table OF contents 8
Jewish Entertainmaent Magazine
A Nafshenu Wedding
EDITORS IN CHIEF
Yossi Zweig, Ozer Babad
New Releases uring Nafshenu singers
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY CONSULTING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Baruch Stern Sameach Music Podcast, Suki and Ding, ESE Marketing, Shmulie Eckstein, Shloimie Weissman, Yossi Tepper, Chasidi News, Golding Design, Nochi Krohn, Stan Weiss, Nathan Ivgi, Shlager.net Bardugo.net
Upgrading the Voice in Your Head
Reflections on Great Leaders
The Art and Soul of Music Making
Pic of the Month
Travel-On Airline Miles...
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Wine Listings page 20 Michoel Pruzansky
The Art and Soul of Music Making page 28
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A Nafshenu Wedding
Travel Section 53
Kashrus-Home on the Range
Artist Rewind-part 3
Singers & Bands
COPYRIGHT 漏 2007 - Jewish Entertainment Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Jewish Entertainment Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited submissions. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, and other submitted material must be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. We reserve the right to print all letters in part or in full unless specifically requested otherwise. No articles, photographs, artwork, or other material in this magazine may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever, without prior written permission of the publisher. Jewish Entertainment Magazine will not be responsible for any typographical errors or advertisers始 claims.
On Airline Miles... page 40
The MekimiCheer Up Squad page 53
Welcome back to another packed issue. Summer is over and the Yomim Noraim are almost here. What better way to get ready for them than some Yom Tov food Suzie Fishbein style?
We would like to announce that beginning with this issue we will be having a wine section in the publication. Here we will point out just a few of the many wines that are constantly coming to the marketplace. As you may notice, some of the wines may not be brand new but are on our list of wines worth mentioning. We would like to thank Chateau De Vin for providing us with the information for this section. Another new column we will be having will be written by the Star K. This month they will answer some interesting questions that come up during various times of the year. In addition they tackle some questions regarding Shemitta and how it effects us here in the United States as well as questions on Rosh Hashana. Reflections on Great Leaders is another new addition to our publication. It will feature various Rabbonim and tzaddikim from today back to the Rishonim who have impacted our generation. Michoel "PRUZ" Pruzansky's new release has been the most talked about album in the last 2 years. The album is being produced by Yitzi Bald who only produces the 'best' and this album definitely falls into that cat,egory. Read about how the two met, chose songs, and what makes a Yitzy Bald production. Artscroll's new release is Reb Zelig Pliskin's Conversations with Yourself. It is a practical guide to greater happiness and self-empowerment. Read all about it as well as get a preview of one of the chapters. Learn how to maximize your points while traveling. When is it more worth it to use points and when is it better to pay cash? All this can be found in our travel section.
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To be blessed with health, happiness, prosperity, shidduchim, children, nachas, and great success in all your endeavors
For thousands upon thousands of suffering families in Eretz Israel, of widows and orphans, whom the Gedolei HaDor shlita personally care for and see to their welfare
"Rewind" is back with Part 3. Make sure to read each and every detail. Check out the BIO section, where we feature the Israeli superstar Itsik Orlev. Dining this month features places around Canada. Be sure to check them out when you are in the neighborhood. There will be many changes coming to our publication. We are not only music publication. We will be featuring different aspects that we feel will interest the community. e.g. wine, books, kashrus... If you have any suggestions then please feel free to email or mail us your suggestions. We are please to let the public know that we have finally launched the website www.thejemagazine.com . It has the latest and greatest in Jewish music and more. A new restaurant opening up? A new wine released? A new book? All of this can be found in our news section. New music coming out and you don't know what to buy? Just listen to some samples on our Mp3 player. While you're there, vote for the TOP 10 songs. Of course there is so much more, so prop up your feet, get a glass of water and relax while you read the rest of the publication. Have a Shana Tova, a happy and healthy year and next year in Yerushalayim.
Yossi Zweig 6 JE Jewish Entertainment
Donations may be sent to the following Rabbanim Shlita: Rabbi Aaron Schechter 1248 E.12 Brooklyn N.Y. 11230 Rabbi Reuven Feinstein Shlita, 131 Bloomingdale Rd Staten Island N.Y. 10309
GABAY 2 After the tremendous success of his debut album “Legabay”, Dovid Gabay is back at it again. Under the Production of Avi Newmark Gabay’s second album is well underway. The album features compositions by Jewish music’s elite. Yossi Green, Yitzy Waldner, Boruch Levine, Avi Kula, and Elimelech Blumestein. Joining in on Gabay 2 as arrangers are Yisroel Lamm, Leib Yaacov Rigler, Avremi Gourarie, and Yonatan Razel. Here are some pictures of Gabay’s recent trip to Israel where he recorded his rhythm and a 24-piece String section using musicians from none other than the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Stay Tuned for future updates...
DOVID STEIN is Recording Vocals for his debut album @ EG Studios in Brooklyn. The album which is being produced by Eli Gerstner features hit songs from Eli Gerstner, Chaim Bloch & Yitzi Waldner. The album is due out in November.
ON SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2007 THE ANNUAL CHABAD TELETHON WILL TAKE PLACE. The telethon can be watched on the following TV channels: Los Angeles: KCAL Channel 9, San Diego: KUSI Channel 9, San Francisco: KTSF Channel 26, Las Vegas: KVMY Channel 12, New York/New Jersey/Connecticut: WLNY Channel 55. This year’s telethon will include performances by Gad Elbaz, Mordechai Ben David, Matisyahu, Avraham Fried, Yeshiva Boys Choir and 8th Day.
GAD ELBAZ is working on his latest album called “Ben Hatipot” which in English means “Between the Drops”. On this CD, Gad asks Hashem to help him walk between the raindrops and through all barriers presented to him in both Judaism and everyday life all the while staying true to Hashem’s will. The CD will be ready for release September 1st. Gad is also working on a new show with a new band to go on tour in Israel, Europe and the U.S. starting in September. Internationally renowned songwriter and producer, Rudy Perez is collecting and writing new songs for Gad to be released early next year. Gad is working on a huge show for Sukkot on Sunday, September 30th in Heychal-Hatarbut, Tel Aviv. The show will include guest performances,
We were thrilled to learn that the much anticipated debut album of BENNY AMAR is now entering its final stages of production. After being given the privilege to hear some samples all that we can say is WOW! This record it truly something special. Benny, renowned for the energy and charisma which he brings to the stage has captured these attributes in the recording. The album will be in stores this season, and is destined to become a hit. For updates email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The greatly anticipated debut album of the latest in Jewish music - PHP - is making its way to all Judaica stores very soon! A little about the band, PHP was started by 4 guys from Far Rockaway who met in Sha’ar Yoshuv and formed a band together playing for various kiruv events *i.e. Aish in NYC and NJ as well as other events for Kiruv organizations in CT and California. They won Battle of the Bands Landers college back to back years. Recently they played a large concert with Nochi Krohn and are currently finishing their album before they begin playing live again. This incredibly uplifting and spiritual album features entirely original compositions that blend together all genres of music into one. Superb musicianship is displayed by PHP’s four members, along with some surprise musical guests. This exceptionally talented group unites to create a brilliant masterpiece that cannot be paralleled by anything else in the Jewish music world, and already has an anxious population excitedly awaiting its debut release. So get ready for a sound that will revitalize and rejuvenate your musical senses! We can’t wait! You should see it in stores in about 2 months, not by Sukkos but some time after.
After being approached by numerous producers in the music industry, YOSEF CHAIM BLOCH, the talented composer & singer whose songs we enjoyed on Shwekey, Gabay, Williger & dozens of albums over the last decade, is coming out with his debut album! This project is a truly unique project. It is filled with the emotion that can only be found in a singer/writer relationship setting. This kind of album is long overdue in the Jewish Music Industry. The album consists of many rock, freilach & hora style songs arranged like Jewish music has never seen to date, with a liveliness that is sure to get his young fans really excited. The kumzitz nigunim bring back the feeling & style of R’ Shlomo Carlebach. Just an all around mix of hit songs. There is guaranteed to be something for everybody. Stay tuned for details!!
The new album will be called ”REB ASHER & SONS“. The title track is “Keytzad Merakdim” (How do we dance?) and will force you off your seat and into a dancing mood. The mix has finally been completed by Ilya Lishinsky. The sound is just fantastic; every song is catchy and singable. Besides featuring Reb Asher & his sons’ vocals, the album also boasts of fantastic arrangements done by them as well. The music and choir was done by “the rising star in Jewish Music” Nochi Krohn. The album also features a child soloist Moshe Blisko of MBC fame and Eli Lichtestein of “Vien Childrens Choir”. Look for the album to be released around Succos time.
by Rochelle Maruch Miller Nafshenu Orchestra requests the honor of your presence at what promises to be the “wedding of the year” – and you don’t have to R.S.V.P to attend! It’s an eagerly anticipated event – the August 6th release of Nafshenu’s latest album that has been generating much excitement and enthusiasm, and with good reason! This is a celebration infused with joy and excitement. Just bring your dancing shoes and be prepared to experience a high-level of energy and ruach that is sure to set your spirit soaring! Nafshenu Orchestra, under the leadership of Aaron Appelbaum and Jonathan Rimberg, has created yet another musical masterpiece, “A Heimishe Wedding” by Nafshenu Orchestra. Produced by Aaron Appelbaum, the album is representative of an actual Nafshenu wedding. Aaron says with pride, “Our goal was to produce an album that would give a good representation of what we do at a live wedding. The songs that are most requested and that have become main stream and part of our repertoire is what you will hear at ‘A Heimishe Wedding’. The album features Nafshenu Orchestra’s singers and musicians. These are not studio performers who have been hired to perform on the album. They are, in fact, the real deal!” As a note of appreciation, Aaron comments, “A very special thanks to all the vocalists who did an outstanding job on this album; Yossi Bayles, Tzvi Silberstein, Yankey Goldenthal, Avner Levy, and Jonathan Rimberg. I’m very proud of every aspect of this album. Its quality and professional caliber are a reflection of the collaborative efforts of every individual who devoted time and effort to create a polished product.” “I find that the young adults who are getting married today are more discerning and particular in their playlists,” says Aaron. “They know exactly what they want -- music that is high energy and exciting. You’ll find the same high-octane energy and excitement pulsating throughout our newest release, as you will feel at every Nafshenu wedding, customized to our clients’ unique tastes and needs.” The album features outstanding musical arrangements by Shloimy Zeiger and beautiful vocal arrangements by Jonathan Rimberg. On this album, Nafshenu features a variety of songs and
medley’s requested by chassanim and kallahs from across the spectrum of the community.You will hear beautiful performances by all of Nafshenu’s charismatic vocalists. Tzvi Silverstein’s invigorating and exciting voice is sure to get any crowd up on their feet to a dancing frenzy; while Yossi Bayles is a powerful and dynamic vocalist whose energy is contagious. As a pianist and vocalist, Yankey Goldenthal brings class and refinement to every Nafshenu performance. Sit back and enjoy listening to a chupah medley performed by Jonathan Rimberg, or get up and dance to Avner Levy’s unique Middle Eastern style to ‘Habibi’ and ‘Balbili.’ Nafshenu Orchestra of NY, under the leadership of Aaron Appelbaum and Jonathan Rimberg, has been performing weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, dinners, corporate events, and concerts all over the world. Acclaimed as the most prestigious and wellknown Jewish orchestra in the United States and Canada, Nafshenu’s sterling reputation was created by specializing in musical versatility and performing all styles of Jewish and contemporary music. Providing their clients with unparalleled personalized service is Nafshenu’s hallmark, earning them a highly satisfied client base, many of whom are multi-generational. Working in tandem to create beautiful and seamless celebrations, the orchestra is a well-managed team of professional musicians who are committed to client satisfaction. The happy newlyweds, their parents, and guests continue to relive a Nafshenu Orchestra simcha months after the last Mitzvah Tantz. This is a credit to Aaron and Jonathan’s unsurpassed service. Every Nafshenu wedding is a singular sensation, a one-of-a-kind, extraordinary simcha. From far and near, the testimonials are indicative of their clients’ heartfelt appreciation of Nafshenu’s signature service. Consider the following excerpt of a lengthy rave review, representative of the plethora of similar “thank-you’s” that are received regularly by Nafshenu Orchestra. “ …From the day we met, to the night of the
“From the day we met, to the night of the wedding, every experience we had with Nafshenu...has been nothing short of professional, fun, and just plain amazing! “
wedding, every experience we had with Nafshenu, and especially with Aaron & Jonathan, has been nothing short of professional, fun, and just plain amazing! Our guests ranged from Yeshivish to Modern Israeli to secular. Our goal was to have something for everyone and to make everyone feel comfortable; more importantly, we wanted “Ruach” throughout the night -- an energy like no one (including ourselves!) will ever forget!… You guys gave such a fun performance and made sure that everything was seamless to our guests (and us!).You guys played everything from traditional Jewish dance music to Yiddish to Israeli music to Mizrachi to Classic Rock to every other kind of traditional wedding favorites! We highly recommend you -- you are a class act!” And the appreciation is mutual. Says Aaron, “I would be remiss if I would not mention our very special friends throughout the Metropolitan area, who are integral to Nafshenu’s success. Nafshenu is comprised of the most talented musicians in the tri-state area, but it is our clients who have made us the premier Jewish orchestra. It is an honor that we take seriously. Nafshenu takes pride in being musically versatile in all styles of music. No matter if you are Chassidish, Yeshivish, Modern, or Israeli, we have the music that will speak to you and your crowd.” A Heimishe Wedding will be available at Jewish music and Judaica stores on August 6th. To preview tracks from this musical gem, please visit Nafshenu’s website at www.nafshenu.com. For bookings, concert, and additional information, please call us at 5 1 6 . 3 7 1 . 6 6 6 0 and experience the musical magic of Nafshenu Orchestra.
