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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘shelter’

Photo-essay: Southern Israel Under Attack

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Life did not go on as usual today in southern Israel, for those within range of Gazan rockets.

The Iron Dome system took care of most of the more dangerous rocket strikes, but that doesn’t mean it got them all, as some still managed to hit in Israeli population centers.

Here are some pictures of what life was like today in Israel’s southern cities and towns.

 

 

 

Evacuating an injured woman in Ashdod

 

This car didn’t fare too well against a rocket

 

Windows got blown out from rocket strikes in Ashdod

 

Premature baby being moved to a bomb shelter at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon

 

(Photo credits: Flash90)

 

Hadassa Dubrofsky: A True Role Model

Friday, February 17th, 2012

One of the many reasons adolescent girls and boys look forward to their bat- and bar-mitzvahs is the presents. Family and friends put a lot of thought into buying the proper, meaningful and memorable gift, and the sight of the many different colorful parcels adds to the anticipation of opening them and discovering their contents.

Hadassa Dubrofsky, a lovely twelve-year old girl from Toronto, Canada however, decided to forgo this form of pleasure, and replace it with something even more meaningful and exciting – an act of chesed (charitable kindness). She asked that her guests, instead of buying her a gift on the occasion of her bat-mitzvah, give a donation to the charity of her choice. The charity she choose was Bat Melech, an organization that helps battered women and their children by giving them a safe shelter, and eventually providing them with a secure permanent home and livelihood. “It is my goal that the funds collected in honor of my bat-mitzvah help build another family unit in the shelter so no mother and child should ever have to be turned away,” Hadassa explains, her words revealing remarkable maturity.

Hadassa reveals that the initial idea for requesting donations for charity in lieu of gifts came from her older brothers, Yehuda and Akiva, both students in Toronto’s Yeshivat Ohr Chaim. Yehuda, who is now sixteen and in 11th grade requested that all donations be made to Emunah Women in Israel, and Akiva, fifteen, in 10th grade, chose Leket Israel as beneficiary of his bar-mitzvah donations.

One cannot help but be deeply impressed by parents who provide such an upbringing for their children. Vivian and Lewis Dubrofsky, both highly trained professionals in managerial positions, seem to be endowed with admirable spiritual dimensions to inculcate these moral Torah values in their children.

To my question as to how she found out about Bat Melech, Hadassa who is in 7th grade at Toronto’s Netivot Hatorah Day School, eagerly replied: “My mother’s very close friend, Yitzchaka Jackson, told us about this charity and how special it is and what important work they do. I had looked for a charity that helped women and children and Bat Melech does both.”

Hadassa’s act of chesed did not end with monetary contributions. She encouraged her friends to join her in creating a personal gift – a hand-painted quilt for Bat Melech. “The basic theme of the quilt was inspirational quotes from the Torah with painted text and images,” Hadassa Dubrofsky enthusiastically depicts the work. “The quilt was made of individual squares that were each painted by a different friend and had its own special message.”

Eventually Hadassa’s extended family – her parents, her aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, made a trip to Israel and hand delivered the magnificent masterpiece to Bat Melech. “We gave them this very big quilt which could be hung up on the wall and would decorate the shelter. They loved it!” Hadassa relates with delight.

“I found the visit to the shelter to be very interesting,” she goes on to say. “ I didn’t know what to expect, but when we got there all the women and children in the shelter welcomed us with a smile. The kids were all really cute.”

I believe Hadassa Dubrofsky’s enthusiasm for her act of loving-kindness has a potential impact on others, whether adolescents or adults. She truly serves as a perfect role model.

Crossword Puzzle – Rashi & Family

Friday, January 6th, 2012

 

Across

1. Hot tub

4. Dined

7. ___ out!

