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Chabad of Binghamton

‫בס’’ד‬

‫הקשר‬ the connection

DECEMBER 2018 | KISLEV 5779


A word fROM THE DIReCTORs Executive Director Rabbi Aaron Slonim Education Director Mrs. Rivkah Slonim Education Rabbi Zalman & Rochel Chein Programming and Development Rabbi Levi & Hadasa Slonim President Mr. Michael Wright Vice President Mr. Al Lavker Women’s League Chairperson Mrs. Paula Rubin Board Members Mr. Richard Frankel Mr. Charles Gilinsky Dr. Chaim Joy Mr. Alan Piaker Solomon Polachek Ph.D. Dr. Charles Rubin Mr. Brian Savitch Mrs. Susan Walker Dr. Mark Walker Founding Board Members Mr. Abe L. Piaker OBM Prof. Philip M. Piaker OBM Dr. Barrett J. Raff OBM The Rohr Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life at Binghamton University 420 Murray Hill Rd. • Vestal, NY 13850 607-797-0015 info@chabadofbinghamton.com

www.JewishBU.com December 2018, Volume 9, Issue 1 Hakesher is published four times a year; September, December, March and May by Chabad of Binghamton, 420 Murray Hill Rd., Vestal, NY 13850. Postage paid at Newark, NJ post offices.

Volume 9, Issue 1

Published by Chabad of Binghamton Contact us at: Hakesher@JewishBU.com Editor Staff Writer Proofreading Design & Printing Photo Credits

Rivkah Slonim Alan Zeitlin Marlene Serkin, Chaya M. Slonim The Printhouse Ashira Gorfinkel Danielle Kinches Lowell Klipstein Randi Traison

About our cover: New BU students, (l-r) Arielle Goldschmidt, Hannah Hudes, Danielle KIches, Seth Rosenblatt and Elitzur Bergman tie dying their brand new Chabad t-shirts.

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Dear Friend,

Snowball effect: (adj.) descriptive of an entity or situation where something once small and relatively insignificant grows exponentially at a swift pace. Sometimes we don’t notice what is happening in our life time because we are so distracted—well, by life. And sometimes it hits you in the face. When our son Levi was eight he proudly went off to his first “kinus”; the camp-like program that was run for the children of Chabad emissaries parallel to the kinus Hashluchim, the international gathering for the Rebbe’s emissaries. There were less than sixty children in the program. This year, when the junior shluchim from Binghamton—Levi’s sons, Mendel and Shmulik, and Mendel Chein—attended, there were close to 1,100 children in the program. Looking at the group picture of these sweet kids from Bangkok, Beijing, Belgium and yes, Binghamton—just to name a few locations—took our breath away. The Rebbe’s army has grown by leaps and bounds in the last three decades with over 3,360 families having assumed their posts after the Rebbe’s passing almost 25 years ago. On average, a new couple joins the ranks every two weeks. There are not only more shluchim, and more of their children in more locations around the world, there are exponentially more programs, services, and amenities, being tailor-made for increasingly diverse demographics and offered up in varied iterations. The Chabad Lubavitch network is now diversified and stratified. Yet it is all fueled by the same vision: to be there for all Jews. Unconditionally. This is good news at a time when we are feeling pummeled by recent events. Goodness is an unstoppable force; light will always light up the darkness. Let’s keep our spirits up and our eye on the snowball. Don’t blink, or you will miss the sight of the next generation clambering upon bleachers to take their group photo. With best wishes for a luminous and joyous Chanukah, N’hiye B’kesher, let’s keep in touch!


Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe of righteous memory

torah for today

NO ROOM for COMPROMISE By Yanki Tauber

miracle of Chanukah was completely Theunnecessary.