Featuring the Nafshenu singers
by Yossi Zweig
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New from By Sara Rigler, author of the best-selling Holy Woman
Includes more on the â€œHOLY WOMANâ€?
ike those in Holy Woman, the stories in this volume both fascinate and inspire. Its wisdom is gleaned from: a paralyzed educator who writes books with his eye movements; a mother of 14 children who feeds 200 guests every Shabbos; 75 orphans in Calcutta; a Nobel Prize winner; a Jerusalem Kabbalist; and from a colorful cast of other characters whom the author has encountered in her epic spiritual journey. In more than 50 selections, SARA YOHEVED RIGLER shares with the reader her ever-fresh wonder and love for the transformative power of Judaism. One of the most masterful writers in the Jewish world, she keeps the reader glued to the page. And from the page, she catapults the reader upward.
Available from ArtScroll at www.artscroll.com, 800-637-6724 or at your local Hebrew bookseller
B O O K
R E V I E W EXCERPTS from “Conversations with Yourself”: A practical guide to greater happiness, self-development and self-empowerment. Chapter 3, by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
the Voice in Your Head
ArtScroll Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn NY, August 2007. Used by permission.
By Arielle Marcus
s children, we learned how to speak respectfully to authority figures. We learned to say “please” and “thank you” at the dinner table. We learned to preface requests with “May I? We learned to give verbal respect to rebbes, to our teachers, to law enforcement officers, and even to the postman. But did anyone ever teach us how to speak respectfully to ourselves?
Conversations with Yourself is a revolution in personal spiritual ecology. It offers welcome relief to all who yearn for a quiet, uncluttered mind, for a mind that works with you, not against you. Mastering self-talk is a major key to realizing this lofty goal.
what we’re asking from Hashem when we say, “Yihyu l’ratzon imrey fi v’hegyonn libi lifanecha Hashem Tzuri v’Go’ali – may the expressions of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before You, Hashem, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
While Rabbi Pliskin’s approach is novel, the notion of a positive internal dialogue is not new. It was understood by our great sages. The medieval scholar Rabbi David Kimchi (the Radak) commented on the Biblical term hagah, often translated as contemplate. We find a
Using the wise and caring guidance set forth in Conversations with Yourself, we can all significantly upgrade our self-talk. For many, the effects can be immediate, positive, and long-lasting.
In preparing this review, I unofficially polled a number of my friends and family members: “Growing up, did anyone ever teach you how to manage your inner self-talk?” The answer was an unimpressive and unanimous “no.” In fact, the very notion of self-talk, as detailed in a A Review of Rabbi remarkable book by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Zelig Pliskin, was as foreign to my survey group as Conversations with learning Klingon as a second Yourself: A practical language. My informal survey raised another serious question: How is it that there is no definitive preparation, no measurable skill set, for us to engage in the longest running and most personal dialogue of our lives? Surely we all “speak” to ourselves. But most of us have been clueless about how we speak to ourselves – until now.
guide for greater happiness, selfdevelopment and self-empowerment. ArtScroll Mesorah Publications, 376 pp, Brooklyn NY, August 2007.
Rabbi Pliskin’s Conversations with Yourself is a user’s guide for maintaining healthy thinking and constructive self-talk. The principles he sets forth are clear, relevant, simple, universal, and effective. In other words, they really work! Every conscious person has an internal river of thought. But for most of us on the planet, our inner streams of consciousness are polluted with cycling repetitions of worry, selfdoubt, internal criticism, and negative images. As any environmentalist will confirm, if a river’s headwaters are toxic, everything downstream will be contaminated.
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familiar example in the passuk from Joshua 1:8: lo yamush sefer haTorah hazeh mi’picha v’hagitah bo yomam va’laylah (this Book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth; rather you shall contemplate it day and night…).The Hebrew verb hagah, says Rabbi Kimchi, corresponds to the cooing of a dove or the growling of a lion, both of which are constantly repeated actions. Every day many of us utter a phrase from Sefer Tehillim, the Book of Psalms (19:15), to improve our internal, repetitious self-talk, yet we might not even know that’s
I admit to an initially jaded attitude when I first picked up the unpublished manuscript to review Rabbi Pliskin’s latest work. I expected, as often happens with self-help authors, a book of recycled themes already extant in his previous books. But this evereffervescent writer surprised me with yet another refreshingly original book. I was hooked the moment I read the Introduction’s lucid unifying premise which infuses the book’s 91 short, energetic chapters: “The quality of your life is the quality of your ongoing selftalk. This one idea is the foundation of how you experience your present moments.” It’s my personal hope that everyone who opens this book will merit completing it so as to enter into a transformed conversation between the sometimes disparate personas of “me, myself, and I.” Rabbi Pliskin has identified one of the most widespread problems we face today, one that is eminently curable – and not necessarily by a trained professional in this case, but by the person who knows your inner landscape better than anyone else – you!
Ariella Marcus is a media producer in New York. Ariella.Marcus@gmail.com
You Become What You Think About One of the most important and valuable concepts about our minds and thoughts is that you become what you think about. Try it out. Say to yourself, “I become what I think about.” What thoughts came to your mind when you said this to yourself? You just engaged in self-talk. This idea has the potential to be highly empowering. It means that by gaining greater mastery over your thoughts, you gain greater mastery over your life. It means that by mastering your thoughts, you will be able to make and reach important goals.
Some people who truly want to improve and grow make a big mistake: They keep thinking about what they don’t want. Someone who keeps thinking, “I hate to be sad and upset,” is still thinking about being sad and upset. Someone who keeps thinking, “I don’t want to be so selfish,” is thinking about being selfish. People who keep thinking about how difficult some people are will find themselves acting their worst with those “difficult” people.
you consistently think about being happy and joyful in your life, you will become happier and more joyful. wWhen you consistently think about being kinder and more compassionate, you will become kinder and more compassionate. wWhen you consistently think about being more confident and courageous, you will become more confident and courageous. wWhen you consistently think about being calm and serene, you will become calmer and more serene. wWhen you consistently think about being more patient and persistent, you will become more patient and persistent. wWhen you consistently think about interacting harmoniously with others, you will find yourself speaking and acting in ways that create greater harmony. wWhen you consistently think about being appreciative and grateful, you will find yourself being more appreciative and grateful.
you consistently think about your most important goals in life and what you need to do to reach them, you will find yourself accomplishing and achieving more. wWhen you consistently think about being more elevated and spiritual, you will become that way.
Those who keep thinking about their worries and their fears will find themselves worrying more and being more fearful. Those who keep thinking about disliking their anger are thinking about becoming angry. Those who keep thinking about their limitations and blocks are actually thinking about exactly the things they don’t want to keep in mind. In his classic legal work, Yad Hachazakah, in the section called Hilchos Daios, Ch. 1, the Rambam (Maimonides, 1135–1204) tells us the way to develop positive character traits: Take action in ways that are consistent with those positive traits. The way to overcome a negative trait is to go to the opposite extreme for a while, in ways that express the positive traits that you want. After consistently acting in the positive extreme, then you can come to a more balanced way of being. What happens when you take positive actions? You think about what you need to say and do to master those positive traits. You’re not just thinking about it in a light and halfhearted way, you are taking action. Your thoughts and your actions together create you. This has worked for the greatest people because they applied the tremendous wisdom of the Rambam. This will also work for you when you apply it. What do you want to be like? What positive traits and patterns do you really want to master?
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Well, it’s been a while since we last spoke about what’s happening in the land of milk and honey, but I have to start off as usual with a MAZAL TOV TO ITZIK ESHEL ON HIS MARRIAGE. Looks like he’s been very busy lately, with wedding preparations, and working on his new album simultaneously. Best of luck to you Itzik! L’Shana Habah Brit Mila! Another Itzik is also very worth speaking about here, but this time I’m talking about ITZIK ORLEV. Orlev’s upcoming album “Mitgahageha” is just about ready to hit the store shelves. This album is much different from his previous album, being that in fact it was recorded at international standards. Yoram Itzchak Vazana took on production of this album. Orlev is aiming towards the American crown with this album, and it’s even possible to pick up a free sample CD at your local music shop. Itzik is sure that after listening to a sample, you’ll run out to buy the album. The album is slated for release Sukkos time. GAD ELBAZ who has reached international stardom, is also releasing his album in the coming days. Actually, Elbaz recorded two different albums. He also performed at the amphitheater
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in Bat-Yam last week, and is scheduled to hold a mega-concert after the release of his album. Some of you may remember the concert he held a few years back where a whopping 10,000 fans showed up to see Gad perform on stage.
On the subject of concerts MIAMI BOYS CHOIR also performed here recently and show was just excellent, as usual.
AVRAHAM FRIED & YAAKOV SHWEKEY also held a megaconcert at Teddy Stadium where an amazing 15,000 Jewish music fans showed up to see the two perform on stage together. YISHAI LAPIDOT also releasing his debut solo album to music stores this week. Yishai is best known as the lead singer of his group Oif Simches. He’s also known as a wellaccomplished song writer, who wrote hits for many. This album is going to have a different sound than what we’re used to. Some Yiddish, English, Hebrew, French, and some rap can be heard on this album.
arrangements had to be made to our liking. We changed many ideas many times. We chose our intros, endings, shtick, which is why it’s a superior product. YB: Like all good albums, we came up with better songs. We would pick songs and then dump them for even better songs. We worked on every detail, every note, every instrument; we really left no stone unturned.
JE: When did it start? MP: I actually met Yitzy at a Bar Mitzvah where he was performing as a one-man band. Then we started talking shop, went to his studio in his house, stayed up half the night and decided to do an album.
JE: Isn’t it kind of ridiculous to name a music album “Pruzbul”? What’s the idea? Michoel Pruzansky [MP]: Let’s see [laughs]… I’m going to let Yitzy start with that one. Yitzy Bald [YB]: Alright—but you’re answering the next question! [laughs] There’s a famous Gemara about Hillel Hazaken. See, in his time, chessed had stopped being done because the way a loan works is that it expires after
JE: What was the hardest part of production? MP: Picking songs. We would work on a tune for months and then decide not to use it. But we ended up with five songs by Yitzy, one from Yossi Green, two by Yitzy Waldner including a brand-new English song, one song by Yochanan Shapiro, and even one from Dov Shurin. YB: It took a long time to prepare the songs. I think composers and singers need to remember that when people buy an album, they want ten good songs, not one or two. That’s why we’re really excited.
“Yitzy and I put our heart and soul into this album...
