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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Shevet Levi’

My Machberes

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The Citi Field Asifa

They came to Citi Field and Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York, by car, by bus, by boat and by plane. They came from Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Monsey, Lakewood, Monroe, Montreal, Belgium, and other observant communities. They came in the tens of thousands – an ocean of black hats and conservative attire. A majority were chassidim and a large minority were yeshivish.

They came to hear a reiteration of the downside of the Internet and our obligation to filter and control its contents. Rabbi Menashe Frankel, Lakewood Torah activist, served as chairman.

Speakers included Rabbi Elya Brudny, rosh yeshiva Mir Brooklyn; Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, rosh yeshiva Maor Yitzchok in Monsey; Rabbi Yechiel Meir Katz, Dzibo Rav of Montreal; Rabbi Leibish Leizer, Pshevorsker Rebbe of Belgium; Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal, Skulener Rebbe; Rabbi Don Segal, mashgiach from Jerusalem; Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, author of Shevet Levi (speaking via hookup from Israel); and Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood.

Rabbi Wachsman led in reciting Tefillas HaShelah (prayer to raise children properly); Rabbi Segal led the Kabbalas Ohl Malchus Shamayim (the acceptance of Heavenly authority, recited at the close of Yom Kippur); and Rabbi Shmuel Dishon, mashgiach of the Karliner Yeshiva, led tefillas Maariv.

The calls of “Mi laHashem eilai” (“Who is with G-d should join me”) and “Es la’asos laShem” (“now is the time to act for Heaven”) were repeatedly proclaimed by the speakers, When Rabbi Salomon ascended the podium, many in the audience rose and sang. His message was clear: We are commanded by the Torah to have children and we are invested with the obligation to raise them properly. The Internet poses a grave threat to that mission and must be dealt with.

Some of the speakers called for the Internet to be thrown out. Our Torah civilization has existed without it until now, they stressed, and we will continue to live without it. Other speakers, more realistically, called for self-restrictions to be imposed. Controls such as filtering services (many of which are free) are continuously updated.

Other suggested restraints included not using the Internet from erev Shabbos until Monday morning, no cellular phones in shul at any time, no Internet service in homes, and filtering all business usage. Home use of the Internet was completely forbidden by some speakers, while others reluctantly allowed it with filtering.

The crowd at Citi Field was estimated at more than 42,000 and its overflow at nearby Arthur Ashe Stadium at 22,000, for a total of more than 64,000 men in attendance.

Particulars of the event will be discussed and debated in detail in the weeks to come in every beis medrash and home in frum communities. The reverence with which participants came to and left the event was beyond words. The representation of almost every leading chassidishe rebbe in the greater New York area ensured that this would be a singularly important event.

The large police presence and the stadium staff were exceptionally polite and courteous. Threatening clouds caused planes flew low in their approach to nearby La Guardia Airport. With a frequency of one plane every four minutes or so, the thunderous noise lent the event a surreal aura.

My Machberes

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

(L-R) Mark Meyer Appel, Rabbi Yosef Blau, and Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum at model Seder.

Voice Of Justice Model Seder: Event With A Message

On Thursday evening, March 29 a model Seder was held at B’nai Israel of Linden Heights in Boro Park. The special event was conducted by the Voice of Justice, directed by Mark Meyer Appel. The organization gives moral, psychological, financial and safety support to victims of child abuse. Attendees at the event included victims, advocates, and supporters.

Chaim Kiss Singing at the Seder.

Chaim Kiss, renowned chazzan and singer, filled the air with a mood of celebration. Delicious foods were served, and the atmosphere reflected the Pesach mood of liberation and freedom. Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani of Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchanan, and this writer, as rav of the host shul and Igud director, sat at the dais. Dr. Asher Lipner, a psychologist and leader in the fight against child abuse, read aloud a proclamation from the Assembly of the State of New York extolling the event and its sponsors, which included Met Council (Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty), The Jewish Press, Maimonides Medical Center, the Vos Iz Neias website, Zev Brenner and TalkLine Communications, the Rabbinical Alliance of America-Igud Horabbonim, and the Coalition of Jewish Advocates for Children.

Spirited dancing and camaraderie.

The camaraderie and singing reached emotional heights and the participants, swaying with the music, rose from their seats and joined in communal dancing. Young men, some in modern garb and others in chassidishe attire, rhythmically ran back and forth. A feeling of freedom and security permeated, as though massive burdens were lifted off the shoulders of a newly freed people.

Just a few years ago, reports of child abuse were routinely covered up. No one wanted to even think about it, much less discuss or report it. If the authorities investigated or arrested someone from our community for child abuse, the authorities were condemned for, in effect, embarrassing the entire community.

Today, we are light years beyond that Neanderthal way of thinking. Today, there are shouts condemning the authorities for not doing enough to keep molesters off the streets and our children safe. Books are published for children, on their level of understanding, concerning what to watch out for and how to act in threatening circumstances at home or outside. Today, our leading organizations have child safety on their agendas. Meetings on how our institutions must protect children are held behind both closed and open doors and fully reported. Of course, more has to be done. One case of abuse is one case too much.

The Voice of Justice Model Seder was another step in the effort to combat child abuse. It followed last year’s Seder, as well as numerous conferences held throughout the five boroughs of New York City and in cities with observant communities across the United States.

The list of names of those who have given of themselves in this successful battle is too long for this space. The names will be published and honored in future columns. As the battle continues, we must focus on winning the war, something that is within our grasp. That day, we all pray, will be very soon.