10. Make like Shyne

13. Joke

14. Bomb shelter item

15. Giant thrower

16. I, in Hebrew

17. Rashi’s last name?

19. And so on…

20. Machine part

21. Like freezer goods

22. Also

23. Parts of the day (Abbr.)

24. Slow music tempo

27. Pay someone to take the SAT’s for you, e.g.

29. ___ Hasandler, ancestor of Rashi

32. Whitish

33. Haifa to Tsfat dir.

34. Former Mets closer Braden

36. A grandson of Rashi

41. Saddest

42. First part of Kenobi’s first name

45. Middle child of Rashi

48. Rashi’s oldest

52. Amounts

53. Prepares certain meat for a Seder

54. Deg. for some doctors

55. A bit

58. Twisting force (alt. spelling)

59. Battleship piece

60. Kind of poem

61. A grandson of Rashi

65. Was, to a poet

66. One cheering, usually

67. Notable nickname for a president

68. Long ___….

69. Williams or Danson

70. Make latkes

71. Former spy letters

72. US political party

 

Down

1. Hit the slopes

2. Peach leftover

3. Wood tool

4. Kind of wood (mentioned in the Torah)

5. Go up against

6. Author Blyton

7. Where you might find piggies?

8. Kind of voice

9. Bounce off of

10. Rashi’s youngest

11. Kind of coat

12. Messy place to live

18. Feeling it spiritually

24. Yes, to Captain Hook

25. Title for Vito or Michael

26. Computer brand

28. Lashon ___

30. Away from the wind, at sea

31. Loud

32. Comp. part

35. They’re ___ us!

37. Tad

38. End of a countdown, maybe

39. Vagrant

40. Some vid. files

43. Wager

44. You need them to board a plane

45. Rowlf is the oldest one (and can be seen in theaters now)

46. Is it hot __ __?

47. Crested

49. Makes like a frog

50. Nearly bygone mode of transportation

51. Every

56. Happy month

57. Disavow

58. Kind of musical group

62. Tavern

63. Go gray

64. Clean (the floor)

 

(Answers, next week)

Yoni can be reached at yglatt@youngisrael.org

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 12/02/10

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

AD MOSAY?

Dear Rachel,

You were kind enough to print my previous letters to you in which I had detailed some of the unbelievable horror, the beatings and torture, the pain, fear and intimidation in which young women, our daughters, live.

I wrote to you about our anger and frustration in the face of cold-blooded and corrupt community leaders who support the husbands and family members who shut their eyes to the pain of their own flesh-and-blood. And I wrote to you about the wonderful shelter – Bat-Melech – which is the only shelter serving the women in the chareidi community. Rachel! There is no let-up.

The following is an approximate synopsis and translation from a Hebrew article by Noam Barkan (which appeared in Yediot Achronot) after a heart-rending visit with the young victim described here. I hope you will print this too because the horror must be unveiled and our community must shout: “Ad Mosay?”

In retrospect, Elanor* should have seen what was coming; her days of engagement should have been ones of joy and anticipation. Instead, they were filled with verbal abuse, cursing and degrading in public. Her chosson, Chaim, would follow her to school or pop in unannounced in order to verify her whereabouts. She had to check with him before she went to visit friends, and he curtailed her actions and freedom of movement. And though he hit her too, Elanor’s naiveté excused it all as “pre-marriage jitters and nervousness.” She was sure that once married his attitude would change for the better.

How wrong she was! Today she is only twenty-years-old; a young woman married to an abusive 25-year-old spineless snake who beat her because she is “not behaving properly.” He beat her in order to teach her, and he choked her because of something she might have said.

No longer able to excuse all this as pre-marital jitters, Elanor attributed this horror to the fact that she did not conceive in the first year of her marriage. “I’m sure he’ll change once I get pregnant. After all, if he knows that he’ll be a father, he’ll mature and his behavior towards me will change.”

And when Elanor did get pregnant, his behavior did change – the beatings increased because, he stated with glee, now Elanor was tied to him forever due to the baby she was carrying and she’d never be able to leave him.

He would punch her in the stomach and choke her into semi-consciousness, jeopardizing both Elanor and the unborn child. In her misery, the young would-be-mother wondered why he is punching the baby After all, it was she who was not behaving properly; what wrong did the baby do?