THE ART AND SOUL OF MUSIC-MAKING
seven years. Now, what happened? People stopped giving loans ‘cause they knew that after seven years, they’d lose their money. Loaning money, helping another Yid, is one of the biggest mitzvos. But people stopped doing this chessed. So Hillel established the Pruzbul of Beis Din, which was not canceled after seven years, in the Shmittah year. If not for the Pruzbul, chessed would have been lost from Klal Yisroel. So part of the song Pruzbul goes, “Hillel metaken haolam im pruzbul”—the theme of the song, and the album, is to do chessed.
Michoel Pruzansky and Yitzy Bald talk shop —and teach JE what album-production takes By Sender Gottenstark
IT'S BEEN THREE YEARS SINCE MICHOEL PRUZANSKY'S DEBUT ALBUM ASHRECHA hit the market--and three years that many have been wondering when the next one's coming. But after considerable exercising of our staff's considerable people-chasing skills, JE was able to sit down with Michoel and producer Yitzy Bald for a fun, folksy interview that takes you behind the scenes (don't you hate that cliché?) of the creation of Pruzbul, the curiously-named new Pruzansky album that'll be appearing on shelves around Rosh Hashanah time--as well as what it's like to make an album. Trust me: You had no idea.
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JE: Well, let’s give the title track a listen. [Yitzy Bald plays Pruzbul] JE: Wow! This song really pounds. YB: There’s a lot of technical detail in the styles you’re hearing. JE: I can tell—but the message is quite, um, stimulating. Almost makes me want to get up and dance. YB: That’s the idea. The message is a gevaldike message. JE: How long has the album taken to produce? MP: Three years. JE: Why so long? MP: Because anything good takes time. Yitzy and I put our heart and soul into this album—we spent thousands of hours, months just choosing songs. All the arrangements were custom made, and then, when we had ten songs, all the
All the arrangements were custom made”
JE: Well, let’s hear another one of those great songs. You pick one. YB: Okay, let’s play Hu Yevaser. [Plays song]
JE: That’s quite a choir! YB: That’s [noted choirmaster] Mo Kiss’ choir. JE: That’s something else. I don’t know if I’ve heard that style on a Jewish album before. YB: He’s very talented. JE: Are they on other songs? YB: Let’s listen to Taaseh Mitzvah. That’s the other theme song of the album. [Plays song] JE: This is fairly Israeli in style… what was that? YB: That was Mo’s chevra again. JE: Very creative. MP: There’s a lot of chiddush going on here, but it’s not an unsingable melody. All the pieces come together at the end with a vocal-only ending. JE: Besides the album, what have you been doing in the interim? MP: Well, I’ve been very, very busy doing concerts and weddings all over the country: LA, Houston, Cleveland, Toronto, and the NY metro area, and, of course, JE Jewish Entertainment
recording the album has been taking up the majority of my time. YB: Let me just add that there’s a lot of hype about this album. I think Michoel’s been spreading his wings; people are getting psyched up.
MP: Let me tell you. There was a man who was saved from the [suicide bombing at the] Sbarro restaurant [in Jerusalem] by a stranger, and much later, the stranger was having surgery. So the man traveled to be at his bedside in the hospital to show hakoras hatov. And that saved him from 9/11.
JE: How so? YB: We’ve been leaking out the name for a while, so the aura, the mystique, is intriguing people. Also, I haven’t worked on a largescale album for a while, so people are getting curious. There has been a lot of hype because we kept it very secretive and have been putting out a lot of interesting messages.
JE: That’s an amazing story. Hashem really does watch us.
JE: How is this album different than your first album? MP: I would say the custom-made parts. It’s fresh and it’s got a lot of innovative ideas. YB: In this album Michoel was not limited and was able to be himself, to let go and show vocal expressiveness. This is Michoel at his best. MP: Every nuance of every song was
JE: Which song would you say is the most musically creative? MP: Well, it depends on what kind of song you’re talking about. My favorite fast song is Ta’aseh Mitzvah. YB: Look, we worked so hard on the whole album; I just can’t answer that question. I love every song. But to answer your question, there are very pleasant surprises in
JE: You mean he worked in the Towers? YB: Exactly. If not for the guy saving him and him going to show thanks, he might not be here.
sounds very good here. MP: Thanks! JE: What does this album do for listeners? YB: Let me be bold! It’s got a totally different direction that’ll get even more people listening to Jewish music. There’s such color, such dynamics, such energy. MP: I would say that it is upbeat, it has a song for everybody—if you like fast and upbeat, this album certainly has it, if you like slow and hartzig, yeshivah horahs, or rock songs, it has it. Also, since there’s one full English song and two Hebrew songs with English in it, it will connect to people, since English is the first language for many people. JE: We hear you’re working on a video for the album. What can you tell us about it? YB: Well, it’s on the song Ta’aseh Mitzvah, that if you do a mitzvah you’re koneh Olam Haba. MP: It’s going to be a fun video that conveys that message. It’s going to be shot spontaneously at landmark locations right here in Boro Park and Flatbush.
“People are tired of the same music...come up with something new” preplanned and thought out through and through. Many singers outsource their music and sing to whatever the arranger gives them. With this album, we did it however we felt best. YB: Well, you know, in any profession, professionalism grows. My keyboard playing has changed drastically over the years, as has my arranging style. As far as Michoel is concerned, the more one uses his voice, the more one knows what to do with it… there’s no question that as time has gone on, just like wine ripens with age, Michoel has ripened, his emotions have much more expressiveness now.
JE: Give me an example of that. MP: How about You’re Watching Me? JE: Let’s hear it. [Yitzy Bald plays song] YB [speaking between stanzas]: Do you know the story? JE: Fill me in.
Yitzy Waldner’s Chavivin; creatively the most challenging, Ta’aseh Mitzvah and Pruzbul—the bass lines, the harmonies… when we were recording we quadrupled the brass section to give it a marching band feel. We went through every song with [noted arranger/ studio technician/ musician] Larry Gates while we were working on the final mixes.
JE: If someone’s never heard of Pruzansky, why should he listen this time, and if he’s heard the first album, why should he listen to the second? YB: You have to base an album on its own merit. This one is so unique! There are some very interesting things going on in the album, and people know what’s good— they’ll hear this album and they’ll hear that this is unique. The concept of the album [i.e. Pruzbul] also sells—people want to know what it’s about, and I’ll be explaining it more in the insert of the album. JE: With so many albums coming out, what do you guys bring to the table? MP: People are tired of the same music. I hear from so many people, “Come up with something new, something fresh, and something geshmak, something easy to sing.” JE: Do you think you’ve got that here? YB: [chuckles] Are you kidding? Absolutely!
JE: Any memorable story from the studio work? YB: I don’t think Michoel was exposed to so many keyboards in one studio in his life! I have a very well-equipped home studio and a lot of interesting sounds and things came out of it. We learned a lot on the go. Also, we had a fun time trying to work around the baby’s talking schedule coming from upstairs—just when things would quiet down and we’d start recording, it would start all over again. MP: Yeah, but if you listen to Chavivin, you’ll hear how we managed to put that to good use. Also, kudos to Mrs. Bald for always having supper ready for us. But mainly, it was a pleasure working with Yitzy. If you spend so many nights working with somebody, you really get to know him, and it was just a pleasure working with him. JE: Alright, since you’ve mentioned Chavivin twice already, you’ll have to play it for us. [Yitzy Bald plays Chavivin] JE: What’s this—a bunch of kids?! MP: “Chavivin Yisroel shenikri’u banim lamakom”—that’s the theme here. JE: Touching… that explains this child solo. Stirring melody. Almost kumzitz-style… whoa, that’s some sax! YB: That’s Mark Fineberg for you. [Song ends] JE: Awww… that’s so sweet! Very original.
JE: Alright, now I’m going to pick one… how about Shteig? YB: Sounds good to me! [Plays song] This is a Yeshivishe hora. JE: Sounds like a straightforward, middle-of-theroad hora to me! I like it. You weren’t kidding before when you said Michoel has ripened. He
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JE: Do you guys see yourself doing another album together? YB and MP [together]: Absolutely! YB: Only this time it won’t be three years. For more information on Michoel Pruzansky, visit www.PRUZ.com or call 1-866-for-PRUZ.
ONE WOULD THINK THAT WITH TODAY’S CUT THROAT prices, competition from everyone from actually airlines to on-line travel sites to (rumor has it) Wal-Mart and the plethora of other “incentives” that have put everyone except for the bagel store in the “travel” business, the very LAST thing a travel professional would do a column about would be mileage.
ON AIRLINE MILES:
And while many of my esteemed counterparts have chosen to deal with mileage the same way the government apparently deals with the deficit (not much to do about it, so ignore it— until it gets brought up then “pooh pooh” it with a dismissive wave of your hand), we at TC whenever possible will show our clients how/when/where to use their hard earned miles for maximum “effect”.
Myth, Mishugas, Masterful Opportunity... Or All The Above by Joeseph Leifer / CEO Travelers Choice
…As in upgrades on seats …Upgrades on rooms at hotels …Free admission to tourist attractions, …Free gifts and magazine subscriptions etc The problem we’ve found is that while we worked very hard to train our staff in the REALITIES of what you can and can’t do –and with which miles. We’re up against multi million dollar marketing machines courtesy of airlines, credit card companies etc.—all of whom make it very clear that all that stands between you and your dream vacation/private yacht/multi-million dollar coop etc, is your “bank” (industry talk for stockpile) of miles. If you read the brochures or see/hear the ads these magic miles can be used at your whim for a range of goods and services that would otherwise only be available to a select few whose incomes are of the level where they don’t need miles to get what they want. Then you get to the “fine print”. That’s where the “make-up comes off”. That’s where you learn words like “blackout dates”, “limits”, “reciprocity programs”, conversion rates (and formulas that would almost confuse the calculus professors that wrote them…etc.). Suddenly you realize that your precious “mileage”—the miles that you worked so hard accruing by carrying/using one credit card (despite a huge interest rate and no grace period), the miles that had you calculating the absolute longest most convoluted travel itinerary possible to take advantage of double and triple mileage promotions has about all usable value of Monopoly money—less actually, because you can at least use that to build some houses and hotels. Having seen the frustration these revelations have been causing our clients, I felt it was time to do a column that would enable folks to “check the mileage”—as in perform an “educated evaluation” of their program—or the countless programs that frequently assault them via email, direct mail and other media venues.
MILEAGE 101-What exactly are “miles”?
imply put whether you get them from your bank for using the card for transactions or from an airline for using their airline for transportation mileage is in a word an “incentive”. As in every dollar you buy/every mile you fly gets you a “mile”. Then you “bank” those miles, until you build up enough miles (zechusim?) to earn an upgrade, a free ticket, a free night at a hotel etc… Not surprisingly an airline sponsored credit card only allows you to focus on one specific airline (though many have “reciprocity” arrangements with other airlines that enable you to “transfer” your miles—though nowhere near as easy as transferring funds from savings to checking (or vice versa) If that particular airline controls the majority of the destination routes from your area to destinations you actually can see yourself going to, it will give you convenience and efficiency and it will be extremely economical. Hey, the airline’s keeping a customer—and customer loyalty is the backbone of the travel business (or any service business for that matter). So as long as you play by their rules—in terms of dates, seat allocations and choice of shirt colors permissible to wear while flying (yes, the last one’s a joke—for now, anyway), “loyalty miles” used with the issuing carrier tend to give you the most “bang for the buck”. So let’s say you need more flexibility? Or let’s say the nature of your travel doesn’t always allow you the luxury of sticking with one carrier? Enter the bank card miles which are more like the “mohn” (the stuff hamentashen gave the Jews in the midbar, not the stuff that fills Hamantaschen which we pronounce “moohn”. Bankcard (usually fancy word for credit card) lets you build your miles/points for use in travel—and often most retailers that accept the card. Again, what you actually can use it for at those retailers often requires reading the kind of fine print that accompanies toy shipments from China (or should). At first glance they offer more “freedom” but as a wise man once said “freedom comes at a price—though in terms of getting something usable the minimum amount of miles in the “bank” with bank cards is usually less than airline miles. But these fine minimums are “protected” by some very fine print. Case in point, membership and annual fees can vary greatly for different types of cards. Most major credit card companies offer standard, gold, and platinum air miles credit cards. Keep in mind that the better the option, the higher the fees. Gold and platinum cards offer high credit limits but membership and annual fees are also higher and these add up quickly. Most major credit card companies offer introductory air miles cards with 0 % interest. Why? Because they want your credit card business. If interest rates are of concern for you (think the current mortgage and banking debacle before you answer this), an air miles card should not be the card you choose because interest rates tend to be very high. Many air miles credit cards have a minimum number of miles that have to accumulate before you receive a free or discounted trip. Be sure to read the fine print and then read it again and again so you understand all of the stipulations. If you travel frequently for business or pleasure, air miles cards can be very beneficial. With these types of cards, you use your credit card to purchase all necessary goods and services. In return, you accumulate rewards in the form of points and then you redeem them for air miles. You then use the air miles to get free or discounted trips to the destination of your choice. As an added incentive, airline credit cards often offer bonus air miles at “selected” stores, or on specific travel destinations. Usually, both airline and bank sponsored cards give bonus air miles when you sign with their company.
