am hated.’ Levi is the son whose birth ‘will bring my husband closer to me.’ Only with the fourth son, Judah, which means ‘praise to God,’ do we begin to see a name that gives the child an intrinsic identity rather than one that relates instead to the relationship of his father to his mother.

Leah longs for Jacob the way that Jacob longs for Rachel. But for Jacob, Leah represents a maternal, practical partner with whom he shares a life but has no passionate connection. It reflects, arguably, the way Petraeus viewed his own loyal wife. They have intimacy but no intensity. They have a family but no fervor or fire. He loves her but does not long for her. He does not want bad things to happen to her. He wishes to protect her but she is not the delight of his soul.

Yet Jacobs knows in his heart that Leah, rather than Rachel, is destined to be his soul mate. (No doubt Petraeus knew in his heart as well he was always destined to return to his wife, if she would accept him back). She is destined to bear most of his children, share his life, and share eternity with him by being buried at his side. Leah represents stability and order. She will be Jacob’s anchor. She is his permanence. The woman who tethers him to family. Yet he will never make peace with love that is only functional and not romantic, stable but not passionate.

Rachel is playful, girlish, and evinces, at times, immaturity that is often characteristic of   women whom men desire mightily. She can also be callous about Jacob’s love for her, so confident is she in the  of his desire. When Reuben brings flowers for his mother Leah, Rachel strikes a deal with Leah to exchange the flowers for a conjugal night with Jacob. What Leah longs for, Rachel treats as mere currency. Unlike Jacob who understands intuitively the tragic nature of passionate, romantic love, Rachel thinks they have endless time to be together. One night will make no difference. But Jacob knows the clock is ticking.

Women like Leah ultimately both triumph and suffer. They triumph because in their stability they end up gaining the commitment of men who build families and lives with them. But they suffer because they never feel the passionate desire of their husbands. They never really feel wanted. They never truly feel special. And a woman wants to be lusted after even more than she wants to be loved.

But it is the amalgamation of both types of love that is meant to characterize the successful marriage. Not a man in a relationship with two women, but a man and woman whose marriage incorporates both dimensions. Husbands and wives are meant to have passion and practicality, fire and firmness, lust and love, desire and durability. Rachel and Leah are meant to be one.

The Jewish laws that will follow with the giving of the Torah at Sinai will prescribe half of the month devoted to passion and sexual fire, and half of the month devoted to soulfulness and intimacy. The orchestration of the two is what makes a marriage whole. We are meant to be lovers and best friends, paramours and soul mates, people who ache for each other but settle down with one another to create a life of stability and permanence. Our wives should be our mistresses and our companions, our excitement and our anchor. We never wish to lose our lust, but we also need to accompany lust with love.

It was Jacob’s inability to value both dimensions that lead to many problems in the life of his own family. Jacob seems scarred from his childhood. His father favored Esau, so from his earliest age he tasted rejection. Later, he will repeat many of these mistakes in favoring Joseph, creating even more dysfunction and sibling rivalry among his own children than he experienced with Esau. Likewise, he favors one wife and one type of love. He struggles to appreciate the stability of Leah and gravitates exclusively toward the drama of Rachel. With Rachel he fights and argues. She accuses Jacob of being responsible for her not falling pregnant. He fires back that he is not God and is not responsible for her infertility. But dramatic relationships are addictive and Rachel is the drug of choice. But in favoring Rachel so exclusively Jacob risks becomes emotionally monolithic, never quite mastering the art of relationships. He is, interestingly, far better at adversarial relationships than intimate ones. He outmaneuvers the wily Esau to take his blessing as well as his immoral and cunning father-in-law Laban. He wrestles with an angel and defeats him. He has learned from an early age to survive on his wits.

Like many a man who has experienced insufficient love in his childhood, Jacob finds intimacy challenging. Love for him is more of a high than a deep sharing of self. He seeks the deep thrill of love that comes from a woman of passionate nature like Rachel rather than a woman of deep emotion like Leah. Jacob gravitates to the romantic love of the poets rather than the practical love of real life.

But, whatever man’s plans, God often intends something different. Jacob lusts for Rachel but his future is with Leah.

We men of the modern era can draw the appropriate lesson.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

The Sensitivity Of A Tzaddik

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

When Yaakov met Rachel at the well, he experienced conflicting emotions. He felt tremendous joy at having finally met his bashert, yet he raised his voice and cried. Rashi explains that he cried because he came empty-handed. He said, “My father’s servant came with ten camels laden with gifts and finery, and I come with empty hands.”

Rashi goes on to explain why Yaakov didn’t bring a gift for Rachel. When Yaakov found out that Eisav was plotting to kill him, he fled from his father’s home. Eisav sent his son Alifaz to chase down Yaakov. Alifaz was a tzaddik, and when he approached Yaakov he said, “I can’t kill you because you are an innocent man. On the other hand, what will be with the command of my father?” Yaakov said to him, “A poor man has the halachic status of a dead man. Take my money, and it will be considered as if you killed me, so on some level you will have fulfilled your father’s words.”

As a result, Yaakov came to the well empty-handed. When it was time to propose to Rachel, he didn’t have the gifts that would be expected, and so he raised his voice and cried.

This Rashi becomes difficult to understand when we focus on who these people were. The Avos may have walked the same planet as do you and I, but they lived in a very different orbit. Their every waking moment was occupied by thoughts of Hashem. They lived and breathed to attain closeness to Hashem. That was the focus of their lives and existence. It was the only thing that mattered to them.

For many years, Rachel knew she was to marry Yaakov and be a matriarch of the Jewish people. You have to assume that when she finally met her bashert, she was overcome with joy. Here was the man she had waited for. Here in front of her was this great tzaddik, the man of her dreams, offering to marry her so she could fulfill her destiny. Her very life’s ambitions and desires were now coming to fulfillment. It is hard to imagine that at that moment she was concerned about glitter and trinkets.

Yet Yaakov cried because he didn’t have a diamond ring to give her. The question is – why? All that Rachel really wanted was being delivered to her. If so, why did Yaakov cry?

It seems the answer is that the lack of gifts may not have bothered Rachel much but the bottom line is that it wasn’t respectful to her. When you come to your kallah, you bring her a gift. That is the way dignified people act. That is the way of the world, and it isn’t proper to come without a gift. On some level, it is treating her without the kavod due to her, and that caused Yaakov pain – so much pain that he raised his voice and cried.

Everyone Hungers for Recognition

This is a tremendous lesson to us because the people among whom we live aren’t on the level of Rachel. A slight to their honor causes them real pain. People will go to great lengths to protect their reputation and dignity because these things are very important to them. And for that reason we need to develop a real sensitivity to other people’s dignity and honor.

But this concept goes much further. The reality is that there are few people who get enough recognition and respect. We humans have many needs. We need food and drink, shelter and protection, friends and companionship – and most of those needs are met. The one need that that is almost never met is the need to be appreciated. It is something we hunger for, something basic to our success and vitality. Yet there is no store in which it can be bought, no marketplace in which it can be acquired. And a person often can go around with a deep hunger, not even realizing what is amiss.

One of the greatest acts of kindness I can do for another person is to treat him with honor. If I find your currency and can acknowledge you in that vein, I can give you that which you deeply crave – and it costs me nothing.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-sensitivity-of-a-tzaddik-2/2012/11/22/

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