Elanor ran away to her parents, hoping to elicit their help. They were reluctant to let her in because her husband had claimed that she cheated on him. In anger, they insisted that she should return to her abusive husband and try to be a “better wife” and work on “sholom bayis.”

When Elanor finally had enough and had her husband arrested, it was her father who bailed him out.

And once her husband had elicited Elanor’s parents’ tacit and active support, he felt free and unencumbered to continue the abuse. She could not call her friends without his explicit permission, and he listened to all her conversations. There is so much more, the details of which are sickening.

Afraid of losing the baby, Elanor decided that she must run away. A friend took her in for two days and referred her to the authorities where, with G-d’s help, a total stranger took pity on the hapless woman and immediately referred her to Bat-Melech.

The warmth and safety accorded to Elanor by Bat-Melech’s personnel and other residents instilled in Elanor a sense of worth and security, enabling her to plan for her future. The embrace with which she was welcomed let a bit of sun into an otherwise bleak darkness.

Last week, in an atmosphere of warmth and joy, with Bat-Melech counselors and her shelter-friends surrounding her – ensuring her husband would not get near her – Elanor cried tears of happiness as the mohel performed the bris on her new-born son. Holding her baby gently in her arms, Elanor finally saw herself emerging from the depth of despair to a better and healthier future.

Rachel, when will this stop? Elanor is one of the lucky ones – just one of the many abused and tortured young women who found heaven in the midst of the hell they lived in. She was one of the fortunate ones who found their way to the only shelter catering to the religious woman.

Her rehabilitation is going smoothly; soon she will be transferred to a transitory safe-house where she will get every possible help that she will need to begin her new life with her new-born son. Her self-esteem is solid, and she has long discarded the fear of her husband.

Unfortunately, many more of our abused daughters are in desperate need for either a safe haven or urgent emotional/financial help. Regrettably, the limited sources available to Bat-Melech forces the shelter to turn away far too many.

In the five years that Bat-Melech is in existence, the shelter has had a continuous residency count of forty-five women and approximately 150 children. Given every possible support, most of these women go on to a new and better life, a life devoid of the fear and terror they previously were immersed in.

Bat-Melech’s director, Noach Korman, a highly esteemed attorney, has been giving his entire life and heart to save each and every one of the girls who turn to Bat-Melech. Unfortunately, the limited space and funds force so many to remain in the gehennom they are in.

In conclusion, Rachel, while the disease festers without a solution in sight, Bat-Melech needs all the help it can muster. Perhaps families fortunate to be enjoying the warmth of togetherness this Chanukah will take pity on the plight of these girls and find it in their hearts to extend a much-needed financial helping hand to expand the facilities and resources so desperately needed.

More information is easily available at: www.batmelech.org.

Isaac Kohn

kohnisaac@optonline.net

*Names have been changed.

* * * * *

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.

A Torah Perspective On Educating Our Children About Sexuality (Part III)

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

While it once may have been possible to shelter our children from inappropriate exposure to sexuality, today it seems to be an impossible goal. Even parents who have made every effort to appropriately safeguard their family may find themselves unhappily surprised at what their child’s friends have exposed him to. In addition, outdoor secular media such as billboards, bus ads and newspaper covers portray disturbingly graphic images that force us to confront the fact that our children are being exposed to ideas and ways of life we may consider to be harmful to their souls and their mental health.

Furthermore, as we become more and more aware of the existence of sexual predators in our midst, and the terrible damage that survivors of sexual abuse experience, it is even more important for parents to maintain an ongoing dialogue with their children about sexuality. If children do not possess clear knowledge and age-appropriate understanding of the parts of their body and how they can be used or misused, they will find it difficult to protect themselves against those who seek to abuse them. We must find a way to inoculate our children by appropriately and respectfully exposing them to Torah ideas about sexuality and modesty, so that the first images and concepts that fill their developing minds are the proper ones.

In our tradition, there is great emphasis on modesty, which can cause some parents to be reluctant about discussing sexual matters with their children. Given the times in which we live, this would seem to be misplaced modesty as the risks that come with silence are great. Our children will learn about sexuality, if not from us then it will be from less kosher sources.