There are some disadvantages to having an air miles card. Usually these cards, as mentioned earlier, have much higher interest rates than standard cards, which can add up quickly if you don’t pay the entire balance off each month (and if you could, would you really need a card?). Another disadvantage is that these cards are often used for unnecessary purchases in order to accumulate points to be exchanged for air miles. As with all credit cards, air miles credit cards have to be used responsibly in order for the cardholder to reap the benefits. After carefully analyzing the buying/flying/usage patterns of our business/commercial and personal customers, the one thing we found is that there is no easy answer—the closest we came to actually offering usable advice was “the more you know, the more you go”. So regardless, choose every means available to you to fully educate yourself as to the services and benefits –both potential and readily available. Then make sure your travel professional has this info in their system. We actually had our client software reconfigured to automatically when ever possible put our customers on airlines where they have “mileage arrangements” and to use the “right card” to do so. When feasible we also will keep our customers updated as to specials and promotions—as in “take that flight to Hong Kong one day early so you can still take advantage of the double mileage program that will expire at midnight of the day you’re leaving on”. Stuff like that, even if our clients can’t change their itinerary, they still appreciate knowing we’ve got their back even if on the surface it seems like we could be “hurting” ourselves. And make no mistake; those miles DO add up in fact when you stockpile enough of them, the sky is the limit literally. But don’t take my word for it ask Alan Watts, a business man from the UK who was able to use his 2,000,000 miles for a space flight a ticket aboard a 2009 Virgin Galactic space flight. Apparently Mr. Watts said he flew to and from the United States on Virgin Atlantic flights more than 40 times in the past six years, which earned him enough miles to take the trip into space with Virgin’s “Space Wing” “consumer space shuttle” that will be “lifting off” in a few years. The trip cost him 2 million frequent flier miles, compared to the 90,000 miles required for a first-class flight from London to New York. So much for space being the “final frontier” and the one “small step for man one giant leap for mankind” stuff—now it’s just another incentive to use your credit card.
AIR MILES VS. CASH BACK? Does it pay? (For you, not the card issuer!)
ore and more companies offer “cash back” related incentives—meaning a percentage of your monthly charges comes back to you as a “rebate”. To understand the pros and cons of this, vs. air miles lets analyze the “numbers”. Air miles credit cards generally grant one air mile per dollar of spending. Cash-back credit cards generally award at least $0.01 per dollar of spending (1%), and sometimes up to $0.05 (5%) on certain purchases. So the key question is: How much is an air mile worth? The answer is “it depends on what you’ll use it for”.
business class ticket, and calculate the value of the ticket by doing as follows; find the cheapest coach ticket, and then add what you’d be willing to pay cashwise for an upgrade to business class. Chances are it’s far less than the advertised price of the business class ticket (no matter what the “mileage carriers ‘math’” tries to tell you.
hough there are also other reasons why the value of an air mile is actually way less than suggested by simply dividing the cost of an expensive ticket by the number of air miles it “costs”: 1. Most air miles go unclaimed for years. Industry estimates on this vary. Some estimate that 75% of air miles are never redeemed, while others estimate that 50% of air miles go unclaimed for at least 5 years. Either way, a reward is valueless if you don’t use it. Even if you do finally use your air miles, all the time they sit unused they fail to deliver value to you—I mean it’s not like you’re getting interest on them. In contrast, cash-back is usable immediately to increase your savings, expenditure or debt repayment.
2 Booking fees can reduce the value of the air miles. Airlines aren’t stupid (though you could never tell that from their in-flight meals and entertainment). The look to squeeze as much revenue as possible from as many places as possible—hence, the fees, as in fees for booking tickets using your air miles rewards. Those fees reduce the value of the air miles, as you end up paying more for your flights or upgrades than you expected than just “swapping miles”.
Restrictions (“the stuff that lives in the fine print”) can seriously reduce the value of the air miles. (a) Air miles programs often have severe date and route restrictions. (b) Air miles aren’t usually usable for child fares. Remember that you’ll only want to use air miles for leisure trips, not as a business expense. Well, if your leisure trip includes traveling with children, booking the tickets becomes almost as tough as traveling with the kids may be. You have to book the adult tickets with air miles, and then try to book adjacent seats on the same flight through some other booking service. Not easy. (c) Many budget airlines, such as Jet Blue, don’t accept air miles, and instead have their own frequent flier programs or no program at all. The budget airlines tend to be the most efficient airlines, and they’re gaining market share. So you might find that the most convenient flight for you doesn’t accept your air miles.
Example; you can easily find a return coach ticket for the busy JFK-LAX flight for about $250. Purchasing that ticket for about 25,000 air miles means that each air mile is worth less than a penny (0.88 cents, to be exact). In contrast, if you use 90,000 air miles to purchase a business class ticket to Europe that would normally cost $6,000, you’re getting over 6 cents of value for each air mile. If you think there’s a pattern to this you’re right. Air miles are worth more when used to purchase business and first class tickets on pricey flights. This is also true for upgrades from coach to business or first class—especially on international routes with limited competition. But if you think the value of air miles is determined entirely by the actual cost of the tickets you’re purchase with them. Free flights or upgrades are worth less to you than the ticket price. This is the “hook”. Even if you cash in your air miles for a flight that would have cost $6,000, it’s not worth that to you if you never would have chosen to buy that ticket with cash. A “free” coach ticket is a great bonus, but if you wouldn’t have made the trip at all had you been paying cash, it’s actually worth less to you than the advertised ticket price—I know its tough turning down a freebie but you see what we mean. Now combine that with using air miles to get a
Air miles lose value as fares get cheaper. In general the price of air travel is steadily declining, or as Continental Airlines (former) CEO Gordon Bethune said: “As the low-cost carriers continue to expand, I think you’ll see continuous ‘evolutions’ (corporate term for price drops) of the fare structure”. Translation: the low cost carriers are driving down ticket prices for everyone. Continental, for example, cut the price of flexible coach and first-class tickets to stimulate more business travel. That means that air miles are becoming less valuable each year as the price of air tickets falls. 4.
5. Air miles rewards can lock you into a credit card for longer than you would have chosen. The time it takes to
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build up a balance of air miles large enough to use can tie you to a single credit card for a long period, preventing you from switching to a credit card that offers better rewards. In other words your interest in using it may be hampered by the interest rate you’re paying for the “privilege”.
CARD TYPE AIRLINES
or these reasons, credit cards that provide air miles rewards are generally a lousy deal for most people—unless of course you’re in the select few who travels internationally for personal leisure without children and would normally choose to pay for a business class ticket—if that describes you to a “T”, then an air miles credit card could be your best option. But just to make “double sure” here’s some guidelines, we advise our customers what to look for when deciding on a “mileage” based relationship with a card issuer or airline: u See if the card allows you to earn miles on both new charges and balance transfers. u Note the mileage you receive for each dollar spent: Most offer one mile for every dollar; some offer two miles for every dollar spent on airline ticket purchases from the partner airline. u Read the fine print for any exclusions, restrictions, or blackout dates. u Verify the number of miles that can be earned per year. u Confirm how long mileage credits are available before they expire. u Check out the interest rate to see if it’s a teaser; if so, find out the true interest rate and when it kicks in. For more on the ramifications of “teaser interest rates” check the financial/business section of your friendly neighborhood Hamodia/Hamodia daily and read about the current mortgage crisis—a good portion of which emanated from all the poor innocents who bought dream homes beyond their means with “teaser rates” that made the homes affordable. Then when the teaser rates “evolve” into the “real rate”, the buyer was presented with a monthly mortgage fee sometimes
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AADV ANTA GE CITI BANK
DELTA SK Y MILESA MEX
MILEA GE PL USFIRST USA
All major airlines
MINIMU M MILES FOR FREE FLIGHT
6. Booking a ticket with air ANNUAL FEE miles is often less convenient and more time consuming than booking online—yes even when your travel professional is like us and has invested considerable time and effort to make the process as seamless as possible. Travel websites have improved the ticketbooking experience to the point where you can find, When you take all these factors into account, the value of an air mile is likely worth less than a penny to most people, and possibly considerably less. True, major U.S. airlines sell up to 15,000 air miles to members of their frequent flier programs for between 2.5 and 2.75 cents. But remember that if you are purchasing air miles in that way, you probably want to use them immediately. And the purchase probably allows you to use a block of accumulated air miles that would otherwise be useless to you. So the cost to the airlines of selling “top up” air miles is far higher than the cost of giving them as general rewards.
MILES ONE CA PITAL ONE
American and ot hers Delta and othe rs
United and o thers
TWICE as much as the original one. This resulted in making their dream homes unaffordable nightmares… u Make sure you choose a credit card affiliated with the airline(s) on which you prefer to travel. If that VISA Ultra Triple Platinum with triple mileage and free shoe shines doesn’t transfer reward miles to El AL and you’re a “Matmid” level passenger, the whole thing may need rethinking. u Compare overall costs and your potential spending habits with mileage versus non-mileage cards—ensure you won’t come out ahead by getting your tickets from us. Our account people will give you the “pros and cons” of each scenario to make sure you’re getting the best value possible. u Beware that severe penalties for late payments on mileage cards, ranging from late fees to not crediting air miles can quickly dilute any “savings”. u Be sure to pay off balances each month— consumers tend to charge more on mileage cards than with a regular credit card—which is why the card companies promote them so heavily—hey ok so you’re carrying a $5000 balance at 19.8% interest…but do you know that all those charges will get you a free upgrade on the next time you can afford to fly somewhere? (Which thanks to the 19.8% interest, may be in quite a few years!) u Check that the grace period (when interest, fees, etc are charged from) is at least 20 days—with all the perks of a mileage card, sometimes issuers shorten grace periods to try and recoup expenses.
MILES FOR MONEY: Good Buy? Or Good Bye!
side from being able to “buy” miles—a procedure only “worth it” if you’re a few “short” of your goal, there’s a way to earn miles even if you pay for all your transactions in cold hard cash and have sworn off credit—but not the idea of earning free air travel. Debit mileage cards are beginning to sprout up for those with the discipline to spend only what they earn. Continental Airlines has partnered with Chase Manhattan Bank to launch a debit card that credits mileage with each debit charge deducted from the customer’s Chase checking account. This card charges a $30 annual fee and credits one Continental One Pass mile for every $2 spent using the card. Who knows? This new trend may combine the best of both worlds—allowing disciplined spenders with their feet on the ground to finally reach the clouds.
HIGH RATES, HIGH FEES:
s mentioned earlier, nobody’s giving you something for nothing—the perks of free airline travel do not come without a price. Most mileage credit cards come with annual fees upwards of $100 or more, and skyrocketing interest rates currently top off at about 19%. However, fierce competition among both airlines and credit card issuers has resulted in partnerships with the “firepower” to offer great deals to consumers. A Consumer Reports Travel Letter a while back named the Miles One card (issued by Capital One Bank in Richmond, Virginia) as its best pick for mileage perks. But the aforementioned banking issue may in all likelihood change a lot of that, as lenders look to tie down anything possible so they can “recoup” the massive hit they took in their mortgage business. For now, the chart above compares Miles One with some of the other popular mileage credit cards on the market today.