Every Jewish schoolchild knows the story: the Greeks had defiled the Holy Temple’s store of olive oil. So when the Maccabees liberated the Temple, they could not find ritually pure oil with which to kindle the menorah. Then, a single cruse of uncontaminated oil was found, enough to keep the menorah lit for a single day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared. Strictly speaking, none of this was necessary. The law which forbids the use of ritually impure oil in the Temple would not have applied under the circumstances which then prevailed. According to Torah law, the prohibition of impurity, if affecting the entire community, is waived—if the entire community, or all the kohanim (priests), or all the Temple’s vessels, are ritually impure, it is permissible to enter the Temple and conduct the Temple services under conditions of impurity. Nevertheless, G-d wished to show His love for His people: He suspended the laws of nature in order to enable them to rededicate the Temple without any compromise on its standards of purity— even if it be a perfectly legal and permissible compromise. Going Overboard Every Chanukah, we reciprocate in kind. How many lights must be kindled on the Chanukah menorah? Most would reply: one on the first night, two on the second, and so on. The law, however, is otherwise. According to the Talmud, the mitzvah of Chanukah is [fulfilled with] a single light for each household. Those who do more than is obligatory, kindle a single light for each individual. Those who do more than those who do more than is obligatory ... kindle one light on the first day and add an additional light on each succeeding day. There are those who buy the least costly tefillin on the market, who give the absolute minimum that the laws of charity mandate, who employ every halachic exemption and loophole they can lay their hands on. But when was the last time you saw a single light in the window of a Jewish home on the sixth night of Chanukah? On Chanukah, we all do more than those who do more than is obligatory—after all, G-d did the same for us.

Fanatical Educator The name Chanukah comes from the word chinuch, which means “inauguration.” Chanukah celebrates the renewal of the service in the Holy Temple after it was liberated from the Greek defiler, purified, and rededicated as the seat of the divine presence in our world. Chanukah serves as a model for all inaugurations, including the most significant inauguration of all—education, a child’s inauguration into life (indeed, chinuch is also the Hebrew word for “education”). The uncompromising insistence on purity and perfection which Chanukah represents holds an important lesson regarding the essence of the educator’s task. Compromise is anathema to education. To a mature tree, a gash here or a torn limb there is of little or no consequence. But the smallest scratch in the seed, the slightest nick in the sapling, results in an irrevocable deformity, a flaw which the years to come will deepen rather than erase. Virtually every life is faced with demands for compromises—some tolerable, others not. The educator who wishes to impart a set of values and priorities that will weather them all, must deliver, in word and example, a message of impeccable purity, free of even the slightest and most acceptable compromise.

Rabbi Yanki Tauber is a noted scholar and author. DECEMBER 2018 | 3


Chanukah Again By Shlomo Yaffe

There is something special about Chanukah: the core dynamics of this holiday have been repeated time and time again throughout Jewish history. Chanukah primarily marks the willingness of Jews to put their lives on the line for the sake of preserving their Jewishness — that is, to remain loyal to the Torah G-d has given us as the blueprint of our mission in life. The military victory came and went, and was incomplete at any rate — within a short generation or two the fledgling Maccabee-ruled state had already lost its independence, coming under the hegemony of the Romans. What Chanukah celebrates most of all is that we did not allow anyone to dictate our relationship with G-d. We are prepared to give up everything for this cause — even our physical lives. Indeed, throughout the ages Jews have succeeded in maintaining their beliefs against numerous attempts to forcibly change them, often at great cost to themselves. But is Chanukah still relevant today? For the first time in our recent history (i.e. the last 2000 years or so), the vast majority of Jews live in countries where they can practice their Judaism freely and without oppression. Is the lesson of Chanukah no longer necessary? Do we no longer have a need to live its story and reinforce its message? The truth is, in our present state we need Chanukah more than ever. Chanukah continues to inspire us to persevere and overcome great obstacles to living our Judaism. The _________

focus of this struggle has merely shifted from external challenges posed by human enemies to the internal challenges evoked by our own human natures. We need to overcome the indolence and apathy bred of security from harm and effortless access to all the necessities of life. These are good things, but they cause us to forget how fragile, tenuous and therefore precious life is. We then easily overlook how much we truly need the ongoing flow of Divine energy that vitalizes us at every moment, and the ultimate purpose for which G-d bestows us with that constant flow of life.

For the first time in our recent history... the vast majority of Jews... can practice their Judaism freely and without oppression. When we have to struggle for physical or spiritual existence, we constantly need to remind ourselves of the reason we work so hard to preserve it. We need to constantly ask ourselves, “Why am I struggling so much for this life? What is its value and purpose?” But under less challenging circumstances, we ask ourselves this question of core purpose a lot less often. Ironically, when we are not threatened, and we can express our Judaism freely, we often fail to evoke that intense commitment. Chanukah challenges us to look within ourselves and find heroism and determination. Not the overt, raw, physical courage needed to overcome oppression and religious coercion as in the past, but more subtle though no less intense expressions of spiritual courage: We find the willingness to overcome taking life for granted. We find the moral strength to defy the self-indulgent, complacent nature of our secure existence. We demand of ourselves that we rebel against static self-satisfaction. We insist on extracting meaning, purpose and holiness out of every moment of life that G-d blesses us with. May all of us and our families have our lives illuminated by this Chanukah.

Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe is Dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law in New York, N.Y., and Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Torah in Springfield. Mass.

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GABI ZWEIG ‘18 STUDENT spotlight

Zionist Not Afraid to Climb Mountains Most students don’t get to climb the highest mountain in Africa and get married before they finish college. Gabi Zweig got to do the first literally, and the second, she did figuratively. The 22-year-old, who graduates from Binghamton University in December, trekked 19,341 feet on her climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. “It felt good to do it, but it didn’t really sink in until after,” Zweig said. “It took nine days and we hiked through the night in a blizzard. It was hectic.” The feat was part of a fundraiser for Shalva, an organization that supports people with disabilities in Israel. Gabi was inspired to do the climb by her father. She trained by going to Denver to get used to the high altitude and did treadmill work on a high incline. “I tried to up my game a little bit,” she said. Two years earlier, her mother got phone calls when people were alarmed by surprising pics they saw on social media. Zweig was the bride in Chabad’s Big Fat Jewish mock wedding, in which she “married” a young man from SAE, a popular fraternity. Some relatives and friends were flummoxed. “People thought I really got married and wanted to know what was going on,” she said. “It was funny.” Zweig, who majored in behavioral neuroscience, said she wants to be a nurse practitioner.

“If you push yourself to do things you might not ordinarily do, you’ll be a lot happier.”

By Alan Zeitlin ’00

“They always know the right thing to say in any situation,” Zweig said. “They encouraged my climb, gave me candles to light on the mountain (for Friday night) and they always know what you need. Chabad is just the best place and you know they will also be there for you years after you graduate. They will be your parents and they will help you with any problem that you could possibly have.” Zweig is the vice president of BUZO, the Binghamton University Zionist Organization. She said she is a dual citizen and would potentially live in Israel. She added that she was thankful the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, known as BDS, had not come to Binghamton. The Manhattan native, who was an outside hitter from the Ramaz’ volleyball team said there were occasions where she spiked the ball in an opponents’ face. “It’s part of the game,” she said. “Obviously I felt bad, but if it got us a point, it got us a point.” Does she have any phobias?

“I’ve always thought about how we are created and how the body works and I’ve always wanted to help people,” she said.

“I don’t love bugs,” she said. “It’s weird. If I’m in a house and I see a bug, I freak out. But I love the outdoors and in that case it’s okay and I don’t mind.”

She praised Chabad for helping people and said she was thrilled to spearhead the Chabad formal. She said she was honored to be asked to take a leadership role and she said that one of the reasons that the Chabad of Binghamton is unique is that the staff are experts at psychology. _________________

When it comes to advice for other students, Zweig clearly practices what she preaches. “I would tell people to get out of their comfort zone,” Zweig said. “If you push yourself to do things you might not ordinarily do, you’ll be a lot happier.”

Alan Zeitlin teaches English and Journalism at a Brooklyn public high school. As a freelance writer for the past 11 years, his articles have appeared in The Jewish Week, The Journal News and other publications.

DECEMBER 2018 | 7


PHOTO GRAPHS

Welcome to Binghamton

Freshman Falafel featured great food, fun games and a Chabad Center orientation

The Jewau Cruise

for new students was a blast

Welcome Back BBQ 8 | hakesher magazine

everyone’s favorite event


Fun. Fun: Fun!

Everyone enjoyed Apple Picking, Paintballing and the Binghamton Fun Day.

PHOTO GRAPHS

For a full gallery of pictures of these events and others, please visit: www.JewishBU.com/photos


PHOTO GRAPHS

Mega Challah Bake

Coinciding with the worldwide Shabbos Project, Chabad ran its annual Mega Challah Bake drawing hundreds of students and a group of community members together for this enjoyable and moving event.

10 | hakesher magazine


PHOTO GRAPHS

For a full gallery of pictures of these events and others, please visit: www.JewishBU.com/photos

Making A Difference The invigorating and fun color run event kicked off the annual Light up a Life Toy Drive campaign with distribution through Chai LIfe Line

A mega Blood Drive was held to memorialize those who fell on 9/11

A Unity Havdallah and Memorial Vigil

for the Pittsburgh 11 was held jointly with Hillel

DECEMBER 2018 | 11


PHOTO GRAPHS

Holidays. Chagim; Yom Tov!

