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When Dr. David Shashar of Ramat Gan was called out to serve in the Paratrooper reserves during the Second Lebanon War of 2006, his goal was to help heal wounded soldiers. He never thought that he would become one himself. When two Hizbullah anti-tank missiles hit the house he was staying in, killing nine soldiers, he was among the 30 to be seriously injured. Dr. Shashar was hospitalized for the next three months in an attempt to save his arm from amputation. He underwent numerous reconstruction operations over the next three years, a number of which were in Boston's Beth Israel Hospital. The Ministry of Defense referred him to ROFEH International - a comprehensive medical referral and bikur cholim service founded by the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz, zt"l.
Many people knew him as Rabbi Hecht. His brothers called him Yank. To most of us he was J.J. - the man who, year after year, we saw standing at the Lubavitcher Rebbe's side for hours, no matter the weather, at the Lag B'Omer parade.
On Rosh Hashanah it is a mitzvah to assume a bowed posture as we offer tearful prayer to God and beg for His mercy and forgiveness. We are hopeful that our humility and remorsefulness will earn us a favorable verdict, but should we, Heaven forbid, fall short, Hashem in His infinite kindness extends our time of teshuvah through the duration of Chanukah, when it is a mitzvah to light the Chanukah candles that give rise (literally) to the flames that shoot straight upward, in affirmation of our spiritual ascent.
I have just returned from Eretz Yisrael. Hineni tours are life-transforming experiences - those who are secular become Torah committed, and those who are already observant reach a new plateau in their emunah and love of Hashem. The change commences from the moment we set foot in the Holy Land.
In this season, when we gather around the Seder table to celebrate the birth of our nation, it behooves us to take a few moments to consider what we have learned - what we are taking with us to guide us throughout the year. Among the many priorities we should consider, surely shalom and achdus - unity - must be in the forefront. Sadly, today these pillars of our faith are missing from our families, from our communities and from the world at large. While we may not be able to influence the world, our communities or even our families, we can and must impact upon ourselves - we must emerge from this Pesach - different.
Twenty-four hours of tragedy turned to joy. A true v'nahapoch hu story for the month of Adar.
A Chassidic prodigy alienates his community by painting nudes. When he dares to crucify his mother in two of his paintings, the Rebbe has no choice but to banish him from Brooklyn and ship him off to Paris. There is no escaping the provocative plot of Chaim Potok's 1972 novel, My Name is Asher Lev.
Once again, Mr. Rigg tells a spellbinding tale, this one of danger and intrigue during wartime Europe.
It is a truism that one should never judge a book by its cover, or even title.
A farbrengen is a gathering of Hasidim in the presence of their holy Rebbe to learn Torah and hear his words of wisdom. This exhibition is such a gathering. The hitherto unseen photographs by the photographer Jerry Dantzic present the collective fabric and texture of the Lubavitch community. The Torah life of a hasid is seen in a joyous wedding dance, tender moments at the bedeckening and under the chupah, a l'chaim to the Rebbe, and rapt attention at leining on Purim morning.