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May 29, 2016 / 21 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Germany Initiating Pro-Circumcision Legislation

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

A spokesman for German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said his office is working on an outline for new legislation that will permit circumcision of minor males after a controversial court decision in the summer that criminalized the rite.

The new law will allow circumcision with some provisos, including that it be carried out with the “most effective pain relief possible,” the spokesman said, according to AFP. Parents must also receive a full explanation about the procedure, which may not be carried out in cases where the child is ill or suffers from hemophilia.

The outline also states that, as a rule, circumcisions are to be conducted by doctors but can also be done on babies younger than six months by someone chosen for their religious credentials. That person must be as skilled at circumcision as a doctor, according to the new bill.

“Circumcision remains permitted in Germany,” the spokesman said, referring to the outlines for the new law.

Chairman of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora, MK Danny Danon, sent a message to German ambassador to Israel Andreas Michaelis, saying: “Germany’s commitment to the Jewish people and the State of Israel has been tested – and I’m glad that Germany passed successfully.”

Ayşe Demir, deputy director of the Turkish community in Germany, also welcomed the new bill. “If circumcision is banned, the practice will go underground and prompt circumcision tourism,” she said in a statement. “We approve of the proposal,” she added.

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, said that the draft met many of the expectations of the Jewish community, Deutsche Welle reported. “For this the justice ministry deserves respect,” he said.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine said the ministry had sought submissions of reactions from interest groups by Oct. 1, ahead of a parliamentary debate.

Jacob Edelist

Postcard from Israel – Hatzav

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Drimia Maritima, or the Sea Squill, is known in Hebrew as Hatzav (from the word Hatzeva; quarrying, hewing or tunnelling) probably due to the ability of its long roots to penetrate cracks in rocks, and even widen them, in order to reach water or damp ground.

In Israel, this tall, impressive plant – which flowers right at the end of the summer when all the rest of the vegetation is dry and yellowed – brings with it the message of cooler autumn weather, the start of a new school year and the approaching holidays of Rosh HaShana (new year), Yom Kippur and Succot.

From late August until October the Hatzav can be seen all over the country; from the Negev Desert in the south to the Golan Heights in the north, by roadsides and even in places where summer brush fires have scorched all other vegetation.

The Hatzav is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud as a plant used to mark the borders of agricultural plots and in modern-day Israel, its status as a symbol of the changing seasons has also earned it a place in Israeli popular music, including Naomi Shemer’s Cmo Hatzav and Tislam’s “Hatzavim Porhim“, sung here by its composer Izhar Ashdot.

Visit Cifwatch.com.

Hadar Sela

Easy Weeknight Dinners

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

With loads of camp laundry to wash and fold, and school prep on our minds, we are all busy with one thing or another. No one needs the added stress of planning tomorrow night’s dinner! Look below for several quick and tasty dishes to serve the family.

Chicken & Rice Bake

It’s still August and the heat of summer is hitting us full blast! I’m hot and sweaty and the last thing I want to do is turn the oven on or have to stand in front of the stove for a long time. This recipe is quick and easy at it’s best. It’s a one-pot dish that makes for a flavorful dinner with an easy cleanup. I like ginger, however, if you don’t simply keep it out and replace it with your favorite spices.

Ingredients:
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped spinach (I use frozen)
1 cup of rice, raw not yet cooked
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
4 pieces of chicken breast, cut into small pieces
Salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger to taste

Directions:

Saute onions with olive oil in a large pot until golden.

Season with salt, pepper, garlic and ginger.

Add the chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink.

Add rice, broth and spinach to the pot.

Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

This dinner is tasty and fun for the entire fam! The grown ups will enjoy the rich flavor in the soup while the children will adore the mini grilled cheese sandwiches floating on top.

Ingredients:
1 container of cherry tomatoes
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes (14.5oz)
3 cups of vegetable broth

Directions:

Place cherry tomatoes in a baking pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Coat well.

Place in oven on 400° for 30-35 minutes until beginning to brown.

Once the tomatoes are roasted, saute onions and garlic with remaining olive oil. Once golden, add the broiled tomatoes and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes and mix well. Allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the broth and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender and serve with grilled cheese croutons. (Grilled cheese sandwiches cut into mini squares)

Creamy Spinach Mushroom Linguine

I was craving Fettuccine Alfredo the other night and decided to experiment in the kitchen. I wanted to eat pasta that was rich and creamy, yet lighter on calories than the original dish which is loaded with fat. I skipped the heavy cream and butter and swapped them with low fat cream cheese and olive oil. I added the mushrooms and spinach for extra nutrition and flavor.

Ingredients:

1 box of whole grain linguine
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
Mushrooms, sliced
Spinach, fresh or frozen
1 8oz. container low fat cream cheese
1 cup of 2% milk
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well.