After warm and inclusive YOM KIPPUR services, happy students break their fast

Sukkot at Bing Hoshana Raba services

Rock n' Ribs

a Sukkot Fave

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where the food is aplenty, the huge Sukkah is warm and crowded and the Sukkot and “four kinds� are everywhere!


Education. Education; Education!

PHOTO GRAPHS

For a full gallery of pictures of these events and others, please visit: www.JewishBU.com/photos

Learning with Rabbi Levi, Downtown

Supper & Study The hot, delicious, mind expanding destination for Torah Study

Hilchot Nida

Jewish BU women take their responsibilities seriously

all kinds of options for broadening JLEARN offers your Torah study horizons

The Sinai Scholars Society at BU Registration is now open for Spring ‘19

DECEMBER 2018 | 13


PHOTO GRAPHS

Jewish Greek Council

Candle lighting

in honor of the Shabbos Project

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Girls Having Fun

PHOTO GRAPHS

For a full gallery of pictures of these events and others, please visit: www.JewishBU.com/photos

With Paula Eiselt, producer, after dinner and screening of 93 Queen

GNO fun with Sushi rolling and Zumba!

Open Mic, Women's Talent Show

DECEMBER 2018 | 15


PHOTO GRAPHS

For Our Local Jewish Community

The annual Salute to Jewish Womanhood featured dinner and the screening of the 93 Queen documentary and Q and A with producer, Paula Eiselt The annual Piaker Memorial Lecture featured Avi Jorisch, author of You Shall Innovate

Participants in the evening section of the JLI course titled: Wrestling with Faith. The Winter course, titled Crime and Consequence, begins first week of February.

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ALU M N I N E W S

Mazel Tovs ‘87 Lori (Lederman) and Marc Ben-Ezra announce the engagement of their daughter, Ilana, to Mendel Zecher; a March 3, 2019 wedding is planned. (See ’14 for more details.) ‘94 Liba (Zerowin) and Yaakov Kadar celebrated the marriage of their daughter, Temmie (Tamar Ruth) to Yoni Leff on November 18, 2018. ‘00 Bracha (Goldress) and Avi Hirsch announce the birth of their daughter, Orly Roz, on July 29, 2018. ‘01 Amy and Yehoshua November celebrated the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Mendel, on June 18, 2018. ‘03 Michael and Merav Veetal announce the birth of their son, Joseph Julian (Yosef Yehuda), on August 1, 2018. He was welcomed home by big siblings, Rae and Zachary. ‘04 Karen (Wisotsky) and Joshua Goldman announce the birth of their daughter, Pearl (Peri), on August 30, 2018. She was welcomed home by big sisters Naomi, Bailey and Goldie.

‘06 Ariel and Dana Joudai announce the birth of their daughter, Tamar on June 1, 2018. She was welcomed home by big siblings, Orie and Adele. ‘07 Mihal (Spitzer) and David (Shmookler) Ariyeh announce the birth of their daughter, Noa Gal, on June 5th, 2018.

Amy (Regev) and Simon Levin announce the birth of their daughter Julia Emilia (Yaana) on July 6, 2018. She was welcomed home by big sisters Gabi and Sophie.

Ayelet (Walker) and Epharim Weiss announce the birth of their son, Jacob, on August 14, 2018. He was welcomed home by big brother, Noah.

Alison Weiman was married to Cary Wolovick on May 27, 2018. Alison is an elementary dual language teacher and Cary is the director of marketing and programming at the Chicago Loop Synagogue. They make their home in Arlington Heights, IL.

‘08 David (Shmookler) and Mihal (Spitzer) Ariyeh announce the birth of their daughter Noa Gal. (See ’07 for complete details.) Vicky (Stecker) and Bradley Smallberg announce the birth of their son, Elijah Aaron, on August 3, 2018. He was welcomed home by big brother, David.

‘09 Evan and Jordana (Skurnick) Langhaus announce the birth of their son Mason Noah, (Ephraim Shai) on July 25, 2019.

Sara (Kagel) and Avi Strum announce the birth of their son, Nitzan Chaim, on June 21, 2018. He was welcomed home by big brothers, Yaron Uriel and Itai Liel.

Ariel Schnur was married to Andrew Azarian on August 12, 2018. Ariel is a fertility nurse and Andrew works in his family Real Estate and Auto Parts business; they make their home on the Upper East Side of NYC.

