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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘shabbat’

Tearful Message from Baby Terror Victim’s Grandfather

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Have faith. Be strong. Do good.

That’s the message of a tearful grandfather of his three-month-old granddaughter Chaya Zissel Braun, who was murdered in Wednesday’s terror attack on the light rail train in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Chaya was a “pure soul” who “didn’t do anything bad to anybody,” said her grandfather, Shimshon Halperin. He said her parents have accepted “with love” what he sees as God’s decree.

“We believe that from the whole wide world, from the land of Israel, from Jerusalem, she was chosen to be the public sacrifice,” he told a group of reporters on Thursday night in Jerusalem, alluding to sacrifices given in the ancient Holy Temple. “God gives; God takes away.”

Standing in a dim courtyard in a Haredi neighborhood of Jerusalem, outside the apartment where the family was sitting shiva, Halperin said that his daughter and her husband had wanted a baby for years. He explained that Chaya’s middle name, Zissel, comes from the Yiddish word for “sweet,” and hid eyes welled up with tears as he was describing how his daughter would rock Chaya.

“You can take for granted the way a grandfather feels for a granddaughter that has just been murdered,” he said. “You can see it.”

Chaya and her parents were returning from the baby’s first trip to the Western Wall when the car rammed into the crowd. Halperin said Chaya was flung in the air and landed on the pavement.

He thanked the soldiers, policemen and hospital employees who tried to save Chaya’s life.

For Halperin, Chaya’s death is a sign that Jews should rededicate themselves to Torah, good deeds and Jewish commandments. He said he hopes, in Chaya’s merit, that more Jews observe Shabbat and imbue their lives with more meaning.

“God is trying to wake us up,” he said. “To take [something] upon ourselves, to try to get better, to try to do a good deed, to behave to each other better.”

The Shabbos Project: Jews Worldwide Keeping This Shabbos Together

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

In 340 cities around the world Jews from all walks of life, stars and simple folks, academics and others across the spectrum this week are all going to be ‘Keeping it Together.’

Shabbat. Shabbos. The Sabbath.

However you refer to it, even vocalist Paula Abdul is joining in with Nobel Prize laureates for 25 hours this weekend to keep the seventh day holy, as God commanded His Chosen People.

“The Shabbat Project is an opportunity for the entire Jewish world to keep one complete Shabbat together – from Friday evening just before sunset on October 24, until Saturday night after the stars have come out on October 25,” says South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein.

It was Goldstein who originated the Shabbat Project last year in South Africa. His drive and enthusiasm sent the project around the world in 2014.

“The beauty of this is that it is so practical and manageable. It’s only one Shabbat. It’s something everyone can do…This approach is predicated on the idea that the real energy of Shabbat – its transformative power – is wholly dependent on immersing oneself in the full Shabbat experience.”

In Israel, the Rami Levy supermarket is, as usual, leading the retailers’ part in the initiative. The chain is offering a “challah for a shekel, wine for five shekels” special this week to encourage Jews to participate in the project.

Poster ads are running on Egged buses across the country and along its highways and byways. A local team in the “Startup Nation” has also launched the #Keeping It Together app .  It has everything anyone needs to know about keeping the Sabbath holy, and it’s programmed to put your phone to sleep over Shabbat. (After all, it is the ‘day of rest.’)

A number of special events for the project are being held around the country, starting tonight (Thursday, Oct. 23.)

In the Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill tonight, participants can learn to bake Challah (braided Sabbath bread) for Shabbat. On Friday afternoon, organizers are holding a concert of Shabbat songs. Later the same day, an Oneg Shabbat meal will be held as well.

In Tel Aviv on Friday night, attendees will find a champagne kiddush reception, followed by Shabbat dinner at the Beit El Synagogue. On Saturday, the Sabbath Day, a potluck picnic is planned at Independence Park.

Similar events are planned in Rehovot and Ra’anana.

An enormous neon billboard has gone up in New York City’s Times Square, announcing the initiative.

A special “revolutionary” recipe developed by a crack team in Miami for a Challah Bake tonight (Thursday, Oct. 23) is expected to draw thousands.

A Miami Beach Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi is setting up a big tent at his synagogue to offer super Shabbos meals for anyone in the zip code pledging to keep this Shabbos.

In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has endorsed the project. Posters appear in subway stations in Toronto. Jews are signing up on the project’s special website.

Every single Jewish community organization, school and synagogue in Buenos Aires has pledged to keep Shabbat this coming weekend. More than 10,000 are expected at a planned Havdalah Unity Concert – produced with the assistance of the government of Argentina, no less and set for broadcast on national TV.