Meanwhile, sauté the onions and garlic in some olive oil. Once golden, add the mushrooms. Cook until tender and add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

Allow to cook and then add the cream cheese.

Once melted add the milk and parmesan. Combine well.

Add the pasta and stir over low heat until heated through.

Top each serving with additional parmesan.

Nina Safar

It’s My Opinion: Hurricane Season

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The Labor Day weekend and the resumption of school are signals that mark the end of summer in many parts of the United States. Families have one last barbecue. Women put away their white shoes. Everyone anticipates the bright colors of falling leaves and cooler weather.

Florida has its own demarcation. It’s called the hurricane season, which comes at this time every year. The population invariably stresses out while watching a series of alphabetically named storms that either miss, brush by or hit our area. The feeling is one of helpless anticipation.

The news channels always have a field day with warnings and veiled prognostications of doom. Scenes of previous disasters are flashed across television screens. Reporters, donning full rain gear give on-scene bulletins, often before the first drops fall.

People are told to purchase water, canned food and emergency supplies. Stock is quickly depleted as shoppers mob local stores. Tempers are frayed.

As I write this column, a tropical storm, predicted to become a hurricane, is barreling toward South Florida. The idea that we have no control over where and if it will hit is sobering. We want to believe that modern technology has helped us to be masters of our fate. The assumption, obviously, is mistaken.

The hurricane season and all its uncertainties are actually of some merit. It serves as a wake-up call and a reality check of life.

Rosh Hashanah rapidly approaches. It is intended as a time of introspection and examination. Hopefully, the lessons of hurricane season will be helpful as we understand we are not the ultimate arbitrators of life.

Shelley Benveniste

A Different Kind Of Camp: An Interview with Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Kenneth Brander

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future seems to expand with each passing year.

Founded in 2005, the Center – among other activities – now educates hundreds of ordained rabbis through its Rabbinic Training Placement and Continuing Education program; sends 1,000 students every year to help communities around the world through its Experiential Education and Service Learning program; makes 60,000 shiurim of YU rabbis and others available online through YUTorah.org; helps YU students and alumni find their Intended through YUConnects.org; and sets up kollelim around the country through its Community Initiatives program.

This summer, the Center ran day camps in five Israeli development towns: Dimona, Arad, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi, and Beersheba. Staffed by 60 YU students, the camps serviced over 350 Israeli children.

The Jewish Press recently spoke with Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the Center’s dean, about the summer camps.

The Jewish Press: What was the logic behind Yeshiva University students from America organizing summer camps in Israel?

Rabbi Brander: One of the things that attracted the campers to our programs – each one was sold out and there were waiting lists – was the fact that you had American students coming over to Israel. It was cool that they were American.

Some of these kids have lived very challenging lives; they come from poor homes, foster homes, one-parent homes, etc. I’ll give you an example. We took the campers from Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi to the airport to welcome in a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight; most of them had never been to an airport before.

Is the poverty really that bad in these cities?

There’s a significant divide between the wealth in the center of Israel and the south of Israel. The south is a very, very poor area. In a place like Dimona, two out of every three children are beneath the poverty line, which is significantly lower than the American poverty line.

One day, one of the kids from Dimona took a donkey to travel to camp. That’s what we’re talking about.

What’s the purpose of these camps?

They’re English-immersive summer camps. So, for example, we’ll take mishnayos and translate them into English.

Our other thing is that we want to build the campers’ self-esteem because they have very poor self-esteem. They’ve been told by everybody that they can’t accomplish – that for the rest of their lives they’re going to live in this cycle of poverty. But then, all of a sudden, they see – through arts and crafts, martial arts, dance, etc. – that they actually have skills and talents.

Are all the campers in the “poor self-esteem” or “troubled homes” categories?

They all come from challenging situations – some of the cities more than others. The population in Arad is nowhere near as financially challenged as the populations in the other camps. I would not put Arad and Dimona in the same category as Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi and Beersheba.

In the latter cities, we only worked with kids who were basically on the cusp of failing out of school, who are classified by their schools as being in the “Nachshon group.” In Dimona and Arad, though, we had a mixture of all different kinds of kids.

Were these campers mostly Sephardim? Ashkenazim? Russian? Ethiopian?

It’s a klal Yisrael program. You have everyone. Development towns such as the ones we were in have a lot more Ethiopians and Russians than maybe other towns, but it’s a mixture….

You’ll also have kids who wear kippot along with kids who don’t. But I have to tell you – it’s such an unbelievable thing to see – even the kids who don’t wear kippot are very traditionally inclined. For example, they’ll say a berachah before they eat or they’ll put on tefillin in the morning. It’s an interesting perspective, which I don’t think we see as much in America.

What ages are the campers and what are the hours of these camps?