When parents do discuss these matters, they may find it hard to speak about them directly and find themselves resorting to hints and allusions. Indeed, the Gemara (Pesachim 3a) observes:

“One should always be careful not to allow an unseemly utterance from his mouth, for the Torah wrote an extra eight letters in order not to say an unseemly word. As the verse states (Genesis 7:2), ‘From the pure beasts and from the beasts that are not pure.’ [That is, the Torah could have said '...and from the impure animals' instead of referring to them as 'the-animals-that-are-not-pure.']“

However, even this is not quite as it appears because there are numerous other verses where the Torah refers to the non-kosher animals directly as impure, and does not use the roundabout circuitous language of “the-animals-that-are-not-pure.” (For several examples, see Vayikra chapter 11.) The answer must be that the Torah only diverged from the direct terminology to teach us a general lesson – if all things are considered equal, one should choose refined language. Therefore, in the specifics of instruction, one should not sacrifice clarity or brevity for the sake of modesty. Thus in most verses, the Torah uses the direct phrase of “impure” (Tosafos, “Kol,” ibid: 3b.)

It’s important to note that there are differences of opinion in exactly how to apply this principle, (see commentary of the Ran, ibid.). However, it would seem that clarity about important matters such as educating our children about their responsibilities toward tznius and protecting them from sexual predators overrides the concern of improper language. Experience tells us that if children are not instructed in a clear manner about matters such as these, it leads to misunderstandings that can make them vulnerable to misinformation and exploitation.

As the Talmud tells us: “One should always instruct his student in a succinct manner.” (ibid 3b.) When discussing sexuality with our children, if we speak indirectly instead of in a straightforward manner, we risk their misunderstanding us, and picking up on a sense of unease and an unhealthy shame about an important and natural biological function. This can lead to unfortunate complications in their development, and leave young adults and newly married couples vulnerable to unnecessary anxiety and shame.

(To be continued)

Tobi Kahn’s New Harmony

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Shalev at New Harmony, Indiana;
Thresholds at The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary
3080 Broadway, New York, N.Y.   (212) 678 8082
Sunday through Friday; 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Free Admission
Until June 30, 2009



        Imagine if we could all work and live together in harmony.  We ask for this three times a day, “May it be good in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel at every time, in every hour, with Your peace.”   This ancient plea, harmony between us and our G-d, harmony between us and our fellow Jews and mankind, is one of the most fundamental yearnings we experience.  We are not alone in this deeply human quest.  In 1814 a group of Separatists from the German Lutheran Church led by Johann Georg Rapp came to Indiana’s frontier to find religious freedom and establish a utopian communal society in a new town named New Harmony. The community lasted barely 10 years before moving back to Pennsylvania but in that short time was a successful enterprise of cooperation and pious living.   The town is still there and at the New Harmony Inn that 185 years ago used to welcome seekers, Tobi Kahn’s monumental sculpture, Shalev, stands, promising a kind of refuge from the struggles of daily life that still besets us all.


       The rough-hewn granite sculpture commissioned by Jane Owen and the Robert Lee Blaffer Trust in 1993 stands close to 13 feet high and is composed of three colossal blocks; two rectangular pillars that support a massive lintel. Paradoxically, the monument itself cannot itself give shelter, since the “sanctuary” space is occupied by an abstract bronze figure, a sculptural everyman.  The giant stone lintel seems to loom out at anyone who approaches the sculpture.  This elemental quality radiates a sense of welcoming but primitive protection, a hope of shelter.  Its idiosyncratic title, “Shalev,” a contraction of shalom (peace) and lev (heart), echoes this sentiment.  Indeed the attempt to find a harmony between the viewer and the surrounding uncertain world is exemplified by the adjacent landscape.  While most of the year bucolic fields stretch beyond the sculpture the rainy season brings a flood from the Wabash River right up to the foot of the monument, sorely testing our faith in the artwork’s message.   We identify with the protected figure and feel a strange kind of comfort in its safety.