Kol Koreh Against Handmade Matzahs

One would assume that a kol koreh proclamation that storms against, of all things, handmade matzahs, must have some explosive reasoning. What could be more genuinely representative of our Jewish heritage? Handmade matzahs, everyone readily agrees, were eaten by our ancestors as they fled Egypt and slavery. Handmade matzahs are what our forefathers ate at family Seders throughout the millennia.

One might think the posters against handmade matzahs focused on the method of grinding the wheat kernels. The members of our observant communities that are ultra-meticulous in preserving traditions and in having their matzahs handmade actually require that the wheat be ground manually. This takes much effort and envelops those in the process in clouds of wheat dust. Matzahs made by hand from wheat that is manually ground, needless to say, are labor intensive and quite expensive.

However, this declaration focuses on the method of manufacturing the handmade matzahs. Actually, those matzahs targeted by the broadsides are not handmade at all. They are manufactured by machine. The matzahs in discussion are machine made “hand-made,” which of course is an oxymoron. Actually, machine made “hand-made” matzahs amount to a consumer fraud if the mode of manufacture is not fully disclosed.

Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, revered author of Shevet Levi and universally accepted posek, traveled to the establishment of production and confirmed that the machines being used are the very same type used in regular square machine matzahs. However, the machines were reconfigured to produce imperfect roundish matzahs that have the appearance of being made by hand. Rabbi Wosner confirms that the machines are, in principle, exactly the same.

My Machberes

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Fighting Home Foreclosures

Today’s weak economy affects almost everyone, including members of the observant community. Being unemployed, or just not earning enough, can cause uncomfortable predicaments, including that of not being able to pay one’s mortgage bills. Should enough months pass without one’s fiscal profile improving, the holder of the mortgage will move to foreclose on the underlying property.

This applies as well to homeowners who are current with their mortgages but in default on real estate property taxes. New York City auctions off default tax bills, many of which are purchased by banks with aggressive collection arms. Banks want to get paid. After a deluge of threatening notices, legal letters begin to appear. How one deals with those legal letters can determine eventual results.

In Brooklyn, many such situations end up in the courtroom of New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur M. Schack. Judge Schack is widely quoted in the national media on his handling of mortgage foreclosures. The New York Times noted in 2009 that he “tossed out 46 of the last 102 foreclosure motions that have come before him.”

Judge Schack feels that as a judge, his “job is to do justice.” legal papers presented to him must conform to legal requirements. He requires that the papers introduced in his Court must (a) prove there is a mortgage, (b) prove who owns the mortgage, and (c) prove the mortgage is in default. At times the actual owner of the mortgage is difficult to determine, especially after subsequent assignments.

Presently there are approximately 12,000 mortgage foreclosures in various stages of process in Brooklyn. Twenty-five percent of those cases are assigned to Judge Schack’s courtroom. Each case is unique. Some are adjudicated by modification, some are dismissed, and others are foreclosed.

Many judges across the country have followed his lead and have intensified their scrutiny of the paperwork being presented. As a result, more cases are dismissed. According to Judge Schack, there is no backlash. Banks are free to appeal. Favoring neither the big guy nor the little guy, he says his mission is to achieve justice – something that cannot be accomplished with faulty paperwork.

Justice Schack’s Background

Justice Schack is a Brooklyn native, a product of Brooklyn’s public schools and Brooklyn College, earning his law degree from New York Law School. He has served as counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association and maintained a general law practice, primarily in the areas of tax and real estate law. Judge Schack is also active in community affairs. In addition to being closely affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, he has been a member of Community Board 10, serving in many capacities.

NYS Supreme Court Justice Arthur M. Shack

In 1998 Judge Schack was elected to New York City’s Civil Court for a 10-year term. In 2003 he was elected to the New York State Supreme Court. (In both elections, his candidacy was endorsed by The Jewish Press.) Impressively, more than 250 of his decisions were published by New York State Official Reports and the New York Law Journal. More than 50 of those decisions deal with foreclosure issues. In addition, he has been a guest speaker on foreclosure issues for the New York Judiciary, the Vermont Judiciary, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and major national business and financial media.

Greatly respected, he has been appointed an officer of the Brooklyn Bar Association and an executive of the New York City Association of Supreme Court Justices.

Judge Schack gives straightforward counsel, advising anyone in a difficult predicament to respond to all legal challenges. The courts will advise legal counseling, arbitration, compromises, settlements, and modification. All these possibilities are unavailable if the delinquent homeowner hides. The chances of holding on to one’s home are infinitely greater if one responds. The process, according to Judge Schack, can only help, and, of course, the sooner the better.

 

History Is Repeated In Hungary

The present Jewish population of Hungary is approximately 100,000, with most residing in Budapest. The first Jews settled in Hungary in the 11th century. The first record of an officially appointed rabbi for Buda, one of the three cities that eventually combined to become Budapest, was Rabbi Akiva ben Rabbi Menachem Hakohen zt”l in the 1400s. The first sefer to be published in Hungary was Minhagim Shel Kol Hamedina, in 1421, by Rabbi Rabbi Isaac Tirna, zt”l. This was before the printing press. The sefer was hand copied and circulated.

Chasam Sofer, zt"l

There were 45,000 Jews living in Budapest in 1869; 102,000 in 1890; 204,000 in 1910; and 205,000 in 1930. The Emancipation Act of 1868 granted the Jews equality before the law, and they were no longer excluded from owning property and holding public office.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/my-machberes/my-machberes-2/2011/12/08/

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