SO WHAT DO WE THINK?
ould we like all our clients to buy their travel and vacation packages from us for full fare and never mention mileage, on line comparisons etc? Yes. But we’d also like to offer our clients reasonable room and travel rates in Israel during peak seasons, luggage that’s first off the carousel and for that matter world peace. Fact is we can’t (we CAN sometimes come close on the first three “wishes” and are davening for the fourth) but the fact is the benefits of mileage is as much a part of our industry as aisle vs. window seats. What we can do—and have done is make the process of using miles as seamless as possible. Whenever a client is ABLE to intelligently use (not waste) their miles for free flights, or upgrades we’ll work with them to make it happen—as long as they understand the “BIG PICTURE” –we’ll make sure they get “full mileage from their mileage.” In closing I’d just like to wish all of Klal Yisroel a truly first class 5768 and thank everyone who has helped make Travelers’ Choice the first choice for great full service travel. Here’s hoping that before 5769 is out, Moshiach will be booking our “flights” out of galus. Considering how long we’ve been waiting I’m confident he’ll have all the mileage he needs! Yossi Leifer is the CEO of Traveler's Choice; a full service travel agency based in N.Y. which specializes in all kinds of business and personal travel.
Marky’s Restaurant l 280 Wilson Avenue, Toronto, ON M3H 1S8 l 416-638-1081 l Supervision: COR l www.MarkysKosher.com Marky’s Restaurant and Deli is a kosher institution. They have the distinct honor and well-deserved privilege of being the longest running glatt kosher restaurant, not only in Canada, but of the entire North America. For over 37 years, Marky’s has been the location everyone has trusted for consistency, efficient service and most of all Marky’s-World-Famous food. With a casual and relaxed atmosphere, the restaurant is well lit and decorated with large framed paintings. Owner Erez Karp is all about customer service There is nothing that he won’t do for his customers or his staff. Some of the loyal staff have been there for over two decades. He also takes pride in the restaurant’s familyoriented and friendly approach. Even in the late night hours, the restaurant is open for their customers. One cannot come to Marky’s without sampling their all natural, no-msg, real-Chicken Soup. Served in a huge bowl, with gigantic matzoh balls - it’s the city’s best. The hearty Minestrone Soup which is full of vegetables, is also a winner. There are plenty of deli meats - the corned beef is juicy and with a kaiser roll, it doesn’t fall apart. You sure don’t need ketchup, since this corned beef speaks for itself. There are a number entrees for beef lovers in addition to several Italian and Oriental dishes. But make sure to get their tomato-flavored, thick kishka - it comes with a fantastic gravy. For alternatives, the restaurant also offers fresh salads and fish. Their prices are reasonable and the portions are generous. Marky’s delivers to area and airport hotels, since many people stop over in Toronto on their way from California to Israelthey’ll even provide real china. The restaurant can also fulfill all your catering needs in your home or office as well as arrange for your party to be held downstairs in their party or at your off premise location.
By Elan Kornblum, Publisher of Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine
It’s always a great time to head up North to visit our Canadian neighbors. From upstate NY, it’s less than 7 hours to Toronto and only 5 ½ hours to Montreal.
Milk N’ Honey (Tor.) l 3457 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M6A 2C5 l 416-789-7651 l Supervision: COR l www.milknhoneyCA.com
While you’re there, here are some of my top restaurant picks: TORONTO
Milk ‘N Honey is a cute restaurant and a fan favorite amongst its loyal customers. Owned by Moshe Zombeck, the restaurant has a colorful decor, featuring painted murals along the walls. Comfortable chairs, cushioned booths and blue tabletops add to the light and casual mood. The restaurant features an array of dairy and vegetarian dishes, perfect for lunch or a light, yet, fulfilling dinner. For starters, the Mushroom Barley Soup or the French Onion Soup offer robust and filling choices. One can pick from any number of salads and dressings, with an old-time favorite, Caesar salad leading the way. Their healthy sandwiches and wraps are also popular items. However, if you’re not from around the area, then you must try the Panzarotti - it’s incredible. The calzone-like, pizza-in-a-pocket, is oversized and fun to eat. Just be careful when you first get it because that delectable filling inside the pocket can be very hot. There are plenty of pasta and fish entrees, most of which come with a house soup. Speaking of soup, the restaurant also offers a very nice cold strawberry-Cherry Soup that is extremely refreshing on a warm Toronto day. Also be sure to inquire about their daily fish and pasta specials. The fresh grilled salmon, lightly marinated in a honey mustard sauce, happens to be delicious and will literally melt in your mouth. And speaking of melting in your mouth, desserts are their specialty with the homemade cheesecake a must. Milk ‘N Honey also provides catering with many platters, such as scoop, fruit and cheese and Smoked Fish platters. Any combination of platters is always available. Salads, finger foods and hot trays are offered as well.
Gladstone’s Wine Bar & Grill l 398 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto, ON M5N 1A2 l 416-487-9500 l Supervision: COR l www.Gladstones.ca Located in the heart of mid-town Toronto, Gladstone’s Wine Bar & Grill has set a new standard in dining elegance. They offer two levels of sophisticated hospitality, but only one level of service...exceptional. The modern decor is highlighted by a 30 foot ceiling with a Scarlett O’hara staircase and Hollywood steps. On the main floor, enjoy fine dining, in their spacious yet intimate setting and savour one of their signature cuts of Black Angus Beef, aged for 21 days and charbroiled to your liking. Join them for a pre-theatre apertif and pasta or late night coffee and dessert on the mezzanine. Linger over drinks by the fireplace in their cozy lounge or make yourself comfortable at their spectacular bar to enjoy fine wines, cocktails and light fare. It was only a couple of years ago when owner Raphy Amar saw there was a high demand for an upscale kosher restaurant that was not your “typical” kosher establishment. At Gladstone’s Wine Bar & Grill, Mid-town Toronto meets New York, California and the Orient in a fusion of innovative menu offerings created by world class culinary talents, led by talented and local born chef, Steven Stanchieri. House specialties include Sushi pizza with fresh Salmon tartar and an apple wine dressing, Thai Cornish Hen with soy glaze on a rice cake and Sea Bass topped with baked Smoked Salmon in a white wine lemon garlic. Just divine! Specially designed desserts are created by their resident pastry chef. Gladstone’s Wine Bar & Grill is also the setting of one of the city’s most exclusive private event venues. Offering complete on-site Glatt kosher catering as well as a full range of in-house event planning services, let the Gladstone’s team bring to life the event of your dreams. The mezzanine level is available during regular operating hours for groups of up to 80 for dinner or 125 guests for cocktails. A beautifully appointed private dining room is also available for groups of up to 45 guests.
GLADSTONE’S WINE BAR & GRILL
King Solomon’s Table l 3705 Chesswood Drive, North York (Toronto), ON M3J 2P6 l 416-630-1666 l Supervision: COR l www.KingSolomonsTable.com The city of Toronto, no doubt, has a large Jewish population. But little over a decade ago when there was a special occasion to be made, the area residents were limited in their fine dining choices. That all changed when owner Joe Elmaleh opened King Solomon’s Table in 1993. The elegant and spacious restaurant can hold up to 300 people and is presently serving as Toronto’s largest full service glatt kosher restaurant. While the restaurant gets many large groups for parties, it caters to business men and women, young families and couples. In addition, since the dining room is large and affords much privacy it is ideal for shidduch dates. In fact, Joe remembers that on one night, there were four different dates in the four corners of the room. He is also proud of the fact that customers come back and celebrate their happiest occasions here. When they first opened, they hosted a bris and just recently the boy celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at the restaurant. They are all looking forward to his wedding there too. King Solomon’s Table is also quite unique when it comes to their menus. The restaurant offers two large a la carte menus of Continental and Chinese selections which include a number of delectable appetizers, soups and mains. However, they also offer a 22-item “All-You-Can-Eat” Dinner Buffet every night of the week for only $20. This is an unbelievable concept in the kosher industry. Everybody loves a buffet and it’s always frustrating when you can only go on a certain night. Here at King Solomon’s, you have the best of both worlds. Joe doesn’t want his guests to leave hungry. He wants them to get their money’s worth and feel satisfied. No wonder, the restaurant is called King Solomon’s Table - they offer a feast fit for a king. Joe advises that one can enjoy the exclusive use of the King Solomon’s premises on Saturday evenings or Sunday lunchtime. For all your simchas, King Solomon’s is proud to offer you exquisite, creative catering. For your convenience, they also offer catering services at selected banquet facilities in the Greater Toronto area.
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Exodus Restaurant l 5395 Queen-Mary Road, Montreal, QC H3X 1V1 l 514-483-6610 l Supervision: Montreal Kosher l www.ExodusRestaurant.com Montreal is a beautiful city with a rich culture and French flair. One would not believe that it’s only a six hour drive from New York City. While there are many great attractions when visiting Montreal, one of them would have to be dining out at Exodus Restaurant. Located in the popular and busy section of Queen Mary Road and Decarie Blvd, it is one of the finest glatt kosher restaurants in all of Montreal. Hand-made paintings on mustard color walls, comfortable cushioned booths and chairs and lit candles, all make for a classy ambiance. Owner Laurence Perez took over the restaurant last year and has added many fine touches. For one thing, she is very proud of her service - the attentive and friendly staff makes the customers feel quite welcomed. She has also added sushi to an already deliciously flavored Moroccan and Middle Eastern menu. Upon sitting, steaming hot pita is brought to your table. The Mixed Salad is very fresh with an assortment of Eggplant, Israeli salad, Tabouli, Babaganoush, Tehina and Hummus. For the mains, the Mixed Grill, a fantastic combination of steak, kufta, sausage and chicken breast is highly advisable. House specialties include Merguez and Couscous. For dessert, Chocolate Mousse or their Tiramisu is perfect with mint tea served with an authentic Moroccan kettle. They have outside dining on their front patio which makes for a very exciting and enjoyable meal. The restaurant also specializes in Sheva Brachot and other social and private events. With rave reviews from their customers from around the world, Exodus is certainly a great find in a great city.
Yakimono l 4210 Decarie Blvd., Montreal, QC H4A 3K3 l 514-484-1515 l Supervision: Montreal Kosher l www.yakimono.ca Located in a trendy area of Montreal and conveniently located near the Decarie Metro Bus terminal, Yakimono is a non-dairy, non-meat restaurant that gives you the opportunity to stop by anytime of the day- everything here is parve. Owner Moshe Emergui named the restaurant Yakimono for 2 reasons. The word can be translated from Japanese with “Yaki” meaning “raise” and “ono” meaning “richness” as to describe the level of quality and flavor of his dishes but also because it has a spiritual meaning. The first two letters in the name is one of G-d’s names and “kimono” is the authentic Japanese clothing, thus Moshe wanted G-d to be with him in this Japanese adventure of his. This culinary adventure began in January 2006 when Moshe saw that there was a need for specialized sushi in the Montreal area. While the young crowd already has taken to the Japanese delicacy, many more mature have gave been coming in. The restaurant is authentic and relaxed, with mellow music playing in the background and waitresses dressed in Japanese kimonos. For appetizers, the Kani Salad of avocado, cucumber, tempura flakes and spicy sauce is a very tasty combination as are their crunchy spring rolls, dipped in a sweet and sour orange flavored sauce. Besides being able to customize any sushi roll you desire, there are plenty of mainstream fish entrees to choose from, although made with a Japanese influence. Salmon and Tuna Teriyaki are offered as are a number of stir-fried vegetable dishes. There are even vegetable nuggets with French Fries for the kids. But if you’ve come to Yakimono, it’s highly recommended that you treat your taste buds to any of their two dozen sushi rolls or if you are with a group, a sushi boat might be in order. For dessert, Moshe has been working hard in creating some unique homemade dessert items. Fried chocolate sticks with tofu ice cream topped with caramel and raspberry sauce is quite interesting.. The Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine: 2007 International Edition is available in all Barnes & Noble and Jewish bookstores throughout the United States and Canada for only $4.00 For more information about the magazine, call 718-336-4201 or visit www.GreatKosherRestaurants.com
Peals of laughter ring out into the hallway, joyously melding with the music that pours out of the room. A chasunah? A birthday party? No. It’s a hospital room.