 

 


Shalev (1993) granite & bronze monumental sculpture by Tobi Kahn
Courtesy New Harmony Inn, New Harmony, Indiana

 


      Why?  Why do many of Tobi Kahn’s works evoke this response?  Kahn, an observant Jew who has exhibited, taught and created these kinds of works of art for his entire professional career, believes in the redemptive power of art.   He sees the making, viewing and teaching about art as an act of prayer, an appeal to G-d that, if we approach 
these artworks with the proper intention and concentration, can actually alter our consciousness.  For Kahn, art is a primary step in tikkun olam.

 

 


Shalev (1993) Flood Season; granite and bronze monumental sculpture by Tobi Kahn
Courtesy New Harmony Inn, New Harmony, Indiana

 


      Thresholds, an exhibition of Kahn’s work at the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, presents additional examples of the redemptive possibilities of visual art.  Surprisingly the works that evoke this sense of protection are diminutive in scale, quite the opposite of the New Harmony monument.  Nonetheless they radiate a comfort and 
reassurance well beyond their modest proportions.


      In one of the display cases we find three ceremonial boxes, each colorfully painted and uniquely shaped.  Two are titled “Zedek” and function as tzedakah boxes with thin rectangular openings ready to receive charity donations.  But there the similarity ends.  One turquoise box resembles a small altar with a gently curved roof meeting curved sides that enclose the sacred treasury.  The other box, cobalt blue with front and back painted panel inserts, is more business-like, a confident little monument to our expected generosity to those in need.  Both of these exhibit, by their carefully considered forms, surfaces and colors, the seriousness of the mitzvah of charity.   Their monumentality, small in size but with large intent, express a determination to repair the world in a most concrete manner.

 

 


Zedek, Hadahr, Zedek (2006 – 2007) Tzedakah and Esrog containers by Tobi Kahn
Courtesy The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York

 


      Perhaps to balance the act of giving, the third box is titled  “Hadahr,” literally meaning beautiful and fulfilling its function as an esrog box.  In its way it is more decorative than its neighbors, exhibiting an illustrative panel showing the esrog tree with its fruit, hanging ready for the picking.  Its gold cover communicates that this fruit is indeed the object of one very special mitzvah.


      All three of these objects provide a safe enclosure, a kind of sanctuary, each provoking a positive act that affects the world either by literally making it better; helping another human being; or by affirming G-d’s sovereignty in obeying his commandments.


      The simple and yet monumental character of these works is similarly reflected in other objects in the exhibition.  “Lahav,” a rather impressive memorial light, again plays upon the altar motif that reflects the traditional Jewish respect in honoring and remembering our dead.  Kahn seems to be saying that we do much more than recall our loved ones; we must hold them up and honor them as a blazing flame that will enlighten our lives as we attempt to move forward without them.  In Kahn’s hands a yarzheit becomes a celebration that allows us to live yet another year emulating our departed.


      Shifting from the personal to the familial, the Seder plate, “Erhu II,” proclaims its grand message in the simplest sculptural form.  Atop deep blue square shelves for the three ceremonial matzoth, six cups frame the six small plates necessary for the ritual objects central to the Seder itself.  Additionally these six cups reflect the mandatory four cups of wine plus a possibility of both a cup for Eliyahu and Miriam, a thoroughly modern and progressive gesture consistent with Kahn’s belief in a wide-ranging tikkun olam.

 

 


Erhu II (2007) Seder plate by Tobi Kahn
Courtesy The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York

 


      There are many other objects and paintings to be seen at Kahn’s JTS exhibition that is part of the 2009 Artist-in-Residence Program directed by Vivian B. Mann, a number of which I have previously reviewed.  One major new work, “Ashkaf,” is a site-specific installation of 8 abandoned card catalogs, each housing 72 drawers that once contained literally thousands upon thousands of library cards, now totally rendered obsolete by their digital replacement.  Kahn has, at seemingly random intervals, opened the drawers and allowed us to see small abstract objects placed therein.  Unfortunately the aesthetic effect is fractured and puzzling, at best creating a sense of loss and the opposite of the works I have been discussing.