Ages 12 through 16 or 17. They start at eight in the morning and go to very late in the afternoon. But our students live in the towns, so the relationship doesn’t end at the end of the day. They hang out with our students on Shabbos or they’ll join us for Seudat Shlishit. It’s a fully immersive experience.

Elliot Resnick

16 Retired Couples Make Aliyah on Nefesh B’Nefesh Flight

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

A group of 16 retiree couples ages 50 to 80 made Aliyah to Israel in mid-August on Nefesh B’Nefesh charter Aliyah flight that left out of JFK airport in New York. The retirees joined their children and grandchildren who had made Aliyah over the last decade.

The mature Olim, who wore specially made T-Shirts saying “Aliyah: A Family Tradition,” reinforced the Nefesh B’Nefesh vision that western Olim successfully making Aliyah encourage others to do the same. They were greeted in Israel by PM Benjamin Netanyahu as well as a countless number of relatives at Ben Gurion Airport; sporting signs and various family t-shirts, all overjoyed to be welcoming their parents and grandparents to Israel.

Nefesh B’Nefesh is celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer, marking a decade since its inaugural charter Aliyah flight in 2002. The milestone comes as the organization prepares to welcome more than 2,500 North American and British Jews making Aliyah this summer on two charter and seven group Aliyah flights, in cooperation with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency for Israel. Nefesh B’Nefesh is expecting to bring a total of 4,800 newcomers to Israel in 2012.

Jewish Press Staff

Through The Ages In Jewish Song: Itzhak Perlman on His New CD Collaboration with Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Internationally renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman and acclaimed Chazzan Yitzchak Meir Helfgot, chief cantor at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue, have collaborated on a forthcoming CD titled “Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul.”

The Jewish Press recently interviewed Perlman at his summer home in the Hamptons.

The Jewish Press: The combination of you on violin and Cantor Helfgot singing will be a unique treat to listeners. How did this collaboration come about?

Perlman: Someone close to my family kept telling my wife and me that we must go hear Cantor Helfgot. Last year we were in Israel and we found out he was performing, so we went to hear him. It was extraordinary. A voice like that comes around once in a generation. After hearing him sing I knew I wanted to do something with him. We contacted him and he was equally excited at the prospect of collaborating on a CD.

Is the music on the CD related to the upcoming High Holidays? And have you done any High Holiday instrumentals in the past?

I have never done High Holiday instrumentals. There are three selections for the High Holidays on this CD. We do Kol Nidre. As you know, there are many different tunes for Kol Nidre. Helfgot is a devotee of the late Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt and he models his tunes after his.

But these are not just compositions for the High Holidays. “Eternal Echoes” takes one through the ages in Jewish song, and people will relate to all ten pieces.

Who chose the pieces?

I did. We discussed them, and Helfgot would tell me if he wasn’t comfortable with something, but for the most part he appreciated everything I suggested.

Do you play your Stradivarius on this CD?

Yes, of course.

You were born in Israel. Is that where you first started violin lessons? How supportive were your parents?

I started playing violin at the age of four. When my parents saw how much I wanted to play, they helped me accomplish it. By the time I came to America I had been studying in Israel for quite a few years.

There is more consideration and public accommodation today for people with physical disabilities than was the case years ago. Was it very hard to manage then?

It isn’t as easy today as people imagine. With all the laws that have been enacted, there still are many places I cannot enter, even in Manhattan. But when I was growing up in Israel I didn’t think I needed any special accommodation. My music lessons were up a flight of stairs and my father carried me up. I did whatever I had to do and didn’t think about it.

Itzhak Perlman performing at a White House state dinner in 2007.

Today when I travel all over the world it can still be hard to find a hotel with wheelchair-accessible rooms. Let me tell you a story about the time I was performing in Santiago, Chile. The hotel was supposed to have rooms that were suitable. When I got to my room, it was indeed all right, but the bathroom had a big step up to enter. I called the manager and he told me he would take care of it. When I returned to my room many hours later, workers had chiseled the step away and in its place was a smooth surface. Of course, that doesn’t always happen.

Did your children inherit your talent?

My three daughters all play musical instruments and are very talented, as is my wife, who also is a violinist. My two sons have talent but are not at the present time doing anything in the music field.

Do you spend the summer in the Hamptons?

My wife started the Perlman Summer Music School out here. We take about forty students each summer and I teach them and they have the chance to devote themselves to their music during this time. In fact, on the new CD there are some pieces with orchestra backing, and it is these students who are performing.

I have granddaughters in Israel who have been playing violin since they were very young, and a few years ago when you were in Israel you had an evening in Tel Aviv for students of violin to come onstage and play with you. These two granddaughters were among them. And it was a wonderful experience for them.

Naomi Klass Mauer

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