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Page 56 THE JEWISH PRESS  Friday, February 22, 2013

Community Currents Upcoming events… Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) and Institute for University-School Partnership will host its annual Jewish Job Fair on Thursday, February 28, in Furst Hall on YU’s Wilf Campus, 500 West 185th Street, in uptown Manhattan. The event is free and open to the public from 7-9 p.m., with priority admission for YU students and alumni beginning at 6 p.m. In addition to showcasing a wealth of professional opportunities at well-respected Jewish schools, organizations and non-profits, the event provides a robust networking forum for Jewish job-hunters seeking information on everything from scholarships and internships to career development programming. For more information or to submit a resume, visit *** Cleveland’s Jewish community will gather to cele-

brate 70 years of excellence and innovation in Jewish education at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland’s upcoming scholarship tribute dinner on March 3. Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau, chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and former chief rabbi of Israel, will be the featured speaker. The event will pay tribute to Dr. and Mrs. Brian Wolovitz. Dr. Wolovitz is a prominent physician and Mrs. Wolovitz is a highly regarded social worker. Mrs. Wolovitz also heads the Academy’s very successful Bigs and Littles mentoring program whereby Academy elementary school girls are matched with post seminary mentors. The program won the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland the prestigious Asset Builder Award from the state of Ohio. *** Nefesh B’Nefesh will be conducting a week of Aliyah Mega Events and Fairs in six major cities across North America together with The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, JNF-

Celebrating Judaism… Way Up North With help from The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, seven young Jewish adults in Murmansk, Russia celebrated their bar and bat mitzvahs in late January. Murmansk, the largest city inside the Arctic Circle, is one of the global Jewish family’s northernmost communities. So harsh are the winters there that the bar and bat mitzvah celebrants had to shovel through several feet of snow to access the building where the simchas were held. The small Jewish community of Murmansk numbers only a few hundred and does not even have a synagogue. Jewish teenagers in the city were unsure whether it was accepted practice to celebrate their bar and bat mitzvahs since they had already passed the ages of 12 and 13, respectively. However, once they learned that the chairperson of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, was celebrating his bar mitzvah at the

ripe old age of 65, Murmansk community leaders reached out to The Jewish Agency to organize a bar and bat mitzvah ceremony for their youngsters. Jewish Agency Youth shaliach Sagi Rabovski traveled 870 miles from his home in St. Petersburg to run the group bar and bat mitzvah ceremony. “I feel that it is my mission to help even the smallest Jewish communities,” Rabovski said. “By connecting Jews to Israel and the Jewish tradition, we can strengthen their Jewish identities.”

(Photo credit: The Jewish Agency for Israel)

The Famous Pesach Felafel Fund By Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein Leah lives in three bedrooms and has 10 children. She lives in the underprivileged Jerusalem neighborhood of Shmuel HaNavi. They can’t afford any cleaning help, and everyone in the family helps clean for Pesach. By the time they clean the stove and refrigerator, everyone is tired and very hungry. But Leah can’t afford take-out food. Being able to take her 10 children to the neighborhood felafel store is a fantastic treat for the whole family – and a life-saver for Leah. Yes, it seems early, but it’s that time of year again! Our Felafel Fund is gearing up for another season. Remember how it happened? It was the day before bedikas chametz nine years ago when I noticed a sweet eight-year-old boy with long peyos coming out of a Jerusalem makolet clutching three large loaves of bread. What drew my attention was the fact that the loaves of bread were unwrapped – and the little boy was holding them pressed tightly against his sweater. Now, I don’t know about you, but if a child of mine was clutching loaves of unwrapped bread against his sweater the day before bedikas chametz, I would probably pass out. (That’s putting it mild-

ly. Just thinking of all those bread crumbs all over a sweater the day before bedikas chametz makes me cringe, and Pesach is awhile away!) But it did make me realize suddenly that mothers of large, poor, religious families are cooking meals up to erev Pesach because they can’t afford to go to restaurants or to eat takeout food. So, working with my friend Arleen Habshush, a Rochester, NY girl who made aliyah over 40 years ago, we started a pre-Pesach project that is as unusual as it is helpful – sending these families to the local falafel take-out/restaurant for one meal the week before Pesach so the mother of the large family will have one less meal to prepare. The families, who live in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Shmuel HaNavi, have between 1015 children each. All of the families are carefully chosen by Arleen, who personally knows and has been helping over 50 of these fine, frum, large and very poor sephardic families from this depressed neighborhood for many years. The children are thrilled beyond belief because they rarely get to eat store-bought falafel, and they never get to go out to eat in a “restaurant” (they

USA, and Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. The Aliyah Events, which will take place in Toronto, Montreal, Florida, Baltimore, Washington, and New York between March 3-10, will incorporate aliyah-related seminars and workshops, as well as personal consultations with staff from all of the organizers. Representatives from various Israeli ministries, health funds, shippers, The Jewish Agency, and Nefesh B’Nefesh’s “Go North” and “Go South” programs will also be present. For a full schedule of the events, visit www.nbn. *** The second Annual Dinner for Gush Katif Museum of Jerusalem will take place on Motzei Shabbos, March 9, at 8 p.m. in the Razag Ballroom in Crown Heights. The keynote speaker will be Gov. Mike Huckabee. For reservations and information, call 718-208-1770 or visit