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ven more shocking is the contrast between the current atmosphere of gaiety and the former gloom that pervaded the room and its inhabitants just minutes ago. This is yet another Mekimi success story-a scenario that repeats itself multiple times every day in major hospital wards across the New York area, in New Jersey and in London, England. Mekimi was founded four years ago, when a few young patients explained to their volunteer driver how depressed they were from the hospital environment. No “kosher” entertainment was available to Jewish patients, and long days were made longer due to boredom and the somber hospital atmosphere. As he listened to the patients, this volunteer driver was inspired to act-to fill the great void that existed. He decided to start a project which expanded into a full-spectrum organization. Mekimi came to life, and with it multitudes of hospital patients received a new lease on life as well. Mekimi’s mission is to bring happiness and cheer to sick children, adolescents, and young adults. In its early stages, the organization opened up Jewish video libraries in five New York hospitals, including NYU and Columbia. They advertised the new service in newspapers, and Jewish patients began taking advantage of the library. Eventually, the project expanded to include live entertainment. A volunteer who had performed with a noted superstar singer for a very ill little girl later found out that on her deathbed, she had commented that “the best time I had in my whole life, was when ———- came and performed for me”! Word of mouth spread like wildfire, and volunteers of every talent and bent began coming forward to contribute to the cause. Musicians, clowns, magicians, singers, jugglers, comedians, and balloon artists are just a few of the 350 volunteers which comprise Mekimi’s dedicated staff. Some volunteers do creative crafts projects with patients; others teach electronics or bring their interesting hobbies to display. One volunteer, a graphic artist, takes pictures of patients and does interesting things with the photographs. Volunteers visit the hospitals daily, performing, schmoozing, joking with, and distracting patients with undiluted zest and good cheer. For many, the laughter offered by Mekimi is actually life-saving. In numerous cases, patients who refused to eat due to their severe depression made a complete turnaround after a Mekimi visit. A twelve-year-old recently diagnosed with cancer was thrown into a depressed state; his parents were shocked and exuberant when they heard the laughter coming from his room-it was the first time he had so much as smiled in five days!
Mekimi now boasts nine libraries in nine hospitals, with a combined total of over 100,000 DVDs to lend out. Available DVDs include Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation videos, school plays, choirs, Torah shiurim, and virtually every genre imaginable. The organization’s halachic authority is R’ Michel Steinmetz, Dayan of Skver and Mekimi operates under the umbrella of the noted Mishkan Yecheskel chesed organization. In addition to their work in hospitals, Mekimi also organizes and hosts special events for the chronically ill, treating patients to exciting trips, Shabbatons, and barbecues. A recent introduction is simcha broadcasting-a video hookup in the patient’s own room enables them to share in a simcha that they would otherwise have missed. Although the organization operates on such a large scale, all volunteers contribute their time on a sideline basis-even the directors. There is no payroll in Mekimi and “although, it being a proud member of the eminent Mishkan Yechezkel, the umbrella organization of community services underwritten by the prominent philanthropist, Mr. Yechezkel Shrage Kauftheil and being funded by it largely,” all funds are obtained through fundraising-vital in meeting a $1.6 million operating budget. Donors often choose to sponsor special projects in memory of loved ones or as a zechus for a particular cause. Mekimi’s latest plan is to expand into Eretz Yisrael, where no doubt a host of entertainers will be more than happy to answer the call. In the gloomy world of illness and disease, Mekimi is a shining and much-needed ray of sunshine. You can get involved with an organization like Mekimi very easily. Do you have a talent to share? A hobby or craft? An interesting profession? If not, you can volunteer to drive entertainers to and from hospitals or help out with sponsorships or in other ways. If there are no Mekimi services in your area, consider volunteering at a local hospital on your own initiative. Anyone can tell a joke, and it only takes a minute to make a sick person smile but a little happiness goes a long way!
Mekimi Headquarters at 5313 New Utrecht Ave in Brooklyn, Tel: (866) MEKIMI-1 (635-4641) W: www.mekimi.org e-mail: email@example.com.
1. In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the slices of steak and mushrooms and sear them for 3 minutes. Turn them over and sear on the other side. Do this in batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding the pan. Add the scallions; sauté for 3 minutes until shiny.
Status: Meat Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Yield: 6 servings
2. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Add this mixture to the skillet.
ingredient list 1 tablespoon canola oil 11/2 pounds top of the rib, filet split, or London broil, very thinly sliced against the grain 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms caps, thinly sliced 3 scallions, sliced thinly on a diagonal, white and pale green parts only 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons roasted or toasted sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 large eggs, lightly beaten bottled hoisin sauce, such as Joyce Chen brand 6 large flour tortillas
DELICIOUS, INTERNATIONAL, AND SO EASY TO MAKE! Take your taste buds around the world with these great tasting recipes from Susie Fishbein's latest sensational cookbook, Kosher By Design Short On Time!
tri colore salad pizza Status: Parve Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Yield: 6 servings
ingredient list 3 (1-pound) balls pizza dough extra-virgin olive oil coarse sea salt 1. Preheat oven to 400F. Cover 2–3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
mexicotti Status: Meat Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Yield: 6 servings
ingredient list 12 manicotti pasta tubes, uncooked 16 ounces store-bought salsa 1(26-ounce) jar favorite marinara sauce 1jalapeno pepper, minced, divided 11/2 pounds ground beef 1/2cup crushed tortilla chips 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 small onion, halved and very thinly sliced nondairy sour cream, such as Tofutti brand, for garnish lime slices, for garnish
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2. Cut each dough ball in half. Knead and work each half into a flattened round, like a mini pizza crust, about 7 inches in diameter. Place each round onto the prepared cookie sheets. 1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray an 8- by 10-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. 2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water for half the recommended time on the box. Rinse, drain, cover, and set aside. 3. Meanwhile, combine the salsa, marinara sauce, and half the minced jalapeٌo pepper. Set aside. 4. In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, green bell pepper, garlic, salt, black pepper, and remaining half of the minced jalapeٌo pepper. Add 2?3 cup of the prepared salsa mixture. Use your hands to thoroughly mix and knead the mixture together. 5. With a small spoon, fill the manicotti tubes with the meat mixture; do not overstuff or they will split. Lay the stuffed manicotti into the prepared pan. Mix the onion slices into the remaining sauce. Ladle the sauce over the manicotti. 6. Bake for 35 minutes, uncovered. Serve 2 Mexicotti per plate with a dollop of nondairy sour cream and a lime slice. 7. Manicotti is an Italian dish of meat- or cheese-stuffed pasta tubes. This version introduces Mexican flavors. Prepare the meat mixture while the pasta is cooking. You want to undercook the pasta so that it is pliable but doesn’t split when you stuff and bake it. 8. Wear gloves when cutting the jalapeٌo pepper to keep the capsaicin off your skin, and discard the seeds and ribs. Don’t touch eyes or other sensitive areas until your gloves are discarded and your hands are completely clean.
3. Brush each crust with olive oil. Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt and pepper. Divide the garlic evenly over the crusts. Use your fingers to spread the minced garlic evenly. 4. Place the cookie sheets into the oven and bake the crusts for 20 minutes. 5. Meanwhile, place the balsamic into a microwave-safe
dish. Microwave for 45–60 seconds. The smell will be pungent and the vinegar will boil and steam. Reducing the vinegar results in a much richer flavor. 6. Whisk the oil into the reduced vinegar. Add the oregano. Set aside. 7. Shred the lettuces and toss them together. Thinly slice the tomatoes. 8. When the crusts are done, remove them from the oven. Place some of the lettuce mix on each crust, leaving a narrow rim. Scatter tomato slices in the center of each crust. 9. Whisk the dressing again and drizzle each pizza with the vinaigrette.
sausage en croûte Status: Meat Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Yield: 6 servings
ingredient list 1 (17.5-ounce) box frozen puff-pastr dough 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 6 brown-and-serve sausages, such as 999 brand fullycooked Italian or Beef Sausage yellow mustard
3. Add the beaten eggs and mix, stirring quickly until partially set. Remove from heat. 4. Warm the flour tortillas in a microwave for 10 seconds to soften them. You can also do this in the oven; just spritz with a tiny bit of water, wrap in foil, and bake for 5–6 minutes until warm. 5. Spread each tortilla with hoisin sauce. Fill each with the moo shu mixture. Fold each tortilla in half and then fold into quarters. 6. Usually wrapped in a thin, delicate Mandarin pancake, my quick and easy version of Moo Shu wraps the filling in warmed flour tortillas, making the preparation a snap. * This recipe can be made with sliced chicken breast as well, or, for a vegetarian spin, substitute raw coleslaw mix for the protein. This dish is perfect for a packed lunch, since it is easy to transport. Think of all the fun you can have just saying Moo Shu...
freshly ground black pepper 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, such as the Bartenura Special Reserve 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon dried oregano 2 large handfuls arugula 2 large handfuls radicchio 2 large handfuls red leaf lettuce plum tomatoes, thinly sliced My sister Karen loves good food as much as I do, and she is pretty health conscious. On a recent visit she ordered in from her local pizza store and surprised me with a fabulous find that inspired this recipe — a salad pizza. The pizza dough that I like comes in plastic bags in the freezer section of my supermarket. I always keep a few balls on hand for last minute make-your-own pizza nights or for this, a really colorful, flavorful, healthier alternative. Some stores, like Trader Joe’s, sell fresh dough balls in the refrigerator section in similar plastic bags, or you can purchase them from your local pizza store.
pastry is puffed and golden and serve with yellow mustard.
1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Allow the puff pastry to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes so that it stretches easily. 2. Gently open each sheet of puff pastry. 3. Lightly brush beaten egg over the surface of each sheet. 4. Lightly brush Dijon mustard over the surface of each sheet. 5. Cut each puff pastry sheet lengthwise into 3 equal pieces, using the folds as guidelines. 6. Place a sausage in the center of each piece. Wrap the pastry around each sausage. Pinch the ends closed and trim as necessary. 7. Place the sausages on the prepared cookie sheet. 8. Bake for 20–25 minutes until the
JE Jewish Entertainment
When I was in HAFTR High School, a group of my friends and I worked as hostesses for the caterer whose hall was right next door to our school. My favorite part of the job was serving hors d’oeuvres. I was continually amazed that no matter how many fabulous and exotic appetizers were passed around, the basket that got the most attention was filled with the franks-in-blankets. They always disappeared immediately. This recipe is a spicy, more contemporary version, but just as simple to make. * The puff pastry can be filled and rolled up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated, or frozen up to 2 weeks in advance. Thaw and bake as directed. You can serve a whole sausage as an appetizer portion, or slice them up and arrange them on a platter as hors d’oeuvres.
HOME ON THE KOSHER RANGE By Margie Pensak
Welcome to Star-K Kosher Certification’s new monthly column, “Home on the Kosher Range”. Hopefully, it will enlighten you so you can be better informed when making your kashrus decisions. Remember, the only thing that’s obvious about making kashrus decisions is, that what appears to be the obvious is not always the correct decision. We invite you to submit your kashrus questions to be answered by Star-K rabbis, for possible publication. You may e-mail them to: Margie@star-k.org. BUT FIRST, FOR THOSE READERS WHO ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH STAR-K, LET ME begin by introducing our not-for-profit kosher certification agency. With its corporate office based in Baltimore, Star-K operates satellite offices in Israel, China, Australia, India, and, closer to home, in New York, New Jersey, Phoenix, and California. All kashrus related matters are the sole responsibility of our Rabbinic Administrator, Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.
a.m. to 4 p.m., in the summer, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the winter. With world renowned expertise, running the gamut from pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements to “Sabbath mode appliances”, it responds to hundreds of telephone inquiries posed by people living throughout the U. S., and as far away as England, Israel, South America, South Africa, and Australia.
Star-K mashgichim can be found around the world supervising the “catch of the day” in Fiji Island waters, date production in Pakistan, raisin production in Iran, grape juice production in South Africa, pomegranate juice production in Azerbaijan, the distillation of slivovitz in Croatia, the processing of cocoa in Belgium, the manufacturing of food chemicals and herbal extracts in China, the slaughter of cattle in Argentina and poultry in Israel. Parisian wines, Vietnamese spices, Grecian and Turkish pickled products, and Moroccan olive oil, Indian oleoresins, and Russian parchment paper also bear the familiar Star-K logo.
Rosh Hashana is right around the corner. At Star-K, it brings to mind things like the kashrus of honey, bug checking, Shmitta 5768, and cooking on Yom tov. Star-K’s Kosher Hot Line routinely receives questions about these topics and more, from kosher consumers around the world. Q. DOES HONEY NEED A HECHSHER (KOSHER SYMBOL)?