‘14 Ilana Ben-Ezra (’15 MA) announces her engagement to Mendel Zecher; a March 3, 2019 wedding is planned. Ilana is a Doctoral Candidate at NYU in the History and Judaic Studies Departments and Mendel is a Government Relations Associate at Kasirer; they will make their home on the Upper West Side of NYC.

Ariel Mendelson announces her engagement to Matthew Grossman; a November 16, 2019 wedding is planned. Ariel works at Unilever in sales strategy for Hair Care and Matt works at Greenberg, Walden & Grossman, LLC as a law clerk; they will make their home in Cliffside Park, NJ.

Rebecca Rosen was married to Jacob Shamsian on August 5, 2018; they make their home on the Upper East Side of NYC. Rebecca is a public school teacher in Manhattan and Jacob is a journalist at INSIDER.

Marc and Jen Lessner announce the birth of their daughter, Abigail Mackenzie (Chaya Miriam) on June 3, 2018. She was welcomed home by big sister, Emily Claire.

‘05 Brenda (Klein) and Ivan Corwin announce the birth of their daughter, Zoe Aliza, on July 12, 2018.

‘13 Jon Ganzarski announces his engagement to Chevi Friedman; a June 2nd, 2019 wedding is planned. Jon is an analytics consultant at CoEnterprise and Chevi works in the office at the Ramaz Upper School, and is at CUNY Hunter for English Adolescent Education; they will make their home on the Upper East Side of NYC.

‘15 Jacob Shamsian married Rebecca Rosen on August 5, 2018. (See ‘14 for complete details.)

Joella (Goodman) and Sammy Apple announce the birth of their daughter, Nechama Meira, on September 23, 2018.

‘16 Gabrielle Kolhagen announces her engagement to Orion Cohen; a June 5, 2019 wedding is planned. Gabrielle is at Hofstra Law School and Orion is a financial analyst with Coty, a cosmetics distribution company; they will make their home in NYC.

Sammy and Joella Apple announce the birth of their daughter Nechama Meira. (See ‘15 for complete details.)

‘18 Tali Lasserson announces her engagement to Noam Feifel; a March 31, 2019 wedding is planned in Cleveland, Ohio. Tali works as a Project Manager at Paintzen, and Noam works in Operations at a financial technology company called Paxos; they will make their home in Murray Hill, NYC.

Sympathies Chabad mourns the passing of... Matthew Cohen, Moshe ben Shmuel Yehudah Hakohen, father of Stephanie Cohen Bader ’95 and father-in-law of Scott Bader ’94.

‘10 Jordana (Skurnick) and Evan Langhaus announce the birth of their son, Mason Noah (Ephraim Shai). (See ’09 for complete details.)

David Glaser, brother of Judith Glaser Soniker ’01 and Debra Glaser Oralevich ‘01, and brother-in-law of Mickey Oralevich ‘00.

‘11 Gabriel Etessami was married to Taylor Zar on June 21, 2018.

Sara Tilevitz, mother of Yael Tilevitz Lockerman ‘06 and mother-in-law of Shlomo Lockerman ’06.

Akiva and Lauren Gordon announce the birth of their son, Kalev Aryeh on May 10, 2018. He was welcomed home by big sister Emuna.

‘12 Aaron Wolff and Carly Cooper announce their engagement; a September 1, 2019 wedding is planned. Carly is a registered nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Aaron is a senior associate in the Financial Markets practice at PwC; they will make their home in the River North neighborhood in Chicago.

May the families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

For up to date Chabad Alumni news, visit:

www.facebook.com/ChabadBUAlumni DECEMBER 2018 | 17


ALUMNI spotlight RAFISHULMAN ‘95

From Newing To A New Wing For Those Who Fly To Israel Rafi Shulman was enjoying Simchat Torah on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, when a young woman made a blunt request. “She said, ‘I don’t know if you remember me, we met once before,’” he recalled her saying. “‘My name is Shoshanna. I’m hungry. Can you give me some food?’ I gave her some pita and hummus.” It was a fortuitous choice, as the two would get married, and three years ago, the couple moved to Israel with their four children from West Orange, New Jersey. Shulman, who graduated from Binghamton in 1995, ran coffee shops and started a software company while in America, but realized upon arriving in Israel that there was a need for a new company that helped people who made Aliyah acclimate to their new surroundings. “There are organizations like Nefesh B’Nefesh that help you get to Israel,” Shulman said. “But once you get to Israel, it’s a different culture, a different language, so I decided to create a company that helped people adjust.” Shulman set up the company Olim Advisors and handed over day to day operations to his sister, Lara Itzhaki. They help clients set up bank accounts, find a home, find the right schools and other necessities. Itzhaki describes their company as “a premium concierge service that helps plan your pilot trip and manage your Aliyah down to the smallest details. Olim Advisors help their clients navigate the first few months in Israel – to be their advocates and guides. “Inevitably, when there is a bump in the road, we help smooth things out,” he said. “It’s not only what you know, but who you know. We take care of a lot of the stress and make the first experience in Israel a more positive one. Israel is a magical place to live. But you have to plan ahead of time.” Shulman said he fondly remembers Shabbat dinners at Chabad and he is amazed to hear how currently, hundreds of people attend every Friday night.