The tagline of the project, “Keeping It Together,” speaks to the unity and well being of the Jewish People as a whole entity, as well as to Jewish individuality. That’s what Shabbat is all about, Goldstein says.

“Keeping it together means keeping our lives together,” Goldstein explains. “Of course, there is the good food, sound sleep and deep relaxation to look forward to on Shabbat, but there’s more.

“Shabbat restores us, not just in a physical sense, but emotionally and spiritually as well, so that we emerge on Saturday night as new human beings ready to face the week with all of its challenges and opportunities.”

Whatever your time zone, if you are Jewish, join with other Members of the Tribe to bring in the Sabbath and help Keep It Together planetwide.

Yair Lapid Apologizes for Sabbath Desecration

Monday, October 6th, 2014

During a Yesh Atid party meeting on Sunday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid apologized for the Sabbath desecration he caused a few weeks ago, according to an NRG report.

“I made a mistake. I didn’t need to cause other people to desecrate Shabbat,” Lapid told his fellow party members.

At the time, Lapid called out reporters to his house for an unimportant press conference on Shabbat.

The outcry was surprising. Lapid was met with criticism, not only from the press corps who were forced to work on Shabbat, but from anti-religious, secular and leftwing politicians who were upset that he interrupted the day of rest of hard working people.

The Battle for Jewish Jerusalem

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

There’s a battle going on for the soul of Jerusalem.

On one side of the battle is First Station, the refurbished, formerly abandoned, old Jerusalem train station, which was converted into an open mall and cultural center.

When First Station first opened it had only one kosher restaurant, and it still promotes itself as being open 7 days a week for food, entertainment and culture.

Interestingly enough, since its opening, and despite efforts to be the bastion of secular culture in Jerusalem, Jerusalem economics have had their say, and I’d estimate that by now, at least half the restaurants have gone kosher, and some even Mehadrin. Personally, I recommend you try Station 9, a Chinese restaurant which serves egg rolls that rivals even those of Forest Hills’ Chosen Garden.

On the other side of the battle is Jerusalem’s Cinema City.

I had the opportunity to visit it for the first time two months ago, and without a doubt, aesthetically it far surpasses anything Tel Aviv of the central region has to offer.

And to top it all off, all the restaurants and food are kosher, and the stores and theaters are all closed on Shabbat. Who could ask for more?

There are some who are fighting to force Cinema City to be open on Shabbat. Secular protesters even went as far as taking it to the Supreme Court, which eventually ruled Cinema City must be closed on Shabbat, as it is built on public land, leased from the city.

With the hustle and bustle I saw going on in the movies and the restaurants, they clearly aren’t hurting for taking off the Day of Rest. Kol HaKavod, as they say. I personally hope it stays that way.

Cinema City combines some 18 theaters with a capacity of around 2500 seats, including 2 VIP theaters and lounges. Each theater is designed with its own movie theme.

Cinema City - Iron Man Theater

The mall inside is simply astounding. It’s spacious and decorated with movie themes everywhere, there’s plenty of parking, and even the parking lot has movie theme decorations.

Cinema City Lounge

I went in and checked out every single restaurant. They’re clean, they’re gorgeous. Even branches that aren’t kosher anywhere else, are kosher here. And they have some very high end restaurants hidden away on the upper floors. Its worth it to walk around. And while they probably aren’t going to the movies, there are plenty of Hareidi Jews eating in the restaurants.

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from Simmy Allen, Cinema City’s International Marketing and Events Coordinator. He offered to take my family and me on a private tour of the new “Bible City” on the top floor of the center.

Cinema City - Noahs Ark

Taking the elevator up past the huge mural of Moses, you arrive in an outdoor museum with life-size replications of 60 different scenes from the Tanach (Bible), along with a full-size Noah’s ark, which will eventually double as another movie theater and hall for a Torah related film they are putting together.

Cinema CIty Bibile City

It’s very impressive.

The kids loved it. It kept them busy all afternoon, which was great for me.

SAMSUNG

Simi was telling me (since that was the real purpose of his invitation and tour) that Cinema City actually doubles as a party, conference and convention center.

All the different themed movie theaters can be rented out for seminars, conferences or parties, and if you want, you can select whatever movie you want to see. The largest theater holds almost 500 people, and you can project the podium speakers onto screens in the other theaters to handle the spillover.

There’s kosher catering for events (Mehadrin is an option too), from movie theater popcorn and soda to gourmet meals.

One of the big draws of “Bible City” is for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, especially from overseas guests looking for the right venue.