Star-K certifies 45,638 products, in over one thousand six hundred locations, in forty-eight states and fifty-four countries around the world. Since a large percentage of these companies manufacture food chemicals and other basic ingredients used by food companies, there is a good chance that some of what you ate today contained flavors, acidulants, artificial sweeteners, or seasonings certified by Star-K. Star-K’s website, www.star-k.org, keeps you informed about kosher products, consumer alerts, Comments and Questions, and FAQs. Current and archival editions of Kashrus Kurrents, featuring articles about kashrus and other mitzvos, are also made available on this website, as are educational programs on Shmitta 5768. The picture of the cutesy cow standing with a child drinking a cup of milk on Star-K’s homepage says it all: “Discover the World of Kosher…It’s not just about milk and meat.” More than just a clever take on kashrus, it depicts the uniqueness of the Star-K. THESE ARE JUST SOME OF STAR-K’S UNIQUE PROGRAMS: Star-K’s online interactive Virtual Kosher University allows kosher novices to learn the basics from Star-K’s expert Kashrus Administrators— whether they live in Calabasas, California, or Caracas, Venezuela! Regardless of one’s schedule, the world of kosher is now open as never before, at one’s own pace, in the comfort of one’s own home. Visit www.kosherclasses.org. Its Telekosher Conference Series answers unique and unusual questions about Kosher, live from the listening audience. Star-K’s intensive annual Kashrus Training Seminar, held in Baltimore’s Star-K offices during the summer, allows rabbonim, kashrus administrators, and aspiring smicha students who are considering careers in rabbonis, kiruv, and kashrus, the opportunity to expand their hands-on knowledge of kashrus. To apply, call the StarK office, 410-484-4110, for an application, or download it from Star-K Online, www.star-k.org. Star-K’s annual Passover Directory, includes two popular guides in one: The Passover Medicines & Cosmetics guide, prepared by Rabbi Gershon Bess, of Kollel Los Angeles, and Star-K’s Comprehensive Information & Product Guide. The 2008 Passover Directory will be available for purchase after Purim at Jewish bookstores throughout the U.S. As a public service to kosher consumers, Star-K’s research on kashrus and other mitzvahs is made available through various media. Star-K’s Kosher Hot Line, (410) 484-4110, operates Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, and Friday, 9
NOW, BACK TO OUR COLUMN…
A. Even though a bee is a non-kosher species and honey is derived from a bee, all 100% pure honey is permissible, whether it is from Montana, North Dakota, or any state or country. Q. WHICH ROSH HASHANA “SIMANIM” FRUITS AND VEGETABLES HAVE TO BE CHECKED FOR BUGS AND HOW DOES ONE CHECK THEM? A. Cabbage (sometimes used as an alternative to leeks), black eyed peas, and dates require checking. To check cabbage pull the leaves apart, rinse each leaf thoroughly, and visually check for signs of infestation. If it is clean, you can use it.
“all 100% pure honey is permissible”
Black eyed peas, like all beans, may harbor worms when stored improperly or for a prolonged time. To check, soak them; if any beans float to the surface, discard them. Rinse off the remainder and use. Dates can hide worms inside of them, which are very thin and hair-like. To check, slice the date lengthwise and visually inspect. Q. DO I HAVE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT SHMITTA 5768, IF I LIVE IN AMERICA?
A. Under normal circumstances produce of Sheviis should not be exported. It is for this reason that Israeli fresh produce and Israeli manufactured goods must clearly state that they are Shmitta free. Many authorities permit the export of esrogim for Succos. When products come to foreign markets from the land of Israel, one should look for a reliable kosher certification. Q. I HAVE ALWAYS COOKED ON A GAS STOVE AND RECENTLY MOVED INTO AN APARTMENT THAT HAS AN ELECTRIC OVEN AND STOVETOP. WHAT DO I HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT COOKING WITH IT ON YOM TOV, SO I DO NOT TRANSGRESS HALACHA? A. Turning on your electric cook top or oven on Yom tov is forbidden, since that creates a new flame and may also initiate a light or icon on a control panel. Therefore, the oven and burners must be turned on prior to Yom tov. If you cannot tell for sure if there is electric current running to the element when you want to adjust the temperature upward, it may be initiating the flow of electricity, which is prohibited. To circumvent this prohibition, an electrician can install an indicator light which is attached to the actual flow of electricity to the burner, allowing you to raise the temperature when the light is on. Similarly, lowering the oven heat setting would be problematic for the same two reasons. When you are allowed to lower it, it may only be done for the benefit of the food, so it will remain warm and not burn. You may not turn off the burner completely, however, unless the indicator light is off, indicating that power is no longer flowing. If you do shut it off then, it cannot be turned on again for that Yom tov.
JE Jewish Entertainment
by Y.S. Haber DEAR ALL, Hope you all had a nice summer (though after a certain point in life, summer’s just like winter but warmer and with longer Shabbos afternoon naps.). Anyway, as with my preceding “Rewind” column—I want to start by thanking all those who took the time to offer the thoughts and feedback regarding Jewish Music Classics that “Shoulda, and Coulda…but didn’t”. Particular thanks goes to “Mr. K”—who actually reminded me about a few of my favorite albums –“Kivinu”—the Rabbis Sons Reunion Album, Rockiah (“shticky” name aside) ahead of its time and Mimamakim which featured Avrumy Flamm and Rav Shmuel Brazil—one of the few composers left that still writes real, 100% authentic nigunim. Thanks also to the person who mentioned Avraham Rosenblum’s V’Hosheynu—a gem of an album which if memory serves preceded his “Bar Yochai” & Kedem projects. There were also numerous other references –some so obscure I’m still researching them—thanks again to Sheya Mendlowitz, Dovid Nulman, Yossi Leifer and the “Smithsonian of Jewish Music:” Bentzy Kaminetzky—for their help in compiling the latest rewind contenders –though you won’t be seeing them this month because in a nutshell, I found the summer is NOT the best time to be tracking down producers and performers (mainly because they’re all working producing and performing).
15,000+ readers throughout North America & Canada (based on my emails I’ll attest to that). If I leave them in a lurch, what does that says about the regard I have for their efforts? (besides it’s much easier to get paid for writing when you actually have written something
because he thought the person had not heard him, he persevered in trying to wish this person a “Good Shabbos” at which point this person informed him that he HAD in fact heard him, but chose to ignore him because my son was clearly flouting the ban on the Eruv.
Go 180 degrees in my thinking—and approach. Meaning, JEM stands for Jewish Entertainment Magazine, and whilst 99.9% of Jewish Entertainment is music centric, why not pick a topic that while not music is something I find entertaining? A topic “ripped from today’s headlines” (well if you live in Monsey or read the NY Times). A topic that’s entertaining because of its almost delightful irony—O Henry (a fiction writer who was an “icon of irony”). Ok, the topic may make more waves than my previous columns—but those of you who approach it with an open mind –and a sense of humor, will have to agree that you can’t help but find the irony that inspired it entertaining and since it centers around Monsey’s Jewish community, it fulfills the Jewish part as well—in other words Jewish and Entertaining—hence a perfect fit for this publication.
FYI: My son was also 12 at the time, try explaining this to a 12 year old –about the ONLY upside of this was it gave us an excuse to stay home for Shabbos more often (not that the denizens of Boro Park need my presence or miss me or anything, but well you know). It made it MUCH easier to explain to my children why they SHOULDN’T talk to strangers—note; that’s not “talk” as in wishing a “Good Shabbos”, but talk as in “engaging in conversation”.
And before any of you fly off the handle and get upset with how I can have the temerity to be entertained by “irony” (as irony usually indicates someone else’s discomfort), my apologies in advance. Though let me add, I’ve run this by a number of people and UNLESS you have an agenda where you stand to seriously gain/lose by the situation, you’ll have no choice but to agree that the situation is ironically entertaining.
Which got me thinking; what DID I think of it? Did I think of it? Did it matter? Could ANYONE stop the world’s largest retailer once they have a site in their crosshairs? And why bother? What’s wrong with “Everyday low prices” that had so many people up in arms—and had me so ambivalent (if you haven’t noticed yet, I’m one of those annoying types with an opinion or three on everything) –and here’s an issue so apparently massive it made it to the Times, yet I’m basically responding with “whatever”
OK, WITH THAT PREAMBLE BEHIND ME, I’LL NOW LET YOU IN ON THE SCENARIO INSPIRING THIS MONTH’S COLUMN
So here I am at deadline with lots of “holes” that need filling—and I’m faced with three options;
As you’ve probably heard –Monsey is scheduled/destined to get a Wal-Mart “Super Center”. Super Center (also called “cradle to grave” stores—because one can literally purchase EVERYTHING from food to apparel to furniture to well you name it there).
Start from scratch—go back to my vaults and pull out the next group of contenders— possible but problematic as it will still mean getting background information from people who may not be as accessible as I’d need them to be Skip this month—Good ideas, except that the publishers of this publication work long and hard on putting together a quality read for
For reasons you can either immediately understand –or not begin to fathom, this has polarized the Monsey community to levels not seen since the heyday of the Boro Park Eruv issue—where the community was so polarized, children wishing people “Good Shabbos” were blatantly ignored because their families obviously :”held” of the Eruv (I know this because the child, was my son, and
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OK before I digress onto yet another tangent, let’s get down to the “entertainment”. So as we live in Monsey and I work in a media related industry, the NY Times article that ran regarding the impending arrival of Wal-Mart, inspired a media-related contact to ask me what I thought of the whole “brouhaha”.
That’s when the irony hit me— this community isn’t being victimized by the folks in Bentonville (Wal-Mart’s HQ). Au contraire—we brought it (the impending arrival of Wal-Mart) on ourselves, by allowing down zoning and other quality of life rules to be circumvented by “special interest” groups—which in the process, clearly communicated to larger entities (with their own “special interests” ) that we were “for sale” (for votes, tax breaks, etc). As any qualified civil engineer or planner will tell you, the Rockland (the New York State County that Monsey’s located in) infrastructure can barely sustain the “growth” that we presently have been blessed with. Which brings to mind the
question; “What is causing our quality of life to go from vibrant to virtually vanish? In my opinion, it was (and still is) the growing number of entities whose agendas are apparently based on optimizing every usable millimeter of land—regardless of the strain it puts on roads, utilities, police, fire and via those our collective quality of life About the only upside to this fiasco is the “entertainment value” in the rationales given by all the groups/organizations seeking to not so much “break” the law as “rise” above it...way above it. Case in point, how can any “Semicha” (Rabbinical Ordination) programs claim (with a straight face) that their program takes longer than becoming a board certified neurosurgeon? Don’t ask me, but the folks in a certain group claim theirs is a 15 year program (and a non profit one at that). My friend who recently finished his board certification in neurosurgery only had to give up 12 years of his life—and that was including college! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against qualified Rabbonim. Look at the world around us, the issue with “kids at risk” etc. that has invaded most all Jewish communities. Our world needs, desperately needs, more rabbis—especially ones with 15 years (3-4 times the norm) of training which will clearly make them more than capable to handle—if not prevent, any situation. This group with its 15 year program is clearly producing the “Navy SEALS” of Rabbinic leaders—let’s ascertain what the 15 year curriculum is comprised of, so we can get these guys out into the field— either to help with their own community’s needs, or to get involved in helping other communities in need.
9:30 am. For that matter, pity the poor person who made that call. The only upside to this is that the sale of home defibrillators will probably skyrocket as people won’t want to risk their lives on Hatzoloh being trapped behind 9 school buses, 3 mini buses, and 7 mini vans. Actually, I’m not a fan of the Wal-Mart for other reasons as well. Fact is, most of Wal-Mart’s everyday low prices come at the expense of everyday lower quality of goods and services. Its common knowledge most major brands will cut whatever corners are needed to get their brands onto Wal-Mart’s hallowed shelves. I mean have you tried shopping there lately? The only thing lower than the prices is the level of customer service (and in some categories the quality as well). Small wonder Wal-Mart is looking to reinvent themselves to provide a more positive (read “Target-like”) shopping experience—a move that I can guarantee you has NOTHING to do with competing with our local retailers. That combined with the fact it’s virtually impossible for them to offer a retail environment with the unique selection of everything from apparel to appetizing required by our community, means (in my opinion anyway) that we’ll now be looking for (fighting for) parking in two malls (at least).
“SO AM I FOR THE WALMART SUPER CENTER?
