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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘seventeen’

Two Arabs Arrested for Arson in Jerusalem Vicinity

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

On July 9th, after an intensive investigation, Jerusalem Police arrested two Arabs, aged seventeen and eighteen, suspected of starting fires around the main entrance to Jerusalem two weeks ago. The Police announced that the two have admitted the arson, explaining that their actions were motivated by nationalistic causes. They started the fires by throwing Molotov cocktails, which were discovered at the point of initiation of the blaze. Seventy five acres of forests were consumed. Another ten Arabs have been arrested so far on similar charges.

Several recent fires which have blazed across Israel, especially in the Jerusalem vicinity, are believed to be the work of Arab arsonists who are methodically setting fire to natural brush and thicket in attempt to cause injury and damage to property. The fires also cause traffic congestion on main highways which have to be closed, causing backups for many hours and shutting down main routes between major cities in Israel. In some cases, residents are evacuated due to fear that their homes may be burned.

The Jerusalem Fire Department reports that two hundred fires have been extinguished since the beginning of the summer. Most of them have been determined to be caused by arson.

On June 28th, Arabs set fire to fields at Eish Kodesh, in Benyamin. Aharon Katsof, Eish Kodesh spokesman, told Tazpit News Agency that the residents noticed smoke coming from the Wadi below their community. The community’s RRT (Rapid Response Team) identified two suspects fleeing the scene towards the Arab village of Cursah. Half an acre of barley was destroyed, causing immense financial loss to the field owner. Two months ago, two acres of vineyards were destroyed by fires at Eish Kodesh. After the incident, IDF trackers found the trail of two men leading to Cursah.

On June 25th the home of Yiskah and Elyasaf Orbach at Chavat Gilad was severely damaged by fires started by Arabs. Beny Katsover, head of the Shomron Communities Council, responded to the arson, saying: “The time has come for the Government of Israel to renew its policy of deterrence against Arab vandals by destroying their homes, alongside the expansion of the Jewish communities. Our enemies will understand that they are achieving the opposite of their actions.”

To Dream The Impossible Dream

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Ashira Greenberg is a pretty, talented and articulate young lady who, at the tender of age of seventeen, has just published a book.

Many of us dream of writing our own book, myself included, but how few of us actually do it.

I went to a recent book signing by the young author, held in the home of family friends Sima and Abe Ancselovics in Hillcrest, Queens. There sat Ashira surrounded by her loving parents, Robert and Dafna Greenberg, facing an overflow crowd. All of us wanted to hear her story. On the table in front of her was a pile of her book, Don’t Judge By What You See.

Ashira was born with cerebral palsy. For elementary school she attended the Yeshiva of Central Queens where the YESS program is located. YESS – Yeshiva Education for Special Students – works with each special needs child and successfully mainstreams many of them. Ashira was mainstreamed but never forgot all the help she received and became a volunteer, working with YESS children in her school.

Ashira loved writing and she dreamed of someday writing a book. In seventh grade she was going through a particularly hard time. “Here I was in a normal school, but I couldn’t do what the other kids could do,” said Ashira. “ So I started to think of writing.”

She was blessed with a very special teacher that year who encouraged her to write. In fact, when the teacher gave out a class assignment to write about “what makes you unique,” Ashira felt that the teacher had specifically picked that topic with her in mind.

She went home that Friday and sat down in front of her computer to write and all of her frustrations came pouring out in poem form. Every time her parents walked into the room she closed the screen. “ They must have wondered what was going on, so now I can tell them, it was nothing unacceptable, I was just pouring out my heart and I didn’t want them to feel bad.” She brought the poem to school that Monday and showed it to her teacher. The teacher was so impressed that she showed it to all the other teachers in the school. They all agreed that it was incredibly well written.

Summers for Ashira were spent in Camp Simcha Special. That summer she asked her bunkmates and fellow campers to write a few paragraphs dealing with their feelings about their disabilities. She discussed with them her dream of putting these essays into a book that would be published. The campers all eagerly complied. But when she sent the work off to publishing houses, rejection after rejection came her way. The common complaint was that the manuscript was too short and too heavy. “Short, we could fix,” said Ashira. “But heavy? This is our life and yes, it is a heavy load to bear.” So the dream of publishing a book was put on hold.

Ashira and her father

Some years passed and Ashira was now a student at Central, Yeshiva University High School for Girls (my alma mater) and managing okay.

