Photo Credit: Jewish Press

On Saturday, August 10, the tires of 56 cars in the area of Old Pine Acres in Lakewood, NJ, were slashed. According to a statement by the police, only cars parked in front of Jewish-owned homes were hit. Cars in front of non-Jewish homes were passed over.

The incident occurred between 1:00-2:30 a.m. Security footage shows a young hooded male slashing the tires. Nothing was stolen from the vehicles.


On Sunday, several tire repair crews showed up to help repair the damage. A fund was set up in the neighborhood to assist the affected families.

A week before the incident, a dozen tires of Jewish-owned cars were slashed in a different neighborhood of Lakewood.

The Anti-Defamation League is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the vandalism. An additional $2,000 is being offered by the Lakewood Shomrim.


Devoted Educator Passes Away

Rabbi Ezriel Salomon − a dedicated educator and community worker for the Jews of Gateshead − passed away on Saturday, August 10, at the age of 76, in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

He suffered from illness ever since he had a stroke over a decade ago. Recently, he was hospitalized after treatment for cancer, and his condition deteriorated because of complications caused by pneumonia. His levaya, which was attended by thousands of students and acquaintances, was held in the Gateshead Jewish Primary School the following Monday.

It is hard to encapsulate all of Rabbi Salomon’s accomplishments in a few short sentences. He was head teacher of the Gateshead Jewish Primary School for 35 years, which he led with passion and love.

In 2013, he helped start Haskel, a center for education and support of special-needs children. He also established the Jewish Community Council of Gateshead, and the Gateshead Interfaith Forum. He was an advocate and liaison for the Jewish community to government bodies for many years.

His extensive work on behalf of the Jewish community was legendary, and in 2010 he was awarded the title MBE. He was also made Honorary Freeman of the Borough by the Gateshead Council in 2011.

Gateshead Council Leader Councillor Martin Gannon said, “In a life devoted to the community, Ezriel Salomon made an immense contribution to the life of Gateshead, both as an advocate and an ambassador for the borough… It was with deep sadness that we heard of his passing.”


New Rabbi Appointed in Petach Tikvah

On Monday, August 12, Rabbi Bentzion Kook was named the new rabbi of Avi Ezri, a central community in Petach Tikvah. A “crowning” ceremony was held in the Bnei Brak home of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky. In attendance were hundreds of members of the community, including its leaders and heads of institutions, as well as many other Torah scholars of note.

Rabbi Kook has been serving as head of the Bait Hora’ah of Jerusalem since its inception in 2015. He has also authored many sefarim on a broad range of halachic subjects and Torah ideology, including a mini-series titled Tziyunei Halacha.

He joined the Gemara class of the late Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in the 1980s and is credited with being the first attendee to interrupt the class with questions, thereby breaking the silence of the respectful audience and setting a precedent for allowing questions during the class. Many of his sefarim incorporate the halachic decisions of Rabbi Elyashiv.


Controversy Surrounds Concert with Separate Seating

As The Jewish Press reported last week, on Tisha B’Av, the District Court of Nazareth banned a scheduled performance in Afula by popular singer Motty Steinmetz because separate seating for men and women had been arranged by the organizers.

A petition challenging this decision was subsequently filed by MK Moshe Arbel, and on Wednesday, August 14, Judge Ataf Eilboni overturned the decision and granted the municipality of Afula the right to decide on its own how to arrange the seating at the performance.

In his decision, Eilboni noted that he offered the two parties a compromise: The seating would be split into three sections: one for men, one for women, and one for mixed seating. However, the Women’s Lobby – which had sued Afulah for allowing a separate-seating concert – refused to accept this arrangement. It insisted that the seating be split in two: one for women and one for mixed seating.

The judge blasted the group in his ruling and expressed his dismay at its lack of concern for charedi men as well as statements it made that indicated that it wished to block the event altogether. Eilboni argued for his compromise three sections but ruled that the municipality could do as it pleases.

Ron Kobi, the mayor of Tiveria, who is infamous for his animosity toward religion, vowed to end the “religious coercion” and disrupt the separate seating. He showed up at the performance but was met with loud booing from the mostly charedi crowd. When pandemonium threatened to break out, security forces and police quickly ushered a Kobi out of the building.

The Supreme Court ultimately overturned Eilboni’s decision, but the concert was almost over by the time the ruling came down.


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