NO—JUST LIKE I’M NOT FOR THE SEMICHA “SUPER CENTERS” THAT SEEM TO BE POPPING UP ALL OVER THE AREA”
But I digress, because this letter is about irony—as in the pros and cons of Wal-Mart—not the pros and cons who turned Rockland into an environment that all but laid out a welcome mat for it. And now that good old fashioned “mainstream” American capitalism wants to take advantage of the “for sale” sign we’ve put on our “collective conscience”, the same group(s) fighting for the good of the goose (their goose) are suddenly crying “foul” in regard to the entry of an unaffiliated “gander”. How’s THAT for entertaining irony?
On the other hand—and I’ll say it again—, I can’t help but be entertained by the delightful irony— namely how those who sought to alter the rules for personal or “communal” gain are now getting their just desserts (as well as entrees, appetizers and all else)
When down zoning parcels of land met their collective agendas—anyone with the temerity to challenge them was labeled as everything from “anti Semitic” to “anti democratic” (had this happened during the Cold War era they probably would’ve been labeled as “Communist as well) Now when a Wal-Mart Super center—with the retail “firepower” to challenge the rather sizeable investments made by local grocers (A.K.A. Heimish “Super centers”) looms on the horizon, the same folks who saw no problem with making zoning laws vanish faster than Bush’s cabinet appointees, are suddenly professing to be “victims” of the very disregard for quality of life that they created
So am I for the Wal-Mart Super Center? No—just like I’m not for the Semicha “Super Centers” that seem to be popping up all over the area—and for pretty much the same reason(s). It would add more congestion, stress, etc. to an area where we’ve already done a darn good job of adding all the above all on our own (take a drive down route 306 towards route 59 and see what I mean—10 lanes of humanity living over 1 lane of roadway (on most mornings the area resembles a giant wall to wall parking lot for school buses and minivans—pity the poor Hatzoloh member that has a call anywhere on 306 between 8 and
Fact is all of Rockland’s resident’s are victims— and have been for the last 10 or so years when village “planners” and political figures began basing their zoning cues on sardine cans—not the capabilities of the fragile infrastructure whose demise went from impending to imminent. There’s a saying in Yiddish (which also probably has its parallels in every language on the planet) that goes “The way you make your bed—that’s how you’ll sleep”.
Trustees of Wesley Hills who will stand up to anyone seeking to circumvent the rules that got many of us to move here in the first place, Rockland’s “movers and shakers” have shown they have no problem “moving” whatever it takes to get what they want where they want it—no matter who, what or where they have to “shake” in the process. Speaking of exceptions, one has to give kudos to the Skver community as well. Rather than choose the infinitely easier—though obviously more intrusive path of expanding New Square in the general existing area. They purchased a rather sizeable piece of acreage in upstate NY to begin construction of a “New” New Square. Would it have been easier logistically to expand their Rockland County base? Definitely. But that expansion would probably have come at the expense/potential discomfort of parts/members of the Rockland community not affiliated with Skver. So rather than cause potential discomfort they chose the added expense—financial—and logistical, of “starting from scratch” in upstate NY. Personally, I prefer that kind of “everyday high mentchlichkeit” to whatever is professed as everyday low prices by Walmart Anyway, so now that the “every day low priced made in China” shoe is on the other foot, I have one thing to say, enjoy your Wal-Mart guys, because when you think about it, all Wal-Mart is REALLY doing is “fast tracking” the process you already started. P.S.: And regarding that narishkeit of Wal-Mart becoming a “hangout”—have you ever seen the Monroe/Woodbury Super center? Can’t the community “Spin Doctors” come up with a better “Cause Celebre” than equating Wal-Mart with a pool hall, Woodbourne, or late night Shwarma joint? I mean they’ve (Wal-Mart) capitulated on the magazines—(which is admirable), but are you really worried about the “undesirable elements” attracted to a 24 hour “cradle to grave” retailer? Speaking of which, the last time I heard comments about “undesirable elements” was when a guy named Goebbles (or was it Himmler?) was handling the PR for a maniacal former housepainter. …And the fact that that’s now become the “mantra” of members of our community is an irony as well—only this irony is disturbing…not entertaining.
YS HABER is usually much happier about the bucolic life he and his family have been in enjoying in Monsey for almost two decades. But as the recent NY Times story did generate a fair amount of questions from a fair amount of his non Jewish (or Jewish but unaffiliated) friends and clients—he found himself in the position of actually having to form a cohesive opinion—and once he started thinking it through, he kept fixating on how darn ironic the whole thing was. YS promises that next month’s Rewind will “Rewind” back to its normal (for him anyway) format. He hopes you enjoyed this little sojourn from the typical and asks that you please let him know regardless via TECHODIA@GMAIL.COM.
With precious few exceptions e.g.; the Mayor and JE Jewish Entertainment
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Shua Kessin in Europe: E and S Tour with Peysach Krohn At a rest stop singing with some guys
In a Kovno shul singing
Giving a kumzitz in a hotel in Vilna
Yeedle Werdyger - Israel Tour These picturess were from the E and S Tour with Peysach Krohn to eastern Europe,with Shua Kessin as the
Yeedle has just returned from a whirlwind two and a half week tour in Israel. Upon landing in Ben Gurion, on July 29th, he was whisked through security to perform at the chasunah of the daughter of the noted R' Motta Frank. Many American guests flew in to partake in this momentous occasion. On Tuesday July 31st, Yeedle & Avraham Fried had the privilege of entertaining the very special children of Ezer Mitziyon. "Charged with emotion" is how Yeedle describes the aura of the camp in Netanya. Amir Cohen's band was in top form as Yeedle sang and danced with gusto. In reflection, Yeedle says he is still so moved from that memorable night. " It was one of the most fulfilling shows of my career." Hired by "Nofim Plus" an elite kosher vacation company for a string of shows, Yeedle traveled to Zichron Yaakov to a hotel there. Shai Barak, Danny Zamir and Shlomo Deshet were amongst the musicians, dear friends of Yeedle's, who jammed with him. The ambience was superb as Yeedle had fun with his friends. The musical group then accompanied him to Yishuv Ohr Haganuz, near Miron, to Camp Oitzrot Hatorah run by R' Meir Fadida, for what Yeedle assumed would be a late-night kumzitz. Arriving at 2am at the camp the teens bombarded Yeedle's car and danced and rocked for hours. In the wee hours of the morning they unwinded with a heartfelt kumzitz. What a night! On August 2nd Yeedle traveled to Natzrat Ellit, a neighborhood not too far from Teveriya. Nofim Plus coordinated a retreat in the Plaza Hotel. The Greidi Band who accompanied Yeedle around the world, most recently in Argentina and London, are so dynamic. Having toured together, The Greidi bunch and Yeedle make an unusually explosive team. After his own repetoire, Yeedle did a full Carlebach set which was exceptionally well-received. The audience spent most of the night on their feet. The next two days Yeedle could be found confined within the studios of Gal-Kol and United Zohar Melodies in Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan. The string sections on a number of songs for Yeedle's upcoming album were being recorded. Eli Laufer, Mona Rosenblum and Aron Razel wrote the arrangements for their respective compositions.
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Shabbos in Miron was soulful and stirring. On Motzei Shabbos Yeedle performed there at three venues. Two simchos and a boys camp. The atmosphere of Miron was stimulating and enhanced all performances. The events garnered rave reviews. On Sunday, August 5th a collection of camps gathered at the camp Bnei Torah, the summer program of Rabbi Ezrachi's Ateret Yeshiva. Having performed there a number of times in the past, Yeedle, a favorite entertainer was asked to return. The combination of Yeshivish and Mizrachi yeshiva boys lend itself to a vivacious audience. This energetic group was entertained by a brilliant fireworks display as a backdrop to Yeedle and Aron Razel's performances. Ruvi Banet's band was professional and spirited. Yeedle and Aron surprised the fans with a debut performance of the possible-title-song, which Aron wrote, off Yeedle's new album. The evening culminated with Yeedle's Shiru Lamelech sung in kumzitz-on the ground-with the hundreds of bachurim. Rarely is such a professional setting available in a camp. It was a night to be remembered. On August 6 & 7 Yeedle was back in the studio with Aron Razel. It was there that Yeedle encountered his first challenge. An unbelievable song was composed a few weeks ago in Yeedle's home, on the beach, with Aron Razel. MBD's studio just down the block was the quickly seized venue for a demo recording. Now, in Eretz Yisrael, Razel wrote a mind-blowing arrangement. The title track Lev Achad is now challenged for its position! Ashrecha is a mega-hit. All who have heard it say that they just can't stop singing it. Manny, Dudi and Ofer of Nofim Plus had Yeedle back in Natzrat Ellit with the famed Greidi Band. Once more, Yeedle delighted his fans with a passionate and charismatic performance. Over the next few days, Yeedle partook in several rare kumzitz's at the home of his dear family friend Mayer Gurvitz, in Savyon. MBD, Dedi, Aron Razel, Hillel Paley and his brothers were amongst those who came to participate in these piano and song gatherings. The Gurvitz's are a musical family. Yossi composed and played the piano for a number of songs on Shloimie Gertner's hit album, Nissim. A seldom occurence finds Dedi at the piano singing together with MBD & Yeedle. The Paley brothers, in an extraordinary night took turns at the piano while the superstars sang and harmonized. On his final day in Israel Yeedle performed at an undisclosed private event. Although bound by a gag order, he describes it as an unparalleled function in Jewish Simcha History. What a wrap-up to a host of outstanding musical performances. Heading to the airport in serious traffic, Yeedle missed his return flight home. He was especially frustrated because he had a meeting scheduled for that flight. Standing at the ticketing counter Yeedle heard the distinct laugh of Lipa " Dee hust oich farpast deh flight?! - You also missed the flight?!" They had planned to work on Yiddish lyrics for Yeedle's album on the plane. Lo & behold they did. On the next flight! Yeedle becomes teary-eyed every time he sings these awe-inspiring & heartwearming lyrics to his song now titled " Keshoshana Bein Hachochim." It is a most beautiful mashal, a parable about Klal Yisrael. This song is set to go down as a Yiddish classic in history. It is reminiscent of hits of the past. Clear Hashagacha Pratis foreshadows the success of the song. After arriving at Newark's International Airport, Yeedle headed directly upstate to perform for some more eager fans. Fans, you are welcome to cast your vote for the title of Yeedle's new album - Ashrecha or Lev Achad. Email your opinion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
entertainment from july 31. till aug. 9. There were about 170 people,they went through, Lithuania, Belarus, and Poland,visiting places like,Ponevezh-, Telz, Kelm, Kovno, Slobodka, Trakia(castle), Vilna, Radin, Minsk, Volozhin, Mir, Warsaw, Ger, Crakow, Auschwitz (camp), birkenau(camp),Lublin, Majdonek(camp), Lancut, Lajensk, Yeshivas like Telz, Radin, Mir, Slobodka, Volozhin, Ponevezh-, and going to kevorim of the Vilna Gaon ,R' Chaim Ozer, Ger Tzeddek, Sfas Emes, Chiddushei Harrim, R' Yitchok Elchonon Spector, Chofetz Chaim, R' Chaim Volozhin, R' Singing in the stolen camp for boys from Belarus with alot of them
Yeruchim Levovits, Remah, Bach, Tosefos Yom Tov, Chozeh of Lublin, and the Marshal.
Nochi Krohn Band & PHP
Here are some pix from the JCCRP concert on READS LN. in far rockaway featuring the NKB and PHP (an upcoming great band. album due out real soon). It was an outdoor event sponsored by the Jewish Community Counsel of the Rockaway Peninsula. It had about 1000 people on there feet, as you can see, for almost 2 hours. Great solid show!!
Motzoai Shabbos Nachamu Concert in the Monticello Raceway Yaakov Shwekey
Michoel Pruzansky & Yehoshua Zeitlen
Accompanied by the Neginah Orchestra Yaakov Shwekey along Srully Williger, Yehoshua Zeitlen and Michoel Pruzansky entertained the crowd that gathered at the Monticello Raceway, as has become custom on Motzoai Shabbos Nachamu. Special guest was Rabbi Baruch Levine. The event was organized and produced by Ozer Babad of Xclusive Productions.
Photos by: www.crownheights.info
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Published on Feb 14, 2013
Michoel "PRUZ" Pruzansky's new release has been the most talked about album in the last 2 years. The album is being produced by Yitzi Bald w...