One year at the Salute to Israel Parade in New York City she saw her former seventh grade teacher marching with her elementary school. All her dreams of writing a book came back to her as she saw the teacher who had inspired her to write.

Before Ashira began writing again, she and her parents contacted publishing companies to see if any of them would be interested in publishing a book about children and disabilities specifically geared to children. The Israel Bookshop Publishing Company answered in the affirmative and Ashira began to write.

The end result is a beautiful children’s book written in rhyming sentences. One of my favorite parts of the book is where the girl goes to a party in her friend’s backyard and sees lots of children in wheelchairs or with other noticeable problems. She stares and stares at them, thinking that if their arms or legs don’t work maybe their minds don’t work either. The lessons are gently brought home in rhyme, in a way that doesn’t make the reader feel bad. In fact, it is very much a feel-good book, which in itself is a remarkable thing.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Rachelli Edelstein.

What’s next for Ashira? Right now she is looking forward to graduating high school in June and then…”we’ll see what happens,” was her sweet answer.

It’s clear to see that a loving family – Ashira has two younger sisters – and parents devoted to helping her dreams become reality, will help this young lady continue to soar.

A Graduate Of Eiver’s Yeshiva

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

These are the generations of Yaakov, Yosef being seventeen years old….

Seventeen years old? We are struck by this information. Why would the Torah deem it necessary to inform us about Yosef’s age? No word, no pasuk, no paragraph is out of place in Torah, so we know the information is necessary and important. But what is its importance? What do we gain by this kernel of biographical information about Yosef?

To understand, it benefits us to first examine the conclusion of parshat Toldot, where Yitzhak advises Yaakov to escape from his brother, Eisav, by fleeing to Padan Aram. In commenting on this passage, Rashi notes that here we learn Yaakov sojourned in the House of Eiver for more than fourteen years studying Torah and only then, at the conclusion of his study, did he continue on to Padan Aram.

Again, we gain a glimpse of biographical information without yet understanding its value to us. Why inform us as to the length of Yaakov’s sojourn? And why was it even necessary for Yaakov to stop at Eiver’s home in order to study Torah? There can be no doubt that, as a child growing up in Yitzchak’s home, he learned and absorbed Torah, chesed, morals and positive values. Indeed, the Torah identifies Yaakov as a scholar.

So why the additional fourteen years of study?

The answer comes when the Torah shows Yaakov wrestling with the angel of God, earning the name Yisrael and demonstrating that we all must wrestle with Torah. From this we understand that to learn Torah demands not only the pure and sanctified environment of a Bais Yitzchak but that to truly “wrestle” with Torah is to absorb it – and transplant its teachings and precepts – in the world at large.

In his father’s house, Yaakov had superior training in pure Torah, in Torah that had meaning in the rarified world of his home and other, likeminded, scholars and students. However, in parshat Toldot, as Yaakov prepares to flee his brother and his father’s house – leaving the protected environment of his home – he would be entering a foreign and threatening world. To survive and flourish in the intimidating environment of Charan, he needed first to wrestle with Torah in Bais Eiver, a place not nearly as safe and nurturing as his own father’s house.

So too, Yaakov foresaw that Yosef would also find himself among gentiles, Egyptians, in a large, intimidating and menacing society. To assure that Yosef would remain steadfast in all the Torah he had taught him even in the most threatening circumstances, Yaakov determined that Yosef, like himself, must be exposed to the same Torah in “foreign” territory. Therefore, all the Torah Yaakov learned in Eiver’s academy he taught to Yosef for fourteen years.

And so we return to the Torah’s biographical note regarding Yosef. Yosef began learning Torah at three, when every child must begin to study Torah. Thus, the Torah speaks of the point at which Yosef was prepared to confront life’s many challenges – at seventeen.

Like Yosef, we must all at some point leave the warmth and comfort of our home; we must all attain the age of “seventeen.” And, like Yosef, we must be prepared to willingly and lovingly communicate Torah in an open, “Torah-less” society.

Torah is a glorious jewel, but it is not a fragile one. It will not only survive beyond the safety of our academies, it will thrive.

A Jew’s ability to live a Torah life beyond the safety and security of “Yaakov’s tent” is the ultimate test of Torah.  Like any test of worth, it is not an easy one. A prominent Torah educator from Jerusalem was asked why he pursued and attained higher academic degrees in prominent universities whereas his sons were discouraged from continuing their general education beyond high school.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-graduate-of-eiver%e2%80%99s-yeshiva/2011/11/23/

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