Not only can the party or meal be held in one of the theaters or lounges, but Bible City then adds a Jewish theme to the whole event.Noah's Ark

As I started this article off, it’s important to see in Jerusalem and Israel, fun, cultural and entertainment centers that respect Shabbat and Kashrut, despite the various unrelenting pressures on them violate those basic Jewish principles and traditions. Cinema City proves you don’t need to work on Shabbat to be a success.

Cinema City

If you want to find out more about holding a Bar/Bat Mitzva or private family event at Cinema City, I recommend you contact Simmy at Simmy@NLC.co.il or call him at (Israel) 074-752-6717 or (US) 1-917-728-1343.

Cinema City is located near the Foreign Ministry and opposite the Israeli Supreme Court.

Enjoy the show.

Gratitude

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

In the photo above, IDF soldiers are at the Shiffon Bakery in Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion, where the bakery handed out free food to the soldiers searching for the kidnapped boys Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel.

Throughout Gush Etzion, people have been collecting and sending food to the thousands of soldiers involved in the search, to show their gratitude for the grueling work they are doing, trying to find the three boys kidnapped by Hamas.

Rabbis Call for National ‘Early Shabbat’

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Religious Zionist and Haredi rabbis have called on Jews to usher in Shabbat early this week to show support for the families of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shayer and Naftali Frenkel.

Bnei Brak Rabbis Aharon Leib Shteinman and Chaim Rabbi Kanievsky, the leaders of the Lithuanian-style yeshiva world, joined Rabbis Chaim Druckman, rabbinic head of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, and Rav David Stav, founder of the religious Zionist Tzohar rabbinic organization, to ask women to light candles 15 minutes earlier than usual, and to study extra Torah for the merit of the missing yeshiva students.

Walking A Mile With Their Cell Phones

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

I think I’m finally beginning to understand.

For a few years now we have been hearing about “Half Shabbos,” a phenomenon in which our youth engage in forbidden technology-related activities on Shabbos, such as texting and Internet surfing. Various reasons have been offered by educators and other pundits to explain the phenomenon and a number of suggestions have been made about how best to address it. (I, too, wrote on this topic, including an op-ed in these pages in June 2011 titled “From Half to Full.”)

I wrote about the subject with a certain uneasiness; something kept gnawing at me, telling me I did not really understand the dilemma about which I claimed expertise. While I felt confident that my logic was sound and my strategies were useful, I still could not really place myself in young people’s shoes and comprehend what drove them to engage in such activity.

I was no digital native (when I was young we still had corner phone booths) and never had experienced technology from that vantage point. I may have stayed in bed up late at night listening to the radio, but I never had the regular experience of communicating with classmates or others at 2 a.m.

But all of that changed for me during my recent professional transition to executive and educational coaching and consulting. Sure, as head of school (my previous post) I had to be an active user of e-mail, SMS and other communication portals. My phone was positioned reliably on my hip and would be taken out countless times daily as I engaged with various constituents. Still, I was largely content to put my smartphone away for Shabbos, if only because it gave me a day of respite from the 24/6 nature of school leadership. (Technically, it was 24/7 if you count Kiddush at shul and other communal functions, but at least there I could respond in real time to a real person, not an avatar.)

As I moved into my new line of work I began to use social media in a way I never had previously. I had a largely unused Facebook account and was not “on” LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+. Nor had I ever uploaded a video to YouTube. Now, I have accounts with each of the aforementioned and use them often as a means of sharing content, developing my brand and engaging with present and potential clients.

Part of the reason for this is, as noted above, to get my name “out there” and develop credibility. However, I feel that much of this urge to post regularly emerges from the “when in Rome” mentality that affects so many of us. If every “thought leader” out there is posting to his or her Twitter account umpteen times daily, what would it say about me if mine was largely inactive? How would it look if I did not continually have relevant, fresh content to share?

Following this recent experience, I feel I now better understand our children’s struggles. For many of them, technology is not just another activity that is forbidden on Shabbos, such as writing, cooking and the like. It is a way of life, a part of their existence so deep and entrenched that it is extremely difficult to abstain from for even one day a week.

The dependency is so strong that if there aren’t strict rules in place as there are in many schools (where phones are banned entirely or must be checked in to the office at the beginning of the day and kept there until dismissal), our children will invariably succumb to the pull of their technology, especially if their friends are “on.” After all, nobody wants to come across as less socially adept or relevant, even for a brief period. This is particularly true for teenagers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/walking-a-mile-with-their-cell-phones/2014/05/08/

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