18 | hakesher magazine

By Alan Zeitlin ‘00

He said he remembered one funny moment when he was playing volleyball. “I was in Newing and I wasn’t Shomer Shabbat at the time,” he said. “Someone came up to me and said they needed a minyan, so I dusted myself off and changed and went down there. It’s the kind of atmosphere where they love to see you and don’t judge you and that’s what makes Chabad really special. We are still very much in touch.” He said one piece of advice for men moving to Israel is not to bring too many neckties. “I think the last time I wore a suit and tie was my last Shabbat in America,” he said. “In Israel, if you see someone with a suit and tie, they’re probably from Teaneck.” He said his sons will get up at wild times to watch a Knicks or Giants game. The family plans to see Amare Stoudemire play a game with Hapoel Jerusalem. Shulman firmly believes that “living in Israel is a kaleidoscope of sounds, sights, aromas and noises. It’s good, bad and ugly combined into one and every day is a new adventure. For more info, go to www.olimadvisors.com

_________________

Alan Zeitlin teaches English and Journalism at a Brooklyn public high school. As a freelance writer for the past 11 years, his articles have appeared in The Jewish Week, The Journal News and other publications.


In memory of the holy ones who were torn from us in Pittsburgh

YehoshuaNovember ‘01

ONMYMIND

There is Only One Story I There are always two stories: That of the body, that of the soul. In this case, twenty-two stories. There are always two questions (which can also read as statements): How was this allowed to happen? How holy are these souls? There are always two stories, plus the story of Cousin Reva, who, arriving late that morning, was instructed by an officer to wait things out at the nearby public library. I feel guilty about not dying with my friends, she said the next day.

II It is October 27, 1988. My friend Robert plays whiffle ball in his backyard abutting Tree of Life Synagogue. It is October 27, 2018. A stranger passes through unlocked double doors. In lockdown, over sirens, just blocks from the bullets, unaware of exactly what’s unfolding, Robert’s son begins his Bar Mitzvah portion: Abraham inviting angels, wayfarers, into his open tent. Perhaps, Robert postulates, the soul of my recently deceased father interceded on high, causing the news to be hidden until his grandson had closed the Torah scroll. And in the afternoon, the scroll is reopened, and we read: And Abraham came to eulogize over Sarah and to cry for her. And according to the hidden story— the one the mystics tell— Abraham represents the soul, and Sarah the body.

III Now it is night. Half a block from the apartment where, seventeen years earlier, my wife and I lived when first wed, Jews of Pittsburgh stand in the rain, holding candles. Eleven souls continue their endless ascent into the regions of mystery then swoop back down to hover, incandescently, over their former lives. Away from the cameras and fanfare, eleven bodies are ushered through burial rituals— pottery shards placed over twenty-two eyes, eleven mouths. Water poured to purify physical forms that had, until recently, housed souls whose last act on Earth was to whisper a prayer. There is only one story: Jews serving G-d to the best of their ability— with whatever Torah they know, whatever strength they can muster, and then some. There is only one story, says the Zohar: The souls of the Jewish people throughout Jewish history form one larger body. The body bears more wounds than we want to recall. It limps forward. No one can explain how it has not faltered.

_________________

Yehoshua (Josh) November ‘01 is the author of two poetry collections, G-d’s Optimism, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, and Two Worlds Exist, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and The Sun, and has been featured on National Public Radio. November teaches writing at Rutgers University and Touro College.


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Let it Rise!

see page 10 for more Mega Challah Bake pictures

Profile for Chabad Binghamton

Hakesher Magazine - December 2018  

Chabad of Binghamton

Hakesher Magazine - December 2018  

Chabad of Binghamton

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