The Miracle Of Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik By Esther Perkal Walk into just about any shul on Purim afternoon, and you’ll find it packed with costumed kids of all ages and their fathers participating in the annual learning event of Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik. Whereas Torah study was once lost in the shuffle of Purim, in only 15 years YMH has grown to massive proportions, encompassing 60,000 children in 1,243 Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik branches throughout Eretz Yisrael, and a staggering 90,000 children around globe! Dozens of donors attest to witnessing personal miracles after pledging to support YMH, and the stories speak for themselves. Sick people who were cured, childless couples who now cradle infants, and older singles who are now happily married. YMH’s office is inundated with phone calls and letters from donors eager to share their mazal tovs and contribute to this unparalleled hour of limud Torah b’ahavah. They have one collective message, and that is “Thank you.” “I thought that I was the one doing a mitzvah by donating to Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik until I saw the results,” says Kaila, one of 25 kallahs who found their basherts within a year of donating to YMH. Donors saying “Thank you”? How’s that for a Purim miracle?

don’t realize that it is only a falafel store, since most have never been inside a restaurant). Since pizza is more expensive than falafel, we give each person in the family a falafel, a portion of french fries, and a canned drink. This costs the shekel equivalent of $10.00 per person. Thus, one meal for an average family (12 children and 2 parents) costs approximately $140 – an amount way beyond even the dreams of these families. Arleen carefully chooses the most urgent and deserving families, depending on the amount of money I collect. I hope that those hearing about this unusual mitzvah will contribute, sending us $10 per person, so that we can send as many needy families to the falafel store as possible. Every penny of the money collected goes directly to the falafel store owner only, who then gives Arleen a petek to give to the chosen families. Neither Arleen nor I deduct any money for anything – it all goes directly to pay for the food. Whoever wants to help us with this unusual mitzvah can make out their checks and send them directly to me, Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein, at Arzei Habira 49/ 32, Jerusalem, Israel. Every penny will go directly to the falafel store to make the week before Pesach happy for these families – and easier for the wives and mothers. Please include your email address, if you have one. Thank you.

Friday, February 22, 2013 THE JEWISH PRESS  Page 57

Community Currents Mitchell Sudman who lost his father at age three, never received a bar mitzvah. At the traditional age 13 his “frame of mind was not the greatest” recalls Mitchell. “I was rebellious and always challenged my teachers in Hebrew School.” That all changed when he met Chabad Rabbi David Okunov, who serves as spiritual leader of the Warbasse Jewish Heritage Cong. and associate director of F.R.E.E. which caters to the Russian Jewish community in New York. “I started to like religion,” says Mitchell. And so, at the age of 68, Mitchell Sudman finally had his bar mitzvah and received a talis from Rabbi Okunov as a gift.

At the annual siyum mishnayos for Chesed Shel Emes. (Photo credit: JDN)

State Assemblyman David Weprin and State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Congressional Breakfast on Sunday, February 10, at the UJA Federation of New York headquarters. Close to 400 people, including prominent community leaders and elected officials, packed into Toras Emes Hall in Brooklyn on Wednesday, February 13, to attend the inauguration of New York State Senator Simcha Felder. Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Leon Ruchelsman, a long-time friend of Felder, performed the swearing-in ceremony.

Young Israel of Jamaica Estates held its 34 th Annual Gala on Sunday night, February 10. Among the honorees were Dr. Joseph and Karen Frager. (L-R) Gala honoree Dr. Joe Frager, senior Likud member (and unofficial representative of the Israeli Prime Minister’s office) Gershom Stav, and business mogul and noted Jewish philanthropist Sam Domb.

Winners of Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services “From The Eye of the Storm” school essay and picture competition: Ariella Goldsmith, TAG (grades 9-12 bracket); Shimmy Matyas, Yeshiva Chasan Sofer (grades 6-8 bracket); and Scott Mayer, North Shore Hebrew Academy (grades 3-5 bracket).

Page 58 THE JEWISH PRESS  Friday, February 22, 2013

Community Currents This year, organizers of Yeshiva University’s annual Seforim Sale decided to use a portion of their proceeds to help replenish the library of a shul or school affected by Hurricane Sandy. After a Facebook contest that yielded more than 3,000 votes in two weeks, Young Israel of Oceanside was selected to receive $10,000 worth of books and sefarim. The shul lost three Torah scrolls and thousands of sefarim during the storm, yet its rav, Rabbi Jonathan Muskat, chose to split the winnings with the five other contestants: Agudas Yisroel of Bayswater, Congregation Ohab Zedek of Belle Harbor, Young Israel of Long Beach, Congregation Ahavas Yisroel of Cedarhurst, and Hebrew Academy of Long Beach.

Talmud Torah Eitz Chaim of Boro Park held its annual dinner earlier this month.

(Photo credit: JDN)

This year’s Kosher Food and Wine Experience, hosted by Royal Wine Inc., was held on February 4 at Chelsea Piers.

Parents of the young men in Otsar’s newly organized CHEVRA program are pleased with the level of teamwork and partnership which exists between Otsar staff and consumers and their families.

Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Slobadka, arrived in New York this month to participate in the yeshiva’s annual melava malka. (Photo credit: JDN)

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