 

 


Lahav (2006) Memorial Lamp by Tobi Kahn
Courtesy The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York

 


      Tobi Kahn’s work presents us with a subtle paradox.  From “Shalev” to ”Zedek,” a yarzheit lamp to a Seder plate, the more monumental the forms he uses the more intimate and comforting his aesthetic operates.  It is perhaps because in each work he provides us with a way in, a visual passage that symbolically provides us with shelter and protection either literally or metaphorically.  That passage is an essential fundamental premise of his work; art must be a prayer to provoke an action to do good in the world. New Harmony has just become a bit closer to becoming a reality.

Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at rmcbee@nyc.rr.com.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 5/22/09

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Dear Rachel,

You may choose not to print this letter, but I am hoping that you will. It addresses a concern that I have rarely seen discussed in a frum publication. Nevertheless, there must be other readers who will relate to the subject.

My husband has gotten this yen for owning a dog. We live in our own home and have a nice though not very large private backyard. My husband feels that a dog would be a deterrent to unwanted visitors.

My problem, to be perfectly honest, is that I tend to cross the street when I spot a dog from a distance away. I considered the possibility that I might be able to get used to a gentle animal of my own, but I was highly skeptical. A recent experience has backed up my hunch. I should also add that as a stay-at-home-mom I am the one manning the home base, while my husband is out for the better part of the day.

Our eight year-old-son was very excited at the prospect of having a pet. But then again, he was also excited about the turtle we got him when he begged for it, and I’ll bet you can figure out who ended up cleaning up the smelly mess.

Anyhow, my husband recently visited an animal shelter in the city we live in and brought a dog home by way of convincing me that one can easily integrate itself into our household. This dog actually seemed docile enough and in no time became quite comfortable, especially when I would be cooking dinner. In response to his hungry panting, I threw him practically all of the meat that I had prepared for our family’s meal.

In fact, within a short time frame, like one day, the dog became my shadow. After a couple of days of having the dog follow me all day long (and I mean I did not even have privacy where everyone else in the world manages to have some), I felt myself going into stress overload. I wasted no further time in informing my well-meaning but misguided husband that he could choose between us: it was either the dog or me.

With much misgiving on my husband’s part and very obvious reluctance on the dog’s, the animal was duly returned to the shelter.

Was I wrong, mean, justified ?

Guess who’s in the doghouse now

Dear Guess,

Thanks for the smile, though, I imagine that you were actually far from amused, and I can’t really say I blame you. From being afraid to encounter a dog in the street to having one confined with you 24/7 is quite a leap to take.

Unless there’s an animal lover on the premises willing to take on the responsibility that goes along with owning a dog (training it, walking it, feeding and caring for it), it would be an injustice to the animal itself to assume its care. A backyard is nice but insufficient – a dog needs more attention than a fence and some fresh air and is certainly not meant for indoor confinement. By its very nature, a dog requires much romping space.

Besides, as your letter indicates, the animal lover in your home obviously had no intention of personally seeing to its welfare. To have shouldered you with the burden of dog duty, reluctant as you were to the idea in the first place, was wrong and inappropriate. I would therefore take the position that you are/were perfectly justified to have given your husband a take-it-or-I-leave ultimatum.

You comment that your husband felt the dog could serve as “a deterrent to unwanted visitors.” If this refers to a potential intruder, that’s great. But what of those who come to your door expecting a warm human welcome and are instead startled or intimidated by the sound/sight of a barking or menacing dog?

And then, of course, there is the issue of whom to leave your pet with when you have occasion to get away for a few days or longer and cannot possibly take the dog along. A pet cannot be abandoned or left to fend for itself.

No offense to animal lovers everywhere, but not everyone is cut out to own one. First you’ve got to be an “animal lover” and then you must have the means to properly care for it.

What are you doing in the doghouse? Throw off your leash and stand up straight for what you believe.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-164/2009/05/20/

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